Justice Scalia’s Right Wing Rant
It’s time to play, “Who Wrote That?”
Was it a member of the Minutemen militia, a sovereign citizen living in a cabin in Idaho, or… a member of the United States Supreme Court?
In his point-by-point defense of the Arizona legislation, the avowed law-and-order conservative surmised that the Obama administration “desperately wants to avoid upsetting foreign powers.” He accused federal officials of “willful blindness or deliberate inattention” to the presence of illegal immigrants in Arizona.
“[T]o 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,” Scalia wrote. “If securing its territory in this fashion is not within the power of Arizona, we should cease referring to it as a sovereign State.”
The Reagan-appointed justice wrote:
It has become clear that federal enforcement priorities—in the sense of priorities based on the need to allocate “scarce enforcement resources”—is not the problem here. After this case 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.
[For certain illegal immigrants] immigration officials have been directed to “defe[r] action” against such individual “for a period of two years, subject to renewal.” 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 nonenforcement 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.
Scalia enlisted bubble-gum to make his point, before calling it an “assault on logic” to say “identifying a removable alien and holding him for federal determination” supersedes the federal government’s authority.
“We are not talking here about a federal law prohibiting the States from regulating bubble-gum advertising, or even the construction of nuclear plants,” he declared. “We are talking about a federal law going to the core of state sovereignty: the power to exclude.”
In case you missed my point, this is a highly disturbing, unprecedented intrusion of far right wing politics into the Supreme Court. These talking points are straight out of the Rush Limbaugh playbook.
At The Atlantic, James Fallows asks: How would you describe a democracy where power was being shifted that way?
Here’s a transcript of the court’s opinions, including Scalia’s.