Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

April 25, 2012

Host: Ted Simons

Arizona v. United States: SB 1070 Supreme Court Arguments

  |   Video
  • ASU law professor Paul Bender offers his legal analysis of the U.S. Supreme Court Oral Arguments in Arizona v. United States. Governor Jan Brewer appealed the case to the High Court after lower courts prevented key parts of Arizona’s SB 1070 immigration law from taking effect.
  • Paul Bender - Law Professor, ASU
Category: Law   |   Keywords: SB, 1070, fight, us, supreme, court, ,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Good evening. Welcome to "Arizona Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. Arizona returned to the national spotlight today as the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the constitutionality of Arizona's controversial SB 1070 immigration law. Governor Jan Brewer asked the high court to review the case after lower courts prevented key parts of the law from taking effect. Here with his analysis of today's oral arguments is ASU law professor Paul Bender, who has argued more than 20 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Good to see you again.

Paul Bender: Nice to see you Ted.

Ted Simons: impressions?

Paul Bender: It was very interesting. The core provision of SB 1070 is section 2, which provides that policemen have a reasonable suspicion they have illegally stopped is in the country illegally are supposed to check up on immigration status and check with the federal government. The lawyer for the state started out the argument by saying it did not mean what everybody thought it meant and what the state has been saying it meant and what the sheriff Joe has been saying, namely if the state finds somebody and they check immigration status and federal government says that person is here illegally, the state, he said, their lawyer, the state cannot detain them unless the federal government wants them to. That if the even if they are illegal if the federal government says we don't want to detain them the state must set them free. That was the basis on which the state argued that the legislation was constitutional. That's the basis on which I think the court is going to uphold it. Basically it doesn't mean anything. It just is a facilitating way of having the state and federal government exchange information. They gave that away right at the beginning of the case. That was very interesting.

Ted Simons: Was it surprising to you?

Paul Bender: Yes, because it's not in the brief anywhere. I reread the brief to see what they said. No.

Ted Simons: Well let’s put a practical application on this…someone is picked up for going speeding or doing whatever they are doing and found to be not having the right documentation, not here legally. Local law enforcement contacts the Feds. The Feds say, that's interesting. Thank you. Goodbye. The state let's them go?

Paul Bender: No, they don't have to let them go if they have a state reason for holding them. If he was drunk driving they can hold him for that, but they can't hold him because he's illegal unless the federal government says we want him detained. That's the argument the state made to the Supreme Court. It was on that basis that the Supreme Court seemed to me and I think they will do it unanimously, uphold that part of the law because it doesn't change anything.

Ted Simons: That's a Pyrrhic victory, isn't it?

Paul Bender: If you think the statute was enacted as a protest, if any part of it is upheld people behind it will say, we won. It's been upheld, but in fact, it is a Pyrrhic victory because that part doesn't mean anything. There's parts of the statute that do mean something. The two main parts, namely the part that says it's a state crime for ill else will to apply for jobs and the part that says it's a state crime to be in the state without proper federal documentation. I think the court will strike those two down as preempted by federal law.

Ted Simons: Ok, so there are four things the court is looking at. You think the court will uphold the first because it doesn't do all that much.

Paul Bender: It doesn't do anything.

Ted Simons: The second is local police can arrest suspected undocumented folks without warrant. What about that?

Paul Bender: No, that one I think they will say is on its face not unconstitutional and so they won't strike it down. Remember, this is a facial challenge. The question is, on its face is the statute unconstitutional. In order to strike it down they have to say you read it you know it's unconstitutional. It can't be applied in a constitutional way. That one they don't know what it means. Nobody knows what it means. The court made that clear today. So I think that one they will not strike down because how can you strike something down as unconstitutional if you don't know what it means? But the other two which say that it's a state crime for illegals to apply for work, that's preempted by federal immigration law because Congress deliberately decided not to make it a crime for illegals to seek employment but instead to make it a crime for the employer to employ them. So that I think will be held to be preempted. The federal government had a reason for doing it. They don't want people prosecuting illegals seeking employment because they are afraid if people do that even United States attorneys they will make a raid on a factory and they will grab people who don't have their papers and intimidate a lot of people and sweep up a lot of people who are legal. They didn't want to get into that. They want to be in control of it.

Ted Simons: So basically not having papers, you think, will be struck down.

Paul Bender: Yes.

