In denying to hear an appeal from Arizona Sheriff Joseph Arpaio, the Supreme Court on Monday left in place a lower court’s decision to strike down a state immigration law.
In October, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit struck down a law Arizona voters had passed in 2006 that made illegal immigrants charged with “serious” felonies ineligible for bail.
In a divided panel, the court of appeals held that the law was unconstitutional because it violated the 14th Amendment’s due process clause by imposing punishment before trial.
The case — Lopez-Valenzuela v. Arpaio — stemmed from the class action complaint Maricopa County inmates Angel Valenzuela and Isaac Castro-Armenta filed against Maricopa County, Sheriff Joseph Arpaio, the Maricopa County Attorney and the presiding judge of the Maricopa County Superior Court in 2008.
On Monday, six members of the Supreme Court denied to hear an Arpaio’s appeal from Arpaio, overruling the more conservative members of the Supreme Court – Justices Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito — who said they would have heard the case.
“It is disheartening that there are not four members of this court who would even review the decision below,” Thomas wrote in his dissenting opinion. “As I previously explained, states deserve our careful consideration when lower courts invalidate their constitutional provisions.”
Arpaio is currently challenging Obama’s executive actions on immigration in the nation’s second more influential court.
The outspoken lawman has asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to overturn U.S. district court’s December 2014 and stop the president from giving legal status and work permits to nearly five million illegal immigrants.
During arguments last month, the panel of three justices appeared skeptical of the case as they questioned whether Arpaio has legal standing to challenge the president’s actions.