The Supreme Court’s Top Cases of 2012


From the Affordable Care Act to immigration, the U.S. Supreme Court tackled a number of high-profile issues in 2012. This post offers a look back at some of the most important cases of the past year and how they may change the legal landscape for many more to come.

Arizona v. United States: In a split-decision, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld parts of Arizona’s controversial immigration law, while striking down others. It held that federal law preempted Sections 3, 5(C), and 6 of Arizona’s immigration law. The invalidated provisions required legal immigrants to carry legal documentation at all times; authorized state law enforcement to arrest any individual under suspicion of being an illegal alien; and made it a misdemeanor for an illegal alien to search for or hold a job in Arizona. However, the Court left Section 2(B)—widely referred to as the “show me your papers” provision—intact. The decision is expected to inform future efforts to regulate immigration at the state level.

American Tradition Partnership v. Bullock: While it was only a per curium decision, the Supreme Court’s holding solidified that the justices still stood behind Citizen’s United. It further clarified that the Court’s approval of corporate political spending applies equally to both state and local elections.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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