The United States Will Have to Change Its Name
The main-stream-media reported yesterday’s U.S. v. Arizona Supreme Court ruling as a partial victory for Arizona. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Court’s ruling destroyed the United States. This is not hyperbole. The United States quite literally no longer exists.
The name, “United States” describes a nation that consisted of several sovereign States, combined by a Constitution which granted limited powers to a central government. That nation no longer exists because the former States are sovereign no longer.
This is not just my assessment of the current situation, this is the assessment of Justices Thomas and Scalia. Justice Scalia’s dissenting opinion reads like a new call to revolution. It begins by pointing out that States are sovereign States only when the States have certain abilities. One of those required abilities is to be able to determine who will be allowed within its territory, and who will not. Throughout history it has been agreed that any state lacking the right to exclude certain categories of people is not truly sovereign. Such governments are, themselves, simply subjects of some other sovereign government. The entities formerly known as “States” in North America are now simply subjects of the Federal government.
No precedent supports yesterday’s ruling from the Court. The court’s main opinion tries to make its ruling seem like normal application of preemption precedent. But the truth is that the Court has never applied its preemption precedent in any way remotely resembling U.S. v. Arizona. Keep in mind that Arizona simply wanted to enforce existing Federal law. Never before has the Court said that states can’t enforce Federal law, unless Congress explicitly prohibited State enforcement. The Court has occasionally prevented states from adding to or taking away from Federal law, but it has NEVER said that states cannot enforce Federal law when Congress doesn’t explicitly prohibit enforcement by the states. Imagine the Federal government telling states that they can’t arrest and prosecute bank robbers or drug dealers. Yesterday’s ruling is even more absurd because Federal immigration law actually encourages state enforcement. This ruling is a new high water mark in the ever-growing Federal takeover of state sovereignty.
What we really have here is a President that disagrees with laws passed by Congress, so he actively refuses to enforce those laws. After this week’s ruling we also have a judicial branch that has joined the President by denying “states” the right to do what the President refuses to do. So, we have a Federal government eliminating the remnants of state sovereignty while separation of powers within the Federal government is also ignored. What role does Congress have if the Executive can actively refuse to enforce Federal law? The answer is none. In the past our brilliant system of government would have protected the citizens from such a breakdown within the Federal system by allowing State governments to pick up the slack, like Arizona tried to do. Now the Supreme Court has removed that check and balance.
We can no longer call our nation the United States of America because “States” no longer exist. Instead we now have 50 administrative departments of the Federal government. After yesterday’s ruling “State” borders are no more than boundaries marking the geographical extent of administrative departments. We are now the North American Federal Empire. Our Federal masters will probably have to raise taxes to fund changing the name of our nation on all the stationary.
Despite this unfortunate turn of events, there is still hope. Liberty Legal Foundation has made a difference. The amicus brief LLF filed with the Supreme Court in the U.S. v. Arizona case focused on one issue. That was the one issue that Arizona won.
The one part of the Arizona law that was upheld was the “States’” right to require all local law enforcement to check the immigration status of suspected illegal immigrants. LLF’s amicus brief pointed out to the Court that existing Federal law forbids the Federal government from telling any state or local agency that they can’t ask for immigration information on any individual. This point had not been clearly made by any party or other amicus prior to our brief. Our brief did not discuss the other issues raised by this case because the “State” of Arizona argued those other issues very well. We focused only on a point that had not been made by anyone else, a point that is very important to proper separation of powers.
The Supreme Court’s main opinion acknowledges the point we made in our amicus brief. Even better, Justice Thomas’ dissenting opinion repeats our point, almost verbatim, on page one and two of his opinion. It seems clear that we got the attention of the Court and influenced its ruling. This is great news.
It is unfortunate that overall the Court took a huge step in the wrong direction. However, three justices dissented vigorously, and Arizona won the one issue argued by LLF. We must keep fighting. As bad as this ruling is for our nation, it is still possible to reverse this course by changing one mind on the Court. Our efforts are being noticed within the Court. We can restore our Constitutional Republic if we continue to contend for these Founding Principles with our fellow citizens and with the Courts. To that end, please share this message with your friends, family and social networks.
Van Irion, Founder
LIBERTY LEGAL FOUNDATION