State Capitol News
9:29 am
Mon October 4, 2010

U-S Supreme Court to Hear Three to Four Arizona Cases

Phoenix, AZ – The one most watched concerns is the legality of an Arizona law
allowing state judges to suspend or revoke the business licenses
of firms found guilty of knowingly hiring undocumented workers.
Generally speaking federal law preempts such state regulations.
Arizona lawmakers say this 2007 law fits within an exception for
licensing. But business interests and civil rights group said
that only applies if a federal tribunal first decides someone is
employing illegal immigrants, something not in this law. If the
Supreme Court voids this law it is likely the end of key
provisions of SB 1070 which is designed to give state and local
police more power to detain and arrest illegal immigrants. Also
before the court is the legality of a 1997 law giving Arizonans a
dollar-for-dollar tax credit for money they give to help students
attend private and parochial schools. While the justices have
upheld some voucher programs, challengers say -- and the 9th
circuit agrees -- this one tilts unfairly toward religious
schools. A third case involves whether the Tohono O'odham Nation
can sue the federal government for an accounting of trust funds
while it maintains a separate lawsuit in another courts seeking
monetary damages. Finally, the justices also are likely to review
a provision of the state's 1998 law which lets candidates for
statewide and legislative office to obtain public funds if they
agree not to solicit private donations. The legal question is
whether its constitutional to give these contenders matching
funds if their privately funded foes spend more. Technically the
court hasn't decided to review this law -- yet. But the justices
already have intervened, upholding a a restraining order issued
by a federal judge in Phoenix barring the matching funds right in
the middle of this campaign. For Arizona Public Radio this is
Howard Fischer.