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JOHN KING, USA

Supreme Court Rules on Arizona Immigration Law; Interview With Arizona Governor Jan Brewer; Interview With Texas Congressman Charles Gonzalez; Turkey Appeals to NATO

Aired June 25, 2012 - 18:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. I'm John King.

Tonight: the new law of the land on immigration issues. The Supreme Court throws out several provisions of Arizona's tough law, but lets stand its most controversial enforcement tool.

The Arizona governor, Jan Brewer, joins us live to answer critics, including President Obama, who worry the court gave a green light to racial profiling of s.

And Syria accused of shooting down a second Turkish fighter jet as both countries offer starkly different stories over what happened to the first one, an escalating war of words that threatens to turn into something more.

Let's begin tonight with that landmark decision on Arizona's polarizing immigration law. The Supreme Court has now weighed in. And police officers in that state are allowed to check the immigration status of any person they stop or arrest as long as those officers have -- quote -- "reasonable suspicion" the person is in the country illegally.

And even though other key provisions of the law have been struck down, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer considers today's decision a victory.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. JAN BREWER (R), ARIZONA: The heart of Senate Bill 1070 has been proven to be constitutional. Arizona and every other state's inherent authority to protect and defend its people has been upheld.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Governor Brewer will join us live in just a few moments.

But critics have been crying foul, protesting Section 2-B. That's the so-called show-me-your-papers provision for two years ever since the state bill was introduced -- those critics say that provision could lead to racial profiling.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: They just upheld a measure that allows police to conduct immigration checks on anyone they suspect of being in the country illegally, even if their only evidence is an accent or maybe the color of their skin.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: In a statement, the attorney general, Eric Holder, says: "Section two is not a license to engage in racial profiling. And I want to assure communities around this country that the Department of Justice will continue to vigorously enforce prohibitions against racial and ethnic discrimination."

But three other parts of SB-1070 officially now thrown out by the Supreme Court. The state is not allowed to arrest immigrants without a warrant, is not allowed to make it illegal now -- the state wanted to make it illegal for unauthorized immigrants not to carry some official identification. Also illegal now, the state's effort has been thrown out -- they wanted to make it a crime for illegal immigrants to work or even to try to find work.

We will head to Arizona in just a moment, but let's start with our chief White House correspondent, Jessica Yellin.

President Obama released a statement, Jess, saying he's pleased with the outcome. But the statement from the president goes no to say this: "No American should ever live under a cloud of suspicion just because of what they look like. Going forward, we must ensure that Arizona law enforcement officials do not enforce this law in a manner that undermines the civil rights of Americans."

When you look at this going forward, in an odd way, does the president benefit politically that the court threw out three of the contested provisions, but left that one in and now we will see how this plays out going forward?

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, first, yes.

On the policy part of it, John, the Department of Homeland Security has made clear that they're not necessarily going to play ball all that much with Arizona on this one, that they're not going to change their response. They expect more phone calls, but they might not be that much of a participant in cracking down with them when they get those phone calls.

And the Department of Justice has put out just now a phone number to receive incoming calls if people feel like they're being racially profiled. So, they have made it clear on the response end that they're not so cooperative with Arizona on this one.

KING: The court has spoken, but we're going to stay involved here.

YELLIN: Right, exactly.

And so you asked about the politics. So the president has won on all these other counts except this one measure. And, yes, in a way, he can go out there -- this is the one issue that Latino voters are most concerned about, and it's a very careful dance he would have to do, but there is a way that he could subtly suggest that this is what you have to worry about with more conservative -- you know, if the other guy wins, bottom line.

KING: Used to motivate the critical Latino voters in Arizona and elsewhere.

YELLIN: Right. Right.

KING: We will watch that one play out. Jess, thanks so much.

Governor Romney just happened to be in Arizona today for a fund- raiser, but he's pretty low-key about the Supreme Court decision. He hasn't reacted on camera yet. But in a statement, Governor Romney says -- quote -- "Today's decision underscores the need for a president who will leader on this critical issue and work in a bipartisan fashion to pursue a national immigration strategy. President Obama has failed," Governor Romney says, "to provide any leadership on immigration."

CNN's national political correspondent, Jim Acosta, has more now on Governor Romney's response.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, it's been interesting to watch the Romney campaign all day long.

Keep in mind the campaign chartered a plane for the press to follow the candidate along all this week as the Supreme Court decisions were coming down, but when the Arizona immigration ruling came out of the Supreme Court, the initial reaction from the Romney campaign was very cautious.

