In Arizona case, court doesn’t betray its alleged ideological gap

Oh, that zany, right-wing Supreme Court.

Liberals have been working themselves into a frenzy about the possibility that the court’s four conservative justices and the less-predictable Anthony Kennedy will overturn the 2010 federal health-care reform, a.k.a. Obamacare. Such a ruling figures into two of the “5 Signs of a Radical Change in U.S. Politics,” according to The Atlantic’s James Fallows. “Court packing,” the idea of adding justices to the court which was last threatened by Franklin Roosevelt when the court wouldn’t accept as constitutional some of his New Deal programs, is already being suggested on the opinion pages of the Washington Post.

Other commentators have warned — presumably for the benefit of any justices who might peruse their columns or blogs — that the court risks discrediting itself if it rules in a way that just happens to go against President Barack Obama. Unexplained is exactly how and why this discrediting will occur, given that majorities of the public across partisan lines deem the law’s individual mandate unconstitutional.

So it must have been bewildering for some of these hand-wringers to find Kennedy and the court’s conservative chief justice, John Roberts, joining three of the liberals Monday to overturn much of Arizona’s controversial immigration law. (The fourth liberal, Elena Kagan, had argued the case as U.S. solicitor general and recused herself from it.)

For political junkies, there’s no buzz-kill like a busted narrative.

Oh, some people’s favorable reactions to Monday’s judgment were more muted than they might have been, were there not a potentially disagreeable (to them) ruling waiting to be released Thursday. For both the left and the right, the bigger prize is the Obamacare ruling, with its conceivably far-reaching implications for the federal government’s power over the individual. But the Roberts-Kennedy alliance with the court’s left wing on the Arizona ruling means we’ll see even more partisan contortions of logic than usual should the court strike down all or part of Obamacare.

Not that the Arizona case doesn’t carry its own import, both in practical terms and for the everlasting tug-of-war between federal and state powers and responsibilities.

In Arizona, the court recognized an extremely limited role for states when it comes to immigration policy. The court’s majority deemed even states’ enforcement of federal immigration law to be out of bounds if it could lead to state prosecutions the feds might have forgone. This, the court reasoned, could infringe on the federal government’s “control over enforcement” and the “integrated scheme of regulation” Congress had created. Never mind that Arizona created the law because the feds’ “control over enforcement” has been poor and Congress’ “integrated scheme of regulation” ineffective.

The only contested section of the law not overturned concerns the requirement for police who have arrested someone to check that person’s immigration status if there is reason to believe he might be in the country illegally. The court essentially said state courts must interpret that part of the law — does it apply equally to jaywalkers, who might be detained longer than usual for an immigration-status check, and drunk drivers, who probably wouldn’t? — before it could consider challenges. Which means that part of the law stands to be curtailed, at least, as well.

In one particularly head-scratching element of the ruling, the majority found that states could not impose criminal penalties on illegal immigrants seeking employment because federal law named only civil penalties. “There is no more reason to believe that this rejection was expressive of a desire that there be no [criminal] sanctions on employees,” Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in a dissent, “than expressive of a desire that such sanctions be left to the States.”

Or as Justice Samuel Alito put it: “With any statutory scheme, Congress chooses to do some things and not others. If that alone were enough to demonstrate pre­emptive intent, there would be little left over for the States to regulate, especially now that federal authority reaches so far and wide. States would occupy tiny islands in a sea of federal power.”

As it happens, I have my own misgivings about parts of the Arizona law. Having lived and traveled in “show me your papers” countries, I see no place in a free society for police to stop anyone on the street just to ask if he’s legally present. (This differs from a status check of someone arrested for another reason.) And state solutions to illegal immigration are almost always going to be inferior to federal ones.

That said, states bear the brunt of working under ineffective federal immigration policies. It is understandable why Arizona — and Georgia, among others — felt compelled to try something new when Congress will not. And I find it hard to justify barring states from being more diligent enforcers of federal law than the feds have been.

So there are many things to say about the Arizona ruling. That it reflects an immutably ideologically divided group of judges, well, that is not one of them.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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154 comments Add your comment

TGT

June 25th, 2012
1:56 pm

Missing a word at the end of the third paragraph?

Kyle Wingfield

June 25th, 2012
2:02 pm

TGT: Yes, thanks. I’ve fixed it, along with adding the links I meant to include.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

June 25th, 2012
2:10 pm

Another strike against obozo.

