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Arizona case: sovereignty dead?



Flag of Arizona

Today the Supreme Court released its decision in Arizona et al. v. US (Docket No. 11-182). The Court let stand the one part of the Arizona immigration law (SB-1070) that called for the governments of Arizona and the United States to cooperate. Instead of cooperating, the federal government now refuses to take any information on illegal aliens that Arizona police catch for other reasons. This can mean only one thing: Barack H. Obama does not want the States to be sovereign.

What the Arizona opinion says

The Arizona opinion found three parts of SB 1070 invalid:

  1. Making failure to carry a green card a State crime, and prosecuting that in State courts.
  2. Criminal penalties for hiring any person found unlawfully present in the United States.
  3. Allowing Arizona police to arrest someone upon “probable cause” to suspect that he is in the country illegally, but without a specific warrant.

The Court held that only the federal government, as a “single sovereign,” has the power to regulate immigration. Arizona was trying to take a federal matter into its own hands. This follows from Article I, Section 8, Clause 4 of the Constitution. Under that clause, the Congress sets “a uniform rule of naturalization.” In addition, arresting someone on suspicion of being in the country illegally, without a warrant, might break the Fourth Amendment. It would be an “unreasonable seizure.”

But the Court sent back to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals the one part of SB 1070 that Arizona Governor Jan Brewer most wanted to stand. That part says that the police may check the immigration status of any person whom they stop or arrest for any other reason, if they have reasonable suspicion that the person they stopped or arrested is an illegal alien. On that ground, Governor Brewer claimed “victory for the rule of law.”

The Obama administration reacted swiftly and shockingly. It suspended all cooperation between the Immigration and Customs Enforcement service and State and local police forces in Arizona. So now, local police may check immigration status on anyone they stop or arrest, but the federal government won’t act on this information. In fact, they won’t even talk to local police when they call.

An angry Justice

Justice Antonin Scalia, opining on the Arizona case, said that the States would have run for the exits had they known what was to come.

Justice Antonin Scalia, United States Supreme Court. Photo: Steve Petteway, chief photographer (cropped)

Justice Antonin Scalia gave one of the most scathing dissents in the history of the Court. He said flatly that the federal government doesn’t want to enforce any laws against illegal immigration. Worse yet, the federals want to “leave the States unprotected.” Scalia cited the recent Executive Order that federal authorities would no longer deport most illegal aliens who came to the United States as minors.

Are the sovereign States at the mercy of the Federal Executive’s refusal to enforce the Nation’s immigration laws?

Scalia went further: he suggested that no State would have ratified the Constitution if the Constitution put that attitude in writing.


Imagine a provision—perhaps inserted right after Art. I, §8, cl. 4, the Naturalization Clause—which included among the enumerated powers of Congress “To establish Limitations upon Immigration that will be exclusive and that will be enforced only to the extent the President deems appropriate.” The delegates to the Grand Convention would have rushed to the exits.

As far as CNAV has seen, no media organ, not even Fox News Channel, has picked up on this yet. A Justice of the Supreme Court just told the world that the States ought to consider seceding from the Union, and no one could blame them. As Paul of Tarsus might have said (Galatians 1:6): wow. Just—wow. But: can anyone blame him for saying so?

What to do about it

CNAV has a better idea. Call the Homeland Security department anyway. If they hang up, keep calling and calling until the un-worthies at the other end can’t stand it anymore. Furthermore, run an immigration check on every single suspect or POI whom the police stop or arrest for any reason whatever. No “profiling,” no “discrimination.” Instead, the police would be doing Cloward-Piven in reverse.

Nor should the Governor wait for any of the lawsuits already pending to go to the Supreme Court next term.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio hinted today that he would not stop doing what he now does to enforce immigration law in his county. Other sheriffs in Arizona would do well to follow his lead.


Cloward-Piven Obama link

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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

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