Romney put out that statement that didn't say one way or the other whether he agrees or disagrees with the Supreme Court decision. Then, on the campaign plane, as Romney was exiting his plane to get in his ride over to a private fund-raiser here in Scottsdale, Arizona, his traveling press secretary came back on the plane, Rick Gorka, to talk to reporters and he was peppered for a good seven minutes. Does Mitt Romney agree with this decision at the Supreme Court, does he not agree with that decision?

Rick Gorka didn't say either way, and then finally at this fund- raiser just a couple of hours ago here in Scottsdale, Mitt Romney did expand on that Supreme Court decision. He said that he was disappointed that the high court didn't give more latitude to the states to enforce their laws.

He wishes that they had been given that latitude. But that was really as far as he went in criticizing the Supreme Court decision, showing a lot of deference to the high court. What Mitt Romney did do all day long in that statement and then at the fund-raiser later on in the afternoon, he went after the president, blaming President Obama for not getting immigration reform passed when he had a Democratic House and Senate.

According to the Romney campaign, the reason why the immigration system is in the place it is in right now is because of President Obama's inability to get immigration reform passed when he had the chance -- John.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: Jim Acosta in Phoenix for us tonight.

Republican Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, she calls the Supreme Court decision -- quote -- "a victory." But is this just the beginning of more legal action against her state's controversial law? Governor Brewer joins us live now from Phoenix.

Governor, you called this a victory. The provision where the police can ask somebody if they have reasonable reason to believe they're in this country illegally remains in effect. Your state has a large and growing Latino population. As you know, many of them are afraid. They believe they will be profiled. How can you assure them they will not be?

BREWER: Well, first and foremost, let me begin by saying that it was a victory today. The court unanimously upheld the portion of that section, and that is a victory. It's a victory for the rule of law and it is a victory for the people of Arizona and for America and for the 10th Amendment. And I can assure you that we will uphold the law in every manner that we are mandated by.

We know that racial profiling is against the law. And we put that specifically into the rule and into the law. And we have instructed our law enforcement by training through AZ Post what it means, and that the people would have the right to sue those people if racial profiling is happening out there.

You know, our officers, our law enforcement officers uphold the law every day. And they have always been there to investigate when people commit crimes. And they don't profile. So it has nothing to do with racial profiling. It's about the rule of law.

KING: As you know, Governor, your relationship with the Obama administration has not been very good and I'm putting it mildly there. I want to read a little bit from what the president said today.

In a statement, the president said this: "No American should ever live under a cloud of suspicion just because of what they look like. Going forward we must ensure that Arizona law enforcement officials do not enforce this law in a manner that undermines the civil rights of Americans."

It's clear the president -- forgive me -- has some trust issues with your state. And just tonight, I think you just heard Jessica Yellin say the Justice Department says it is setting up a hot line. So if anyone in Arizona thinks their civil rights are being violated, thinks they are being racially profiled, they can call Washington and complain. I suspect you think your battle with the administration is just entering a new round?

BREWER: I do. I think this is another assault on the state of Arizona. It began with them downplaying our border problem and them not securing it. And then you know, suing the State of Arizona for trying to protect the people of Arizona and of America. Then doing backdoor amnesty. And now rescinding only Arizona's ability to use the 287G. Outrageous.

KING: Let me explain to people what --

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Forgive me for interrupting, Governor. I want to explain what 287G is. That is an agreement. Washington re-enters into agreements with state and local police departments and essentially says you can help us enforce federal immigration laws.

And the Justice Department today, after this decision, rescinded that agreement with your state. Again, their position, Governor, would be that they don't trust your state, that they see this law as somehow nefarious and that they believe they have to uphold the civil rights because they don't think you will.

How can you assure them that's not the case?

BREWER: Well, the bottom line is, is they took an oath. The president took an oath to uphold the laws of the United States of America and unanimously the Supreme Court ruled that Senate Bill 1070, the portion that deals with I.D., was upheld.

And immediately, three hours after the decision was made, then they arbitrarily single out Arizona and sent a bomb, if you will, across our bow and made Arizona once again a target. The people of America ought to be outraged. This is absolutely an assault.

KING: As you know, Governor, the court did not say -- the court did not say we like this section. What the court said is we don't know enough about this section. This is allowing the police to ask for documentation if they've stopped somebody for a traffic violation, stopped somebody for some offense and then have reason to believe the person might be illegally in the country.

What the court essentially said is go ahead and implement it and there may be other challenges that we can't judge it until we see it happen in practice. So I assume you know full well as you go forward implementing this, starting today, that the eyes of the country, the eyes of the courts and perhaps even the eyes of the world will still be on your state.

