The U.S. Supreme Court indicated Wednesday it appears ready to uphold one of the most controversial parts of Arizona’s immigration law: a requirement that police officers check the immigration status of people they think are in the country illegally.
Wading into a highly divisive issue in the middle of a presidential campaign year, conservative and liberal justices who heard oral arguments on Wednesday morning seemed to find no strong objection to that section of the law, which also allows police to stop and arrest anyone they reasonably believe is in the country illegally.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, who casts the deciding vote in many cases, referred to the “social and economic disruption” that states endure as a result of a flood of illegal immigrants and suggested that states such as Arizona have authority to act.
“You can see it’s not selling very well,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor, one of the more liberal-leaning judges, told Obama administration Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, referring to his arguments that the law would lead to harassment of citizens.
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