Monday marked the two-year anniversary of Arizona’s controversial immigration law, known as S.B. 1070, and on Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments as to whether it goes too far.
The law requires police officers to check the immigration status of people they stop and suspect of being in the country illegally. Currently, that and other key measures are on hold after a federal court ruled that they interfered with national immigration laws.
For the second time in the past month, the court will take up a politically-charged case involving the balance of power between state and federal law. In March, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the President’s Affordable Care Act and claims that it violates the commerce clause. Even the lawyers are coming back for a rematch, with Solicitor General Donald Verrilli going head-to-head with Paul Clement, who is representing Arizona.
Since Arizona passed its law in 2010, five other states have followed suit, including Utah, Indiana, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. Opponents have claimed the measures amount to racial profiling and have driven many undocumented immigrants underground. But the governors of those states have argued that they were forced to take on the issue because the federal government failed to tackle immigration reform. On CNN, Sunday, Obama Campaign Senior Adviser David Axelrod placed the blame squarely on Republicans:
With the Hispanic vote expected to top 12 million this year, both sides are courting Latinos, and the outcome of this case could very well shape the immigration debate going into November.