Both sides declare victory in SB 1070 ruling
Both supporters and critics of SB 1070 claimed victory after the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling Monday.
When the legislature approved the measure in 2010, Republicans generally voted yes, and Democrats no. And that didn’t really change after Monday’s ruling.
Senate Minority Leader David Schapira said there was some good and some bad in the ruling. But, he said, the high court sent a message by striking down three out of the four provisions.
“Generally, what this decision says to the state of Arizona and to states across this country, is that we cannot, as states, including Arizona, we cannot undermine federal law when it comes to immigration policy,” Schapria said.
Other Democratic lawmakers echoed those sentiments, saying the ruling shows Arizona went too far and overstepped its bounds on immigration enforcement.
But Republican legislators were equally upbeat. Senate Majority Leader Andy Biggs says the court divided the baby in this ruling. He says the justices ruled against three minor provisions, while upholding the most important one.
“What’s different is we have the imprimatur of the Supreme Court saying ‘this is acceptable police behavior.’ And so, what that does, is that validates what we’re doing, what we want police officers to do in this state,” Biggs said.
Biggs also said he expects more legal challenges to the provision the court upheld. He expects Arizona lawmakers next year to take up bills dealing with illegal immigration, in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling.
Dozens of Latino and African American community group leaders gathered at the Arizona State Capitol after the Supreme Court made the announcement of its ruling.
The group said the high court’s decision proves what they’ve said all along: SB 1070 is unconstitutional.
“In the spirit of the U.S. Constitution and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, and Cesar Chavez, as well as countless others, this ruling poises Arizona to write the next chapter in the civil rights movement,” said Dr. Warren Stewart, with the First Institutional Baptist Church and an outspoken opponent of the law.
Phoenix attorney Daniel Ortega said the court’s decision to allow police to question the immigration status of persons arrested or detained in certain situations may cause some concern, more so for law enforcement agencies.
“The real question,” Ortega said, “is are the police departments going to be careful in its enforcement because of the scrutiny they’re going to be under?”
Ortega said several cases pending in federal court raise the question of racial profiling and could be the key to eliminating the one last standing provision.
KJZZ's Mark Brodie and Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez contributed to this report.
Updated 6/25/2012 at 4:09 p.m.