The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals today upheld Oklahoma’s authority to enforce a law that requires public contractors to participate in the federal E-Verify program. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other plaintiffs in the case claimed the E-Verify requirement and two other measures in the law were expressly and impliedly preempted by federal law. A federal District Court had previously sided with the plaintiffs and issued a preliminary injunction that barred Oklahoma’s enforcement of the three provisions.
The majority on the 10th Circuit’s three-judge panel today decided the district court had erred in its determination that the law’s E-Verify provision was preempted. However, the panel returned to the lower court decisions on provisions that makes it a discriminatory practice for an employer to terminate an authorized worker while retaining an illegal aliens, and that require contractors either to verify the work eligibility of their individual independent contractors or withhold certain taxes from those contractors.
Oklahoma State Rep. Randy Terrill, the law’s author, reportedly said the state has yet to decide its next course of action. Options include asking for a rehearing before the 10th Circuit, appealing the case to the Supreme Court, or proceeding to the U.S. District Court in Oklahoma City, as provided in today’s decision.
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