Monday, April 23, 2012

Democrats Threaten Supreme Court If It Doesn't 'Rule Right' On Immigration Law

Now, this is something interesting.

As you know,our government has three branches....the legislative, to make law and approve funding, the executive to implement it and the judicial to rule on any questions of legality.

Our Supreme Court rules on any constitutional questions that come up in the ways laws are written implemented and enforced and is supposed to be the final arbiter in such matters. But not according to the Democrat movers and shakers in the Senate!

The Supreme Court is currently hearing arguments on SB 1070, the Arizona immigration law that essentially mirrors US. immigration statutes but allows state law enforcement personnel to inquire about someone's immigration status in the course of other police business, like a traffic stop if they have probable cause to believe someone might be an illegal alien.

As you can imagine, the Obama Justice Department sued to quash this, but the state of Arizona appealed and SCOTUS has agreed to hear arguments on the matter and rule.

What's absolutely unprecedented is a threat by Senate Democrats if the Supreme Court doesn't overturn S.B. 1070 to 'overrule' the Court by bringing legislation to overturn the law, thus bypassing the ruling:

Senate Democrats are making plans to force a floor vote on legislation that would invalidate Arizona’s controversial immigration statute if the Supreme Court upholds the law this summer.

Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) will announce the fallback legislation at a hearing on the Arizona law Tuesday, a day before the Supreme Court hears oral arguments in a suit to determine whether Arizona had the authority to enact the 2010 state crackdown.

The plan is to allow Democrats a route to express displeasure with the Arizona law if the court allows it to stand, and it would force Republicans to take a clear position on the law during the height of the presidential campaign.

It's appalling that Senators who swore an oath to protect the Constitution would be so dead set at scoring political points that they would egregiously violate it in this fashion...especially when it comes to essentially threatening the Court's function if they don't 'vote right'.

As far as S.B.1070 goes, it's essentially a 10th Amendment argument. That amendment says that all powers not specifically reserved by the federal government or prohibited to the States by the Constitution are reserved to the States or the people.

The Obama Administration's argument is going to be that enforcing immigration statutes is a power reserved by the federal government, and that's that. Arizona's argument is going to be that S.B. 1070 merely clarifies that Arizona law enforcement is assisting in enforcing existing federal statutes, with a side argument perhaps that since the federal government is not enforcing these laws and violations of the immigration statues have resulting in significant cost to Arizona's finances and to public safety, they are within their rights to take steps to cure the problem.

If I had to bet, I'd probably say that the SCOTUS would come down on th eside of the federal government, but I could very well be wrong.

What's unmistakeably wrong is sitting senators threatening the Supreme Court while their in deliberation on a pending matter.


Rhymes With Right said...

I'm going to disagree with you here. Congress does have the authority to assert exclusive jurisdiction in a number of areas, and immigration would certainly be one of them under our Constitution. If Congress chooses to exercise that exclusive jurisdiction, then it is a proper exercise of federalism -- even if I disagree with their manner of exercising that authority.

Of course, taking that approach shows the cynicism of the Democrats -- they preferred to spend millions of taxpayer dollars to challenge the Arizona law in court rather than exercising the less expensive approach of legislatively negating it. That exposes their goal as political, not legal -- and that is a case we can make against them.

Rob said...

Hello Greg,
Nice to have you drop by.

Of course Congress has the authority to 'reserve to the Federal Government' jurisdiction over immigration policy, and they have.In fact, I said so in this article, and gave it as my reason that the SCOTUS will ultimately rule against Arizona in this case.

Ah, but there's an important difference here.

It is the role of the SCOTUS to rule on the constitutionality of the actions of Congress.

What we have here is members of Congress threatening to try to override the Court's basic function after the fact if the Court doesn't rule on a pending matter as they want.

That's what's unprecedented.And it has nothing to do with Federalism.


Rhymes With Right said...

But it isn't really unprecedented. Congress has gone back and revised statutes or asserted exclusive jurisdiction after the fact any number of times. This would be no different -- the Court could rule for Arizona and then be trumped by an assertion of that exclusive jurisdiction without upsetting the Constitutional applecart in any way, shape, or form.

And this is not nearly as extreme as when Congress (shortly after the Civil War) stripped the Supreme Court of jurisdiction after it heard arguments but before it had decided the case in Ex Parte McCardle.