Supreme Court rules most of SB 1070 unconstitutional, preserves right of police to check immigration status
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070 on Monday in a 5-3 decision, declaring several provisions of the law to be unconstitutional, while preserving the provisions allowing for Arizona law enforcement officers to ask for documentation from those they believe might be in the country illegally.
Governor Jan Brewer said in a statement on Monday while there were changes made, the core of the bill was intact. She called the court’s decision a victory.
“Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court is a victory for the rule of law,” Brewer said. “It is also a victory for the 10th Amendment and all Americans who believe in the inherent right and responsibility of states to defend their citizens. After more than two years of legal challenges, the heart of SB 1070 can now be implemented in accordance with the U.S. Constitution.”
Brewer also said she does not think the legal turmoil surrounding SB 1070 will end with the court’s ruling.
“Of course, today’s ruling does not mark the end of our journey,” Brewer said. “It can be expected that legal challenges to SB 1070 and the State of Arizona will continue. Our critics are already preparing new litigation tactics in response to their loss at the Supreme Court, and undoubtedly will allege inequities in the implementation of the law.”
Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) made a statement saying he was pleased the court saw fit to strike down many parts of the law.
“Today’s Supreme Court ruling largely struck down a law we have always recognized as an extremist attempt to undermine our core values and our Constitution,” Grijalva said. “The court’s decision reaffirmed that SB 1070 and its many imitators are not an acceptable substitute for a federal immigration standard.”
Grijalva also said he was disappointed that the controversial aspect of the bill allowing police to check people’s immigration status remains in place.
“Unfortunately, the Court made a grave error in upholding the discriminatory ‘show me your papers’ provision that violates basic rights and denies equal justice,” Grijalva said. “This is the most poisonous part of the law, and its legality will rightly be challenged on equal protection grounds in the courts. This is not the end of our efforts to uphold equal and legal treatment for the American people.”
A statement released by the Flagstaff Police Department concerning its stance on SB 1070 said SB 1070 will begin to be enforced by the department around the middle of July.
“Following the recent ruling on SB 1070, the Flagstaff Police Department would like to relate our present policy regarding encounters with citizens of other countries,” the statement read. “The police department wants inform our community the portion of the SB 1070 bill which was upheld will not go into effect until 25 days after the ruling. Until this time there will be no policy changes by the Flagstaff Police Department.”
The statement also addressed the department’s concern of crimes concerning illegal immigrants, both as victims and witnesses, being under-reported and stressed that officers would be receiving training to properly enforce the law.