What if fight over Texas law SB4 goes to the Supreme Court?

Chaz Miller Image
Tuesday, December 19, 2023
What happens if fight over SB4 in Texas goes to Supreme Court?
A lawsuit was filed, challenging the new Texas law SB4, as the ACLU believes it's unconstitutional. But what would happen if the fight goes all the way to the Supreme Court?

The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, as well as the Texas Civil Rights Project, filed a lawsuit in federal court that aims to block Senate Bill 4 from going into effect in Texas.

The law, which Gov. Greg Abbott signed on Monday, allows local and state law enforcement agencies to arrest individuals they believe are in the country illegally.

One of the major reasons the organizations gave for filing that lawsuit was the fact they believe it's unconstitutional for a state to enforce immigration laws over the federal government.

There is a precedent for such a case, as the fight over a similar law in Arizona made it to the Supreme Court in 2012.

It was ruled largely unconstitutional, with Justice Anthony Kennedy writing that "the state may not pursue policies that undermine federal law."

So why pass a law like this in Texas with that precedent already established?

"(Abbott) does not feel like the federal government is living up to their responsibilities," ABC News Correspondent Mireya Villarreal said. "(He feels) the state has to step in."

Experts say the outcome of the fight over Senate Bill 4 could be different from what happened in Arizona v. United States if it makes it to the Supreme Court.

The current court is far more conservative than it was in 2012, which immigration attorney Raed Gonzalez told ABC13 could have an impact on existing laws regarding the role of immigration enforcement.

"Now, we have a Supreme Court that may see it in a different way," Gonzalez explained. "They could see it as a possibility of states helping out with immigration laws of the United States, but we really don't know what could come out of it."

The law is set to go into effect on March 5 if it isn't tied up in litigation.

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