Judicial Activism against Arizona; Judge Bucks Precedent to Keep Immigration Floodgates Open

Article excerpt

Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES

U.S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton miscalculated when she blocked critical aspects of Arizona's immigration enforcement law. Her decision will further intensify efforts by states to find solutions to problems posed by the Obama administration's unwillingness to take command of this pressing issue.

The decision is certain to inflame the illegal immigration debate, and it doesn't bode well for the president or his party. According to a recent Quinnipiac poll, 55 percent of Americans back the Arizona law and 58 percent disapprove of Obama immigration policies. A Pew Research Center poll shows 63 percent think immigration reform is very important, and only 36 percent back the Justice Department's suit against Arizona. The presumed political benefits of the administration's stance are not materializing. According to Gallup, President Obama's approval ratings among Hispanics have dropped from 68 percent in April to 55 percent in the latest weekly poll.

Judge Bolton ruled, It is not in the public interest for Arizona to enforce preempted laws, but this is a deceptive statement. If Arizona had passed a law that defined U.S. citizenship, as Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has disingenuously suggested, federal supremacy would apply. However, the case at hand doesn't deal with pre-emptive law but with parallel enforcement. Arizona's law does not define who has broken immigration laws; it deals with what to do when police apprehend these criminals.

The relevant precedent is in Gonzales v. City of Peoria (1983), in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit - which includes Arizona - held that although the regulation of immigration is unquestionably an exclusive federal power, it is clear that this power does not preempt every state activity affecting aliens. The court stated flatly that federal law does not preclude local enforcement of the criminal provisions of federal immigration law, and that concurrent enforcement is authorized when they do not impair federal regulatory interests. …