Tuesday, June 26, 2012

SCOTUS: We're For State's Rights

Unless we don't agree with them, that is. The two other big decisions yesterday, on immigration enforcement and refusing to revisit Citizen's United, offer the striking hypocrisy of the court's state's rights pose so rampant among its conservative bloc.

First, taking a very state's rights view, the court left intact the central provision of the "show us your papers" provision of Arizona's immigration law, legitimizing racial profiling and hearkening back to the bad old days of fascism.

The court unanimously sustained the law’s centerpiece, the one critics have called its “show me your papers” provision, though they left the door open to further challenges. The provision requires state law enforcement officials to determine the immigration status of anyone they stop or arrest if they have reason to suspect that the individual might be in the country illegally.

In its challenge, the administration did not argue that it violated equal-protection principles. At the Supreme Court argument in April, Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. acknowledged that the federal case was not based on racial or ethnic profiling. 

In the majority opinion, Justice Kennedy wrote that the ruling did not foreclose other “constitutional challenges to the law as interpreted and applied after it goes into effect.” 

Meanwhile, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said on Monday that the federal government would “continue to vigorously enforce federal prohibitions against racial and ethnic discrimination.” 

In upholding the requirement that the police ask to see people’s papers, the court emphasized that state law enforcement officials already possessed the discretion to ask about immigration status. The Arizona law merely makes that inquiry mandatory if the police have reason to suspect a person is an illegal immigrant. 
You want to put Holder in contempt over a valid issue? Hold his justice department in contempt for never having argued the equal protection 14th amendment angle on what is most obviously (and offensively) racial profiling. 

Were any of the justices (save Sotomayor) to be pulled over in Arizona, it's doubtful they would be asked to "produce their papers" because....yeah, exactly, old white people don't "look as if they might be here illegally."

The funniest part of the long, convoluted decision was Scalia's diss of Obama from the bench while warning of the "evil effects of illegal immigration." No one seemed to alert Nino to the fact that illegal immigration has dried up in the U.S. the past four years, thanks to the recession, and more people are actually leaving the U.S. now than are coming here. 

But again, his state's rights, "the states have a sovereign right to enforce their laws," praise of Arizona went out the window later in the morning when the five conservative members of the court announced they would not allow Montana to enforce its laws concerning campaign finance because, well, they didn't agree with it.

Following the disastrous announcement of the Citizens United decision in 2010, Montana decided it would continue to enforce its campaign laws and restrictions on corporate money, advertising, etc. El Nino et al put the kibosh on that.
In the 5-to-4 ruling on Monday, the court summarily reversed a decision of the Montana Supreme Court that had upheld a state law limiting independent political spending by corporations. That decision, the United States Supreme Court said, was flatly at odds with Citizens United, which said the First Amendment allows corporations and unions to spend as much as they like to support or oppose political candidates. 

“The question presented in this case is whether the holding of Citizens United applies to the Montana state law,” the opinion said. “There can be no serious doubt that it does.”
LOL. Gotta love the consistency of the states rights ideology. "We believe in states rights. Unless we don't."

No wonder expectations are so dismal regarding the big health care decision on Thursday. Most people understand that the court has devolved into a partisan circus where the constitution and the best interests of the country have taken a back seat to narrow-minded political ideology.

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