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Verrilli's Latest Losing Hand


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verrillis-latest-losing-handAmerican Spectator:

"It seems to me that the Federal Government just doesn't want to know who is here illegally or not." -- Chief Justice John Roberts

Like a poker player who keeps getting dealt nothing better than a pair of threes, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli has had a bad month. His attempt to defend the indefensible "individual mandate" provision of Obamacare has left even the most confident liberals worried that the Supreme Court will overturn at least that part of the law, and perhaps all of it.

And on Wednesday, Verrilli was tasked by the Obama administration to play an only slightly better hand as the Supreme Court heard oral arguments (transcript here) in the federal government's challenge to four provisions of Arizona's controversial immigration law, SB 1070. (The four provisions at issue are Sections 2(B), 3, 5©, and 6.)

The lead attorney for Arizona, former Solicitor General Paul Clement, spoke first, primarily answering questions about whether the law, in particular its Section 2(B) which requires law enforcement officers to check the immigration status of people they've stopped for other reasons if a "reasonable suspicion exists that the person…is unlawfully present in the United States," would cause citizens and resident aliens to be detained for longer than they otherwise would be.

Clement said the answer would generally be no, and in all cases would be subject to Fourth Amendment limits on reasonable detention.

Clement was also asked by several Justices about federal preemption, in other words whether the Arizona law unconstitutionally interfered with federal responsibility in the area of immigration, though even the liberal Hispanic Justice Sonia Sotomayor did not seem convinced that was the case.Scissors-32x32.png

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