In his dissent, Justice Scalia was much more specific, citing the Obama administration’s announcement just two weeks ago that it would refuse to enforce the law against illegal aliens who would benefit from the DREAM Act amnesty that Congress has rejected three times.
“After this case was argued and while it was under consideration,” Scalia wrote, “the Secretary of Homeland Security announced a program exempting from immigration enforcement some 1.4 million illegal immigrants under the age of 30.
“The president said at a news conference that the new program is ‘the right thing to do” in light of Congress’s failure to pass the Administration’s proposed revision of the Immigration Act. Perhaps it is, though Arizona may not think so. But to say, as the Court (majority) does, that Arizona contradicts federal by enforcing application of the Immigration Act that the President declines to enforce boggles the mind.”
In his dissenting opinion on the constitutionality of Arizona’s anti-illegal immigration law (SB 1070), Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia decried the court’s 5-3 ruling, arguing that it effectively took away a sovereign state’s authority to exclude people who have no right to be in that state. The court struck down three of four provisions of the law.
“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,” Scalia said in his opinion, backed by Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas.
“Neither the Constitution itself nor even any law passed by Congress supports this result,” Scalia said. “I dissent.”
Calling it an “assault on logic,” Scalia said the Arizona statute is consistent with the “ ‘cooperative’ system that Congress created, for state officials to arrest a removable alien, contact federal immigration authorities and follow their lead on what to do next.”
“And it is an assault on logic to say that identifying a removable alien and holding him for federal determination of whether he should be removed ‘violates the principle that the removal process is entrusted to the discretion of the federal Government,’” Scalia said.
“If securing its territory in this fashion is not within the power of Arizona, we should cease referring to it as a sovereign state,” Scalia said.
From Business Insider:
Here are some of the highlights from his 7-page dissent:
On Obama’s new immigration directive:
The President said at a news conference that the new program is “the right thing to do” in light of Congress’s failure to pass the Administration’s proposed revision of the Immigration Act. Perhaps it is, though Arizona may not think so. But to say, as the Court does, that Arizona contradicts federal law by enforcing applications of the Immigration Act that the President declines to enforce boggles the mind.
On the Supreme Court’s decision, Scalia wrote that states would have “rushed to the exits” if the Constitution contained the court’s ruling:
A good way of answering that question is to ask: Would the States conceivably have entered into the Union if the Constitution itself contained the Court’s holding? Today’s judgment surely fails that test. At the Constitutional Convention of 1787, the delegates contended with “the jealousy of the states with regard to their sovereignty.”
Scalia goes on to argue that Arizona was in “complete compliance” with federal law because it had moved to “protect its sovereignty.”
“The laws under challenge here do not extend or revise federal immigration restrictions, but merely enforce those restrictions more effectively. If securing its territory in this fashion is not within the power of Arizona, we should cease referring to it as a sovereign State. I dissent,” Scalia concluded.
featured image: AP