Dusty

June 25th, 2012
2:13 pm

Kyle,

In other words, you hate to say so but states have little rights left in the field of law. The Supreme Court gave them nothing but a “pacifier”. We will get another pacificer when we hear about ObamaCare.i.e. a little bit of something but not much of anything.

Scalia was right to be outraged at decisions made by his S C law partners. He likes “law” you can recognize as such.

TGT

June 25th, 2012
2:14 pm

Minus 5 points, but you still get an “A” (as usual). :)

Tiberius - Banned from Bookman's and proud of it!

June 25th, 2012
2:25 pm

IR/YW, I fail to see where Obama got a strike against him today. At best, it was a push.

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

June 25th, 2012
2:25 pm

Quite simply, the United States has never been witness to a presidential candidate, in modern American history, who lies as frequently, as flagrantly and as brazenly as Mitt Romney.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jun/21/mendacious-mitt-romney-bid-liar-in-chief

Road Scholar

June 25th, 2012
2:28 pm

Sorry but no response here because I’m watching the liberals work themselves into a frenzy!!!! What a croc!

Tiberius - Banned from Bookman's and proud of it!

June 25th, 2012
2:30 pm

Finn, do you EVER stay on topic?

Why do you waste your time here?

Dusty

June 25th, 2012
2:30 pm

I report 2:10

I don’t think this was a “strike against Obozo”. This was a dusting with a feather against the administration. I doubt that any “new” regulations will even be posted to immigration authorities.

This sounds like the same ol’ mumbling about “law enforcement” that has allowed our country to overlook millions of people who have no allegiance to our country in any way.

Our forefathers knew better and put “allegiance” in our Constitution. Now we get the mangled version.

td

June 25th, 2012
2:30 pm

Kyle,

Why has not a state sued the Federal Government for not enforcing laws already on the books? Could they not sue them for the added cost to the state for healthcare, education, ect…?

yuzeyurbrane

June 25th, 2012
2:32 pm

I hope you are correct and it signals a return to the rule of law by the Supreme Court.

@@

June 25th, 2012
2:32 pm

The thing about liberals is they approve when the ruling is in their favor and disapprove when not. Would their cherished abortion rights exist without the court’s ruling on Roe v Wade? No.

For me Roe v. Wade is about privacy. Regardless of your personal opinions about whether or not you would have an abortion, each person deserves to have made their decision and act on that decision within the privacy of their own space.

A PRIVACY issue which the dems have made VERY public. Just can’t leave well enough alone.

With the exception of Ginsberg, I have no problem with ANY of the justices. I was pleased to see Kagan recuse herself. She’s the newest appointment, therefore I watch her with a healthy degree of skepticism.

Rafe Hollister, suffering through Oblamer's ineptocracy

June 25th, 2012
2:37 pm

Kyle, the libs are praising the court today, when Roberts crossed over and voted with the libs, but wait til Thursday, if the court strikes Oblamercare, they will be howling.

I am sometimes afraid of Roberts, I think generally he will do the right thing, but he is on record as saying he doesn’t want his court to be perceived as ideologically driven. I think he will at times cross over, just to prove the court stays away from being considered dominated by the right. Would a liberal do that, I don’t think so.

The MSM portrays the libs on the court as pious for their liberal rigidity, the conservatives are considered to be charlatan ideological hacks for voting as they believe.

Tiberius - Banned from Bookman's and proud of it!

June 25th, 2012
2:40 pm

Hey, @@. How’s this for a potential scenario?

November 2012 Obama loses his re-election bid. Seeing the ability to replace aging Supreme Court justices slipping away, Ruth Bader-Ginsberg retires, effective immediately.

Obama then tries to make a recess appointment for her open position, once again skirting the law and requiring either the Senate to stay in session through the middle of January, or having to try to overturn the appointment when they come back, which would be impossible even if the Republicans took control of the Senate.

I believe he is fully capable of such shenanigans.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

June 25th, 2012
2:40 pm

IR/YW, I fail to see where Obama got a strike against him today. At best, it was a push.

obozo made the immigration law in Arizona a personal vendetta, mainly because of the “checking your papers” provision, and he got beat on it. It’s practically the basis for the whole law and what all the dummycrats were blubbering about.

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

June 25th, 2012
2:42 pm

if the court strikes Oblamercare, they will be howling.

