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DOJ urges Supreme Court not to hear Arizona immigration law appeal

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday urged [brief, PDF] the US Supreme Court [official websites] not to hear Arizona's appeal of a decision [opinion, PDF] enjoining four provisions of the state's controversial immigration law [SB 1070 materials; JURIST news archive]. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] upheld an injunction in April before the law ever took effect, and Arizona is now asking the high court [JURIST reports] to address whether the state law is preempted by federal immigration legislation. While the state maintains that the Ninth Circuit incorrectly concluded that the state law was facially preempted and "declined to determine whether there were constitutional applications" of the Arizona immigration legislation, the DOJ insists the courts properly blocked [AP report] the provisions. SB 1070, which criminalizes illegal immigration and requires police officers to question an individual's immigration status if the officer has a "reasonable suspicion" to believe an individual is in the country illegally, was signed into law [JURIST report] in April of last year.

This request is part of a long line of legal challenges to the Arizona law. Earlier this month, advocacy groups filed suit in the US District Court for the District of Arizona asking a federal judge to block enforcement [JURIST report] of the portion of the state's controversial immigration law that bans blocking traffic to acquire or offer day labor services. Last month, a federal judge dismissed a counterclaim [JURIST report] filed by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer [official website] and state Attorney General Tom Horne [official profile] against the US government in the lawsuit challenging the controversial Arizona immigration law. In a preview of how it might rule should it decide to hear the case, the Supreme Court in May ruled [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] in Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting [Cornell LII backgrounder] that Arizona's controversial employment related immigration law [materials] is not preempted by the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) [text]. Last year, the Department of Justice sued [JURIST report] the state of Arizona and Governor Brewer over SB 1070, arguing that both the Constitution and federal law "do not permit the development of a patchwork of state and local immigration policies throughout the country."

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