AZ Looks to SCOTUS on SB1070

First, if you understood the headline, then you, too, are a political junkie.

Second, the link (via CNN):  Arizona takes controversial immigration law to Supreme Court.

Last month, a three-judge panel on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the Justice Department and against Brewer, who signed SB 1070 into law last year.

Brewer said her legal team decided to appeal the case directly to the Supreme Court, rather than ask the 9th Circuit to revisit the issue, because "there is greater likelihood that legal questions surrounding SB 1070 will be resolved quickly so that the law can begin to do its job."


The appellate court sided with the Justice Department largely on the argument that federal immigration policy — as well as America’s standing in the world — would be greatly undermined if individual states adopted their own separate immigration laws. Doing so, the ruling contends, essentially means a given state is adopting its own foreign policy, one that may be in opposition to national policy.

"That 50 individual states or one individual state should have a foreign policy is absurdity too gross to be entertained. In matters affecting the intercourse of the federal nation with other nations, the federal nation must speak with one voice," Circuit Judge John Noonan wrote in a concurring opinion.

FILED UNDER: Borders and Immigration, Law and the Courts, US Politics, , , , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Lgbpop says:

    Since when does enforcing a federal border policy become establishment of a separate state foreign policy? Honestly, I do not understand how the 9th continues to be so out of touch with reality. Surely, there must be one judge a president can appoint to that bench that isn’t a complete looneytune.

  2. Dave Schuler says:

    My guess is that the Supreme Court will toss it back to the 9th.

    It will be interesting to see how this goes. If, as I expect, the court defers to the executive branch on this, it may have unintended consequences. At the very least it would affirm the executive branch’s power to have policies that are in conflict with federal law.

  3. I agree with Dave, it would be fairly exceptional for the court to take this case up on an interlocutory issue before the Court of Appeals has had a chance to rule on the merits of the case.

  4. ramjet50 says:

    To Lgbpop;
    The enforcement of federal laws can’t be countermanded by ANY state, even if the state is trying to “help out.” It has been that way long before either of us were born. SCOTUS will rule on the 9th’s side, even most conservatives see Brewer’s case as a long shot. Utah & any other state’s immigration law will go down in flames also. This will politically force Congress & POTUS to do somethng on this issue.