BREWER: We knew that this wasn't the end of our journey but we certainly didn't think it was going to end with the rescinding of the 287G program. And to single out Arizona by themselves is just simply an assault, because they know that they haven't done their job and we need our border secured. And you know, as far as I'm concerned, this is all politically motivated and it's unfortunate because if you can do this by fiat, what else can he do? It's out of control.

KING: You're declaring victory because that one enforcement provision was left in place. But three other contested parts were left out and the court essentially said, Governor, that there are lines and that in those three cases, the court said, you were crossing the line into what is the federal government's purview.

Do you accept that decision from the court now even though I suspect you disagree with it?

BREWER: We have always worked with the federal government in enforcing federal law. But the heart of the law the court upheld. And then the federal government, the president and Homeland Security, three hours after a unanimous vote, they selected to make Arizona a target and rescinded 287. You know, the people of America ought to be alarmed.

KING: Can you appeal that, Governor? Or are you essentially on your own now?

BREWER: Well, I guess what he's telling us is that Arizona, you're on your own. Take it or leave it. You know? I guess he doesn't think we're part of the country anymore.

KING: Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona, we appreciate --

BREWER: Pretty outrageous.

KING: We appreciate your time tonight, Governor. I suspect this battle will continue. And as you know, as you implement this law, the federal government pretty much serving notice tonight it's going to keep an eye on your state. We appreciate your time on this important day. We'll see you soon, Governor. Thanks so much.

You have heard both sides claim victory in Arizona's immigration fight.

Up next, I will ask the chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus who he thinks won and what it means for our nation's immigrants.

Plus, Syria takes down one Turkish jet and reportedly takes aim at another. Now Turkey is asking NATO to do something about it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Well, who won the Supreme Court battle over Arizona's immigration law? Well, it in part depends on who you ask. Three key provisions were tossed out by the high court, but the justices did uphold the show-me-your-papers provision.

You just heard from the Republican governor of the state, Jan Brewer. Let's get the Democratic and Latino viewpoint from Congressman Charles Gonzalez. He is from Texas and chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

Congressman, they did leave in place the show-me-your-papers provision. That is what was viewed as most controversial by most Latino activists. What is your sense of what that means going forward, not just in Arizona, but in other states that have similar provisions?

REP. CHARLES GONZALEZ (D), TEXAS: Well, if you think of who the winner was, I say it was the rule of law, the supreme law of the United States and that's the Constitution of the United States.

And it said no state is going to be above the Constitution. And I know the governor said people are thinking that Arizona is not part of this country. I think they were reminded today that they are, in fact, part of this country, that the Constitution does in fact apply to the state of Arizona, as well as other states that may want to venture where Arizona has been.

KING: But the court did say, sir -- the court threw out three provisions in which the court essentially said Arizona was trying to take steps through enforcement that belongs as a federal purview.

But in allowing this show-me-your-papers provision to go forward, they did say, let's see. They didn't say we're sure it's a great thing. They said we don't know enough about it. It has to be implemented. We have to watch to see whether it can be done in a way that doesn't violate the civil rights.

You heard the governor say there will not be racial profiling in my state.

Do you believe her?

GONZALEZ: Can't do it.

And the reason for that is that you know based on the color of the skin of the person that is stopped -- and it may be a pretext stop -- they're going to make some sort of reasonable suspicion here that this person is not here legally. What does that mean?

It probably means that person is going to be an Hispanic because that's the whole target of this particular law. It's going to be ethnic profiling on a grand scale. And Justice Roberts at the outset of oral argument in this case indicated -- he said this is not about profiling. That's for another day.

And that's what we're all going to end up. And my prediction is that the other shoe will drop and that this fourth provision will be ruled unconstitutional.

KING: I assume you mean there will be other legal challenges. And we will watch those as they play out. Governor Romney says this is all the president's fault and he says the president had two years with a Democratic House and a Democratic Senate. He could have had national immigration reform and he says this -- quote -- "because he didn't act, states and localities have tried to act and now the court is trying to get into it and sort things out and it's a muddle. It's a muddle because he failed to do what he said he would do."

Does the president share responsibility for this muddle, as Governor Romney says?

GONZALEZ: Governor Romney knows better.

And I think if you look at the history of comprehensive immigration reform, both under the George W. Bush administration and President Obama', sit has not been the Democrats in Congress that have pushed back. It has been the Republicans. So, I would think that if Governor Romney wishes to approach this issue in good faith, he would talk to members of his own party. Obviously, he's not doing that.

And to assign blame on this president when everything that has been stonewalled has been basically from the Republican opposition is ludicrous.

