The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Arizona law on immigration

Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled on Arizona v. United States, involving Arizona's laws on illegal immigration. And its ruling was split in a way that both sides seem to be spinning to their advantage. I read a post by Marc L. Miller and Gabriel J. Chin called “S.B.1070 rides off into the sunset,” which discussed the decision in the following terms: “At its core, S.B. 1070 is a use of the state police power and state criminal law to enforce and punish federal immigration violators; at its core this is what a majority of the Supreme Court rejected.” Yet, on the same site, Jay Sekulow wrote a post that said: “The Supreme Court’s decision in Arizona v. United States represents an important victory for Arizona and proponents of the States’ authority to protect their borders and citizens when the federal government fails to do so.” Were the two discussing the same decision?

I think, clearly, Arizona failed to get all it sought, but got enough that one can say that “half a loaf is better than none.” Many parts of the law were not challenged at all; the Court's refusal to invalidate the immigration status check provision means that illegal immigrants cannot simply try to get by under the radar. If even a routine traffic stop might mean that they are going to sit in jail awaiting a ruling from ICE, they may find things a bit hotter. But the fact that some other provisions were invalidated (especially the one that illegal immigrants could not work legally in Arizona) does mean Arizona failed to get rid of at least some of the problems that it saw.

The question, “is this half a loaf?” has not fully been answered, though — the effects of this decision will not be ascertainable until the law has been allowed to take effect as fully as the Court permitted. There will still be people charging “racial profiling” and this may lead to further challenges to the law. What really needs to be done is for the Federal government to enforce its own laws.

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