American Elephants

Bad Law, But Really Compassionate. by The Elephant's Child

Here we are. The president of the United States has announced that he doesn’t like the Supreme Court decision in Arizona v. United States, because his reelection strategy is to pander to Hispanics with a de facto amnesty on immigration. He is a fierce competitor, and his support from the Hispanic community has  fallen off, possibly related to their sky-high unemployment.

His Secretary of Homeland Security ( embarrassingly a former Governor of Arizona)  has dutifully announced that  unless Arizona police call with an illegal immigrant who committed a major offense, don’t bother to call, because they won’t do anything. This is the president declaring that he will not obey, let alone enforce, the laws of the United States.

As a man of the hard left, Obama has had no consideration for the traditions and customs of the presidency. Many of us thought that he was just unaware of the history of the office. What do you do when you have someone in office who simply will not follow the rules? Who judges himself above the law, and as too important to be restrained by mere tradition.

We are a nation of laws. We have a remarkable Constitution that in 223 years has only been amended 27 times, while other nations rewrite theirs with regularity. But we have it because Americans revere it, and revere the brilliance that hides in the phrase “We the people … do ordain.” But what do you do when the chief executive officer, sworn to’ preserve protect and defend the Constitution’ and to’ faithfully execute the office of the presidency’ decides not to?

Steven Hayward summarized the problem in the forward to William Voegeli’s Never Enough, which I recommend heartily:

Liberalism’s irrepressible drive for an ever larger welfare state without limit arises from at least two premises upon which the left no longer reflects: the elevation of compassion to a political principle (albeit with other people’s money) and the erosion of meaningful constitutional limits on government on account of the idea of Progress.

The president, ‘compassionately’ announces that enforcing the law, or deporting anyone, or not allowing unauthorized workers to take the jobs of Americans, is just not the American way. The Congress makes the immigration laws. The Court made an error of law in essentially saying that because they have ‘compassion,’ you don’t have to pay any attention to the laws made by Congress. And the Supreme Court doesn’t get to do that. And because of the error, the problem will have to go back to Congress for new law to fix things.

As a nation, you have to have some control over your borders. You really can’t just throw the borders open to one and all. Half the world wants to move to America. The “open borders” advocates don’t care about the borders, they care only about power, and they see unlimited immigration as a key to power.

Justice Scalia’s opinion is scathing on the sovereignty of a state:

The United States is an indivisible “Union of sovereign States.” Hinderlider v. La Plata River & Cherry Creek Ditch Co., 304 U. S. 92, 104 (1938). Today’s opinion, approving virtually all of the Ninth Circuit’s injunction against enforcement of the four challenged provisions of Arizona’s law, deprives States of what most would consider the defining characteristic of sovereignty: the power to exclude from the sovereign’s territory people who have no right to be there. Neither the Constitution itself nor even any law passed by Congress supports this result. I dissent.


As a sovereign, Arizona has the inherent power to exclude persons from its territory, subject only to those limitations expressed in the Constitution or constitutionally imposed by Congress. That power to exclude has long been recognized as inherent in sovereignty. Emer de Vattel’s seminal 1758 treatise on the Law of Nations stated: (The entire opinion is here)

There are no easy answers to the immigration problem, nor to the problems that illegal immigration is causing. They are hard questions, and will be difficult to work out. There are only trade-offs. You must draw clean legal lines. This is about the country, not feel-good compassion, and not about buying votes. Illegals are not all innocent children, nor are they all dreamers and strivers, and the laws must deal with terrorists and drug dealers as well. The law is not about compassion, it’s about law or lawlessness.


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.” But what do you do when the chief executive officer, sworn to’ preserve protect and defend the Constitution’ and to’ faithfully execute the office of the presidency’ decides not to?”
I guess Obama thinks there is an out with – execute “to the best of my abillity” the office part. Vote this clown out.


Comment by Don Welch

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