WASHINGTON – The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday, December 8 in Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting, the first challenge to the recent wave of state and local anti-immigrant laws to reach the Supreme Court. The case, brought by a broad coalition of business and civil rights groups including the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Arizona, Mexican American Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF), the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) and the United States Chamber of Commerce, challenges an Arizona law that sanctions and penalizes businesses that the state determines have employed workers not lawfully authorized to work in the U.S.
The Arizona scheme imposes severe state sanctions on employers who have hired unauthorized workers and improperly requires all employers in the state to participate in an employment verification database system, E-Verify, that is explicitly voluntary under federal law. The coalition's lawsuit charges that the Arizona law conflicts with federal law and violates the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution. The United States Justice Department has filed a brief supporting the coalition's position.