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But Omar Jadwat, staff lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said the decision was limited to a specific set of provisions in business-licensing law, and does not carry over to other states’ employer-sanctions laws, nor does it signal the court will uphold SB 1070.

“It’s important not to misread this decision as being something broader than that and to emphasize that this does not affect the analysis of laws like SB 1070 and other laws affecting immigration,” he said.

He also pointed to the history of both cases: The employer-sanctions law was upheld by federal courts at every step of the way, while the lower courts have blocked the police powers law.

The members of the high court’s conservative bloc, joined by moderate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, joined Chief Justice Roberts in backing Arizona in the case.

Dissenting were Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Justice Elena Kagan did not take part in the case because she was serving in the Obama administration when it challenged the law.
Justice Breyer, in his dissent, said allowing states to make rulings based on E-Verify increases the chances for errors, adding that the system itself is already too error-prone.

“Either directly or through the uncertainty that it creates, the Arizona statute will impose additional burdens upon lawful employers and consequently lead those employers to erect ever-stronger safeguards against the hiring of unauthorized aliens  without counterbalancing protection against unlawful discrimination,” he argued.

In a separate dissent, Justice Sotomayor said the fact that Congress has had chances to make E-Verify a mandated program and has not done so means that the federal government meant for it to be voluntary  and that Arizona is overstepping its bounds.

The ruling is bound to reignite the immigration debate on Capitol Hill.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, Texas Republican, said Thursday that he will introduce legislation to make E-Verify use mandatory across the country and praised the court for upholding Arizona’s law.
“Not only is this law constitutional, it is common sense,” he said. “American jobs should be preserved for Americans and legal workers.”

Obama administration officials have said they support making E-Verify mandatory for national use — but only as part of a total overhaul of the immigration system that would include legalization and programs to bring in foreign workers.