With public debate about immigration law and policy at a peak, Anna Law
is on the podcast this week to discuss her book The Immigration Battle in American Courts
(Cambridge University Press, 2014) which came out in paperback in 2014. Law is the Associate Professor and Herb Kurz Chair in Constitutional Rights Political Science at Brooklyn College, CUNY.
In the book, Law assesses the role of the federal courts in immigration going back to the late 18th century. She follows the institutional evolution of the Supreme Court and the US Courts of Appeals through the early 2000s as new waves of immigrants arrive in the country. What she discovers is that by the turn of the 20th century, a division of labor developed between the two courts as the Courts of Appeals retained its original function as error-correction courts, and the Supreme Court was reserved for the most important policy and political questions. We ended our conversation about the book by reflecting on how the courts may treat the Trump administration executive order on immigration.