Kansas v. Garcia

Summarized by:

  • Court: United States Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Preemption
  • Date Filed: March 3, 2020
  • Case #: 17-834
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: ALITO, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and THOMAS, GORSUCH, and KAVANAUGH, JJ., joined. THOMAS, J., filed a concurring opinion, in which GORSUCH, J., joined. BREYER, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, in which GINSBURG, SOTOMAYOR, and KAGAN, JJ., joined.
  • Full Text Opinion

IRCA does not expressly or impliedly preempt state prosecution for fraudulently using another person’s information on state and federal tax-withholding forms even when that same information is found on an I-9 form.

Respondents were convicted for fraudulent use of another’s Social Security number on tax-withholding forms when obtaining employment. On appeal, the Kansas Supreme Court reversed, concluding the Immigration Reform and Control Act (“IRCA”) expressly preempted the State from using any information contained within an I-9, irrespective that the same information was found in tax-withholding forms. The United States Supreme Court reversed, finding that IRCA does not directly address the use of the same information found within an I-9 and other documents and does not prohibit the use of any information found within an I-9 because information may be “contained in” many different places at the same time. IRCA only imposes express preemption of state sanctions upon those who employ unauthorized aliens, not employees. Under implied or field preemption, the Court explained that submission of tax-withholding forms is not a part of and is not fundamentally related to the field of fraud on the federal employment verification system because they serve entirely different functions. The Court also found no conflict preemption because it is possible to comply with both the IRCA and the Kansas statutes, even with some degree of overlap. REVERSED AND REMANDED. 

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