Photograph by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.
The Supreme Court wrapped up oral arguments on Arizona's immigration law on Wednesday, and most legal observers are suggesting that the justices appear poised to allow at least some of the measure's more controversial provisions to stand.
The Washington Post reports that the justices "seemed skeptical of the Obama administration's claim that a requirement that police check the immigration status of those arrested or detained was an impermissible intrusion on Congress’s power to set immigration policy and the executive branch’s ability to implement it." CNN offered a similar take, explaining that parts of the sweeping immigration law "received a surprising amount of support" from the court.
A final ruling is not expected until June, but most court watchers were in agreement that the White House most likely won't like the outcome given how the day's action went. Liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic to be appointed to the court, went as far as to inform the administration's lawyer, Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr., that his argument about the mandatory immigration check was "not selling very well" with the justices. (Verrilli is the same lawyer who received lackluster reviews for his Obamacare defense earlier this year.)
Still, as Politico points out, several justices voiced concerns about other provisions in the law, including one that would allow police to hold people who have been arrested until a check of their immigration status is complete, something that in some cases would likely prolong their detention.
The Ninth Circuit appeals court in San Francisco sided with the administration last year in finding that some of the most controversial parts of the Arizona statute interfered with the federal government's authority to enforce immigration laws. CNN has a good run-down of the four provisions in question here.
Last May the Supreme Court upheld a separate Arizona law penalizing businesses for hiring illegal immigrants.