Politicians respond to Supreme Court rulings
June 25th, 2012
11:25 AM ET
2 years ago

Politicians respond to Supreme Court rulings

(CNN) – Political figures reacted to the release of Supreme Court rulings Monday on the controversial Arizona immigration law and over campaign finance.

The high court struck down key parts of the Arizona bill, voting 5-3 that the federal government has the power to block the state's measure. However, the court upheld one of the most controversial parts of the bill – a provision that allows police to check a person's immigration status while enforcing other laws if "reasonable suspicion" exists that the person is in the United States illegally.

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They also turned aside another chance to revisit one of its most controversial decisions in recent years, rejecting a pending state appeal over whether corporations have explained "free speech" power in independent election expenditures.

Immigration reactions:

President Barack Obama: "I am pleased that the Supreme Court has struck down key provisions of Arizona's immigration law. What this decision makes unmistakably clear is that Congress must act on comprehensive immigration reform. A patchwork of state laws is not a solution to our broken immigration system – it's part of the problem.

At the same time, I remain concerned about the practical impact of the remaining provision of the Arizona law that requires local law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of anyone they even suspect to be here illegally. I agree with the Court that individuals cannot be detained solely to verify their immigration status. No American should ever live under a cloud of suspicion just because of what they look like. Going forward, we must ensure that Arizona law enforcement officials do not enforce this law in a manner that undermines the civil rights of Americans, as the Court's decision recognizes. Furthermore, we will continue to enforce our immigration laws by focusing on our most important priorities like border security and criminals who endanger our communities, and not, for example, students who earn their education – which is why the Department of Homeland Security announced earlier this month that it will lift the shadow of deportation from young people who were brought to the United States as children through no fault of their own.

I will work with anyone in Congress who's willing to make progress on comprehensive immigration reform that addresses our economic needs and security needs, and upholds our tradition as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. And in the meantime, we will continue to use every federal resource to protect the safety and civil rights of all Americans, and treat all our people with dignity and respect. We can solve these challenges not in spite of our most cherished values – but because of them. What makes us American is not a question of what we look like or what our names are. What makes us American is our shared belief in the enduring promise of this country – and our shared responsibility to leave it more generous and more hopeful than we found it."

Mitt Romney, presumptive Republican presidential nominee: "Today's decision underscores the need for a President who will lead on this critical issue and work in a bipartisan fashion to pursue a national immigration strategy. President Obama has failed to provide any leadership on immigration. This represents yet another broken promise by this President. I believe that each state has the duty–and the right–to secure our borders and preserve the rule of law, particularly when the federal government has failed to meet its responsibilities. As Candidate Obama, he promised to present an immigration plan during his first year in office. But 4 years later, we are still waiting."

Republican Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer: "Today's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court is a victory for the rule of law. It is also a victory for the 10th Amendment and all Americans who believe in the inherent right and responsibility of states to defend their citizens. After more than two years of legal challenges, the heart of SB 1070 can now be implemented in accordance with the U.S. Constitution."

Former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pennsylvania: "It's time for the federal government to step up to its constitutional responsibility to secure our borders, enforce our immigration laws fairly, and to partner with states rather than sue them to accomplish this important objective."

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York: "This is as strong a repudiation of the Arizona law as one could expect given that the law has not been implemented yet. Three linchpins of the Arizona law were struck down by a convincing majority of the Court as clearly violating federal law, and a fourth is on thin legal ice. The Court is sending a stern warning to Arizona that the provision allowing local law enforcement to check people's immigration documents cannot be implemented in a discriminatory or draconian way, or it will be thrown out like the rest of the law.

This decision tells us that states cannot take the law into their own hands and makes it clear that the only real solution to immigration reform is a comprehensive federal law. The decision should importune Republicans and Democrats to work together on this issue in a bipartisan way."

Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl, R-Arizona: “While we still want to fully review the Supreme Court’s decision, today’s ruling appears to validate a key component of Arizona’s immigration law, SB 1070. The Arizona law was born out of the state’s frustration with the burdens that illegal immigration and continued drug smuggling impose on its schools, hospitals, criminal justice system and fragile desert environment, and an administration that chooses to set enforcement policies based on a political agenda, not the laws as written by Congress. We will continue our efforts on behalf of the citizens of Arizona to secure our southern border. We believe Arizonans are better served when state and federal officials work as partners to protect our citizens rather than as litigants in a courtroom.”