KING: What is your guess on the potential turnout, motivation impact? There were some people who thought if the law was upheld completely, it would greatly motivate the Latino community. Now that you have more of a mixed decision, what's your sense on the political impact?

GONZALEZ: And I apologize with the earpiece.

But the way I look at it is, of course it's going to energize the Latino communities. What people don't understand is they're saying why is immigration so important to Latinos? It impacts all Latinos. Not all Latinos are undocumented, obviously. Some were here before the founding of this nation. But we're all impacted by it.

How else do you explain in high school stadiums where you have students chanting Arizona, Arizona, or USA, USA, when a basketball team takes the court and it happened to be Latino students, American citizens from across the city?

This has a poisonous effect in our society. Yes, that generates interest and enthusiasm. Why wouldn't it if you're Latino?

KING: Congressman Gonzalez, appreciate your insights tonight, sir. We will stay in touch as this one plays out. Appreciate your joining us on this important day.

GONZALEZ: Thank you. Appreciate it.

KING: Thank you, sir.

Still ahead here: the "Truth" why the Supreme Court's decision on the Arizona immigration law isn't making the president or his challenger happy.

But, first, widespread flooding and deadly tornadoes from Tropical Storm Debby -- the storm's relentless fury.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Welcome back.

(NEWS BREAK)

KING: Up next here: rival neighbors -- a second Turkish plane shot at after Syria downs a Turkish fighter jet. Could this force NATO into the fight?

And our senior legal analyst, Jeff Toobin, on today's Supreme Court rulings, its impact beyond the Arizona borders and other key cases before the justices.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: This half-hour: Syria defends shooting down a Turkish fighter jet, while Turkey claims one its pilots was again in the crosshairs today. What's going on in the skies above that border?

The Supreme Court OKs Arizona's "show me your papers" rule. We're talking about what happens now and what it means for other states with similar immigration laws.

And President Obama talks about how he swept his future wife off her feet. Details of their first date and the president's advice for all the single men out there.

And often when the Supreme Court speaks, it ends the discussion about whether a law is constitutional, how it should be enforced, but today's big decision on Arizona's immigration law, while it set aside some controversial provisions, it leaves some big questions going forward.

Let's take a closer look. What the court said is that -- we're acting up over here. Look at that. Well, I think we're going to walk away. What do you think of that? That doesn't happen all that often. Let's walk back over here.

What the court said is that Arizona can enforce a "show me your papers" provision. That means if an officer pulls somebody over and has reason to believe they could be in the country illegally, they can ask them for documentation.

Five other states have very similar laws. That's what I was trying to show you on the flashing map over there. Every now and then technology fails us.

Let's bring in our senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin...

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Who never fails us.

KING: ... who never fails us. And you will not fail us now. Not allowed.

So the court says in Arizona, "You can try this." A bit skeptical, if you read the decision. But "You can try this. We'll see if you can enforce this in a way that does not violate -- implement this in a way that does not violate people's civil rights." Five other states have very similar provisions. But what is the next key test?

TOOBIN: Well, this is really what's peculiar about the decision is that the three provisions that are declared unconstitutional are not all that different from the "show me your papers" provision which is upheld. So the amount of guidance to the states is really somewhat limited.

One thing is clear, is that the states cannot establish a bigger penalty for the same violation as the federal government, and that would invalidate some of the provisions that these other states have tried.

But these laws are all somewhat different from one another. And it is not precisely clear to me what's in and what's out after Justice Kennedy's opinion.

KING: And when you hear tonight the Justice Department a strongly worded statement from the attorney general. Then the Justice Department is setting up a hotline, essentially saying anyone in Arizona, you think your civil rights are being violated, call and report it us to us. There's been a lot of mistrust between Washington and the state to begin with. Now this decided, that's gone away.

TOOBIN: That's right. And remember, the law that's upheld says that it's OK to check for someone's immigration status if you have a legitimate stop and have a reasonable suspicion that they are illegally in the country.

What's reasonable suspicion that someone's illegally in the country? That is not spelled out in the law. Arizona has said it's training its officers to behave appropriately. But it's a lot to ask of police officers. And you can be sure that some of this is going to be controversial when it starts to be applied.

KING: And some of it will end up back in the courts and we'll get a second whack at these.

TOOBIN: In short order.

KING: You're in the room today, which is the best theater, and I'm very jealous of you. The justices go through this. And in the Arizona case, one of the more conservative justices dissented and dissented quite strongly.

