Monday, July 9, 2012

Immigration ruling nixes state sovereignty

Americans have no recourse when president disregards the law

The Supreme Court twice last week abandoned the Constitution to give new powers to the federal government and the Obama administration. The question for conservatives and patriots is: What can be done about it?

In Monday’s Arizona ruling, the majority opinion, written by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, creates a totally novel and illogical doctrine of federal pre-emption. In Thursday’s Obamacare ruling, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. goes through unprecedented contortions to effectively rewrite the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as a taxation measure, not an unconstitutional expansion of the commerce clause.

It will strike many Americans as especially noxious and foolhardy to give Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and his Justice Department lawyers such broad discretionary powers of law enforcement when Congress is moving toward removing him from office.

There also is a weird irony and alarming disconnect at play when the Supreme Court says the executive branch may defer to the feelings and interests of foreign governments in enforcing our immigration laws at the same time the Justice Department is under investigation for running an arms-smuggling operation in flagrant violation of Mexico’s sovereignty.

The Arizona ruling is overshadowed by the more far-reaching Obamacare ruling, but it has implications far beyond immigration law. That ruling looks into the constitutional history of pre-emption doctrine and discovers new territory never mapped before. States are forbidden not only to enact laws that go againstfederal law in the realm of immigration, but to enact laws that are totally consistent with federal law and, in fact, support and enhance federal enforcement.

According to the Supreme Court’s ruling, the federal government is justified in not enforcing a law - and forbidding a state government from such enforcement as well - if its enforcement might trespass on the federal government’s foreign-policy interests. This doctrine opens up a huge can of worms for law enforcement generally, and not just immigration law enforcement.

Mexico and other nations in the people-export business are objecting to enforcement of U.S. immigration law because it adversely affects Mexican nationals living unlawfully in our country. The Supreme Court says this is a legitimate concern of the federal government and therefore a legitimate reason to not enforce laws. To have this idea codified in a Supreme Court ruling, to borrow a phrase from Justice Antonin Scalia, truly boggles the mind.

There are legitimate and well-understood grounds for federal pre-emption when a state legislates in an area which either the Constitution or Congress has claimed for exclusive federal jurisdiction. States cannot establish their own currency or undertake diplomatic relations with foreign nations. But in many areas, Congress has legislated without claiming exclusive jurisdiction, and even when it is claimed, state laws that merely supplement federal law always have been deemed constitutional. Thus, Justice Kennedy had to resort to a tortured reading of congressional intent to reach his decision in the Arizona case.

An example is Justice Kennedy’s analysis of the federal law requiring aliens to register with the federal immigration agency and always carry their alien-registration document. He says that because Congress has legislated on alien registration, states cannot make laws in that area.

But Arizona’s S.B. 1070 in no way contradicts the federal law on alien registration. Arizona has not attempted to set up a different or conflicting alien-registration system. Arizona merely said it is a violation of state law not to have those documents in your possession and police officers have a right to ask to see those documents. The court said only the federal government can enforce that law, not state governments. This prohibition goes far beyond the language found in the law.

The court’s Arizona ruling gives not only the Obama administration but any future president the discretion to disregard any federal law. Gone is the section of the president’s oath of office to faithfully enforce the laws to the best of his ability, “so help me God.”

As Justice Scalia said in his scathing dissent, which he read aloud from the bench on Monday morning, this ruling effectively puts a nail in the coffin of state sovereignty. It also empowers and emboldens every nation on earth to expand its export of people to our shores and across our borders.

SOURCE   (See the original for links)

Dutch populists suffer, economy displaces immigration

 As the Netherlands heads for a general election, barely a day passes without a mention of "Henk and Ingrid", or Mr and Mrs Average, in a political debate that has revolved around the economy and the euro zone debt crisis.

The invention of populist politician Geert Wilders - who heads the anti-immigration, anti-euro Freedom Party - this mythical couple attracted a different kind of notoriety after a real Dutch Henk, with a wife called Ingrid, killed a Turkish immigrant, prompting commentators to warn that populism can backfire.

Until now, voters have been receptive to homespun stories about the imaginary hardworking couple who, Wilders says, are fed up with Muslim immigration, and lately with the cost to Dutch taxpayers of bailouts resulting from the euro zone debt crisis.

Wilders' anti-immigration, anti-Muslim rhetoric propelled his party into third place in the 2010 election and gave him real power and influence as the minority government's ally in parliament. It was Wilders who brought that government down in April when he refused to support budget cuts to reduce the deficit to meet EU targets.

"The cultural issues that dominated from 2006 are off the agenda since the economic crisis really hit us hard in Europe," said Andre Krouwel, a political scientist at VU University Amsterdam.

Krouwel says the tragic story of Henk and Ingrid highlights the limits to the kind of opportunistic populism that he said had passed its high tide in the country.

Henk was implicated in the apparent racist killing of a Turkish immigrant in the poor, post-industrial town of Almelo.

According to the newspaper Algemeen Dagblad, a long-running conflict between Henk, 61, his wife Ingrid, 59, and the family of a Turkish immigrant named Aziz Kara, 64, came to a head last Saturday. During an argument, Henk threw Kara to the ground. Kara went into a coma and later died.

The sad irony of an apparent racist killing being committed by two people sharing the names of Wilders' mythical populist couple has been widely noted, furnishing material for comedians in an Amsterdam club on Friday night.

Henk and Ingrid used to refer to Kara's family as "the mafia," putting on Dutch music to drown out their Turkish music, and complaining that the Turkish family, popular in the neighborhood, was "spying on" them, the newspaper reported.

"This is the risk of a strategy that's based on imagery and issue-ownership. They connect with the personal lives of people, but you run the great risk of someone turning up with exactly the name and the position," said Krouwel, who compared Wilders' misfortune to that which befell John McCain when he took up the cause of "Joe the Plumber" in the 2008 U.S. presidential elections.

"It's a cynical thing when you take up someone like Joe the Plumber, and then he turns out to be a racist idiot."

The latest opinion polls show the Freedom Party would win only 20 seats in the 150-seat parliament, down from 24 in the 2010 election. This week in a new round of defections, two more lawmakers resigned from Wilders' party, accusing him of running it like a North Korean-style "politburo", and leaving it with just 21 members of parliament.

A survey published on Sunday by the pollster Maurice de Hond also suggests cultural populism may have had its day. Only a fifth of respondents supported Wilders' call to exclude Turkey from NATO, but more than half supported his proposals for cutting value-added tax and fuel duty.


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