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  • Politics Before Law in Obama’s Arizona Suit

    The Justice Department filed its expected lawsuit against Arizona’s new immigration law (S.B. 1070) yesterday and issued a press release trumpeting its action. It is clear from reading the lawsuit and the press release that politics—not an objective analysis of Arizona’s law—is driving the Justice Department’s action.

    This should be no surprise to anyone given the Justice Department’s recent politicized actions in other matters like the New Black Panther voter intimidation case. But it should concern everyone who understands the enormous power of federal prosecutors and the danger posed by an Attorney General who is willing to use that power to achieve the President’s partisan political objectives rather than the interests of justice and the impartial enforcement of the law. The claims made in the case range from ridiculous to being very revealing (perhaps unintentionally) about the Administration’s apparent views about immigration policy.

    One of the most interesting things about this lawsuit is what’s missing. After all of the spurious claims and pernicious charges by President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, and their radical allies like La Raza that Arizona’s law violated federal civil rights laws, there is no civil rights claim whatsoever in the complaint.

    Instead, the Obama Administration argues that S.B. 1070 is invalid because it violates the Supremacy Clause, is pre-empted by federal law, and (most bizarrely of all) violates the commerce clause.

    First, the Justice Department claims that Arizona is unconstitutionally interfering with the federal government’s authority to set immigration policy. This claim is nonsense. Arizona is not interfering with the federal government’s immigration policy as it is set in the laws passed by Congress. Arizona is simply complementing and helping the federal government enforce its immigration laws. On the other hand, states that give illegal aliens drivers licenses and sanctuary cities like San Francisco that help illegal aliens violate immigration laws do interfere with federal law, but, as evidenced by the lack of federal lawsuits in those cases, this Administration has no interest in suing to stop that kind of interference. The Obama Administration thus appears to only be interested in stopping enforcement of federal law, not its violation.

    The DoJ press release is actually amusing. This is an Administration that has made border security a non-priority and that has demonstrated little interest in fixing the enforcement problem; yet the press release claims that if states and local governments develop policies like Arizona’s, it will “disrupt federal immigration enforcement.” But by enforcement, the Administration actually spends significant time arguing for nonenforcement.

    Surely, I jest? No, the lawsuit actually claims that Arizona’s enforcement interferes with Obama’s prerogative not to enforce the law: DHS and other agencies may exercise their “discretion” and choose not to enforce the law for “humanitarian reasons.” Under the new section 2 of the Arizona law, any legal resident of Arizona may bring a civil action in an Arizona court to challenge any official or agency that “adopts or implements a policy that limits or restricts the enforcement of federal immigration laws… to less than the full extent permitted by federal law.” DOJ claims this is bad policy that will “burden” and “divert” federal resources away from federal policy priorities, which it essentially describes as a very limited enforcement regime (supplemented, it should be noted, with discretionary nonenforcement), targeting terrorists and violent criminals but, as experience has shown, essentially ignoring all others.

    The most galling aspect of the government’s brief is its treatment of the state’s interest. The DOJ states: “S.B. 1070 (as amended) attempts to second guess federal policies and re-order federal priorities in the area of immigration enforcement and to directly regulate immigration and the conditions of an alien’s entry and presence in the United States despite the fact that those subjects are federal domains and do not involve any legitimate state interest.” (emphasis added).

    So despite the deaths of Arizona citizens caused by illegal immigrants involved in smuggling drugs and other illegal immigrants across the border, as well as the enormous costs imposed on local communities by illegal aliens, the Obama Administration believes that local communities have no “legitimate state interest” in this issue. Astonishing.

    The weakest claim in the lawsuit is that because the purpose of this law is to deter and prevent the movement of certain “unlawfully present aliens” into Arizona, the law restricts interstate commerce and is thus a violation of the Commerce Clause. This is like saying that because the federal government makes trafficking in cocaine a federal offense, if a state passes a complementary local law punishing the importation of cocaine into the state, it is interfering with interstate commerce. This claim borders on the frivolous.

    This lawsuit should be dismissed by the federal court in Arizona where it has been filed. It is a politically motivated lawsuit designed to placate the Administration’s allies who believe in open borders and complete amnesty for all illegal aliens. Arizona should fight this suit as hard as it can. It has fought other lawsuits filed over its prior related laws like its 2004 referendum that requires newly registered voters to provide proof of citizenship and its 2006 law that requires use of the federal E-Verify System and punishes employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens. So far Arizona is 2 for 2, having prevailed in both of those lawsuits. If the state mounts an effective defense of this poorly reasoned and legally unsupported lawsuit, the odds are good that it will be 3 for 3.