And in doing so, Justice Antonin Scalia did not only take offense with the ruling on the Arizona law. He took offense with current actions by the Democratic president of the United States, the president deciding by executive action not to deport younger illegal immigrants and not only that; to let them get work papers. Justice Scalia writes this: "The president said at a news conference that the new program is 'the right thing to do.' But to say, as the court does, that Arizona contradicts federal law by enforcing applications of the immigration act that the president declines to enforce boggles the mind."

And several other things he said that were pretty political for a guy in a robe.

TOOBIN: He said -- he said that at one point, that if this decision had come before Arizona decided to join the union, it would not have joined the union, presumably I guess according to Justice Scalia, Arizona would have joined Mexico instead. I mean, talk about boggling the mind.

He did sound like you mentioned earlier that he might have been auditioning for the vice presidency, perhaps a show on FOX. Both of them seem -- seem possibilities.

KING: I think he likes his job right where he is.

TOOBIN: He likes it.

KING: One other decision that's not getting as much attention because of the big Arizona decision. It was the campaign finance decision. And if you look at the traditional -- American Traditional Partnership versus Bullock, you look at that title and say, "What's this about?" But a very important decision related to the Citizens United decision, which has allowed the free flow of money into campaigns. What do the courts say?

TOOBIN: In the Citizens United, as you may remember, it said corporations have First Amendment rights to support candidates of their choice. Montana under Montana law said, "We don't want to do that. We want corporations to be banned from participating."

The court in a one-paragraph opinion, 5-4 again, said Montana may not bar corporations from contributing to their campaigns. Corporations have First Amendment rights. They are doubling down on Citizens United, not backing away from it.

KING: Only the Congress can change that.

TOOBIN: Well, not really. I mean, Congress -- that's the thing. Only the Supreme Court can change it. The Congress tried with McCain- Feingold. There is really not much anybody can do about campaign finance now except the Supreme Court, this court.

KING: This court.

TOOBIN: And they're not backing away.

KING: Counselor Toobin will be here all week, because the one thing we've not talked about tonight is because the decision didn't come out. That would be the big health-care decision, which the court said it will announce on Thursday, the final day of this turn. So we'll talk again Thursday about that.

TOOBIN: We will.

KING: Turning overseas now, we're monitoring a deepening crisis between Syria and Turkey tonight. Syria shot down a Turkish fighter jet back on Friday. Now we're learning that it might have fired on another.

Both countries telling very different stories about what happened in the skies above the border, each pointing the finger at the other.

But now Turkey is asking NATO to do something.

Soner Cagaptay a senior fellow and director of the Turkish research program at the Washington Institute for Near-East Policy. Sir, Turkey goes to NATO. If Turkey goes in, are they asking for military assistance? Are they asking for diplomatic assistance? Where might this head?

SONER CAGAPTAY, SENIOR FELLOW AND DIRECTOR, TURKISH RESEARCH PROGRAM, WASHINGTON INSTITUTE FOR NEAR-EAST POLICY: It's a key meeting that's going to be held tomorrow. Because when Turkey goes to NATO, they're going to ask for the alliance to come to Turkey's defense, as per the charter of the alliance. Article five of the NATO charter says that when a member country is attacked, the others have to come to its defense.

Last time this happened, Turkey went to the NATO just before the Iraq war in 2003. France and Germany blocked the alliance from extending protection to Turkey.

So it's really important this time what the alliance says tomorrow, because if the alliance says no again, Turkey will probably not join any international action or pull away to the idea of international action on Syria, if and when it comes to that.

So I think what NATO says tomorrow is going to have long-term impact on Turkey's willingness to act with NATO and with the U.S. on Syria.

KING: And Turkey for years has had at least a cordial, a productive if not always happy relationship with its neighbor, Syria. There are tensions from time to time, but there has been communication. That has now -- that broke off some time ago when Prime Minister Erdogan was upset about Assad continuing with the killing.

But what happens now if you mention, if NATO doesn't support Turkey, Turkey won't be part of any international response. Turkey has been key if there's going to be anything brokered. Where is this headed?

CAGAPTAY: Turkey is the lone border with Syria. It's the only NATO ally that borders Syria. It's a country with a powerful military. It's the biggest country in the region. So it's easier to get things done with Turkey, and it's harder if Turkey is not on board.

And I think that Turkey is now probably the fiercest opponent of Assad's policies and its crackdown on the demonstrators. And the Turks are expecting the western alliance and NATO and the United States to back them up so that they won't be left alone.

I think, although Turkey very much opposes Assad's crackdown, it will not take action unilaterally, because they don't want to be bogged down if they're fighting only, and they want to make sure that Washington and Brussels, that NATO is behind them, as well. So that's why I think tomorrow is as a key meeting for the alliance. This is the only time that the alliance history that Turkey has gone back to -- the second time, in fact, it's asked for a joint decision.

