Monday, June 28, 2010

Supreme Court Grants Cert in Arizona Case

The U.S. Supreme Court today granted certiorari in Chamber of Commerce of the United States v. Candelaria and will review the constitutionality of an Arizona law statute that imposes sanctions on employers who employ undocumented immigrants.  Arizona's Legal Arizona Workers Act allows the  courts of Arizona to suspend or revoke the business licenses of employers who knowingly or intentionally hire undocumented immigrants.  The Act also makes participation in the federal E-Verify mandatory for all employers.  The Ninth Circuit held that the Arizona Act is not preempted by federal law.

Last fall, the Supreme Court asked the United States to submit a brief articulating the position of the United States on the cert petition.  The Solicitor General 's office submitted a brief after Solicitor General Elena Kagan was nominated by President Obama to the Supreme Court. (Kagan's confirmation hearings began today.).  The brief sought to limit the questions reviewed by the Court but the Court granted cert without limitation.

The decision by the Court on the scope of federal preemption of state immigration laws will likely have a significant impact on the outcome of the litigation challenging Arizona Senate Bill 1070, which has provoked a firestorm of controversy.  My speculation is that the controversy helped convince the Justices to grant cert and to offer guidance on the room, if any, for state and local governments to attempt to regulate immigration and immigrants.


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