Most of Arizona Immigration Law Preempted

There’s no health care decision today, but the Court did decide Arizona v. United States. In a 5-3 decision, the Court found that federal law preempted most of the challenged provisions (specifically Sections 3, 5(C), and 6), and held another provision (Section 2(B)) would need to be construed by state courts before the Court could find it to be preempted as well. Justice Kennedy wrote for the Court, joined by the Chief Justice and Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor. Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito concurred in part and dissented in part, each writing his own opinion. Scalia and Thomas would have found that none of the provisions were preempted. Justice Alito agreed with the majority on the preemption of one provision (Section 3), but disagreed on the others. Justice Kagan recused.

In other news, the Court summarily reversed the Montana Supreme Court in American Tradition Partnership, Inc. v. Bullock and held that mandatory life without parole is unconstitutional for juveniles in Miller v. Alabama. Both decisions were 5-4 with typical lineups and Justice Kennedy as the swing justice. Also interesting, the Miller case produced three dissents, one by the Chief Justice (joined by the other conservatives), one by Thomas (joined by Scalia) and one by Alito (joined by Scalia).

[Note: Post updated to correct characterization of the dissents in Arizona v. United States and holding in Miller v. Alabama.]