Well, actually, many of us want the public option. Bringing down the mandate would move the Public Option front and center. Insurance companies are rightfully affeared of the Public Option.

Now, if they pull the whole law down – including the parts most Americans like (insurance can’t drop you, children on parents plan till 26, etc) then we will be howling.

DawgDad

June 25th, 2012
2:43 pm

I’m not a legal or Constitutional law expert, but the immigration issue is more Federalist vs. States Right than it is liberal vs. conservative.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

June 25th, 2012
2:44 pm

See what I mean?

The Obama administration said Monday it is suspending existing agreements with Arizona police over enforcement of federal immigration laws, and said it has issued a directive telling federal authorities to decline many of the calls reporting illegal immigrants that the Homeland Security Department may get from Arizona police.

Filling their federal diapers.

Rafe Hollister, suffering through Oblamer's ineptocracy

June 25th, 2012
2:45 pm

Youze

I hope you are correct and it signals a return to the rule of law by the Supreme Court.

Is that your rule of law or mine. You like the ruling, it is the rule of law, right? If you don’t like it, it is just political ideology, right?

I can’t believe that the founding fathers ever envisioned a time when the President would pick and chose which laws he would enforce. I agree with Scalia, if the States knew how they were going to be treated by the Federal Gov, there would have been an exodus of state representatives from the Constitutional Congress. If they had known that the Tenth Amendment was not going to be worth the paper it was written on, they may have also not been quick to sign on.

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

June 25th, 2012
2:45 pm

personal vendetta

huh? What are you smokin’?

Ray

June 25th, 2012
2:48 pm

The frustration you speak of, works both ways. Many a time it has been that the federal government felt it necessary to step in when a state failed to protect its residents, or offer equal protections. Health care being one of them. Georgia has refused to provide protections for those deemed uninsurable. An unnecessary death sentence for too many.

I personally would elect to take my life, before I would allow my family to be bankrupted over a health condition. But, before I would do that, I would seriously think of moving to one of the other 40 states that has seen fit to protect its residents (Georgia’s doctors often make this recommendation, my doctor recently told me). I would not want to, as all my love ones, and my precious grandchild live here. But what choice would I really have?

AmVet

June 25th, 2012
2:49 pm

Finn, fantastic article!

Mendacious Mitt has a rather nice ring to it, huh? How about this for a campaign slogan?

The Wacky World of Willard – where truth takes a permanent vacation.

And if he gets even 25% of the Latino vote, I’ll be shocked.

Gawd knows that the Lily White Party doesn’t deserve that much…

A new survey found that an overwhelming majority of Latino voters believe the Republican Party is “hostile” toward them and is alienating them.

The impreMedia/Latino Decisions survey also found that not even a potential nomination of Latino Sen. Marco Rubio as vice president could do much to change their sentiments.

Another key finding of the survey is that Latinos are turned off by Republican’s support for tougher immigration enforcement over the creation of a path to citizenship.

“Over the last five years, a lot of Latinos have been upset and moving away from the [Republican] party because of the hard stance on immigration,” said Matt Barreto, Principal Pollster for Latino Decisions. “So the Republican Party has a lot of work to do.”

A total of 500 registered Latino voters were included in the poll. It found that Latinos persistently lean toward President Obama and Democratic candidates, with 46% of them saying that Republicans “don’t care too much” about Latinos. Almost a third, 27%, said Republicans “are being hostile.”

The survey is also the first to examine Sen. Rubio’s favorability with Latino voters from across the nation. If Rubio were to be nominated by Republicans as vice president only 13% of respondents said they would be “much more likely” to vote for the GOP. Almost half of the respondents, 46 %, said it would “have no effect” on their decision.

As a voting bloc, up to 22 million Latinos are expected to be eligible to vote in 2012, Latinos will play no small role in the outcome of next year’s elections. The winner in swing states with large Latino populations like Florida, Nevada, Colorado, and even Virginia could very well be determined by the Latino vote. These are all states won by President Obama in 2008.

http://www.newstaco.com/2011/12/15/poll-shows-the-gop-seen-as-hostile-by-latino-voters/

Tiberius - Banned from Bookman's and proud of it!

June 25th, 2012
2:50 pm

“Bringing down the mandate would move the Public Option front and center.”

Actually, no, it wouldn’t. You lefties no longer have the Hollow-Eyed Hippie from Haight-Asbury running the show, and won’t for a very long time.

