Supreme Court votes in favor of anti-undocumented law in Arizona

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-3 vote, this morning upheld an Arizona law that allows the state to severely punish companies that hire undocumented immigrants and authorizes the mandatory use of the federal E-Verify program to verify the immigration status of employees.

In its resolutionThe majority of the judges consider that the law, entitled by Arizona the "Legal Arizona Workers Act", allows Arizona authorities to revoke or suspend licenses to companies or businesses, and even close businesses that knowingly hire undocumented workers.

The justices who voted in favor of the law are John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas.

Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor voted against, arguing that the Arizona law will impose additional burdens on lawfully operating employers. In addition, they expressed concern that fearful employers, in trying to comply with the state's new impositions, could engage in illegal employment discrimination when hiring employees.

Justice Elena Kagan did not participate in the case because she previously served as Solicitor General ("Solicitor General") to the Supreme Court for President Obama's administration.

The Legal Arizona Workers Act was signed into law in 2007 by then Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and several civil rights organizations challenged the law, taking the case "Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting" to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court's decision is a victory for the Arizona government and a major setback to the Obama administration's insistence that state governments have no authority to regulate federal laws on immigration matters.

This decision sets a precedent that could pave the way for other states and cities to adopt laws similar to Arizona's.