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nevada:
"The Supreme Court was right to strike down the vast majority of the Arizona law. With three out of the four provisions being struck down, the ruling shows that the Obama administration was right to challenge this law, which was not just ill-advised but also unconstitutional. I am greatly concerned that the provision putting American citizens in danger of being detained by police unless they carry their immigration papers at all times will lead to a system of racial profiling. This is a strong reminder that ultimately, the responsibility for fixing our nation’s broken immigration system lies with Congress."

Sen. Scott Brown, R-Massachusetts:
"The Court's decision today is another reminder that the federal government needs to deal with our broken immigration system. I believe the first step is securing the border and turning off the magnets that encourage people to come into country illegally. We are a nation of immigrants and should fix the system to make it easier for people seeking to enter our country legally, but we are also a nation of laws that have to be respected and observed. Elizabeth Warren has the wrong approach. She supports amnesty and taxpayer funded benefits, including in-state college tuition, for those in the country illegally. She wants to make illegal immigration more attractive. I want to strengthen our legal immigration system and provide more opportunities for those who have played by the rules."

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus: "Once again we are reminded that President Obama has failed to keep his promise on immigration reform. In the absence of presidential leadership, states have acted on their own to serve their people and enforce the law, but the issue cannot fully be resolved with a president unwilling to keep his promises. This decision makes that job even more difficult, and it leaves Americans waiting for a plan the president promised to deliver years ago."

Rep. Charles Gonzalez, chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus: "When three out of four provisions of a state's law are struck down, it obviously can't be viewed as a victory for the state. Nor can an unconstitutional law be used a model for the nation, as Governor Romney suggested. The fact the Romney has said that as president he would not even challenge Arizona's law, shows what a sad direction our country's immigration laws would go under his administration.

"The 'show me your papers' provision, that institutionalizes racial profiling, remains a very important element that needs to be addressed. The CHC will coordinate with civil rights groups and immigration law organizations to follow up on a challenge to this provision, which is still an open legal question. We will be watching very closely how Arizona exercises this part of the law and will continue to fight against instances of racial and ethnic profiling."

Attorney General Eric Holder: “I welcome the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down major provisions of Arizona’s S.B. 1070 on federal preemption grounds. Today’s ruling appropriately bars the State of Arizona from effectively criminalizing unlawful status in the state and confirms the federal government’s exclusive authority to regulate in the area of immigration.

“While I am pleased the Court confirmed the serious constitutional questions the government raised regarding Section 2, I remain concerned about the impact of Section 2, which requires law enforcement officials to verify the immigration status of any person lawfully stopped or detained when they have reason to suspect that the person is here unlawfully. As the Court itself recognized, Section 2 is not a license to engage in racial profiling and I want to assure communities around this country that the Department of Justice will continue to vigorously enforce federal prohibitions against racial and ethnic discrimination. We will closely monitor the impact of S.B. 1070 to ensure compliance with federal immigration law and with applicable civil rights laws, including ensuring that law enforcement agencies and others do not implement the law in a manner that has the purpose or effect of discriminating against the Latino or any other community.

“We will also work to ensure that the verification provision does not divert police officers away from traditional law enforcement efforts in order to enforce federal immigration law, potentially impairing local policing efforts and discouraging crime victims, including children of non-citizens, victims of domestic violence, and asylum seekers, from reporting abuses and crimes out of fear of detention or deportation. We will continue to use every federal resource to protect the safety and civil rights of all Americans.”

Free speech reactions:

Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky: "In another important victory for freedom of speech, the Supreme Court has reversed the Montana Supreme Court, upholding First Amendment free speech rights that were set out in Citizens United. As I pointed out in an amicus brief that I filed in the Montana case, a review of Federal Election Commission records of independent spending supporting the eight Republican presidential candidates earlier this year showed only minimal corporate involvement in the 2012 election cycle. Not one Fortune 100 company contributed a cent to any of the eight Republican Super PACs, as of the end of March, according to FEC records. The records also showed that of the $96 million contributed to the eight Super PACs through March 31, an overwhelming 86.32 percent of that money came from individuals while only 13.68 percent came from corporations and 0.81 percent from public companies. Clearly, the much predicted corporate tsunami that critics of Citizens United warned about simply did not occur."

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York: “Even as the current election cycle exposes the folly of the reasoning behind the Citizens United decision, the Supreme Court persists with its anything-goes interpretation of the First Amendment. For apparently political reasons, the Supreme Court is further tipping the balance of power in America in favor of deep-pocketed, outside interests.”

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-California: "Today, the Supreme Court kept open the floodgates to uninhibited special interest spending in our campaigns and in our politics. Their disappointing decision to uphold Citizens United deals yet another blow to a fundamental American value: that the voices of the people determine the outcome of our elections, not the checkbooks of the few.

