Photo by S.E.B./Flickr (Creative Commons)
The U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C.
And what a week it's been. The U.S. Supreme Court issued two of its most anticipated rulings of the year, Monday on Arizona's SB 1070 anti-illegal immigration law and Thursday on the Affordable Care Act.
On my particular beat, anticipation had been building over the SB 1070 decision since the high court agreed to take Arizona's appeal late last year, inching higher in the last couple of weeks each time the court issued opinions, but not one on Arizona v. United States.
It's no wonder that after it all wound down this week, I came down with a nasty bug. Which will make for a short list of highlights this week, but no matter. I'm including some bonus links to a few pieces on what the court's decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act means for immigrants.
Without further ado, some highlights from the week.
Supreme Court upholds key provision of SB 1070, strikes down the rest The high court justices decided 5-3 to strike down three of court contested sections of SB 1070, but ruled that that Section 2(B), the controversial provision that empowers local police to check for immigration status, does not conflict with federal law. But the justices also said the provision needs to take effect before Arizona’s state courts can determine whether it is violating federal law or not. The ruling drew mixed reactions, with both sides claiming partial victory.
What the Supreme Court's SB 1070 decision settles - and what it doesn't The Supreme Court's decision on Monday only addressed whether four parts of SB 1070, temporarily blocked by a lower court judge, were in conflict with federal law. But Arizona v. United States did not address the hotly contested aspect of civil rights or racial profiling, only the preemption issue. And the fact that Section 2(B) – the provision that critics say will lead to racial profiling – was not struck down means it’s still wide open in terms of pending and future legal challenges.
SB 1070 after the Supreme Court ruling: What happens next? There was much riding on the high court’s decision, with pending legal challenges in five states that have enacted laws inspired by SB 1070. The decision will have a bearing on how far states choose to go with their own immigration laws, and what comes out of pending and future challenges to SB 1070 is anyone's guess. So what now? In a Q&A debate, constitutional law experts John C. Eastman and Elizabeth B. Wydra help dissect the many implications of Monday’s ruling from different perspectives,.
Bonus: Immigrants and the Affordable Care Act decision
I would have loved to have compiled a good explainer on this Thursday, but thankfully, the blogosphere did it for me while I rested up. In a nutshell, the Supreme Court's decision to uphold nearly all of the federal Affordable Care Act, aka "Obamacare," is viewed in general as a huge source of relief for people of color, many of whom lack health insurance (and this includes employer-paid insurance, since their jobs don't provide it). But it's a relief to a point.
For U.S. citizens and legal residents, provisions like the expansion of Medicaid will help many. But undocumented immigrants are excluded from participating in the program, even if they wish to purchase insurance through a federal health exchange at their own expense. Check out these related explainers from Feet in 2 Worlds, Huffington Post and U-T San Diego.