Dusty

June 25th, 2012
2:54 pm

DawgDad, 2:43

You are correct. This administration has just about told states to “drop dead” as far as law is concerned. In other words, “they” will tell states what is lawful.

I hope our Supreme Court meant well. But they seem to have forgotten a whole lot about the balance of power.between states and the “national”. The ship of state is tilting badly.

Tiberius - Banned from Bookman's and proud of it!

June 25th, 2012
2:58 pm

Gee, a Latino poll shows Latinos going for the Democrat.

Color me shocked.

What’s next? A union poll showing how Romney is doomed? :roll:

You gotta love the nonsense being spouted by Obama’s sycophants on the Sunday talk shows. On Meet the Press, Bill Richardson claimed that 2 million Latinos have gotten jobs since Obama took office. Considering that the number even this administration claims for producing jobs is between 3 and 4.2 million “created or saved” jobs, Richardson is now making the case that 1/2 to 2/3rds of all jobs allegedly created by this administration went to Latinos.

Seriously?

I’d say you can’t make this stuff up, but it is clear that you lefties can.

Make a run for the border

June 25th, 2012
3:00 pm

Tiberius

Did Kyle make you the rule master?

Kyle?

Tiberius - Banned from Bookman's and proud of it!

June 25th, 2012
3:01 pm

No. Did God make you a jerk?

Make a run for the border

June 25th, 2012
3:03 pm

Tiberius

Based on how you reply to others on this board, you need to ask yourself that question?

Maybe you need a mirror

GT

June 25th, 2012
3:15 pm

I am overwhelmed at the energy shown by Georgia on matters of bigotry yet the shear lack of movement on matters of education, transportation, or legal justice. How they can filter through the health of its citizens, standard of living and a thousand other pertinent subjects to isolate on this matter is beyond comprehension. To call out the federal government for doing a sorry job from a world of stopped up sewers, and the worlds most crooked politicians is comedy, yet you couldn’t write it no one would ever believe the subject matter.

Truth Squad

June 25th, 2012
3:23 pm

The truth is that the court put a hutin’ on the law. When you lose 95% of what you enacted, it is not good news.

I hope the Democrats can be as gleeful should Obamacare suffer such a “victory”.

DawgDad

June 25th, 2012
3:26 pm

“I am overwhelmed at the energy shown by Georgia on matters of bigotry”

Suffice it to say a very large segment of our population understands this has NOTHING to do with bigotry. Just because you don’t get it doesn’t mean it is “bigotry”.

Tiberius - Banned from Bookman's and proud of it!

June 25th, 2012
3:30 pm

“Maybe you need a mirror”

Maybe you need to focus on Kyle’s subject matter, Border.

If you’re capable of doing so.

the red herring

June 25th, 2012
3:34 pm

I for one am extremely disappointed in this ruling. I feel states should be allowed to enforce their own laws so long as they aren’t in direct conflict with federal law and in this case Arizona law was exactly like federal law. Bad decision by the supremes. I hope they strike down the entire health care law as that is the best way it can be fixed—start from scratch. Health care isn’t a “right” it is something that you earn by working for it. I guess steak and lobster will be a “right” soon. We are a nation of freebies and gifts in return for votes. If things don’t change and soon we will be another greece/spain/etc —sad but true. I feel for the residents of Arizona that live close to the border. Imagine the fear they live in at an unusual sound in the night… Our federal government and now our supreme court have let them down.

GT

June 25th, 2012
3:35 pm

“Obamacare” is a lot like this one. The problem is not going to go away. We will be “gleeful” because it is out in the open, no matter the decision. Oh later on the Republican will react and do about what this law says right now or the country will start dying in the streets. It will cost us about three times as much and will line money into the pockets of the right but they can claim they save us from the other one. A little like they saved us from Iraq. The education of the American public has taken a steep learning curve on this one. Most thought it was about the other guy. This dog is coming home to all of us and the guy who had the guts to bring it was Obama. Show me one time your boy showed that kind of guts, the flip flopping is for a reason.

@@

June 25th, 2012
3:36 pm

Tiberius:

I believe he is fully capable of such shenanigans.

I don’t just BELIEVE him to be, I KNOW him to be. He’s proven as much.

@@

June 25th, 2012
3:38 pm

For the record. I’m in favor of immigration reform. I was when GWB promoted it, and I still am today. I do, however, understand the border states’ dilemma. They carry a greater burden than do the rest of us.