Ted Simons: Having it be illegal to seek or have a job will be struck down. Two you think the court might uphold, one because it doesn't do anything, the other because nobody knows what it means?

Paul Bender: Yes, the other two because they do do something.

Ted Simons: That's very interesting.

Paul Bender: Yes. That's my guess from reading the argument. And I thought it was pretty clear. It's interesting because chief justice Roberts made it very clear it seems to me that he was going to uphold the first part because it didn't mean anything. He repeatedly said to the solicitor general, hey, it doesn't mean anything, how can you be against it? The solicitor general said we are against it but I thought it was probably not wise of him to defend it. Then I think the case will be 5-3 if I'm right, 5-3, 6-2 on the things I just said. Roberts would be in the majority. Only Scalia, Thomas and maybe Alito will be in the minority. He can write the opinion himself. He can write an opinion which says the states have power but it can describe what the states can do in the way he wants to describe it whereas if he would have voted with Scalia and been in the minority then justice Ginsberg is going to sign the opinion and she may say something have broad about limitations on what states can do. That's because Kagan is recused if that happens.

Ted Simons: Right, it's basically a 4-4 thing. If it's a 4-4 vote, what the 9th circuit ruled stays.

Paul Bender: Right, so Roberts may say if Kennedy is going to join with those three to strike down the two provisions that I said, I'm going to join also because then I can write an opinion. Otherwise the 9th circuit opinion remains the law. So he would get a chance to write an opinion saying the 9th circuit overdid this and that. It should be a lot narrower.

Ted Simons: Which side did a better job presenting its case?

Paul Bender: That's hard to answer because Paul Clement is very glib. I think too glib. I thought he did not do a good job presenting his case because he just sailed past certain things and Sotomayor really stopped him and kept forcing him to confront the issue. But if his job was to have something upheld, then he did a good job by saying, hey, uphold this, it doesn't mean anything. Verrilli, once again, really disappointed me because I don't think he dealt with the situation. When the court said -- when the state said it was prepared to interpret section 2 as basically not changing anything I would have thought it would have been better for him to say ok if that's what it means we have no objection. Instead he got into a long argument with the court about why he objected even though it didn't change anything. The court did not accept that

Ted Simons: But wasn't his position, just reading from the transcript, sounds he was holding to… the government sees the law in its entirety as being an obstacle to what Congress, what the nation had in mind for immigration?

Paul Bender: I think he has a good argument that the law as a whole is unconstitutional, but it's not because the law as a whole is an obstacle. Because if it's interpreted the way the state says it wants to interpret it it's not an obstacle. It's because the motivation of the law is unconstitutional because the purpose clause says, hey, we're doing this to get rid of illegal immigrants and the state, I believe, and I think Clement believes, has no constitutional power to do that. Getting rid of illegals because the federal government's job, not the state's job. You can make a credible argument the whole thing is bad because the purpose is bad, but that argument usually doesn't win and I don't think it would have won in this case. My guess is, this is armchair, Monday morning quarterbacking, he would have been better off saying, oh, I didn't realize Clement thought that and the state thought that. They don't say that in the brief. If that's what they mean we have no problem with that because they won't get in the way. It was repeated; you won't hold these people for any longer than you would if there was any immigration problem said the court to Clement, and Clement said, absolutely not.

Ted Simons: Did he confer with Arpaio about that particular?

Paul Bender: That's interesting. If I'm right, what is Sheriff Joe going to do? He's been doing exactly what Clement said the state does not think he can do, namely hold people because they are illegal. Even though the federal government doesn't want to held them.

Ted Simons: Basically maximizing information and collaboration. That's as far as they went on it.

Paul Bender: That's what the justices seemed to think it meant.

Ted Simons: Great stuff. Mid, late June?

Paul Bender: I think it will be the last week of the term, and probably the last day. Same day the Obamacare comes down.

Ted Simons: It will be a busy "Arizona Horizon" then. Thanks again. We appreciate it.

Paul Bender: Nice to see you, Ted.

Legislative Update

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  • An Arizona Capitol Times reporter provides a mid-week update on news from the Arizona State Legislature.
  • Jim Small - Reporter at Arizona Capitol Times
Category: Legislature   |   Keywords: legislative, update, ,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Governor Jan Brewer says she will veto any legislation that lands on her desk until she gets a budget but that's leading lawmakers to hang on to bills they passed which may be a violation of the state constitution. Here with more on that and other legislative news is Jim Small of the "Arizona Capitol Times." Jim, what's going on down there? Basically they are passing this stuff, she says she's not going to sign it, they don't send it over, it sits.

