Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Arizona v. United States case brief

Arizona v. United States case brief summary
132 S.Ct. 2492 (2012)

The United States sued petitioners, the State of Arizona and the Governor of Arizona, seeking a determination that Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 11-1051(B), 13-1509, 13-2928(C), and 13-3883(A)(5) were preempted by federal law. The U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona enjoined the State from enforcing the statutes, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed. The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari.

The State of Arizona enacted the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, S. B. 1070 (Ariz.), in 2010, and the United States sought an order which enjoined §§ 2(B), 3, 5(C), and 6 of S. B. 1070, codified, respectively, as Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 11-1051(B), 13-1509, 13-2928(C), and 13-3883(A)(5), claiming that all four sections were preempted by federal law.


  • The Supreme Court found that §§ 3, 5(C), and 6 of S. B. 1070 were preempted by federal law; however, it was not clear at this stage of the case that § 2(B)--which required state officers to make a reasonable attempt to determine the immigration status of any person they stopped, detained, or arrested on some other legitimate basis--was preempted. 
  • Section 3 was preempted because it intruded on the field of alien registration, § 5(C) was preempted because it imposed criminal sanctions on aliens who sought or accepted employment when U.S. law did not make those activities a crime, and § 6 was preempted because it interfered with the system Congress had created for allowing the arrest of aliens who were in the United States unlawfully.

The Supreme Court affirmed the Ninth Circuit's decision in part, reversed it in part, and remanded the case. 5-3 Decision; 3 dissents; 1 abstention.

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