Arizona v. United States

From The Washington Post:

The Supreme Court on Monday struck down several key parts of Arizona’s tough law on illegal immigrants, but it left standing a controversial provision requiring police to check the immigration status of people they detain and suspect to be in the country illegally.

SCOTUSblog provides an explanation “in plain English”:

The decision was largely (but not entirely) a victory for the federal government:  the Court held that three of the four provisions of the law at issue in the case cannot go into effect at all because they are “preempted,” or trumped, by federal immigration laws.  And while the Court allowed one provision – which requires police officers to check the immigration status of anyone whom they detain or arrest before they release that person – to go into effect, even here it left open the possibility that this provision would eventually be held unconstitutional if not applied narrowly in Arizona.

Click on the latter link to read more about the four provisions at issue.

So what do you think? Does this only further increase the federal government’s power, with a commensurate erosion of state control? Or is this a proper understanding of the federal government’s constitutional control over immigration?

Presidential lawlessness

Charles Krauthhammer on how President Obama is acting lawlessly, doing something that he himself earlier said would be unconstitutional:

In late 2010, he asked Congress to pass the Dream Act, which offered a path to citizenship for hundreds of thousands of young illegal immigrants. Congress refused.

When subsequently pressed by Hispanic groups to simply implement the law by executive action, Obama explained that it would be illegal. “Now, I know some people want me to bypass Congress and change the laws on my own. . . . But that’s not how our system works. That’s not how our democracy functions. That’s not how our Constitution is written.”

That was then. Now he’s gone and done it anyway. It’s obvious why. The election approaches and his margin is slipping. He needs a big Hispanic vote and this is the perfect pander. After all, who will call him on it? A supine press? Congressional Democrats? Nothing like an upcoming election to temper their Bush 43-era zeal for defending Congress’s exclusive Article I power to legislate.

With a single Homeland Security Department memo, the immigration laws no longer apply to 800,000 people. . . .

Imagine: A Republican president submits to Congress a bill abolishing the capital gains tax. Congress rejects it. The president then orders the IRS to stop collecting capital gains taxes and declares that anyone refusing to pay them will suffer no fine, no penalty, no sanction whatsoever. (Analogy first suggested by law professor John Yoo.)

It would be a scandal, a constitutional crisis, a cause for impeachment. Why? Because unlike, for example, war powers, this is not an area of perpetual executive-legislative territorial contention. Nor is cap gains, like the judicial status of unlawful enemy combatants, an area where the law is silent or ambiguous. Capital gains is straightforward tax law. Just as Obama’s bombshell amnesty-by-fiat is a subversion of straightforward immigration law.

It is shameful that congressional Democrats are applauding such a brazen end run. Of course it’s smart politics. It divides Republicans, rallies the Hispanic vote and preempts Marco Rubio’s attempt to hammer out an acceptable legislative compromise. Very clever. But, by Obama’s own admission, it is naked lawlessness.

via Charles Krauthammer: Obama’s amnesty-by-fiat — naked lawlessness – The Washington Post.

Demonstrating in favor of sex trafficking

There was a conference on stopping child sex trafficking.  So the Oakland branch of the Occupy Wall Street protested on the grounds that such efforts are “racist” acts of oppression against “sex workers.”  From Zombie, who provides photos, quotes, and commentary from the demonstrations (caution:  bad language):

If there’s one issue that unites Americans of all political stripes, it’s the sexual enslavement of children. Whatever our opinions on other issues, we all agree that sex trafficking and the prostituting of children is an outrage and a tragedy. Thus, conference attendees included liberal, moderate and conservative politicians; progressive nonprofit organizations; law enforcement groups; religious leaders; and (according to the conference Web site) “social services, medical providers, mental health, education, probation, and community-based organizations.” In short: Everybody.

Everybody, that is, except Occupy Wall Street, who somehow found a way to oppose the abolition of child sexual slavery. In order to justify this seemingly incomprehensible and repugnant position, the Occupiers performed some of the most amazing moral gymnastics you’ll ever encounter. . . .

After protesting on the sidewalk for a while, the Occupiers went berserk and staged a full-frontal assault on the conference. The security guards somehow managed to repel the invasion, as the Occupiers then hurled paint-bombs, bottles of unknown liquid, eggs and other projectiles at the hotel.. . .

