And as was the case with the SCOTUS hearing on Obamacare, some liberals are shocked - shocked I tell you, - that the Supremes just might uphold the Arizona immigration law - a law they call "racist."
The Supreme Court on Wednesday appeared highly skeptical of the Obama administration's objections to a controversial immigration law in Arizona.
In a case steeped in election-year politics, conservative and liberal justices alike expressed doubts about the government's argument that the Arizona law was an unconstitutional intrusion on the federal government's power to enforce immigration law.
You can see it's not selling very well," Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic woman to be seated on the bench, said to Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr.
The Obama administration sued Arizona over the controversial measure its Legislature passed in 2010. The law set off a political firestorm and has since been copied by other states.
President Obama has loudly criticized it, and Democrats see the law as a wedge issue with increasingly important Hispanic voters. Polls suggest Obama enjoys a substantial lead with Hispanics over Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee for president.
Arizona's law would, among other things, require local law enforcement officials to verify a person's legal status when they're stopped on suspicion of committing a separate offense.
The administration argues this impinges on the power of the federal government, but several justices voiced doubts about that argument, including Sotomayor, whom Obama nominated to the court in 2009.
Ed Kilgore at Washington Monthly points out that the guts of the Arizona law involves "profiling" and that the Obama administration wouldn't "go there" in this case. But, Kilgore adds, " it could well come up in a future case, as it will come up in the broader political debate over immigration policy that this Supreme Court review may well reignite."
That's the bottom line with all of these new state immigration enforcement laws. If a case challenging an immigration enforcement law on the basis of profiling came before the Supreme Court and was found legal, it would open the door for law enforcement to profile in all sorts of situations; drug interdiction, airport security, perhaps even traffic stops, although that has been addressed as a separate issue by the courts.
Would this be a good thing? Some would argue that a reduction in crime and making us safer outweighs the civil rights and individual liberty concerns of opponents. I'm not so sure of the benefits but the downside is certainly evident. And trading liberty for a little bit of security is never a good idea.