And I know people in Washington are probably supporting that, but it's important to see what European countries say, France and Germany and others, which blocked last time before the Iraq war, the idea of NATO extending protection to Turkey.

KING: When you hear the wildly different perspectives from Turkey and Syria about exactly what happened, does that surprise you at all? Do you find any common ground?

CAGAPTAY: We know that the Turkish plane was in Syrian air space. That's what the Turkish foreign ministry said. They also say that the airplane was fired at after it left Syrian air space and that typically what countries do when they see such a violation is they warn. The Turkish plane was not warned. So there's an element of hostility here.

And I don't think this was accidental. Syrians have been hostile towards Turkey for a while, and because Turkey supports the uprising, Syrians have shot across the border into Turkey. Refugees who have taken refuge in Turkey. So it's not the first, quote unquote, "accidental" firing from Syria into Turkey. And I think we'll probably see similar incidents in the coming days, where there's going to be minor skirmishes and firings and shootings and what have you.

And that's why I think tomorrow's decision whether or not NATO stands on firm ground to defend Turkey and to say that the alliances with a member country is key, because that will probably make Assad think twice next time he shoots at Turkey.

KING: Soner Cagaptay, I appreciate your important perspective. We'll track that big NATO meaning tomorrow. Thank you sir.

Coming up here, the truth about why neither candidate is fully happy with the Supreme Court's Arizona immigration rule.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Truth is, neither candidate is fully happy with the Supreme Court tonight, but for opposite reasons.

President Obama is happy the high court tossed out three provisions in Arizona's 2010 immigration law. You know it as SB 1070. But the court, at least for now, said the state can allow police officers to ask for documentation if they have reason to believe someone is in the country illegally.

The president released a statement saying, "I remain concerned about the practical impact of the remaining provision of the Arizona law that requires local law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of anyone they even suspect to be here illegally."

Republican Mitt Romney thinks the high court should have left Arizona to its own devices. He says this, "I would have preferred to see the Supreme Court give more latitude to states, not less." Governor Romney said that at a fundraising event in Scottsdale tonight.

He went on to say that immigration law has become a "muddle," his word. Muddle. You can decide which candidate you believe has the right policy ideas on this issue, but Governor Romney's right when he says it didn't have to be this way.

Now, he blames President Obama for that, saying he hasn't consistently pushed the Congress. And there's some truth to that. But Republicans also have refused to discuss most immigration-related issues the past 10 years, hiding behind their "secure the border first" slogan.

Slogans don't solve problems. Conversations do and sometimes compromise. Both parties could use a little refresher course in the art of legislating, but it won't happen before this election.

President Obama has a commanding lead among Latino voters at the moment and will keep attacking Governor Romney as he aims to protect it.

And Governor Romney tends to be cautious when it comes to immigration politics, knowing any effort to reach out to Latinos to soften his tone or his positions risks alienating the conservative GOP base. So yes, immigration policies are a muddle.

And the politics of immigration, let's begin there tonight with national political director and CNN senior -- "National Journal" political director -- let me get that right -- and CNN senior political analyst Ron Brownstein. A long title. Republican strategist Rich Galen; and Democratic strategist and CNN political contributor Maria Cardona.

Let me start with you, of course, Maria. In the sense that three out of four of the contested provisions get tossed so the White House claims victory, the one and the most controversial provision stays in, the governor of Arizona -- you heard her tonight on the program. She claims victory. But when you talk to your friends in the Latino community, what's their take?

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, their take is that, first of all, they're really happy that this administration took on this law to begin with. So they're happy about that. They're very upset that this -- that this fourth provision stays in place. It's the one that, from the very beginning, they were most concerned about, and they continue to be concerned about it for the same reasons that President Obama is concerned about it.

But I think politically, it really puts Romney in a continued uncomfortable immigration box that he put himself in during the primaries when he said he would veto the DREAM Act. He called SB 1070 a model for the nation. And he has yet said whether he would take away the policy that President Obama put in place.

And for President Obama, I actually think it's the best of both worlds politically, because he can claim victory on this, but yet that one provision will absolutely mobilize the Latino vote in support of President Obama.

KING: Do you agree with that take, Rich? How does it...

RICH GALEN, GOP STRATEGIST: Other than the last part.

KING: ... how does it align (ph) with motivation?

GALEN: Yes. I mean, but I don't know that. I'm not Latino. So I have to bow to that.

But I do -- here's what I think that the real effect of this may be, is that on Thursday, if the Supreme Court knocks out some or all of Obama care, it's going to be very difficult for the White House to do their rending of the flesh act, saying that this is a -- this is a politically-motivated court.