The Bay of Rage site’s official announcement for the protest clearly spelled out the Occupy position in this dispute:

This is What Patriarchy Looks Like:

The H.EAT. conference is a conference of pigs and their nonprofit lackeys to increase the harassment, imprisonment, marginalization and criminalization of sex workers. Fronting as a conference against “child trafficking,” this conference brings pigs and nonprofits together to develop policing strategies that line their pockets while leaving sex workers exploited and disempowered. Pigs and nonprofits hide behind lies about “safety” and “protection” while they profit off the incarceration and “reformation” of sex workers. These pigs and nonprofits neurotically plug their ears to the fact they themselves are exactly the reason sex work can exist. Sex work, like all forms of work, can only exist within a society based on hierarchical economic systems like capitalism, which are protected by the police and patronizing reformist organizations that keep exploited people from revolting. The pigs are the enemies of sex workers, and of all workers.

via Zombie » Occupy Oakland protests in FAVOR of child sex trafficking.

So we’re back to “pigs” as a derogatory word for police officers, just like in the ’60′s.  So anti-police sentiment animates both the left and the right.  We also see old-fashioned Marxism, as if the Berlin Wall never fell.

The new prohibition movement

The old prohibition movement sought to ban alcoholic beverages.  The new prohibition movement seeks to ban soft drinks.

New York City is considering banning large portions; Cambridge, Massachusetts, is considering banning soft drinks altogether.  See City Of Cambridge – CITY CLERK OFFICE, CAMBRIDGE MASSACHUSETTS.

What about diet soda?  Is it necessary to ban those, even though they do not contribute to obesity and diabetics?  If so, then I’m thinking the health reasons are just a pretext for some other agenda, I guess the impulse to ban things.  But it seems odd that the wave of the moment is to ban soft drinks.

A 12 oz. can of Coke has 140 calories.  A 12 oz. can of Budweiser has 145.  The good stuff has more than that, with Big Sky I.P.A. having 195.

A 5 oz. serving of red wine has 106 calories, which makes it much more fattening, ounce for ounce, than soda.  Distilled liquor has 105 calories per 1.5 oz., far, far more than soda.  So why doesn’t Mayor Bloomberg challenge the consumption of alcohol?  Why doesn’t the city of Cambridge, that ultimate college town, ban beer, wine, and booze if it is so worried about obesity and diabetes?

To be sure, the prohibition of alcohol didn’t work very well.  So why do governments think it will work so much better with soda pop?  (Can’t you just imagine the speakeasies and home-made seltzer operations that would open up, serving primarily 10 year olds?

There are other examples of people straining at gnats while swallowing camels when it comes to health issues.  There are those who would like to hound the tobacco industry out of business who also favor legalizing marijuana.  There are those who demand that their food be free of chemicals while they themselves use recreational drugs.

Obama as the new Nixon?

The president as above the law.  From Victor Davis Hanson discussing the de facto amnesty for illegal immigrants:

Legally, President Obama has reiterated the principle that he can pick and choose which U.S. laws he wishes to enforce (see his decision to reverse the order of the Chrysler creditors, his decision not to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act, and his administration’s contempt for national-security confidentiality and Senate and House subpoenas to the attorney general). If one individual can decide to exempt nearly a million residents from the law — when he most certainly could not get the law amended or repealed through proper legislative or judicial action — then what can he not do? Obama is turning out to be the most subversive chief executive in terms of eroding U.S. law since Richard Nixon.

via Are We in Revolutionary Times? – By Victor Davis Hanson – The Corner – National Review Online.

For another comparison of our current president to Nixon, see this.

40 years of Watergate

Yesterday was the 40th anniversary of the burglary of the Democratic National Committee office in the Watergate office complex.  That event on June 17, 1972, would bring down the presidency of Richard Nixon.

I remember news of the burglary and the subsequent dripping out of details and the final whole cascade vividly.  I was a college student at the time.  I realize many of you weren’t even born yet.  So I first ask those of you who remember it:  What has changed since the Watergate scandal?  Did it change the way you view the office of the president or our government or journalists?  Did it make you the cynic you are today?

To the rest of you and to anyone, what, to use grandiose language, is the legacy of Watergate?  It was uncovered largely by old-fashioned investigative journalism, as well as bipartisan Congressional investigation.  Do you think if an event like this happened today, in our media environment of 24-hour news, the internet, and yet cash-strapped newspapers, that it would be that big of a deal?  Are we in a state of scandal overload, so that the serious gets lost in the trivial?

Watergate scandal – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.


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