Supreme Court Rules on Arizona's Immigration Law; No Health Care Decision

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The nation was eagerly awaiting the Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act, which did not come today, but still shined a brighter light the other important decisions that were released today.

In the biggest ruling of the day, the Court ruled 5-3 in favor of the federal government in its lawsuit with Arizona over its controversial immigration law. (Justice Elena Kagan recused herself from the case.) However, it was a mixed decision that invalidated most of the law, but upheld a key provision that allows police officers to the check the immigration status of people they have already arrested.

Three of the other four provisions in Arizona's law were "preempted," which means that the Court determined that federal immigration law trumps the state law. However, the court ruled that allowing local police to check the immigration status of detainees would not necessarily interfere with federal enforcement of immigration laws. (Though if it does, that aspect could be challenged in court at a later time.) It's a complicated split decision that legal experts will be parsing for some time. You can download and read the ruling from the Supreme Court's website, if you're so inclined. 

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In other news, the Court struck down Montana's campaign finance law that was written in direct opposition to the Supreme Court's earlier Citizen United ruling, that allows unlimited campaign contributions from corporations. The law was overturned without debate or oral arguments, because there was no chance that the Court would overturn its own precedent so soon after it was established. Finally, in the Miller v. Alabama case the Court ruled that states can not impose life sentences without the possibility for parole on juveniles offenders.

The Court finished by announcing that this Thursday will be the the final day of the 2011-12 term, when it will hand down its remaining decisions, including the highly anticipated ruling on the President's health care law.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.