I think today's decision gave Chief Justice Roberts a broad mandate for whatever's going to come out Thursday. And I think maybe it takes them both off the table.

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think that's very smart.

KING: This is a hard issue, because if the Congress hasn't been able to solve it, you go back to President Bush when he had John McCain, Ted Kennedy, the late senator Kennedy. But if you look at the polling on this, what do people think of the Arizona law: 84 percent of Republicans like it; only 41 percent of Democrats approve of it. Six out of ten independents. That's where you look at when you're in a tough election year.

You break it down this way: 69 percent of whites say they approve the Arizona immigration law. Only 40 percent of African-Americans, 20 percent of Hispanics. But when you're looking at the politics, the policy, I think Governor Romney chose the right word. It is a muddle. When you look at the politics, this one's hard.

BROWNSTEIN: First of all, as you say, this specific provision has broad support overall. We polled on it, our congressional poll. Two-thirds of Americans do support the provision that was upheld on showing your papers.

But as you noted in your interview, it was barely upheld. I mean, the Supreme Court sent a clear shot across the bow, saying the courts will be watching how you enforce this, not only for racial profiling but whether there's excessive detention involved. So there's kind of a short leash there. The politics are complicated.

On the one hand, you do have a clear risk for the Republicans among Hispanics. You saw the poll today: Obama has the potential to exceed his 67 percent votes from the '08 among Hispanics even though the unemployment rate in the Hispanic community is 11 percent. That's extraordinary.

KING: What does Governor Romney do?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, I thought it was very revealing today that he didn't go as far as did he in his debate with you, I believe, in Arizona. He said in Arizona, "I will drop this lawsuit on day one." That certainly implies, you know, a belief that the federal government should not be challenging his policy.

And if he was not that clear today, as he was in the debate back in February, I think there's a muddle there, as well, as they're struggling to figure out how to square the circle.

CARDONA: It's exactly his problem, because he can't do much of anything. He's probably now huddled with Chris Kovach, who's the author of the law who's also one of his senior advisers. And Latinos understand that.

He has to get to a point where he can get a little bit more support from the Latino voters or he's never going to make it to the White House.

(CROSSTALK)

BROWNSTEIN: There's another side to the ledger, right? If you look at the portions of the white community that are most unhappy about illegal immigration and demographic change more broadly, blue- collar whites and older whites, Republicans are moving toward historic numbers with those voters. So...

KING: Midwest tonight, out in Nevada or New Mexico in exchange for Pennsylvania or Wisconsin.

GALEN: I hate this. I think we're better than this. To single out any group either as a protected class or a group that should be beat up but not beat up, you know, to be singled out for particular attention by the police, I think is dangerous. I think it's awful, and I think we're better than this and we should aim...

CARDONA: That's why we need comprehensive immigration reform, which by the way, the majority of Americans support.

KING: We'll see how it goes forward. Everyone stand by. We'll continue the conversation.

But "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" coming up at the top of the hour. And Erin, you're going to continue this conversation about the immigration ruling with a big supporter of the Arizona law. Tell us about it.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: That's right. Well, Sheriff Arpaio is our guest tonight, and obviously, he's the man who a lot of people see as synonymous with the Arizona immigration law. We're going to talk about whether he thinks, John, that this is a victory in terms of being able to show your papers, or whether he thinks it's a loss that a few of the key provisions were struck down.

But obviously, he's the man everyone wants to hear from. And we're going to hear from him right at the top of the hour.

Plus, the story that everybody is talking about, men and women, John. Actually, more hits on "The Atlantic" Web site on this story than any other story in that magazine's history. The headline is why women still can't have it all, written by a former senior member of the Obama administration, Anne-Marie Slaughter, and she is going to be my guest tonight.

KING: Looking forward to both of those conversations, Erin. We'll see you in just a few minutes.

And still ahead here, it's an Olympic first. Female athletes from Saudi Arabia now allowed to go for the gold.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: You just heard our discussion about the Arizona immigration Supreme Court ruling. Let's move on the economy, the issue we think will be the most important issue in this campaign.

President Obama was up in New Hampshire today, and during a speech up there in New Hampshire, one of the battleground states, he talked about an article printed last week questioning Governor Romney's career at Bain Capital, the private equity firm that, according to some recent reports, was active making money by outsourcing jobs overseas. Here's the president's take.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: So yesterday, his advisors were asked about this, and they tried to clear this up by telling us there's actually a difference between outsourcing and offshoring. That's what they said. You cannot make this stuff up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: A clear effort, Ron Brownstein, to essentially say, "You might be mad at my record, might not be happy with the state of the economy, but this guy is worse."

