Legal Analysis of the Arizona Immigration Law

Ilya Shapiro at the Cato Institute presents a fairly comprehensive review of the Arizona law that The Obama Administration insists is very bad despite the fact that no one there has bothered to read it:

First, the Arizona law — which I’ve actually read, unlike the attorney general and the secretary of homeland security – is carefully crafted so as not to go beyond the scope of federal law and so, as Dan alludes in his thoughtful podcast (drawing on discussions with Roger), is probably constitutional.

[…]

Second, notwithstanding the new law’s facial constitutionality, state or local law enforcement officials could use it to behave in a way that intrudes on federal prerogatives or violates constitutionally protected individual rights.  That circumstance could give rise to an “as-applied” legal challenge.  If police officers stop Hispanic motorists on pretextual grounds just to ask for their papers, for example, that would constitute a Fourth Amendment violation.  Notably, however, the sections relating to state enforcement of federal immigration laws contains a provision specifying: “This section shall be implemented in a manner consistent with federal laws regulating immigration, protecting the civil rights of all persons and respecting the privileges and immunities of United States citizens.”

Third, just because the law is constitutional doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good policy (just like not everything that some people say is good policy — like Obamacare, or torture during interrogations – is necessarily constitutional).

Shapiro goes the extra mile, however, and considers not only what the law does, but how the crazy moonbat left-wing Democrats are responding to it:

[T]he boycotts of Arizona adopted by city councils around the country — at last count, Berkeley, Boston, El Paso, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco, St. Paul, and West Hollywood have all passed resolutions restricting official travel, investment, and/or contracts with the Grand Canyon State – are likely themselves unconstitutional.  That is, unlike private individuals, organizations, and businesses, states (and their political subdivisions) cannot erect barriers to trade against other states.   Preventing such interstate discrimination was, of course, one of the original purposes of the Constitution and, specifically, its Commerce Clause (which grants Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce).  We often discuss the Commerce Clause in terms of Congress incorrectly invoking it to justify legislation not having anything to do with either commerce or interstate activities — such as, again, the individual health care mandate — but just the same it protects economic liberty by forestalling trade wars.

And interesting analysis. Read the whole thing here.

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