Scalia’s Dissent on Arizona Case

Scalia actually went to the courtroom and read from his dissent. That doesn’t always happen. Sometimes dissents are just filed and quoted from, but he read a lengthy dissent from the bench. He said, among other things, “‘After this case was argued and while it was under consideration,’ he said, ‘the secretary of Homeland Security announced a program exempting from immigration enforcement some 1.4 million illegal immigrants.’

“This was a reference to the decision by the Obama administration this month to let younger immigrants — the administration estimates the number as approximately 800,000 — who came to the United States as children avoid deportation and receive working papers as long as they meet certain conditions. ‘The president has said that the new program is ‘the right thing to do’ in light of Congress’s failure to pass the administration’s proposed revision of the immigration laws,’ Justice Scalia went on.

“‘Perhaps it is, though Arizona may not think so. But to say, as the court does, that Arizona contradicts federal law by enforcing applications of federal immigration law that the president declines to enforce boggles the mind.'” And he’s exactly right. All this was… Let’s stop and remember. All the Arizona law was was a restatement of federal law. The federal government was not enforcing the law. Arizona, therefore, wrote its own law to be able to enforce that practically mirrored the federal law, and that’s what was struck down. And Scalia doesn’t believe it.



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