BROWNSTEIN: Choice or referendum, right? That's the battle that we're going through every day. Every day Romney wants to basically say this issue, this election has one issue. Are you better off than you were four years ago, do you think?

And Obama wants the issue to be much more broadly a choice between these two individuals, their values, their experiences, their priorities. This is basically an attempt to say primarily to those working-class, white working-class voters who are so tough on the president, showing very poorly with them in the polls, that Mitt Romney is someone that you can't trust.

GALEN: None of that matters if the unemployment rate sticks at 8.2 percent, 8.3 percent. If the unemployment rate at the end of August, early September is still in the over 8 percent, none of that -- that's not going to work.

KING: There have been a debate among some Democrats...

CARDONA: Yes.

KING: ... as to whether or not the Bain strategy is a good strategy. What do you think?

CARDONA: I have always thought that it is a good strategy, regardless of what the Democratic elite think. And I've seen -- and I've sat in on some focus groups of independent women who really did not know anything about Mitt Romney, other than they have heard that he was this guy who was head of a company that basically shipped jobs overseas, and that that scared them.

And I think it really also goes to whether he is capable of creating jobs. Let's remember: this is not an attack on -- on equity or private equity or wealth. It is an attack on Mitt Romney, basically saying that, because he was at Bain that makes him best...

KING: He wants -- he wants to take all his time...

(CROSSTALK)

GALEN: Romney...

CARDONA: Priorities.

GALEN: Romney -- even not with his priority, he created more jobs than Barack Obama ever created total in his whole life.

CARDONA: His focus is creating wealth.

BROWNSTEIN: The schizophrenic -- schizophrenic response in polling, in most polls, more people say Obama cares about people like them or will pursue policies that help people like them, but still more people say Mitt Romney would be better for the economy overall.

KING: We'll continue this conversation.

CARDONA: It'll be interesting.

KING: Maria, Rich, Ron, thanks for coming in.

Lisa Sylvester back now with the latest news you need to know right now.

Hi there.

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, John. We're following news just coming in about the Fast and Furious scandal.

A GOP leadership aide tells our Kate Bolduan that the House is expected to vote Thursday on whether to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over documents related to the botched gun operation.

And on Wall Street, stocks took a beating, the selloff driven by fears over Europe's debt crisis. The Dow plummeted 138 points. The S&P 500 and the NASDAQ both closed almost 2 percent lower. Investors are worried E.U. leaders will fail to find a game-changing solution during their two-day summit.

And the 2012 Olympics in London will break new ground. For the first time Saudi Arabia will allow female athletes to participate in the games. The International Olympic Committee has been in talks with the kingdom to allow women to compete and act as officials. Qatar and Brunei will also send women to the games for the first time.

A lot of women out there probably very pleased to hear that news, John.

KING: I think that's great. It'll be worth looking forward to the games to see how they do.

Lisa, stay put. You're going to have to help me on this one. Tonight's "Moment You May Have Missed." President Obama and the first lady dishing about their first date. It involved a walk, a meal, and a movie.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

B. OBAMA: Then we went to see "Do the Right Thing."

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: Spike Lee, had just come out.

B. OBAMA: Had just come out.

M. OBAMA: Showed all the signs. He was hip, cutting edge, cultural, sensitive. The fountain, nice touch; the walk, patient.

B. OBAMA: Take tips, gentlemen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: In case you don't remember, "Do the Right Thing" was about racial tensions in New York back in the 1980s.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, sir...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Little clip there, remember?

Seems movies were a popular first date for the men running for president. A few months back Ann Romney gushed about her first date with her future husband. She was just 15 years old when Mitt Romney took her to see this movie.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JULIE ANDRES, ACTRESS/SINGER (singing): The hills are alive with the sound of music.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Very, very, very, very, very different movies, but if there's one take away, right, at least for the gentlemen out there, dinner and a movie?

SYLVESTER: I think you're absolutely right. And you know what comes across to me, is just how much both couples actually seem very much in love. So maybe there is something to be said, John, about that whole dinner and movie. Something to it, John.

KING: Dinner date, movie, dinner date, movie. The -- Michelle and Barack there, the campaign's trying to get a little mileage out of that.

SYLVESTER: Yes. Well, she usually gushes about her husband. It comes across loud and clear. So you know, kudos again to both couples. It's always nice to see something like that, John.

KING: Not going to put them on the spot, but our movie critics here were making little comments during all of that.

We'll see you right back here tomorrow night. Same bat time, same bat channel. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.