The Supreme Court announced Monday that it would weigh in on several provisions of Arizona's controversial immigration law S.B. 1070. Lower federal courts have blocked aspects of the law, including a provision that requires Arizona police to check the citizenship of anyone being arrested. At issue is whether these and other parts of the state law violate federal authority on immigration. Arizona is now taking the law to the highest court in the land. Justice Elena Kagan, who as solicitor general was involved with lower cases against the law, abstained from the Supreme Court's decision to hear the case and recused herself from the final ruling.
The Arizona case, alongside the case against Obama's Affordable Care Act that the Supreme Court will also be hearing this term, is a very contentious issue, and immigration is already a talking point for the 2012 election. Though the Obama administration had urged lower courts to block some parts of the Arizona law, it had hoped the Supreme Court would not take the case up this term. Nevertheless, White House spokesperson Jay Carney said, "You know the president's position and the administration's position. We look forward to arguing it in this case." An argument at the national level over S.B. 1070 may help Obama with Latino voters, but also may alienate independent swing voters who call for tougher action on immigration.
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