"Democrats are committed to restoring transparency, accountability, openness, and fairness to our political process. Our strategy is simple: we must DARE – to fight for disclosure and shine a bright light on secret donations; to amend the Constitution to overturn the crushing Citizens United ruling; to reform the system and empower small donors and the grassroots; and to elect reform-minded candidates and leaders to office."

– Watch Brewer on CNN's "John King, USA" Monday at 6 p.m. ET.


Filed under: Arizona • Campaign finance • Immigration • Supreme Court
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. GROVER NORQUIST IS A ENEMY OF THE STATE/ConservaFASCISTS

    Citizens United is the worst ruling EVER. The SCOTUS has sold us out to the highest bidder. I hope Justice Roberts paid close attention to what happened in Wisconsin.

    June 25, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  2. Enough is Enough

    When illegals win taxpayers lose.

    June 25, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  3. Etch-A-Sketch Mitt RobMe Say_Nothing -Do_Nothing_Flip_n_Flopper VULTURE CAPITALIST

    Etch-A-Sketch Mitt RobMe is still waiting on Karl Rove and the Koch Brothers to tell him what to say on SCOTUS flushing down the toilet all of Az immigration law!!!

    Etch-A-Sketch Mitt RobMe says Az immigration law should be a model for the whole United States...so what does he have to say now?! crickets. lol!!!!

    June 25, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  4. annie s

    @Enough is Enough, illegals didn't win. The United States Constitution did.

    June 25, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  5. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of OBAMA FAILURE

    but it upheld the most controversial provision involving police checks on people's immigration status while enforcing other laws.
    ===========================================================================================
    You gotta love the spin liberals are putting this! The court UPHELD the part of the law that most objected to! THIS NEEDS TO BE MADE LAW IN ALL FIFTY STATES!!! Currently illegals roam freely across this country because they know there is little or no chance their illegality will be found out. They need to do everything in their power to arrest these people until they are placed in the hands of federal authorities.

    June 25, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  6. n

    This country is so for the corrupt, rich and the wicked. They own the lay of the land as they gather on the Mount, manipulating the middle class, the poor and the socially deprived to blindly engage in their own self destruction by nfighting amongst them selves for entertainment. The politicians and their masters/gods are clapping their hands and throwing roses into the arena.

    June 25, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  7. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of OBAMA FAILURE

    GROVER NORQUIST IS A ENEMY OF THE STATE/ConservaFASCISTS
    I hope Justice Roberts paid close attention to what happened in Wisconsin
    ===========================================================
    You mean that the taxpayers voted TWICE for Walker as their governor and that Democracy is alive and well and won't be perverted because of a few disgruntled union leftists that want to wring as much money out of the state as they can get and drive it into bankruptcy??? Yeah, they were paying attention as was the rest of the country!

    June 25, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  8. Chipster

    "while enforcing other laws ..." is a very important part of what was upheld. If someone has already violated the law, it is not unreasonable to check for outstanding warrants,address, citizenship..... It's shocking but true that liberals like me have no problem with enforcing the law but allowing people to be stopped for no reason at all to check for citizenship is unconstitutional. The court struck down the unconstitutional enfringements on federal authority. Some people might also be surprised to learn that liberals actually own guns too. We just recognize that restricting things like talon bullets, M-16s and missile launchers does not enfringe on the right to own guns for sport or protection.

    June 25, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  9. Gurgyl

    Don"t say blow to healthcare law, it is nation's dire need.

    June 25, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  10. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    What's clear is Sheriff Arpaio will now have to do the only job he is assigned to and that's to oversee the "Jail and his deputies paperwork", he never had any federal authority and neither did Brewer. I think there will be more checks and balances before they continue to profile people and face more law suits.

    June 25, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  11. AzPatriot

    Illegal is illegal, if the justices lived in AZ, the would have upheld the whole law. All you who are in support of AZ join a militia come out to AZ and help us stop illegals from invading our country. At least they are allowing us to check if these people are here legally.

    June 25, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  12. Kenneth the VI of Minneapolis

    If the first step is to secure the border, my first question is, "How will it be funded?"

    June 25, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  13. CRAIG

    Poor Romney. He can't come up with anything concrete to say on any issue. He says Obama has failed on immigration. What Obama did last week was not a failure but showed a lot of guts & true leadership as he has on many issues such as gay rights & the killing of Bid Laden.

    June 25, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  14. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of OBAMA FAILURE

    Chipster
    It's shocking but true that liberals like me have no problem with enforcing the law but allowing people to be stopped for no reason at all to check for citizenship is unconstitutional.
    =============================================================================================
    It is pretty clear you didn't read the law. Maybe you should read it before commenting?