Kyle Wingfield

June 25th, 2012
3:55 pm

Make a run: This is how I put it in my rules for the blog:

“My preference would be for these standards to be self-enforcing, for readers to call out any violators. I do not, however, want this to become a tactic for discouraging particular people — the equivalent of nuisance lawsuits.”

So I don’t have a problem with a poster suggesting people stay on topic, as long as those suggestions don’t themselves become distractions.

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

June 25th, 2012
4:00 pm

A little like they saved us from Iraq.

LOL. A country that barely had running water and full time electricity and all the Republicans are freakin’ out and crawling to hide under their beds.

I believe they came out from under their beds in, oh, maybe 2008?

OMG, raiese the alert level to orange! OMG!

What leadership!

Hillbilly D

June 25th, 2012
4:00 pm

The Supreme Court has been at 9, since 1869. That number works just fine. What’s needed is diversity on the Court. There are basically 4 1/2 from the left and 4 1/2 from the right, that’s about where the diversity ends.

There are 3 women on the Court, all from New York City. There are no Protestants on the Court. Every current Justice has an Ivy League background. Seven of the nine are from east of the Appalachian Mountains. We need to look at making future appointees a better reflection of the country. Let’s get people from different parts of the country, different backgrounds and different schools.

carlosgvv

June 25th, 2012
4:07 pm

Kyle, did Scalia say anything in his dissent that you find unconstitutional?

Tiberius - Banned from Bookman's and proud of it!

June 25th, 2012
4:20 pm

Unconstitutional is how they rule, carlos, not what they say.

What they say is covered under the 1st Amendment.

Thomas Heyward Jr.

June 25th, 2012
4:26 pm

“And state solutions to illegal immigration are almost always going to be inferior to federal ones.”
Kyle Wingfield
Spoken like a true metro-type vichey American.(all hail the feds).
.
The federal
government did not create the states; the states created the federal
government.”

― Ronald Reagan
Spoken like a Free American.

Plexed

June 25th, 2012
4:28 pm

Hey y’all, ain’t it a bit hypocritical to blame Obama for everything from the economy to China holding Tibet and then label him “Oblama or Oblamer”. I mean, I don’t much like the guy and think we could do better but looking at the GOP “Big Tent” I don’t see much room in there for anyone but folk that would label someone else for doing something they do EVERY DAY. That’s not me… guess I’ll vote for Ron Paul – he and his supporters look more and more sane every day compared to what used to be the Republican party and it’s “base”. Sad

@@

June 25th, 2012
4:43 pm

Off-topic but GEEZ!!!!!

Surprised local taxpayers from Stockton, Calif., to Scranton, Pa., are finding themselves obligated for parking garages, hockey arenas and other enterprises that can no longer pay their debts.

Officials have signed them up unknowingly to backstop the bonds of independent authorities, the special bodies of government that run projects like toll roads and power plants.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/26/business/surprised-taxpayers-are-paying-for-bonds-they-did-not-vote-on.html?pagewanted=all

Make a run for the border

June 25th, 2012
4:56 pm

No problem, Kyle

You seem to tolerate bs more by some than others as well as name calling. Your blog.

Take care

@@

June 25th, 2012
4:56 pm

Andy was correct in his 2:40.

Blocking Parts of Arizona Law, Justices Allow Its Centerpiece

Liberals will “stand” (and cheer) for anything.

schnirt

carlosgvv

June 25th, 2012
4:56 pm

Tiberius – 4:20

Gosh, that’s really profound.

Aquagirl

June 25th, 2012
4:57 pm

local taxpayers from Stockton, Calif., to Scranton, Pa., are finding themselves obligated for parking garages, hockey arenas and other enterprises that can no longer pay their debts.

Something to keep in mind when you hear babbling about public-private partnerships.

jconservative

June 25th, 2012
5:02 pm

“Which means that part of the law stands to be curtailed, at least, as well.”

And it will. Some policeman is going to arrest someone for jaywalking and the person will be locked up for 3 days while they check on immigration status. Kennedy in his majority opinion said that, on its face, would be unconstitutional.

This ruling by the court effectively killed any state attempts to be a player in immigration.

The state governors need to get their muscle behind an attempt to force Congress to get off their rear-ends and pass a comprehensive, compromised, immigration bill.

But it is OK to wait until after the election. Correct? Correct!