A clash over immigration law will go before the U.S. Supreme Court this week, pitting the state of Arizona against President Barack Obama in a case with election-year political ramifications for him and Republican rival Mitt Romney.
In its second-biggest case this term, the court – fresh from hearing the Obama healthcare overhaul case – will consider on Wednesday whether a tough Arizona immigration crackdown strayed too far into the federal government’s powers.
A pro-Arizona decision would be a legal and political setback for Obama, who has criticized the state’s law and vowed to push for immigration legislation if re-elected on November 6.
A decision against Arizona would deal a blow to Romney, who has said the government should drop its challenge to the law.
Supreme Court to hear Arizona immigration case this week
McClatchy Newspapers, By Michael Doyle, April 23
WASHINGTON ”” Immigration politics will hit the Supreme Court this week as justices consider how much border-control clout the states can deploy.
The court must decide whether Arizona went too far with a crackdown that includes ordering police to routinely check the legal residency status of people they stop. The court’s ruling answer this election year could ignite Capitol Hill, other states and, especially, Hispanic voters.
”œThis is a huge case, of great importance,” said Andrew I. Schoenholtz, a visiting professor of law at the Georgetown University Law Center.
Arizona v. United States, the case being heard Wednesday, carries well beyond the notoriously porous Southwest border. South Carolina, Idaho, Florida and 13 other states have allied themselves with Arizona, arguing for the power to impose certain immigration measures if they choose. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and 16 other House Democrats from California take the opposite position. On both sides, dozens of friend-of-the-court briefs press different points.