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Who Asked What at Supreme Court Hearing on Arizona Immigration Law—PICTURES Who Asked What at Supreme Court Hearing on Arizona Immigration Law—P...

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Who Asked What at Supreme Court Hearing on Arizona Immigration Law—PICTURES

April 25, 2012

The Supreme Court heard arguments over Arizona's controversial immigration law on Wednesday. Here is a closer look at some of the key questions the justices asked: 

(RELATED: Why Ariz.'s Immigration Provision Could Stand)

(PICTURES: Scenes From Outside the Court)

(RELATED: Who Are the Stakholders?)

Sonia Sotomayor: [to Paul Clement, representing the state of Arizona] "The issue is not about whether you make the call or not, although the government is arguing that it might be, but on how long you detain the individual, meaning -- as I understand it, when individuals are arrested and held for other crimes, often there's an immigration check that most states do without this law. And to the extent that the government wants to remove that individual, they put in a warrant of detainer. This process is different. How is it different?"(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: [to Clement] "How would the state officer know if the person is removable? I mean, that's sometimes a complex inquiry."(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Anthony Kennedy: [to the Department of Justice] "Also hypothetical is that the state of Arizona has a massive emergency with social disruption, economic disruption, residents leaving the state because of a flood of immigrants. Let's just assume those two things. Does that give the state of Arizona any powers or authority or legitimate concerns that any other state wouldn't have?"(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)


Stephen Breyer: [to Clement] "I'm trying to think of examples. Example one is the person is arrested. Now, it says any person who is arrested shall have the person's immigration status determined before the person is released. So I wonder if they have arrested a citizen, he's Hispanic-looking, he was jogging, he has a backpack, he has water in it and Pedialyte, so they think, oh, maybe this is an illegal person. It happens he's a citizen of New Mexico, and so the driver's license doesn't work."(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Antonin Scalia: [to Clement] "You'll concede that the state has to accept within its borders all people who have no right to be there that the federal government has no interest in removing?"

Samuel Alito: [to Clement] "Let's say someone who is a citizen and a resident of New Mexico has a New Mexico driver's license, drives across the border, is stopped for speeding, not 60 miles an hour in a 20-mile zone, but 10 miles over the speed limit on an interstate. And the officer, for some reason, thinks that this person may be an illegal alien. How would that work out? If you do the records check, you're not going to get anything back, right, because the person is a citizen? So what -- where would the officer take it from there?"(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)


Chief Justice John Roberts: [to Department of Justice]: "Before you get into what the case is about, I'd like to clear up at the outset what it's not about. No part of your argument has to do with racial or ethnic profiling, does it? I saw none of that in your brief.... OK. So this is not a case about ethnic profiling."(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

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