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Supreme Court could be forced to weigh in on employer sanctions

Supreme Court could be forced to weigh in on employer sanctions

It’s looking more and more likely that the U.S. Supreme Court will have to weigh in on the matter of employer sanctions. Although there has been a school of thought in the couple of years since the law went on the books here that the High Court wouldn’t necessarily want to weigh in on the matter, it may be compelled to.

Although Arizona’s law – the first of its kind in the nation that applies to an entire state – has been upheld by both a district federal judge and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, there is discord in the justice system.

The discord comes from a Feb. 2 ruling by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.

A three-judge panel of the Denver-based appeals court ruled that federal immigration law preempts two of the provisions of Oklahoma’s employer sanctions law, upholding a lower court’s injunction against them.

In the challenge to the Arizona law, attorneys for business and Hispanic groups also argued that federal immigration law preempts the state law. Although the provisions challenged are not identical, it is unlikely the Supreme Court will stand idly by as two lower appeals courts have come to conflicting rulings regarding the ability of states to implement immigration laws.

The Arizona case has already been appealed to the Supreme Court, and the court has already asked the Justice Department to file brief outlining the federal government’s position.

It is unclear when the law will have its final day in court, but the likelihood that it will come in front of the nation’s top nine judges has increased.

- by Jim Small

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