If that sounds moderately insane, that's because it is. Greg Sargent:
The court’s decision to strike down the first three provisions is welcome news to immigration advocates, and suggests the Obama administration was right to challenge the law. But advocates expected that those provisions wouldn’t survive the decision. The problem is that the court upheld the aspect of the law that is most worrisome — the part that requires police to check the status of a person if there is “reasonable suspicion” that the person is here illegally.
“The real make or break was the show-me-your-papers provision,” Frank Sharry of America’s Voice tells me. “Basically they upheld it.”
There are several problems here. The first is that this could lead to racial profiling, says Marshall Fitz of the Center for American Progress. “It’s not a sweeping victory for the other side, but the provision we most worried about was the one giving cops the ability to stop people and ask for their papers,” Fitz says. “We think this will lead inevitably to racial profiling, based on the way they sound and the way they look.”
Second: The fact that the High Court has suggested that there are ways for states to implement and/or interpret this law could encourage other states to try their own versions of it, rather than dissuade them from doing so. Efforts to emulate the Arizona law are already underway in a handful of states.
“There are lots of Joe Arpaios out there,” Fitz says, in a reference to the Arizona sheriff. “States will say, `Look, they upheld this.’”
That's a problem. How the entire law wasn't trashed 8-0 I don't know. We basically came within a hair or two of this becoming the new standard: that states should be able to take whatever action on immigration they deem fit because Republicans refuse to allow a national policy to pass that's anything short of mass roundups and deporting millions.
Having said all this, the parts of the law that were struck down are, as Eugene Robinson puts it at the Washington Post, a big win for the Obama administration.
The majority opinion, written by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, points out something that many who seek to participate in the immigration debate fail to understand: “As a general rule, it is not a crime for a removable alien to remain present in the United States.”
That’s right. It’s not a crime for “illegal” immigrants to live and work here without the proper documents. By “here” I mean all 50 states. The United States is one country with one immigration policy, and the Supreme Court means to keep it this way.
That’s why analysts who see this as a split ruling with “something for both sides” are wrong. The Obama administration won across the board on its central contention, which is that Arizona was trying to usurp a federal prerogative. This has huge implications for the other states, such as South Carolina and Georgia, that are also trying to design their own immigration policies.
So yes, this fight is not over. A case will come before SCOTUS that claims that Arizona's paper check provision is in violation of civil rights (which it is). Yet another reson to make sure President Obama is the guy picking the justices in the future, yes?