Jul 29, 2010

Arizona and the Feds

And so the judge says "no" to Arizona. By extension,  the denial of local authority here  also applies to at least eight other states who are in one stage or another of doing as Arizona tried to do.

It's tempting to get off a line or two about Judge Bolton as a Clinton appointee, but she was nominated by John Kyl, who sports the sanity of a Midwest upbringing. His dad even performed  as an Iowa congresscritter  (R) and was not indicted.   

The lawsuit will proceed at a boring pace now, but there is a lively battle for public opinion worth our attention.   The AP, and others, speculate this morning that Judge Susan is telegraphing a message that that the Obama Administration will not tolerate uppitiness from the states. The item cautions that her suspension of all that really matter in the Arizona immigration law will chill similar sentiments on other states.

Could be, Could also not be. It depends on how serious we slathering freedom-freak libertarian types are about nullification, and here I stand on the brink of  a dangerous position.  Nullification  has an ugly  ring of facile nostalgia for the days of black slavery. So does its cousin, interposition. Neither doctrine justifies defending a  massa-servant relationship of one class of American citizens to another nor of the old Jim Crow laws, nor of government-mandated racial segregation. Nullification, as the term is used here, is not a means of attacking a race; it is an ambition to protect a nation.

It may bring life to a theoretical dispute about the the right of a political subdivision of the United States to protect its citizens from a serious local threat, even though the peril may result from politically inspired federal action, or inaction.


Citizens of basket-cases posing as countries flee their thug-ridden homes to places like The United States because they are driven by economic desperation, and because they lack the will to organize for the redemption of their own home lands.  They find it more convenient to follow the coyote across the border to a place where the natives have already made the necessary sacrifices to create a land of relative freedom and opportunity. 

The crossing is, of course, illegal. National law makes it so.  We were told repeatedly that the people of Arizona enacted a border control measure which mirrors the federal statutes only because Obama and his predecessors, hand-in-hand with rabbitty national legislators, lacked the courage to enforce the laws they, themselves, enacted to re-assume control of our southern boundary.

As the case oozes  through the court system, perhaps the Arizona body politic could instruct its law enforcers to suspend dwelling on the statute Judge Susan finds wanting.

Enforce the national law.

Can do? Sure:

the law on this question is quite clear: arresting aliens who have violated either criminal provisions of the INA or civil provisions that render an alien deportable "is within the inherent authority of the states."

The first difficulty I see with this form of practical nullification is perhaps one hundred thousand criminal complaints making an untidy mess in the office of the federal attorney for Arizona between now and Labor Day. If this happens, I will lose no time in sending him a card expressing my profound sympathy.

1 comment:

JohnW said...

The bill's sponsor - Sen. Pearce - and supporters are strangely ebulient this morning. One would almost suspect they think that "But its too haaaaard!" lacks judicial merit...