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Chamber of Commerce of the United States v. Whiting

Docket No. Op. Below Argument Opinion Vote Author Term
09-115 9th Cir. Dec 8, 2010 May 26, 2011 5-3 Roberts OT 2010

Holding: The provision of the Legal Arizona Workers Act that provides for the suspension and/or revocation of the business licenses of Arizona employers who knowingly or intentionally employ unauthorized aliens is not expressly preempted by the federal Immigration Reform and Control Act, which prohibits the knowing hiring of unauthorized immigrants and preempts state laws imposing sanctions on those who hire unauthorized immigrants; the Arizona law falls within the IRCA's exception that preserves state authority to impose sanctions through licensing and similar laws. Nor is Arizona's requirement that employers use the federal E-Verify system to confirm eligibility for employment not impliedly preempted, as it does not conflict with the federal scheme, and the federal statute establishing E-Verify does not constrain state action. (Kagan, J., recused).

Plain English Holding: Federal law does not prevent Arizona from revoking the business licenses of state companies that knowingly hire undocumented workers, or from requiring employers in that state to use a federal electronic system to check that their workers are authorized to work in the United States.

Judgment: Affirmed, 5-3, in an opinion by Chief Justice Roberts on May 26, 2011. Justice Thomas joined the opinion in part and concurred in part and concurred in the judgment. Justice Breyer filed a dissenting opinion, which was joined by Justice Ginsburg. Justice Sotomayor filed her own dissenting opinion. (Kagan, J., recused).

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