    Posted in Legal [slideshow_deploy]

    19 Responses to Politics Before Law in Obama’s Arizona Suit

    1. Dan R., New Jersey says:

      While thinking about Arizona’s attempts to control its (and our) border, and the federal government's pending lawsuit against Arizona, I came to the conclusion that a Takings Clause violation under the Fifth Amendment might be a viable claim in border states’ laws and litigation defense. Specifically, I am referring to the depreciation in border properties’ values that illegal immigration and border violence cause. As a former prosecutor, I enjoy thinking about possible legal attacks and defenses.

      Properties on the border are depreciating greatly because they are, for all intents and purposes, being physically “invaded” on a regular basis. It seems that areas of Arizona are no longer safe, let alone achieving their full market potential, due to the border problems. While border states, such as Arizona, may try to protect their citizens and their property from such depreciation, the federal government is, in effect, directing them to abstain from doing so and suing them after the fact. In fact, by building a border wall in some regions (but not all), the government has basically funneled illegal immigrants to areas where the wall does not exist. So federal action has directly caused the aggravation of the problem. Thus, the federal government is forcing state citizens to accept the depreciation of their properties’ value without just compensation, a violation of the Takings Clause. Private citizens (whether individually or as a class) may have a claim based on a violation of their Fifth Amendment rights (if it was a State violation, it would be applicable through the Fourteenth Amendment).

      Arizona tried to protect its citizens and their property. The federal government stepped in and said Arizona could not do so. Therefore, Arizona’s citizens might have a claim directly against the government. Certainly the courts would protect American citizens' constitutional rights against any infringements (and of course organizations that purport to defend civil liberties should join the fray on their behalf as well).

    2. kaylee, casper wy says:

      this is truly absurd. The laws made by the government are meant to be enforced, not waited upon in order to obtain political correctness,

    3. MJF, CT says:

      The United States government is suing the State of Arizona for taking a Federal Law and making it a State Law. What is wrong with this picture? The DoJ is insane for even thinking about this but it proves where Mr. Obama stands. Mr. Obama does not stand with the People of the United States. All the more reason to get this idiot impeached!

    4. Rusty Freeport Il says:

      30 million more voters for the demorats.

    5. Pingback: Article of the Day… | MorallyRight.org

    6. Nellie says:

      So sad that we could all be more productive and happy if CRIMINALS weren't in charge. We need to go to a fair tax or flat tax and take away the power in the political (criminal) system

    7. BigKev in NC says:

      This is what happens when idiots are in the White House and the DOJ. When I read the Arizona law I was impressed at how well it was written in such a short space (only 10 or so pages) and how it basically refers to established federal law as the mechanism for local law enforcement to enforce. The government should lose this case hands down. But then again with the 9th Circuit Court anything is possible. This will go to the SCOTUS and be a 5-4 decision for Arizona.

    8. MARY oSTER cA. says:

      eVERY sTATE SHOULD ADOPT THE ARIZONA `S NEW LAW.WHY SHOULE WE FEED ILGEAL`S OR GIVE THEM MONEY OR MEDICAL? SEND THEM OLL HOME WERE THEY BELONG.iF THEY WANT TO COME HERE tHEY NEED TO GO BY OUR LAW`S.

      OUR ILLEAGLE PRESIDENT NEEDS TO BE IMPEACHED!SEND HIM BACK WHERE HE WAS BORN AND IT WASN`T IN THE USA.`MY CAPS ARE STUCK CAN`T FREE THEM DONT KNOW HOW.I AM NEW AT THIS SORRY!

    9. Pingback: Media In Politics » Blog Archive » ‘Overheated Hysteria’: New York Times Editorial Goes All-Out to Attack Arizona Immigration Law

    10. Terrye in South Caro says:

      The Department of INjustice is busy imposing tolerance and this is simply part of it as is excusing voter intimidation by the Black Panthers, I could go on and on but no need for redundancy. We are fighting on so many fronts with the current regime it's hard to focus on any one of them.. if we put our energy into one they continue to deconstruct another, it will never end with the current regime. We do have strength in numbers so even if we each gave 1$ to selected fronts of this political battle for our country we could make significant progress. The bottom line is that liberals need votes to maintain their power. They can't come from informed and enlightened people who know our history well, so naturally they need the fringe elements of society who are focused only on their own agenda and who are largely brainwashed or ignorant of the facts that could change their minds. Never lie down folks, that's all I can say.

