(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.
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.