Big Johnson: I’m Special Agent Johnson of the FBI. This is Agent Johnson. No relation.
Robinson: Dwayne Robinson, LAPD. I’m in charge here.
Big Johnson: Not any more.
—Robert Davi as Big Johnson and Paul Gleason as Deputy Police Chief Dwayne T. Robinson in Die Hard
I have to say I was a little taken aback by Monday’s Supreme Court ruling on the Arizona immigration law. Despite my prior cautions against reading too much into justices’ questions and comments during oral argument, I really thought the administration was going to lose this one, and lose it badly.
Boy, was I wrong.
By now you are undoubtedly aware that on Monday the Supreme Court struck most of the Arizona statute as unconstitutional on the basis that it “undermine[s] federal law” in an area where the federal government has exclusive domain. “Undermines”? How do you figure?
The Court struck three aspects of the Arizona statute. One made it a crime for immigrants to seek employment without work permits. This did not create a new state registration requirement. The permits to which the law referred are federal work permits already required under existing federal law, and the hiring of someone without that permit is already illegal under existing federal law.
Another made it a crime for immigrants not to carry their immigration papers on their person. Again, this didn’t create a new state registration requirement; no one had to file an application in Phoenix to get an Arizona green card. This part of the Arizona law was referring to the federal immigration paper work again already required under existing federal law.
The third stricken part of the Arizona immigration law allowed the police to arrest anyone suspected of committing a deportable offense. Once again, Arizona wasn’t creating any standards for deportation, or otherwise establishing substantive immigration policy. All it was doing was authorizing state and local police to enforce existing federal immigration law as established by Congress. That is no different than local police making an arrest for interstate heroin trafficking, or for purchasing or selling an unregistered Class III firearm (i.e., a machine gun).
In all three aspects of the statute, all Arizona was trying to do was provide supplemental enforcement mechanisms in support of existing federal immigration policy as set forth in existing federal law enacted by Congress. The Arizona statute did nothing to impair federal authority over immigration, and was in no way inconsistent with it. Yet a majority of the Court held that where the federal government is supreme, even complementary State action is forbidden.
The administration, in challenging Arizona’s law, has been long and loud in its cry that this was its exclusive domain, and that States needed to butt out. And as if to put a final cymbal crash on it, the Department of Homeland Security within hours of the Court’s ruling suspended all cooperative arrangements with the State of Arizona.
Yes, Goose, I know the finger.
Disappointed as I am in the ruling—and as nervous as it makes me about what I had been convincing myself was going to be a Thursday ruling striking Obamacare, and I fear the prospect that Chief Justice Roberts might turn out to be another David Souter (surely the Bushes couldn't have repeated their mistake, could they?)—there may be a silver lining here. This ruling is more likely to motivate flagging Tea Party types to stay in the game and get to the polls than it is to drive happy Latinos to vote. But I think there’s a step further that can be taken here.
Some of you are going to tell me I need to be careful what I wish for, and you may be right. But it seems to me that two can play this game that the federal Beast is imposing on us. If the federal government wants the States to butt out of its policies and programs, even with complementary support or enforcement, fine. Here are some suggestions:
I’d like to see Arizona Governor Jan Brewer—God bless her—continue to stick to her guns. If her problem is the federal government isn’t enforcing its own laws in an area in which it claims exclusive jurisdiction, make it put its money where its mouth is. She should get together with Texas Governor Rick Perry (no chance Governor Moonbat in California will go along, and I have no idea what you’d hear from New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez) and sue the United States, Barack Obama, Eric Holder, and Janet Napolitano in federal court in Texas (we go to the 5th Circuit, not the 9th as you would out of Arizona) seeking a writ of mandamus and an affirmative injunction ordering them to enforce the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 as it was written by Congress.
Get as many states as will join to terminate (if possible) all leases for all federal agencies renting space on State property, and ban all federal law enforcement personnel from entering any State park or building. What’s yours is yours, and what’s mine is mine.
End all State maintenance activities on Interstate highways. Refer all complaints to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, and explain that those are federal projects and are the responsibility of the federal government, as the federal government itself has made clear. I’m sorry, I’d like to help, but we’ve been told by the White House and the United States Supreme Court to butt out of federal affairs.
Order all state and local law enforcement agencies to cease any efforts to investigate or arrest people in cases of tax evasion or any other enforcement of federal law. Telephone or other communications from the FBI, Treasury Department, BATF, or any other federal law enforcement agency are not to be responded to beyond do it yourself.
Finally, end all State participation in Medicaid and any other unfunded federal mandates such as the Clean Air Act, Americans With Disabilities Act, etc. Refer complaints to HHS, EPA, EEOC, or whatever the appropriate federal agency is.
The States are not mere subordinate subdivisions of the federal government to be employed or dismissed at the snap of the Beast's finger. They need to reassert their sovereignty, and the ongoing federal war against Arizona provides a perfect backdrop against which to do it. The Beast picked this fight, not the States. Time for the States to push back and tell the Beast “You want exclusive jurisdiction, you got it. Take care of those things your own damn self.”
What’s the Beast gonna do about it?