An invitation to profile: Arizona v. United States

Donathan L. Brown, Ithaca College


The recent Supreme Court decision regarding the constitutionality of Arizona's Senate Bill 1070 was declared a "victory" by both proponents and dissenters. While the Supreme Court declared three of the laws four provisions unconstitutional, both President Barack Obama and Arizona Governor Jan Brewer framed the outcome in a positive light. Despite three of the four provisions dismantled, the sole surviving provision allows law enforcement to question the immigration status of anyone who violates a non-immigration offense. Although the Supreme Court placed this provision within the parameters of a "wait and see" scenario, whereby, if there are problems/violations in the laws application/implementation, the Court will revisit this provision, I argue that such a provision, despite its "wait and see" clause, invites racial profiling. To illustrate this point, this article will perform a rhetorical analysis of the Court's majority opinion, before concluding with final thoughts. © 2012 The Author(s).