On May 26, 2011, the Supreme Court announced its decision in Chamber of Commerce of the United States v. Whiting, a case involving the interaction between an Arizona statute and federal immigration laws. The Legal Arizona Workers Act provides for the suspension and/or revocation of licenses held by Arizona employers who knowingly or intentionally employ unauthorized aliens. The statute also requires Arizona employers to use a federal electronic verification system to ensure that their workers are legally authorized. The question before the Court was "whether federal immigration law preempts those provisions of Arizona law."
In an opinion delivered by Chief Justice Roberts--but not joined in full by all members of the majority--the Court held by a vote of 5-3 that neither provision of the Arizona law was preempted by federal immigration law. Justices Scalia, Kennedy, and Alito joined the Chief Justice's opinion in full, while Justice Thomas only joined the opinion in part and concurred in the judgment. Justice Breyer filed a dissenting opinion, which Justice Ginsburg joined. Justice Sotomayor filed a separate dissent. Justice Kagan took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.
To discuss the case, we have Linda T. Coberly, who is a partner at Winston & Strawn LLP. Ms. Coberly was on an amicus brief in support of the petitioner.