The Supreme Court has granted cert. in the 9th Circuit decision, U.S. v. Arizona, 641 F.3d 339 (9th Cir. 2011), a 2-1. Arizona had enacted a comprehensive series of statutes attempting to identify illegal aliens within its borders.The majority decision exercises rhetorical exegesis to grant the U.S. plaintiff an injunction against enforcement of the statute. The dissent skewers this incomprehensible statutory analysis.
Reciting the statutory provisions of an Arizona statute enforcing immigration law, the 9th Circuit panel majority invoked preemption of federal law to grant the U.S. motion to enjoin, on a facial basis, enforcement of the statute. Arguably the parties can argue the language of the statute but the majority completely ignores the dissent analysis that Congress intended the states to cooperate in its enforcement of immigration law. The argument that immigration law is a federal matter is undermined by the specific language of the statute enlisting the states to support the federal government in enforcing immigration law.
The Supreme Court should easily find Congress specifically intended cooperation of the states to assist the U.S. Atty. in enforcing immigration law. The lawsuit by the U.S. against a state is more likely a political ploy than a serious attempt to enjoin enforcing the statute. Had the U.S. Attorney objected to the Arizona statute it could have negotiated a compromise on some of its terms. Instead, it elected to eliminate the entire statute.
The competing arguments and the language of the statute are not included in this blog. The case is no longer law and has been decided by the Supreme Court.