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SCOTUS Won't Review AZ Immigrant Harboring Case; Bail Denial Argued

By William Peacock, Esq. on April 22, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Arizona: the proving ground for state immigration and abortion laws.

We've seen a lot of movement on Arizona abortion cases lately, and on Monday, the Supreme Court declined to intervene in an ongoing challenge to the state's illegal immigrant harboring statute, which means the injunction, which currently blocks enforcement of the state law, will remain in place during the litigation.

An en banc challenge to a related law, which prohibits bail for illegal immigrants, was recently argued before the court and is awaiting a decision.

SB 1070 In Brief

It has been described (by the Ninth Circuit) as "unintelligible" and (by the Ninth Circuit and district court) as preempted by federal law. What is it? It's law that makes no grammatical sense, as it applies to "a person who is in violation of a criminal offense," which translates further to in violation of a violation of the law.

Beyond the nonsensical text, which was held to be void for vagueness, the majority of the panel held that it was preempted by federal law as well, and upheld the district court's injunction.

On Monday, the Supreme Court declined to intervene, which means while the case is pending in courts, the law will remain blocked.

No Bail Gets Banc Shot

A rare Arizona "reform" that survived court scrutiny, Prop. 100, was upheld by the Ninth Circuit last year. The law, in essence, denies bail to illegal immigrants who have been arrested on felony charges. The state argued that it was a reasonable means of ensuring that the state can enforce its laws against defendants who would otherwise be a significant flight risk.

The law was held to be a regulatory measure that served a legitimate purpose (preventing flight by felon defendants), though the Ninth Circuit granted en banc review earlier this year. The dissent argued that the law's purpose was simply to punish illegal immigrants.

Arguments were held recently and live-streamed:

A decision is expected later this year.

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