Experts predict that the U.S. Supreme Court’s eventual decision on the Arizona immigration law will affect November’s presidential race as well as immigration laws in other states. The Supreme Court has been hearing arguments over Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070. Many experts predict that if the Supreme Court upholds the law, President Obama and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Richard Carmona may get more support from Latino voters and from others who oppose SB 1070.
If, however, the Supreme Court decides to strike down the tougher measures in Arizona’s immigration law, experts predict that GOP candidates may get more voter support as those who support the law react to President Obama’s decision to sue Arizona regarding the legislation. States such as North Carolina, Arizona, Florida, Colorado, Nevada, Virginia, and others with large minority populations and immigrant populations may especially have voter turnout affected by the Supreme Court’s decision. However, political insiders still feel that the economy, rather than immigration, will continue to be the top issue in November’s election.
Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070 makes undocumented immigration a state crime and requires police officers to ask about immigration status during any lawful stop during which they feel that the person being stopped may be in the country illegally. Supporters of the law say that the law is needed because the federal government is doing too little to enforce immigration laws. Those who oppose the law say that the law oversteps the rights of the state and encourages racial profiling. U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton has already struck down some of the more controversial measures of SB 1070, but now it is uncertain whether the Supreme Court will determine that the law is constitutional. The Supreme Court is expected to make a decision in the case sometime in June.
Many experts predict that the debate over the immigration bill could make Arizona residents vote liberal in greater numbers. A precedent has been set for this. In 1994, California passed tougher immigration measures with Proposition 187. Once the bill was passed, the state voted more liberal. Many experts feel that if the Supreme Court decides to uphold the Arizona law or decides to uphold some of the more controversial measures, it could push Latino voters to the polls in greater numbers as a form of self-defense, potentially making Arizona even more important in the race. Many political experts note that voters are more likely to cast ballots when they have an important issue or are upset strongly about a specific issue, and the Arizona law has the type of emotional pull and strong controversy that could push more voters to the ballot boxes.