Wednesday, April 9, 2014
The SCOTUSBlog "Petition of the Day" iwas the one filed in Arizona v. Valle del Sol, Inc. 13-806.
In an opinion by Judge Paez, joined by Judge Noonan and a partial dissent by Judge Bea, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of a preliminary injunction in an action challenging Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-2929 , which attempts to criminalize the harboring and transporting of unauthorized immigrants within the state of Arizona.
The panel first held that an individual plaintiff, pastor Luz Santiago, and the organizational plaintiffs had standing to challenge Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-2929 . The panel determined that Santiago had established a credible threat of prosecution and that the organizational plaintiffs had shown that their missions had been frustrated and their resources diverted as a result of § 13-2929 . The panel held that the statute as written was void for vagueness under the Due Process Clause because one of its key elements-being "in violation of a criminal offense"-was unintelligible.
The panel further held that the provision which attempted to criminalize the harboring and transporting of unauthorized immigrants, however it was interpreted, was preempted by federal law and thus invalid under the Supremacy Clause. The panel concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion in holding that plaintiffs established the elements necessary to grant a preliminary injunction.
Concurring in part and dissenting in part, Judge Bea stated that he concurred with the majority regarding standing and the void for vagueness doctrine, as well as its holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in holding that plaintiffs established the elements necessary to grant a preliminary injunction. Judge Bea dissented from Part III of the majority opinion, stating that because this case was resolved on other grounds, namely vagueness, the court should not have reached the preemption issue.
Issues Before the Supreme Court:
(1) Whether respondents have Article III standing and have established the requisite imminent risk of irreparable harm to obtain an injunction of Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-2929, which makes it unlawful for a person to knowingly “(1) transport or move or attempt to transport or move the alien in Arizona in furtherance of the alien’s unlawful presence in the United States; (2) conceal, harbor, or shield or attempt to conceal, harbor, or shield the alien from detection in Arizona; or (3) encourage or induce the alien to come to or live in Arizona;”
(2) if respondents have standing, then whether Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-2929 is void for vagueness even though its meaning is commonly understood; and
(3) whether the Court of Appeals erred in finding that states are precluded from enacting any law that restricts a person from furthering or exploiting another’s unlawful presence in the United States.
The Arizona law at issue in this case is just one of many efforts, including S.B. 1070 that was struck down in large part in Arizona v. United States, by the Arizona legislature in attempting to take a tough immigration enforcement stand.
Prediction: Cert Denied. Since deciding Arizona v. United States, the Court has denied cert in a number of cases raising similar issues, including those involving controversial Hazleton, Pennsylvania and Farmers Branch, Texas laws. I expect similar treatment in this case.