The Obama administration has been utterly spineless when it comes to the gay marriage, but they seem to have found their voice on the culture war issue of 2010. The DOJ is filing suit today against the state of Arizona over the state’s controversial immigration law. AZ Central reports:
The U.S. Justice Department is filing a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Arizona’s new law targeting illegal immigrants, setting the stage for a clash between the federal government and state over the nation’s toughest immigration crackdown.
The planned lawsuit was confirmed to The Associated Press by a Justice Department official with knowledge of the plans. The official didn’t want to be identified before a public announcement planned for later Tuesday.
This morning, the WSJ Law Blog reminded us that the DOJ won’t be running around arguing over racial profiling. Instead the Justice Department will be making a claim about supremacy — constitutional supremacy, that is…
Ashby Jones puts the key legal issue front and center:
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
— Article IV, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, also known as supremacy clause.
There you have it. It’s not going to be about whether or not Arizona’s system of requiring dark-skinned American citizens to show documentation is legal or not. The challenge rests on Arizona’s asserted authority to supersede federal immigration laws:
Enforcing the nation’s immigration laws, the suit may posit, is a federal, not state, responsibility.
The Arizona law gives police the power to question anyone if they have a “reasonable suspicion” that the person is in the country illegally.
Obama has been making the case that the Arizona law could prompt other states to make their own immigration laws, and 50 different immigration laws to get into one country doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
Supporters of the law will claim that the feds haven’t effectively enforced national immigration laws, forcing Arizona’s hand. The Mexican government will argue: “Have you ever been to Mexico? Do you realize how bad things are here for our people, such that mowing lawns in the Mojave Desert is a freaking upgrade? Give us a break.”
It should be fun: Obama v. Arizona. Supremacy v. Enforcement. The DOJ v. “dey turk yerrr jurrbs.”
Let’s see if the DOJ seeks a TRO to prevent enforcement of the law until the courts sort it out.
Feds suing to stop Arizona immigrant law, source says [AZ Central]
U.S.’s Immigration Suit Against Arizona To Come Anytime [WSJ Law Blog]