Sotomayor uses phrase “illegal alien,” and quickly changes it to “undocumented alien” during Arguments in Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting

December 8th, 2010

Curiously Justice Sotomayor, who famously used the term “undocumented immigrant,” rather than illegal alien in Mohawk Industries v. Carpenter, used the term “illegal alien” during arguments today, and quickly corrected herself and said “undocumented aliens.”

JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR: — just — just focus the question? Because we keep talking about whether the APA-type definition of licensing is what Congress intended or not, but you don’t disagree that Congress at least intended that if someone violated the Federal law and hired illegal aliens of Hispanic — undocumented aliens and was found to have violated it, that the State can revoke their license, correct, to do business?

Justice Alito and Scalia used the phrase Illegal Alien (which is the term used in the statute).