SCOTUS Won’t Review Anti-Immigrant AZ Law

     WASHINGTON (CN) – As the U.S. Supreme Court put the final nail Monday in an Arizona law that denies bail to undocumented immigrants, two justices lamented the move as disrespectful to voters of the Grand Canyon State.
     Adopted in 2006, Proposition 100 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 the law violated the due-process rights of arrestees, an en banc panel of the 9th Circuit struck it down last year.
     Though Justice Anthony Kennedy quickly paused the 9th Circuit’s mandate while Maricopa County and Sheriff Joe Arpaio put together a writ of certiorari, the Supreme Court soon lifted the emergency stay and denied more time.
     Justice Antonin Scalia joined Justice Thomas at the time in a note on the order, predicting the denial of certiorari in the case.
     As that prediction came true Monday, Thomas wrote in dissent that his colleagues’ “refusal to hear this case shows insufficient respect to the state of Arizona, its voters, and its constitution.”
     “And it suggests to the lower courts that they have free rein to strike down state laws on the basis of dubious constitutional analysis,” Thomas wrote.
     Scalia joined this opinion as well.
     “It is disheartening that there are not four members of this court who would even review the decision below,” the dissent continues. “As I previously explained, states deserve our careful consideration when lower courts invalidate their constitutional provisions.”
     Thomas said that is the route used “when lower courts hold federal statutes unconstitutional,” and that Congress once mandated high-court review any time a federal appeals court struck a state law down under the U.S. Constitution.
     Though the justices have had the discretion to review such cases by writ of certiorari since 1988, Thomas said “that discretion should be exercised with a strong dose of respect for state laws.”
     “In exercising that discretion, we should show at least as much respect for state laws as we show for federal laws,” the dissent continues. “Our indifference to cases such as this one will only embolden the lower courts to reject state laws on questionable constitutional grounds. This court once emphasized the need for judicial restraint when asked to review the constitutionality of state laws. But for reasons that escape me, state statutes have encountered closer scrutiny under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment than federal statutes have under the sister clause in the Fifth Amendment.”
     “This court’s previous admonitions are all too rare today, and our steadfast refusal to review decisions straying from them only undercuts their influence,” Thomas concluded.

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