Sunday, April 29, 2012

Supreme Court Hears Arizona's SB 1070

Illegal immigration is back in the news with the Supreme Court reviewing the constitutionality of Arizona's SB 1070. The law, which passed in April of 2010, really isn't controversial. All it did was take existing but scattered federal laws, codified them, and added teeth to enforce them. Had the federal government done this to begin with, there would have been no need for Arizona's law, which has been copied by five other states.

Obama instructed Attorney General Eric Holder, the head of the Department of Justice, to challenge the law. The DOJ alleged that Arizona overstepped its authority by attempting to usurp the federal government's sole authority to create laws pertaining to immigration. Obama had questioned the law, saying it was a threat to our "basic notions of fairness", which, ironically, is what most Americans thought of Obama's bailout of Wall Street and those most responsible for the general economic collapse to begin with. As an aside, Mexico asked to join in the complaint against Arizona, which the Obama Administration granted. A first for a foreign government to be allowed by the United States' Department of Justice to be allowed to participate in a lawsuit against a sovereign state. The lower court largely found in favor of Arizona, therefore, the DOJ decided to waste more of your money by pursing this all the way to the Supreme Court.

So far, things aren't looking so good for Holder and Company. Several of the Justices have expressed dismay at the DOJ's efforts, and apparently at least one or two have indicated to DOJ's attorneys that this borders on a frivolous action. Even Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the most liberal member of the High Court and a Hispanic, said the DOJ's case was not "selling very well". Of course, the real reason for the lawsuit in the first place was the Obama Administration's to attempt to curry favor with the Hispanic population while, at the same time, provide underpaid and overworked (and often abused) workers for unscrupulous employers. Unfortunately, since these individuals are in the country illegally, they have little if any recourse.

I expect closing arguments shortly and a rather quick decision by the court with little dissention from its members. Arizona did not attempt to create new immigration law as alleged by Obama, Holder, and the DOJ. Rather, it was the failure of the federal government over at least two administrations, to take affirmative steps to end illegal immigration. One could even argue that the federal government abrogated its authority by its failure to act. As a result, Arizona and several other states, including Utah, Alabama, Indiana, Georgia, and South Carolina simply made use of existing federal laws. Assuming the Supreme Court agrees, look for more states to take similar actions.

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