Jim Small: Yeah, it sits, and it seems to be in contradiction of a 2009 court ruling. The legislature and the governor were in the midst of a massive budget fight that ended up draggiong out the entire year. The legislature has passed a package of budget bills intended to squeak off the governor. They refused to sends them to her. She said, sends them to me. I want to veto them. They wouldn't do it, so she ended up suing them, taking them to court. The Supreme Court eventually ruled that the legislature is not allowed to do that. They are allowed to hold on to bills for the time they need for ministerial work, which is essentially to make sure they have all the paperwork in order, then they have to send it up. They can't just delay presentment of the bills to the governor under the constitution. At that time they didn't order them to send the budget bills up because it was near the end of the budget. But it's interesting right now they are doing the same thing. They have about two dozen bills that they haven't sent to the governor's office. The rub is it's not technically I guess illegal. Technically it’s illegal but it's not actually illegal until someone sues over it and right now no one is.

Ted Simons:: Is anyone interested in taking it to court?

Jim Small: No. The governor's office told us they understand what the legislature is doing but they don’t have any interest right now in filing a lawsuit. They also took pains to note what's happening is we got the legislature doing this. The governor said I'm not going to sign anything. I'm going to veto everything. The legislature is still choosing to pass bills that should be sent to the governor's desk but hasn't yet.

Ted Simons: Good gracious. Let's keep it moving here. Senate okayed a ban on planned parenthood funding. Where is that now?

Jim Small: This is one of those bills that needs to go to the governor's desk. It's ready to go. It's all -- just waiting to get sent up. This bill is similar to some things we’ve seen at the national level where it would be to basically defund planned parenthood. Any state money would take away any grants, state dollars that go to any organization that performs abortions whether it's the main thing they do or a side thing. So essentially this would only allow these kinds of state monies to go to world community health centers, hospitals, things like that.

Ted Simons: Arizona already bans public money specifically for abortions. This basically says anyone even involved in abortion procedures, no money goes anywhere near them.

Jim Small: Exactly. It's the argument we saw last year in the U.S. Senate certainly. Okay, because planned parenthood uses money for maintenance and for mammograms and for other things, the view is technically that money is subsidizing abortions, which is another pot of money they get from private donors and things like that.

Ted Simons: As much of a Senate hearing as it was yesterday on Capitol Hill regarding SB1070. At the Capitol, I know there's a cocoon nature at the capitol and it's hard to get past that wall, but are people paying attention? Was there much buzz over this?

Jim Small: There wasn't much buzz to what happened yesterday to that Senate hearing in front of two Senators, but today people were certainly paying attention to the Supreme Court ruling. But at the same time, you know, both chambers were on -- basically when that Supreme Court hearing wrapped up and the news story broke out on it. I don't know that the impact wasn't really felt down there today. Certainly everyone is going to digest it tonight. Being so controversial and divisive issue I imagine that tomorrow the opinions we'll see are similar to the ones you would expect, Republicans generally supporting it and Democrats opposing it.

Ted Simons: Alright, we’ll so you on the Journalists’ Roundtable Friday. Thanks, Jim. Good stuff.

Technology & Innovation

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  • Topic In Devlopment
  • Steve Zylstra - CEO of Arizona Technology Council
  • Varun Ramesh - Science and Engineering Award Winner of Hamilton High
Category: Technology   |   Keywords: AZ, Technology, Innovation, ,

View Transcript
Announcer: Just east of I-19 between Tucson and Nogales lies the town of Tubac. It was once the Spanish presidio, Europe's first settle men. It was a quiet outpost, the home of Charles Poston, the father of Arizona, even produced Arizona's first newspaper. Tubac has been abandoned and 12 come back to life so many times it's been called the city with nine lives. In the 1950's it seemed once again to be slipping into obscurity. Yet today it's the home of Arizona's first state park and a thriving artists' community.
Ted Simons: The 6th annual Arizona science and engineering fair awards were handed out to students in grades 5 through 12. The event held by the Arizona science and technology council. Grand award winners and their teachers advance to the Intel international science fair in Pittsburgh. Here to talk about the awards is Steve Zylstra, the CEO of the Arizona technology council and also one of the award winners, from Hamilton high school in Chandler, Varun Ramesh. Good to have you both here. Thanks for joining us. Steve, as far as the guidelines for this particular contest, what's going on?

