I wanted to get around to writing a little about Monday’s before all hell breaks loose tomorrow morning with the Obamacare decision. As those of you who watch the news regularly know, the Supreme Court ruled that while Arizona law enforcement officials could inquire as to the immigration status of people they have stopped for other laws, the state’s additional laws—including making it illegal for illegal aliens to seek work, etc.—were struck down. In fact, the decision that came down Monday was the exact opposite of what many court-watchers expected. The additional enforcement options were thought to be legal, but the inquiry into a person’s residency status was supposedly beyond the pale.
Legal scholars pointed to Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting a case in which the Supreme Court ruled that an Arizona law that revoked the business licenses of illegal aliens did not conflict with federal immigration law. That’s right, it’s legal for Arizona to punish Americans who employ illegal aliens, but not to punish illegal aliens themselves.
How’s that whole citizenship thing working out for you now.
And then, to add insult to injury. The Obama administration notified Arizona on Monday that they will be halting a program that essentially deputized state officers to enforce federal immigration laws.
In other words, if the federal government decides that it doesn’t want to defend Arizona’s border, then Arizonans need to bend over and take it.
As I was digesting all of this, the preemption concept struck me as really odd. There’s apparently no wording in the immigration law itself that states that it preempts state laws in this area, but a majority of the justices decided that Arizona law was preempted here. Why? Just because.
So I got to wondering if the federal Gun Free School Zones Act could be construed similarly. Would a state be forbidden from making it a state crime to possess or discharge a firearm in a school zone because the federal government had passed a similar law? I doubted that the majority in the Arizona case would think so. So I went and looked at the law.
(4) Nothing in this subsection shall be construed as preempting or preventing a State or local government from enacting a statute establishing gun free school zones as provided in this subsection.
That’s all it took for to allow any state to create a similar law.
Similar wording amended to current immigration law would effectively overrule the Supreme Court. Mitt Romney might want to consider making an effort to enact that provision into law.