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Arizona Law Denying Bail to Immigrants Looks Dead

(CN) - A ruling that struck down an Arizona law denying bail to undocumented immigrants is unlikely to face Supreme Court review, Justice Clarence Thomas said.

Called Proposition 100, the voter-approved law prohibited bail and pretrial release for all undocumented immigrants arrested for serious felonies. It also applied to nonviolent crimes such as unlawful copying of a sound recording, altering a lottery ticket, tampering with a computer and theft of property.

Finding that it violated the due-process rights of arrestees, an en banc panel of the 9th Circuit struck down the law last month.

Justice Anthony Kennedy paused the 9th Circuit's mandate in the case last week as Maricopa County and Sheriff Joe Arpaio's put together a writ of certiorari.

The Supreme Court lifted the emergency stay late Thursday and denied more time.

Justice Antonin Scalia joined Justice Thomas in a note on the order, predicting the denial of certiorari in the case

Citing a 2010 ruling in the early days of the case over Proposition 8, the law banning gay marriage in California, Thomas called the decision "unfortunate."

"We have recognized a strong presumption in favor of granting writs of certiorari to review decisions of lower courts holding federal statutes unconstitutional," he continued. "Indeed, we often review decisions striking down state laws, even in the absence of a disagreement among lower courts. ... At the very least, we owe the people of Arizona the respect of our review before we let stand a decision facially invalidating a state constitutional amendment.

"Of course, the court has yet to act on a petition for a writ of certiorari in this matter, and I hope my prediction about whether that petition will be granted proves wrong. Our recent practice, however, gives me little reason to be optimistic."

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said in a statement that he will seek certiorari nonetheless in order to fight the "serial disregard of the system of federalism that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals habitually ignores and which only the Supreme Court can redress."

"In the weeks ahead, we will endeavor to meet the challenge of responding to motions to review conditions of release that will now be filed as a consequence of the Ninth Circuit's callous rejection of legitimate state interests and the Supreme Court's disappointing indifference," he said. "We will seek certiorari to give the Supreme Court the opportunity to rectify the Ninth Circuit's action and to further our legitimate state concerns and interests in safeguarding the public and securing defendants' appearance in court."

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