Steve Zylstra: So what happens is that students participate in their schools and ultimately in regionals. It's a competition, like dancing with the stars, right? They learn the scientific method, the experimental method, this competition gives them an opportunity to showcase their work, their research, and to compete with other kids for scholarships.

Ted Simons: What are the guidelines for this particular contest?

Steve Zylstra Well, there are all different categories. There's math and I.T. and bioscience and so on. So the students have to follow a very prescribed method using hypothesis and the traditional experimental method, which is laid out for them, then showcase their experiments and their output in a specific way.

Ted Simons: And this is supposed to also develop not just research for research's sake, it can really make an impact, correct?

Steve Zylstra: That is the case. Over the years both in the U.S. and around the world many students have developed real world solutions to real world problems.

Ted Simons: Varun, I want to find out what you did to win the award. From what I understand you developed a novel algorithm for real time terrain rendering using geometry city maps. What did I just say?

Varun Ramesh: So the kind of basis of my project was you have probably seen terrain in animated movies and computer simulations, graphic applications, but the purpose was to see what optimizations, what changes can you make to the procedures that actually handle this in the of the computer, what changes can you make to make terrain larger, more detailed and render them faster in real time.

Ted Simons: Is this something you've thought about for a while? How do you go about being interested in something like this?

Varun Ramesh: Well, I have been programming for an extremely long time, almost since fifth grade. One of the topics that has really, really interested me is human computer interaction and computer graphics. One deals with how do you interface with the computer. The other is how does the computer give information back to you. All computer graphics, it's almost in almost every field, terrain is a vital component in almost any scene that takes place outdoors. That's one of the reasons I gravitated toward that because it has so many commercial and research applications.

Ted Simons: From a layman's term and quite a distance hear, what I'm hearing cooler, quicker background for games and for videos and for any computer generated graphic?

Varun Ramesh: Yes, essentially landscapes in general, things that grow trees, grow grass, mountains, plains.

Ted Simons: How long did you work on this?

Varun Ramesh: Well, I have been working on this almost a year, since I got back from ISEP last year, pretty much the entire time. Over time it slowly developed. It didn't start out as complex as it wasand I didn't dive in right away, I first started with the very basics. Over time it slowly built up on itself.

Ted Simons: What was that you came back from?

Varun Ramesh: International science fair. It's the science fair that I'm returning to this year.

Ted Simons: That's in Pittsburgh. I understand Phoenix will host that, what, next year?

Steve Zylstra: In 2013 and actually in 2016 and 2019. There will be 15 to 1600 of the smartest Kentucky in the world here in Phoenix. It gives us an opportunity to showcase this region, showcasing some of the coolest stuff just like you heard Verun describe.

Ted Simons: We heard him describe it, it's tollent -- talented. He can develop these sorts of things. As far as what the technology council is doing, what do you want to see as a goal? This is obviously a success story. Are we seeing more of those success stories?

Steve Zylstra: We are. Science, technology, engineering and math is something we focus on. The future work force for technology comes from those disciplines. Things like the science and engineering fair are critical to motivating and exciting kids to pursue educational paths and career paths in the stem related fields. One of the major reasons we're supporting this and involved in it is to build the future work force.

Ted Simons: Are you seeing participation increase over the years?

Steve Zylstra: We are. We had over 600 projects and over 700 students this year participate, and not only that, the quality of their projects continues to increase as well.

Ted Simons: So where do you take this? You're in high school now. Where are we going to see you next?

Verun Ramesh: I guess after I go to college, one of the things I want to do is do actual research in the field of engineering and computer graphics and human-computer interaction. Maybe pursue more avenues of my other projects. I really want to sort of be in the forefront of the field where computer graphics is advancing. Right now so many new devices, ipods, iphones, it's really interesting because it affects almost everybody today.

Ted Simons: Well, good luck. Congratulations as well. Good luck in Pittsburgh on national event, international, whatever. Good to see you again. Congratulations as well on a job well done. Thank you so much.

Steve Zylstra: Thank you.

Ted Simons: Thursday on "Arizona Horizon," what Arizona town hall has to say about getting folks more involved in their communities, and we'll look at how nonprofits are reinventing themselves to address declining resources and growing needs. That's Thursday, 5:30 and 10:00, here on 8-HD. That is it for now. I'm Ted Simons. Thanks for joining us. You have a great evening.

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