    June 25, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  15. Myviewis

    @AzPatriot – how can we stop illegals from invading our country when our president Obama gave illegal immigrant's adult children US Work Permits to get jobs in our country????

    June 25, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  16. .. a laurel and hardy handshake ........

    ..and WILLARD MITTHOUSE ROMNEY promises "CIVIL MANNER" ?

    June 25, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  17. Donkey Party

    To Mitt Romney – Dear Mr. Serial Liar, under the Obama Administration, illegal immigration is at record lows, and deportations are at record highs. President Obama also introduced the DREAM act in 2010, but it was obstructed by your GOP domestic terrorist party. How can you lie so blatantly and expect not to be called out?

    June 25, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  18. Etch-A-Sketch Mitt RobMe Say_Nothing -Do_Nothing_Flip_n_Flopper VULTURE CAPITALIST

    Etch-A-Sketch Mitt RobMe Says "I believe that each state has the duty–and the right–to secure our borders and preserve the rule of law...", but SCOTUS just said & VOTED an EMPHATIC NO TO Etch-A-Sketch Mitt RobMe about this issue!!!!...

    What is it that Federal Law trumps State's Law on Immigration that Etch-A-Sketch Mitt RobMe does not understand????

    Etch-A-Sketch Mitt RobMe is SO CLUELESS he is running out of talking point on IMMIGRATION and he is bassically saying NOTHING, ZERO, NADA, ZILCH!!!

    June 25, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    "a few disgruntled union leftists that want to wring as much money out of the state as they can get and drive it into bankruptcy??? "

    Is that why for the several years prior to Walker even becoming governor, the unions had consistently and repeatedly agreed to reductions in pay and benefits and to furlough days in order to help the state of WI with its budget...and why WI was, in fact, the state with one of the healthiest state budgets in the nation when Walker become governor....and why he and the GOP state legislature had to actually manufacture a budget shortfall of $130M by giving out $130M in tax breaks and deductions to industries that heavily supported his election, all so they could use said budget shortfall as their main justification for the enacting their "divide and conquer" strategy of eliminating public employee unions collective bargaining rights? What a fascinating interpratation...or should I say ignorance...of the facts you have.

    June 25, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  20. Myviewis

    Kenneth the VI of Minneapolis

    If the first step is to secure the border, my first question is, "How will it be funded?"
    -----------------------
    Pay it with the taxes paid by the illegal immigrants that now will have US Work Permits taking American jobs.

    June 25, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  21. DC Johnny

    For all of your liberals out there citing Citizens United, where is it that you would draw the First Amendment line? Clearly it's not free speech for all – it's just free speech for most? Or free speech for all... except corporations? How about big unions?

    Where does it stop? Corporations can't spend money on election-related issues? How about policy-related? How about to advertise their own products which are remotely related to one candidate's point of view?

    Where do you draw the line?

    The answer is that you do not draw the line. The Constitution forbids it. I've yet to meet a liberal who thinks things entirely through with their brains rather than their hearts. It's always hyperbole with you people. If you are against supremely inefficient government takeover of health care, then you must be for watching grandma and the poor die in the streets. If you are against government control of environmental issues, then you must be for dirty air and water.

    Respect the other side for once. We are only looking after your interests as an individual.

    June 25, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  22. judy

    well mitt as usual spent his time complaining about the president. I guess he is waiting to see what he thinks. Maybe the koch brothers or norquest or rove will let him know later today. For all youe repos Ha H aHa now if only the court would do something about their lousey ruleing on corporations being people. They still won/t own up to that one forward. 2012

    June 25, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  23. judy

    well mitt as usual spent his time complaining about the president. I guess he is waiting to see what he thinks. Maybe the koch brothers or norquest or rove will let him know later today. For all youe repos Ha H aHa now if only the court would do something about their lousey ruleing on corporations being people. They still won/t own up to that one forward. 2012 I know what jan brewer can to with that finger of hers.

    June 25, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  24. Donkey Party

    Before President Obama took office, there was a Republican in the Whitehouse for 20 of the last 28 years. Why wasn't there any sense of urgency when a GOP president was in power? Because the GOP campaigns on wedge issues, but never does anything about them, except for continually trying to take away women's rights.

    June 25, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  25. 1twinsfan

    What I'm reading on other news sites is that the SCOTUS is anticipating that there will be civil rights cases relating to the part of the law that wasn't struck down - asking immigration status when stopped for another offense. And if I recall how the argument went before the court by the JD, they didn't argure that part of the law. You cannot stop Pablo just because he is a Pablo.

    June 25, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
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