States` Rights Redux: Imperial Washington vs. Arizona
July 08, 2010, 05:00 AM
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After a sustained bout (how about 45 years?) of "preemption" in the mishandling of immigration laws and policies by the Federal Government at all levels, the US Justice Department now has the chutzpah to file suit against Arizona for trying to protect its citizens.

Boy, if you are not outraged at this Federal overreach of raw power you are brain dead.

The front page of the July 7 Washington Post reported that "The administration disavowed any political calculus, with one senior Justice Department official saying: 'We're charged not with doing what's popular or partisan or political, but doing what we think is right.'"[Justice Department sues Arizona over immigration law, By Jerry Markon and Michael D. Shear]

"Right"? For whom? Certainly not the nearly 20% of American citizens who are unemployed or have stopped looking for work.

Following a massive media campaign by the White House and the Democrats in Congress, and waged with our tax dollars, using their bully pulpits against to claim that the new Arizona immigration law would racially profile people, this suit doesn't mention that aspect in its 25-page filing.

The DOJ suit is obviously designed to frighten other budget strapped states into not proceeding with similar legislation.

The time that this suit may take to be adjudicated is uncertain. But knowing how the wheels of justice can grind with agonizing slowness, the people of the USA are in line to continue to get screwed by a Federal government that has grown arrogant, overly powerful, and absolutely unmindful of anything but its own elected officials' perceived best interests—namely getting re-elected.

As a Democrat, I am utterly disgusted. But I am hopeful for a powerful Republican response. The Post reports:

" 'Not only does this lawsuit reveal the Obama administration's contempt for immigration laws and the people of Arizona, it reveals contempt for the majority of the American people who support Arizona's efforts,' 20 House Republicans said in a letter to Attorney General, Eric H. Holder, who administration officials said decided last week to challenge the law.'"

The short-lived States' Rights Democratic Party ("Dixiecrats") in 1948 may have given a bad name to the idea of states' rights. But all Americans should recall that it was not until the Bill of Rights was added to the first draft of the US Constitution, that all the 13 original states ratified it.

In 1789, as the Archiving America web site notes,

 "A number of prominent Americans were alarmed at the omission of individual liberties in the proposed constitution. George Mason, author of the Virginia Bill of Rights, refused to sign the document, as did Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts.

"Thomas Jefferson, U.S. Minister to France at the time, wrote James Madison that he was concerned about 'the omission of a bill of rights....providing clearly....for freedom of religion, freedom of the press, protection against standing armies, and restriction against monopolies.'

"Aware of the lack of these provisions, George Washington urged Congress in his first inaugural address to propose amendments that offered 'a reverence for the characteristic rights of freemen and a regard for public harmony.'

"Motivated by these leading Americans, Congress responded by submitting Amendments to the Constitution providing for essential civil liberties. They were officially proposed on September 25, 1789. Of the original twelve, Articles 3-12 were ratified. Accordingly, in 1791 these articles became the first ten amendments to the Constitution.....known collectively as The Bill of Rights."

The burgeoning power of our Federal Government—recall Eisenhower's 1961 farewell address, "Beware the military-industrial complex"—has reached a point where it can utterly fail in its responsibilities, as it has with the immigration issue, and then basically use this "preemption" argument to quash rational consideration of its own errant conduct.

Folks, we are in a desperate place when the monopoly of government power can turn us into serfs on the Federal estate!

Some  50 million immigrants since the ill fated 1965 immigration legislation have come here with the powerful encouragement of the cheap labor, ethnic, and religious lobbies. They can now, with the recent Citizens United decision, overwhelm our elective process with unlimited campaign spending.

The cynicism of my Democrat party on this issue profoundly disturbs me—and should you! The Post continues:

"But other Democrats suggested that the legal fight could play to their advantage by placing them on the side of Hispanics, the nation's fastest-growing minority. Though most polls show the Arizona law is broadly popular, leading Hispanic groups and politicians have condemned it.

"'There is probably some short-term pain politically,' said one senior Democratic strategist, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he did not want to publicly contradict the administration. 'But considering the demographic changes the country is undergoing, long term there is a lot of upside in advocating for Latinos and comprehensive immigration reform.'

There is no consideration here of the national interest—whether we need more people—no thought to the costs of allowing the present failed system to continue with another amnesty, no debate on how to reform the present laws so they work. Just a political power play!

Even the Post's July 7th editorial, which continues to push for "comprehensive immigration reform", recognizes the fallacy of suing on preemption–"it's fine to claim a right to 'preempt' state law, but that right comes with a responsibility to do the job".

We can only hope the Fed's law suit fails. But I am not an optimist.

Nevertheless, the brave Arizonans have sparked a real national debate that allows the citizens of America a chance to preserve the promise of liberty and justice contained in the Bill of Rights and in our Constitution.

Donald A. Collins [email him], is a freelance writer living in Washington DC and a former long time member of the board of FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform. His views are his own.