Skip to content


News Posted on June 28, 2012

Professor Chin Comments for Media on Supreme Court SB 1070 Decision

Professor Gabriel "Jack" Chin commented for media including National Public Radio, the New York Times, the Sacramento Bee, the Chicago Tribune, and radio stations KPFA and WTOP on the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to strike down three out of four sections of Arizona's controversial SB 1070 immigration measure.  He also authored a commentary on the decision for Policymic and co-authored commentary with University of Arizona College of Law Professor Marc Miller that appeared in the Daily Beast and SCOTUSblog, the leading blog on the Supreme Court.

"The Supreme Court's 5-3 decision in the United States v. Arizona, eviscerating the controversial Arizona immigration law SB 1070, is the most important immigration decision in decades," he wrote in the Daily Beast. "It is an unmitigated, overwhelming win for the United States. It marks the end of a period of a decade or so where some states and localities tried to drive out unauthorized migrants using their own laws, imposing burdens that the federal law did not, or enforcing federal requirements contrary to the views of federal law enforcement authorities."

In an interview on National Public Radio's Tell Me More program, Professor Chin called the decision "a systematic defeat for the state of Arizona" and "a best-case scenario for the United States."   The decision struck down provisions the would have made it a state crime to be an undocumented immigrant in Arizona, allowed police to conduct a warrantless arrest of anyone they suspect could be deported, and criminalized work for undocumented immigrants, but upheld the provision allowing law enforcement officers who stop individuals for other reasons to ask about immigration status.

Professor Chin said that the justices allowed the "show me your papers" provision to stand because it does not grant Arizona law enforcement any new powers.  "If you're lawfully stopped by police and there's reasonable suspicion you've broken a law, police can ask you questions," he told the Sacramento Bee. "Police can always ask you whatever they want and you can answer or not answer. That was the law before, so it really doesn't change anything."

Professor Chin also commented for the New York Times on Justice Antonin Scalia's dissent in the case, which has drawn criticism from a wide range of legal commentators.  "The whole thing was intemperate, a screed," Professor Chin said.

Gabriel "Jack" Chin, who joined the King Hall faculty in 2011, is a prolific and much-cited criminal and immigration law scholar whose work has addressed many of the most pressing social issues of our time.

National Public Radio

New York Times

Sacramento Bee

Chicago Tribune

The Daily Beast