For a day without a real blockbuster it turned out to be an unusually busy one for me.
Among the Supreme Court decisions today was one that overturned an Arizona law requiring proof of citizenship in order to register to vote. In an opinion announced by Justice Scalia the Court found that the federal Motor Voter law preempts Arizona’s law.
In another opinion, this one from Justice Alito, the Court said that if you want to preserve your right to remain silent you’ve got to speak up.
I also finished a couple sketches I had started earlier, the Great Hall . . . . . . . and General Suter, the Clerk of the Court, calling up admissions to the bar.
Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, right, watched as Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne defended Proposition 200, a state law that requires additional proof of citizenship in order to register to vote. O’Connor was on a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals panel that rejected the law.
The case is Arizona v. The Inter Tribal Cuoncil of Arizona
Lyle Denniston writes about it here.
Sketches of the Supreme Court announcing its opinion in Arizona v. U.S. The Court upheld in part and struck down in part Arizona’s law, SB 1070, aimed at curtailing illegal immigration. Justice Kennedy wrote for the majority…..
…..and Justice Scalia dissented.
The Tucson Citizen has the story here.
Things just kept getting better for Arizona governor Jan Brewer, in the right foreground above, and the state’s mean-spirited anti-immigration law, SB 1070, especially when the Chief Justice cut off Solicitor General Verrilli before he could even begin his argument saying, “No part of your argument has to do with racial or ethnic profiling, does it?” Which, of course, is the elephant in the room.
When Verrilli later in his argument sought to illustrate the harrasment of legal Latinos by citing population percentages Scalia interjected, “Sounds like racial profiling to me”.
The lawyer for Arizona, Paul Clement, on the other hand faced moderate questions from the Justices as he sought to soften the edges of a harsh law.
Dahlia Lithwick’s story here.
In the first of Arizona’s recently enacted laws aimed at curbing illegal immigration the Supreme Court supported the rights of states to pass laws such as the Legal Arizona Workers Act which withdraws licensing from businesses that employ illegals.
The opinion, written by Chief Justice Roberts, turned on whether the Arizona law is a “licensing law” that escapes the federal preemption doctrine.
The case is Chamber of Commerce, et al. v. Whiting, et al.
Another Arizona law, one that gives police the authority to detain and arrest anyone suspected of being an unlawful alien, is working it’s way to the Supreme Court.
Andrew Cohen writes about all of it here.
In a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court today ruled that ordinary citizens cannot challenge an Arizona program that gave a dollar-for-dollar credit to taxpayers who donated to a School Tuition Organizations, or STOs, which in turn direct money to religious activities.
In reading the opinion of the Court, Justice Kennedy said the taxpayers lacked “standing“.
Bloomberg has story here.
Under Arizona’s Citizens Clean Elections Act candidates who accept public funding receive grants matching dollar for dollar ( up to twice their initial grant and with adjustments ) the amounts spent on the campaign of a privately funded candidate.
The lawyer arguing against the Arizona law, William Maurer said, “…this case is about whether the government can turn my act of speaking into the vehicle by which my political opponents benefit….”
When the lawyer for Arizona’s Secretary of State, Bradley Phillips, referred to testimony that never was money withheld from a race for fear of triggering matching funds Chief Justice Roberts cut him off saying, “Oh that, there’s a back and forth about the record and common sense. As a matter of common sense . . . if you knew that a $10,000 expenditure that you would make . . . would result in $30,000, 40,000, 50,000, depending on how many opposition candidates there were . . ., wouldn’t you think twice about it?
As the arguments were wrapping up Justice Breyer, a supporter of campaign finance reforms, said to the Justice Department lawyer, “Answer this if you wish, don’t if you don’t want to . . . as I hear this argument, what’s going through my mind is we are deeply into the details of a very complex bill. McCain-Feingold is hundreds of pages, and we cannot possibly test each provision which is related to the others on such a test of whether it equalizes or incentivizes or some other thing, because the answer is normally we don’t know. And,” he continued, “it is better to say that it’s all illegal than to subject these things to death by a thousand cuts, because we don’t know what will happen when we start tinkering with one provision rather than another. That thought went through my mind as I’ve heard this discussion.”
AP story here.
Started out the day at the Supreme Court sketching arguments on an Arizona law that punishes employers of illegal immigrants. Pictured above is Arizona’s Solicitor General Mary O’Grady.
Then on to U.S. District Court in Baltimore for the initial appearance of yet another young man roped in by FBI agents posing as terrorists. Antonio Martinez, aka Muhammad Hussain is said to have attempted to detonate what he thought was a bomb at a military recruitment center in Catonsville, MD.
Would-be bomber story here.
SCOTUSblog story here.