New Analysis of Supreme Court E-Verify Case

By James R. Edwards, Jr. on August 27, 2011
New analysis

by the Heritage Foundation reflects on the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on the Arizona immigration law. Bottom line: this court opinion bodes well for other states that have enacted laws to deal with illegal immigration's adverse effects.

From the Heritage report:

[Chamber of Commerce v.] Whiting settles the broad question of whether immigration enforcement is exclusively assigned to the federal government: It is not. Federal immigration laws "expressly contemplate and authorize cooperative law enforcement efforts between federal and state officials." Despite wishful claims to the contrary, Whiting does have strong predictive value, and it will be powerful precedent in the forthcoming S.B. 1070 case.

Given that the Arizona statute carefully tracks with existing federal laws, the Obama Justice Department will have to assert some flavor of implied preemption to support its claim of unconstitutionality. But as the Court said in Whiting, "Implied preemption analysis does not justify a 'freewheeling judicial inquiry into whether a state statute is in tension with federal objectives'; such an endeavor 'would undercut the principle that it is Congress rather than the courts that preempts state law.'"

Though the Court's decision in Whiting will have a direct impact on both the government and citizens of Arizona, the most profound impact will likely be seen beyond the borders of the Grand Canyon State. It represents a major victory for states seeking to curb the negative impact of illegal immigration, especially in the employment context.

Those states that should benefit from the legal principles underpinning the Whiting opinion include Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and beyond. Their immigration-related laws are under legal attack by leftist and ethnic identity organizations, just as have been Arizona's laws. If the justices remain consistent in their recognition of legitimate state authority, the American people will have secured the benefits of federalism.

Topics: E-Verify