    11. West Texan says:

      "First, the Justice Department claims that Arizona is unconstitutionally interfering with the federal government’s authority … "

      TALK ABOUT PROJECTION! Everything team Obama accuses Arizona of is exactly what his gang of mental midgets is doing to individual states. Who the heck is this bunch from Chicago?

      And now he's got another social engineering zombie up for the U.S. Supreme Court. If these morons ever succeed in getting everything they want, you can well bet constitutional law will be replaced entirely by politicized law.

    12. Ernesto Castro, Roys says:

      United States is the only country in the world that can't enforce its own immigration laws. I worked and live in Mexico for 7 years and can tell you that you better be prepared to show proof of your legal status when asked by the police or suffer the consequences of jail or deportation. When are the American going to start defending their own country from this illegal invasion?.

    13. Joseph Hodder, Schoh says:

      Simply put, I haven't had one positive thought yet about Obama, his administration and agenda, as well as the Democrat Party leadership in Congress. Obama and his minions are not fit to lead this country. They are totalitarians who label their critics "Nazis". They are racist, misguided, short-sighted and naive, and are in for a rude awakening come the mid-term election as well as the 2012 election. I pray daily for the demise of this fractious, fraudulent administration. I am not some "far right-wing nut job". I have always been a registered independent and I vote. God bless America!

      PS I have never referred to Obama as President and I never shall.

    14. Virginia McCarthy says:

      Your article is sadly correct. The slow errosion of the rule of law and the total disregard for the U.S. Constitution under this administration and others has contributed to the decline in the United States on all levels, i.e., socially, morally, and financially. Where would we even begin trying to get back on the right track?

    15. Carol,AZ says:

      We have now been called TOXIC by the Federal Gov't.

      Do you think they 're confused by the BP Oil spill and their own toxic leadership as AZ bends over for two lawsuits?

      Thursday hearings by the Federal Justice Dept will begin in Phoenix.

      Meanwhile parts of our State have fallen under the Cartel's NARCO WAR backed by terrorism..

      All aspects for all limp reporting by all media refuse to use this terms.

      Our law enforcement agencies who has made a dent in the Cartels effort to deliever their product to American soil, have sworn contracts out on their lives. Sounds like terrorism..?

      Rreported here also more beheadings in MX than any other third world contry in the world…terrorism ? you decide.

      The spill over into all border states has also exploded, all real exposure muted by mainstream media USA.

      Numerous webites will back all these statements.

      FYI , http://www.alipac.us

      or Google ALIPAC and click on legal immirgration for all issues.

      Read and learn and Support AZ any way you can, while we'll still standing.

    16. oldsalt79 says:

      The lawsuit filed by the Doj against Arizona appears to have been crafted with the express purpose in mind of stopping Arizona from apprehending those who murder Arizona citizens. Obviously Federal policy is NOT being enforced by the FED. If the killing and the drug trafficking is to be stopped Arizona MUST take a contributory role in addressing the problem. If the FED has their way then there will undoubtesdly be thousands of innocent Arizona citizens murdered .Where is it going to end? It is complete lunacy.

    17. G-Man, Chesapeake, V says:

      I want to publically thank Judge Bolton for infusing more passion into the Conservative movement by her poor decision. I was starting to sense that we were losing just a little of our momentum. Thanks to the recent ruling on Arizona’s LEGAL anti-ILLEGAL immigration law I now sense a “spring in my step.”

      This is just the kind of anti-American Government action that steels my resolve, and makes me more determined to fight to restore America to its Constitutional foundations! Sadly, we have plenty of politically (in)correct issues to keep our fires burning.

      Not to worry my freedom loving Americans, we will right this wrong too. I look forward to seeing many of you folks on the Mall September 12th, then again on Election Day!

      Hoo-yah America,

      G-Man

      +++++++++++++++++++++++++++

      http://www.house.gov/sites/members/tx10_mccaul/pd

    18. Pingback: Illegal Immigration Is No Laughing Matter | The Foundry

    19. Pingback: Heritage Article: Is Immigration Reform a Laughing Matter? | Tennesseans Watching Federal & State Government

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