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United States v. Arizona: The Support Our Law Enforcement and Neighborhoods Act

(Originally written in 2011)

Abstract: In this paper I argue that S.B. 1070 should be not be upheld for two reasons. First, in ways that will be explicated below, S.B. 1070 directly conflicts with federal immigration law; thus it is preempted according to the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution. Second, the law is unconstitutional because it allows for discrimination by police officers on the basis of race or national origin. This Note contends that the Ninth Circuit correctly affirmed the decision of the lower court to find S.B. 1070 preempted by federal immigration law; however the Ninth Circuit should have also found that S.B. 1070 is unconstitutional on discriminatory grounds. Part II discusses the evolution of the relevant case law. Part III of the Note illustrates the relevant portions of S.B. 1070 and the District Court’s reasoning in United States v. Arizona. Part IV explains why the Ninth Circuit correctly affirmed the decision that S.B. 1070 is preempted by federal immigration law and expounds how the law is also discriminatory on the basis of national origin against Hispanics. Finally, Part V comments on the possible consequences of S.B. 1070 and the effect of a Supreme Court decision to either affirm or reverse the injunction.

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Melissa D. Goolsarran Ramnauth, Esq. is an American civil litigation and bankruptcy attorney of Trinidadian and Guyanese descent. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Miami with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, a minor degree in History that focused on the slavery and indentured servitude eras, a minor degree in Criminology, and a Juris Doctor degree.

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