Monday, December 12, 2011

To Racial Profile or NOT to Racial Profile: Arizona's Racial Profiling Law to be Reviewed by Republican Controlled Supreme Court!


The Republican Controlled Supreme Court took another step into the political fray this morning when it agreed to determine the fate of several key provisions in Arizona's controversial racial profiling bill - SB 1070. The case, Arizona v. United States, tests states' abilities to pass their own racial profiling type immigration measures. Immigration Laws are areas of the law typically reserved for the Federal government. This ensures these type of laws which have significant impact on minorities, are not swayed by corrupt and bias local governments.

Debates over the Extremist Conservative issues (eg: Immigration, Healthcare, Ending Regulation, Ending Social Security/Medicare, Ending Unemployment Benefits, Ending Child Worker Laws/Ending Minimum Wage, Ending Civil Rights Laws, Ending Women's Rights Laws, Ending Unions -- all in all, Republicans WAR Against the Middle Class) have dominated the Republican primary contest and will surely play an outsized role once the Republican nominee squares off against President Obama. The justices' decision to rule this term on the constitutionality of both SB 1070 and the Affordable Care Act will place the Court at the storm center of American politics.

The United States is hoping to preserve its victories over Arizona in the lower courts, which blocked four sections of the law from coming into effect. Two of the blocked sections would make it a crime under state law for an undocumented immigrant to be present in the state, fail to register with the federal government and attempt to obtain work or to hold a job without governmental authorization. Another section requires state and local police officers to check the immigration status of anyone who has been arrested, stopped or detained that the police reasonably suspect to be in the country illegally. The fourth provision at issue allows for the warrantless arrests of individuals that police officers have probable cause (RACIAL PROFILING) to believe have committed deportable offenses.

The 9th Circuit held that each of these provisions improperly invaded the U.S. government's comprehensive immigration regulation authority under federal law. Yet Republican Tea Party Arizona argues that these racial profiling provisions supplement, rather than step on, those federal laws. In its petition to the justices, Republican Tea Party Arizona characterizes SB 1070 as directing "state law-enforcement officers to cooperate and communicate with federal officials regarding the enforcement of federal immigration law." The Court's ruling in this case will likely impact similar immigration laws passed by Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Indiana and Utah.

To the detriment of all fair minded people in America, Justice Elena Kagan selflessly recused herself from the case because of her involvement as Solicitor General when the United States decided to bring suit against Arizona in 2010. Justice Kagan's absence raises the sad possibility of a 4-4 deadlock among the justices, which would uphold the 9th Circuit's decision for the United States (whew). If past is prologue, however, Kagan's recusal may not make a difference.

Last term, Kagan recused herself from another immigration case coming out of Arizona that many viewed as a trial balloon for SB 1070's legality. In a 5-3 decision, Justice Anthony Kennedy gave his crucial vote to the Court's conservative wing. Kennedy wrote a majority opinion that allowed Arizona to revoke the business licenses of employers that knowingly hired undocumented immigrants, and also allowed the state to require businesses to check their employees' immigration status on the federal government's electronic verification system. The three dissenters believed that federal immigration laws pre-empted Arizona's efforts.

For both Arizona v. United States and the review of the Affordable Care Act, the Court will hear oral arguments in March or April, and hand down decisions by the end of June -- just in time to insert itself as a political football for the general election.


Vicente Duque said...

POLITICO.COM : Gary South : "The Republican-dominated Supreme Court is setting itself up to try to decide another presidential election, like it did in 2000. It brings to mind again the enormous stakes of that 2000 contest. If Al Gore had won, we wouldn't have Chief Justice Roberts or Justice Alito on the court today.

"The Arena" Forum
What role will Supreme Court appointments play as a campaign issue in 2012?
December 13, 2011

Some excerpts :


Thomas J. Whalen Professor of Social Science, Boston University :

A huge role. In fact, it's one of President Obama's best political trump cards heading into his reelection campaign. He can reasonably argue to independents that although they're not crazy about how he's handled the economy, they'd be even more upset with a staunchly conservative Supreme Court intent on overturning almost a century of social and political reform dating back to the New Deal. There should be none of the president's usual equivocation here.


Ron Faucheux President of Clarus Research Group, professor and author :

The Supreme Court could play the biggest role in a presidential election next year since its resolution of the election in 2000. Which side benefits largely depends on how it rules. But either way, it puts health care and immigration on the campaign table.


Joanne Bamberger Political strategist; blogger PunditMom; Author, Mothers of Intention :


Many justices stay on the highest bench for decades, allowing them to take a 'one case at a time' approach to molding our laws. While "The Nine" are supposed to be tasked with only interpreting and applying the law to the facts of a particular case, it's no secret that the Supreme Court has become increasingly activist and, when it suits the current conservative majority, has acted to extend case rulings to actually change existing laws to suit their personal political agendas.

If voters really want to know what kind of president a candidate will be and what direction they want for the country, all they need to ask of a candidate is, "Which Supreme Court justice do you admire most?"


Vicente Duque said...

Continued :


Steve Frank Chief interpretive officer, National Constitution Center :


If the Citizens United decision, unleashing limitless corporate and union spending on the election wasn’t enough to thrust the Supreme Court into the Election 2012 spotlight, the justices, by accepting the health care, immigration and Texas redistricting cases, have now assured that their role in our democracy will cast a long shadow over the campaign.


Ken Feltman Past president; International Association of Political Consultants :

The Supreme Court's decisions to take up three highly partisanship, contentious cases shows that the divisive politics evident in Congress exists at the state level as well. Now, the court has inserted itself squarely into the 2012 elections. Many Republicans believe that the politics of all three cases, if not the eventual Supreme Court decisions, favors them.

The healthcare law - dubbed "ObamaCare" by critics - sparks partisan wrangling on the national level and has served as a weapon for Republicans against the president and Democrats. The law has become an attack point against Mitt Romney in his quest for the Republican presidential nomination. The Texas and Arizona cases illustrate the extent of political bitterness at the state level. Review of the Texas redistricting law upsets election campaigning in Texas. Democratic plans to derail partisan Republican maps are on hold. Republican hopes for gains due to population shifts and shrewdly designed districts are again possible. The Arizona immigration law is divisive in the state and serves as a national flashpoint for partisans on both sides of the issue.

Supreme Court review of these cases makes it certain that three bitterly partisan political fights will continue into the 2012 elections. With GOP voters generally more energized on these issues, the Democrats may hope for early decisions to get the underlying issues out of the way before their candidates suffer as Republicans attack. Simply by agreeing to take these cases, the Supreme Court has made certain that these cases - if not the court itself - will play a large role in the 2012 elections.


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