Monday, June 25, 2012

Righteous dissent

"After [Arizona v. United States] was argued and while it was under consideration, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced a program exempting from immigration enforcement some 1.4 million illegal immigrants under the age of 30."

"The husbanding of scarce enforcement resources can hardly be the justification for this, since the considerable administrative cost of conducting as many as 1.4 million background checks, and ruling on the biennial requests for dispensation that the non-enforcement program envisions, will necessarily be deducted from immigration enforcement. The President said at a news conference that the new program is 'the right thing to do' in light of Congress's failure to pass the Administration's proposed revision of the Immigration Act. Perhaps it is, though Arizona may not think so.

"But to say, as the Court does, that Arizona contradicts federal law by enforcing applications of the Immigration Act that the President declines to enforce boggles the mind."

"...There has come to pass, and is with us today, the specter that Arizona and the States that support it predicted: A Federal Government that does not want to enforce the immigration laws as written, and leaves the States' borders unprotected against immigrants whom those laws would exclude. So the issue is a stark one. Are the sovereign States at the mercy of the Federal Executive's refusal to enforce the Nation's immigration laws?

"A good way of answering that question is to ask: Would the States conceivably have entered into the Union if the Constitution itself contained the Court's holding?"

"Arizona has moved to protect its sovereignty -- not in contradiction of federal law, but in complete compliance with it. The laws under challenge here do not extend or revise federal immigration restrictions, but merely enforce those restrictions more effectively. If securing its territory in this fashion is not within the power of Arizona, we should cease referring to it as a sovereign State."

(U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, dissenting from the Court's majority opinion in the case of Arizona v. United States. Read the Opinion of the Court here; Justice Scalia's scathing 22-page dissent begins on page 30 of the pdf document.)