Scalia Is Making It Up As He Goes Along.
If you've been on SodaHead for more than a few days, by now you will have seen the growing phenomenon of Right Wing disconnect with reality. A recent survey conducted by Dartmouth University demonstrated a wide gap between objective reality and the world as the Right Wing would like to see it. Complete denial when it comes to the President's many accomplishments has become commonplace. More and more, it seems that the Right Wingers on this site simply make it up as they go along.
But who could really have expected Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia to fall prey to the same delusional world view? Scalia has always been skilled at coming up with a convoluted argument to claim that the Constitution says something it doesn't (like "corporations are people", for instance), but with his bizarre dissent in the Arizona SB 1070 decision, Scalia is beginning to sound more and more like a Sodahead Rightie. Thank goodness he can't block the other justices.
Article excerpt follows:
Supreme Court Strikes Most of Arizona Immigration Law, Making Scalia Very Angry
June 25, 2012
The oral arguments earlier this year on the SB-1070, the infamous Arizona immigration law, made it difficult to read how the Court was going to rule on most of its provisions, although the Court seemed on balance more sympathetic to Arizona's position. Given how things looked after that, today's decision in Arizona v. United States must be considered a pleasant surprise. Most of the key provisions of the Arizona law were struck down, and the provision that was not could still be subject to future challenges depending on how it is applied. Rather than the usual 5-4 split, the case was decided 5-3 (with Justice Kagan recusing herself); surprisingly, Chief Justice Roberts joined Justice Kennedy and the Court's four Democratic appointees but did not write. Roberts apparently wanted there to be a five-person majority rather than having most of the Arizona law upheld because of a tie that left the lower court decision undisturbed.
The most remarkable opinion in the case, however, is Justice Scalia's solo dissent. Like Thomas, he believes that the Arizona law should be upheld in its entirety. Unlike Thomas, he took not taken a narrow view of what is required for state law to be preempted. In keeping with his clownish performance at oral argument, Scalia makes no attempt to conceal the political values that motivated this contradiction with his past jurisprudence. As he did at oral argument, he begins by asserting that "[a]s a sovereign, Arizona has the inherent power to exclude persons from its territory." This conflation of a nation-state and a constituent part of a nation state is utterly inappropriate, and the qualification that Scalia goes on to add—"subject only to those limitations expressed in the Constitution or constitutionally imposed by Congress"—completely swallows the first statement.
Given such constitutional requirements as the federal right to travel, American states are simply not "sovereign," and any reasoning based on this principle has no chance of withstanding scrutiny. Scalia's dissent continues in this vein, defending Arizona's law by making policy arguments against Congress and the Obama administration. "Must Arizona’s ability to protect its borders yield to the reality that Congress has provided inadequate funding for federal enforcement—or, even worse, to the Executive’s unwise targeting of that funding?" asks Scalia. Actually, yes—our constitutional framework does not allow Arizona to premept federal law if it doesn't like the way it's being exercised, and Arizona does not in fact have the inherent right to exclude people that the federal government does. And things get even worse as he tries to expand on his theory that the Supremacy Clause is inapplicable if Congress exercises its authority in a way Antonin Scalia doesn't like:
As is often the case, discussion of the dry legalities that are the proper object of our attention suppresses the very human realities that gave rise to the suit. Arizona bears the brunt of the country’s illegal immigration problem. Its citizens feel themselves under siege by large numbers of illegal immigrants who invade their property, strain their social services, and even place their lives in jeopardy. Federal officials have been unable to remedy the problem, and indeed have recently shown that they are unwilling to do so.
Amusingly, Scalia has just released a co-authored book criticizing many of his colleagues for not adhering to what he considers the only acceptable consideration that can go into legal reasoning—the text of the relevant document as it was construed at the time of its ratification. I had no idea that the original meaning of the Constitution and federal statutes could be best discerned by listening to The Michael Savage Show.
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