"You can see it's not selling very well," said Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonya Sotomayor. "Why don't you try to come up with something else?"
Those two sentences summed up the federal government's day in front of the United States Supreme Court. Little went the way of Solicitor General David Donald Virrelli in his effort to assert supreme federal authority over immigration.
The day began with all of the signs of a landmark day at the country's highest court. Hundreds of demonstrators showed up. Hundreds of observers stood in line for a ticket to see the showdown in person.
Eight justices heard the attorney for Arizona, Paul Clement, argue that SB 1070 simply requires police to do what the federal government already allows them to do - detain illegal immigrants.
Virrelli claimed immigration is the sole responsibility of the federal government.
Both men faced tough questions.
Justice Stephen Breyer hounded Clement about the law's requirement that police detain people they believe are illegal immigrants.
"It says any person who is arrested shall have the person's immigration status determined before the person is released. So I wonder if they have arrested a citizen, he's Hispanic looking, he was jogging, he has a backpack, he has water in it and Pedialyte, so they think, oh, maybe this is an illegal person," said Breyer. "Can you represent to us that he would not stay in detention for a significantly longer period of time than he would have stayed in the absence of section 2(b)?"
Clement responded, "I don't want to represent that."
But it was Virrelli who had the toughest sell.
Justice Antonin Scalia asked,"What's wrong about states enforcing federal law? There is a federal law about robbing banks."
Virrelli responded, "…here what we are talking about is….an area of dominant federal concern, exclusive federal concern."
Scalia asked, "Arizona has no power? What does sovereignty mean if it does not include the ability to defend your borders?"
"What we heard today in the Supreme Court was just awesome," announced former state Sen. Russell Pearce, who was the sponsor of the law.
Opponents tried to put a positive spin on the turn of events.
"I'm very optimistic that the justices will do the right thing and uphold the lower court's decision, but there are some serious questions there," said state Sen. Steve Gallardo, an outspoken critic of the law.
Gallardo conceded that it looked like the federal government missed some opportunities to make its point in the hearing.
The decision is expected by the end of June.
Copyright 2012 CBS 5 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Sunday, May 19 2013 1:01 AM EDT2013-05-19 05:01:02 GMT
Crash victim Juan Rodriguez with his fiance Amanda Lujan.
You hear a lot about deadly accidents involving motorcycles A Valley couple wants to share their story in hopes drivers will pay more attention to bikers on the road. "The fourth of July, Juan proposed,More >
You hear a lot about deadly accidents involving motorcycles. A Valley couple wants to share their story in hopes drivers will pay more attention to bikers on the road.More >
Sunday, May 19 2013 10:54 AM EDT2013-05-19 14:54:18 GMT
Scottsdale police say a body found in a canal has been identified as a man who was reported missing after he failed to return from a bicycle ride earlier this week. A police officer discovered the bodyMore >
A police officer discovered the body of 78-year-old Edward Allan Brawley on Saturday morning near Hayden Road and Indian Bend.More >
Friday, May 17 2013 7:16 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:16:53 GMT
One person has died in a crash near Harrisonville, MO, Thursday evening. The crash happened on Missouri Highway 7 and Walker Road. It involved a car and a tractor-trailer. Harrisonville is in Cass County.More >
Savannah Nash celebrated her 16th birthday last week. She died Thursday when her car slammed into a semi while she was texting during her first time driving by herself.More >
Tuesday, May 14 2013 8:25 PM EDT2013-05-15 00:25:14 GMT
Amy's Baking Company was featured on Kitchen Nightmares season finale, and let's just say things didn't go well. For the first time in the show's history it's host, Gordon Ramsay walked away. The showMore >
Scottsdale restaurant owners made a big splash on national television for being impossible to work with, and now it appears they've taken their bad attitudes to the internet. Or have they?More >
Sunday, May 19 2013 10:26 PM EDT2013-05-20 02:26:08 GMT
Fallen first responders
A 23-year-old firefighter is in surgery at St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix. Officials told CBS 5 he is in extremely critical condition after being crushed between two fire vehicles. The firefighter wasMore >
Phoenix police officer Daryl Raetz, 29, and Phoenix firefighter Bradley Harper, 23, died within six hours of each other from injuries suffered in two separate incidents.More >
Saturday, May 18 2013 11:06 PM EDT2013-05-19 03:06:03 GMT
The mayor of Phoenix is calling Groceries for Guns the largest buyback program in state history. In fact, Greg Stanton said nearly 2,000 guns are now off the street and unable to fall into the hands ofMore >
The mayor of Phoenix is calling Groceries for Guns the largest buyback program in state history. In fact, Greg Stanton said nearly 2,000 guns are now off the street and unable to fall into the hands of criminals.More >
Wednesday, May 15 2013 2:57 PM EDT2013-05-15 18:57:11 GMT
The old saying goes, "If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen." Perhaps, this applies to Kitchen Nightmares, as well. An Arizona bakery was featured on Friday's episode of the Gordon RamseyMore >
The old saying goes, "If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen." Perhaps, this applies to Kitchen Nightmares, as well.More >