US Supreme Court deals blow to tough Arizona immigration law
Partial victory for Hispanic lobby as judges begin week that will culminate in vital decision on healthcare law
Known for his commentary on international relations and US politics, Rupert Cornwell also contributes obituaries and occasionally even a column for the sports pages. With The Independent since its launch in 1986, he was the paper's first Moscow correspondent - covering the collapse of the Soviet Union – during which time he won two British Press Awards. Previously a foreign correspondent for the Financial Times and Reuters, he has also been a diplomatic correspondent, leader writer and columnist, and has served as Washington bureau editor. In 1983 he published God's Banker, about Roberto Calvi, the Italian banker found hanging from Blackfriars Bridge.
Tuesday 26 June 2012
The US Supreme Court kicked off its most momentous week in a decade yesterday by overturning large parts of a controversial Arizona law cracking down on illegal immigration.
In another high-profile case, it also served notice that it would not retreat from a heavily criticised 2010 ruling that opened the floodgates to unlimited corporate and private donations for political campaigns.
Three of the four contested provisions in the Arizona law, which was passed two years ago, were thrown out. But a clause bitterly opposed by Hispanic and other immigrant groups, that requires police to check the papers of a person they suspect is in the country illegally, was kept in place – for the time being at least.
On balance, the outcome was a setback for the anti-immigration lobby, and could hit efforts by other states, including Alabama, South Carolina and Georgia, to clamp down on illegal immigrants. The move also made it more certain than ever that immigration will be a major issue in the presidential campaign.
However, the court's decision on campaign finance is another blow to efforts to limit the flow of private money into politics in an election year where campaign spending could reach an unprecedented $6bn. The challenge had come from Montana, whose state legislature defied the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United ruling, arguing that Montana politics were especially vulnerable to corruption by unchecked corporate money.
That law was upheld by Montana's state supreme court, but the highest US court struck down it yesterday, with the five conservative justices outvoting the four liberals on the bench.
Citizens United has reshaped US campaign financing by allowing corporations, unions and rich individuals to pour vast sums into the presidential and other races through super political action committees (super-Pacs), which can raise and spend unlimited sums. In theory, they are barred from co-ordinating their efforts with the candidates they support, but that ban is honoured only in the breach.
All eyes are now on Thursday, when the court will rule on whether President Obama's 2010 healthcare law is constitutional. It is the court's most politically charged case since the Bush vs Gore ruling that handed the White House to George W Bush in December 2000. On that occasion the court's conservative majority prevailed by 5-4, and a similar outcome, for all or part of "Obamacare", is on the cards now. Although judges may not throw out the law in its entirety, legal experts believe they may well strike down the central provision of the "individual mandate", requiring Americans without health insurance to buy it. That would be a demoralising defeat for Mr Obama, largely nullifying the legislative achievement he hopes will be his legacy. The implications for the 2012 election are less clear, however. Republicans will claim victory but Mr Obama's supporters could also be energised, directing their fire on a supposedly neutral Supreme Court that, they say, in practice is the Republican party dressed in legal robes.
- 1 Artist Jamie McCartney: How The Great Wall of Vagina is a stand against 'body fascism'
- 2 Katie Hopkins reveals fear she will die during brain surgery to cure epilepsy
- 3 Tom Cruise: Reporters banned from asking actor about Scientology
- 4 Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state
- 5 Michael B Jordan and Kate Mara handle excruciatingly awkward and offensive interview questions like pros
RideLondon 2015: Cyclist dies while climbing highest hill in Surrey during sportive
Katie Hopkins reveals fear she will die during brain surgery to cure epilepsy
'Gene drive': Scientists sound alarm over supercharged GM organisms which could spread in the wild and cause environmental disasters
Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state
Tom Cruise: Reporters banned from asking actor about Scientology
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Calais Migrant Crisis: Deputy Mayor of Calais labels Cameron's use of 'swarm' as 'racist' and 'ignorant'
Chris Leslie: Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity agenda will harm the poor, says Labour shadow Chancellor
While we fixate on Calais, the Home Office is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
Calais crisis: The seven claims made about the migrants - and the reality
£26000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is Europe's indust...
£17020 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Aerospace company is looki...
£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Bookkeeper is required to joi...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Due to growth this company is seeking two Site...