Supreme Court: States Can Punish Firms Hiring Illegals

Justices uphold law allowing Arizona to yank licenses

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted May 26, 2011 1:11 PM CDT

(Newser) – The Supreme Court today upheld an Arizona law that proscribes a so-called “business death penalty” for companies that knowingly hire illegal immigrants. In a 5-3 decision, the court said that states are free to take action against employers on immigration—which augurs well for supporters of Arizona’s more recent and more controversial law requiring police to check suspects’ immigration status, the LA Times reports.

The law in today's ruling had been opposed by the US Chamber of Commerce, civil liberties groups, and even the Obama administration, even though it was signed in 2007 by Janet Napolitano, who is now Obama's homeland security secretary. The court’s conservative wing—John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Anthony Kennedy—voted in favor of the law, while Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, and Sonia Sotomayor dissented; Elena Kagan skipped the case.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer holds a news conference to announce that the state will appeal a ruling against another immigration law to the Supreme Court in this file photo.
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer holds a news conference to announce that the state will appeal a ruling against another immigration law to the Supreme Court in this file photo.   (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Michael Schennum)
Activists protest Arizona's decision to appeal a ruling against its more recent illegal immigration law to the Supreme Court in this file photo.
Activists protest Arizona's decision to appeal a ruling against its more recent illegal immigration law to the Supreme Court in this file photo.   (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Michael Schennum)
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