What are we to make of Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling, which will make life more difficult for Arizona employers who deliberately hire undocumented workers? The Atlantic’s Andrew Cohen offered his perspective later that day. —KA
Andrew Cohen in The Atlantic:
It is true that Justice Kennedy sided (this time) with his conservative colleagues in endorsing an Arizona law that authorizes state officials to suspend or revoke the licenses of business whose managers knowingly or intentionally hire undocumented workers. That law, five justices said with differing degrees of rectitude, is neither preempted by federal immigration law nor implicitly in conflict with federal immigration policy.
Thursday’s ruling was about statutory construction. The next Supreme Court battle over Arizona’s immigration initiatives will be about the Constitution itself. But it is also true Arizona’s licensing law is very different in law and fact from those portions of S.B. 1070 which were passed last year by state officials and subsequently blocked by the federal courts. The more recent Arizona provisions, among other things, would require state law enforcement officials to stop and fine people suspected of being unlawful immigrants. They thus implicate significant individual rights and constitutional standards—of equal protection, of due process, etc.—which weren’t even mentioned, let alone analyzed, by either side in the Whiting case.