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Posts of the week: Dissecting the SB 1070 decision, more

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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.

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Three things to know as Supreme Court prepares to issue SB 1070 ruling this month

Photo by Kitty Felde/KPCC

The crowd outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. as the court heard arguments on Arizona's SB 1070, April 25, 2012

There are three weeks left in the U.S. Supreme Court's current term, and it's during this time that the high court is to issue its ruling on Arizona's SB 1070 anti-illegal immigration law. It's been one of the court's most closely-watched cases this year, with the potential to have a broad effect on the degree to which states can pursue their own immigration laws.

What exactly will the court be ruling on, what is at stake, and what might the outcome be? Here are some key bullet points as we await a ruling on Arizona v. United States:

What the justices are weighing

In a nutshell, after hearing oral arguments in April, the Supreme Court justices are deciding on whether provisions of Arizona’s state law are in conflict with federal immigration law. This is what the federal government asserted in its legal challenge filed in July 2010, shortly before SB 1070 partly took effect. That month, a federal judge in Phoenix issued a ruling temporarily blocking four of the measure’s most controversial provisions.

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What the judges said: A transcript of today's Supreme Court hearing on SB 1070

The U.S. Supreme Court's website has posted a preliminary transcript of the oral arguments today in Arizona v. United States, Arizona's challenge to the federal government's assertion that its 2010 anti-illegal immigration law SB 1070 conflicts with federal immigration law.

Four provisions of SB 1070, which were blocked in July 2010 by a federal judge before it took effect, are at the heart of the federal preemption argument and will be weighed by the justices.

A decision isn't expected until June. But from early reports from the courthouse, and from the questions asked by the justices, it appears that Arizona stands a chance of prevailing, at least on some provisions. This line of questioning between Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Antonin Scalia and U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, who is representing the federal government, sets the tone:

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Understanding the SB 1070 case: What the Supreme Court justices will decide on

Photo by Kitty Felde/KPCC

The crowd outside the U.S. Supreme Court building this morning in Washington, D.C., April 25, 2012

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments this morning on Arizona's controversial and precedent-setting SB 1070. A decision isn't expected until June, but how the justices decide will ultimately determine how far states can go in enforcing their own immigration laws. The decision will have far-reaching implications in that since SB 1070 became law in 2010, five other states have enacted similarly stringent immigration laws, and dozens have considered them.

Just what will the justices be weighing? In a nutshell, they'll be deciding whether provisions of Arizona's state law are in conflict with federal immigration law, as the government asserted in its legal challenge filed in July 2010, shortly before SB 1070 partly took effect.

On the eve of the law's implementation that year, a federal judge in Phoenix issued a ruling based on that challenge, blocking four of the Arizona measure's most controversial provisions from taking effect. That decision was upheld later by a federal appeals court. Arizona countered by petitioning the Supreme Court, challenging the two lower courts' decisions; last December, the high court agreed to take the case.

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SB 1070 in the Supreme Court: Three views of what may happen and what it would mean

Photo by IslesPunkFan/Flickr (Creative Commons)


Two years after it was signed into law and many imitations later, Arizona's precedent-setting SB 1070 anti-illegal immigration law is headed to the U.S. Supreme Court next week. The high court, with one justice recused, is set to hear oral arguments April 25.

The federal government filed suit against the state of Arizona not long after SB 1070 was signed into law April 23, 2010, challenging the measure on the grounds that its provisions were “preempted” by federal immigration law. That July, on the eve of its implementation, four controversial provisions of the law - including one that empowered local police to check for immigration status based on "reasonable suspicion" that a person may be undocumented - were blocked by a federal judge in Phoenix.

After a federal appeals court upheld the lower court judge's decision, Arizona filed a petition with the Supreme Court: "The question presented," the petition reads, "is whether the federal im-migration laws preclude Arizona’s efforts at cooperative law enforcement and impliedly preempt these four provisions of S.B. 1070 on their face."

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