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Should the Court let SB 1070 stand?

Posted by Hyuuga Cutezz On 7:03 AM
MONDAY, APRIL 23, 2012

At the New York Times, them perfessers strike again: Should the Supreme Court strike down Arizona’s immigration law, the infamous SB 1070?

We’re not sure, in part because of them perfesser fellers!

The Court is scheduled to hear arguments about several parts of SB 1070 on Wednesday. In this morning’s New York Times, Professor Peter J. Spiro pens an op-ed column about this matter.

Spiro is a law professor at Temple—though you wouldn’t guess that fact from reading his column.

Early on, Professor Spiro states his view of the Arizona law and similar laws in other states. Spiro doesn’t approve of these laws, which is fine by us:
SPIRO (4/23/12): Such laws are misguided at best, mean-spirited and racially tainted at worst. The conventional wisdom among immigration advocates is that immigrant interests will be best served if the Supreme Court makes an example of Arizona’s law by striking it down.

But in the long run, immigrant interests will be better helped if the Supreme Court upholds S.B. 1070. Laws like Arizona’s are such bad policy that, left to their own devices, they will die a natural death—and their supporters will suffer the political consequences.
According to Spiro, SB 1070 is “misguided at best.” It’s “mean-spirited and racially tainted at worst.”

But is SB 1070 constitutional? Spiro is a professor of law—but as best we can tell, he never offers a single word on this rather basic question.

All through his column, Spiro voices a type of political judgment; he says “immigrant interests” will be best served if the Court lets SB 1070 stand. But how should the Court rule on the constitutional merits? We can’t find a word about that.

Not that there’s anything wrong with it! But down through the years, we have found that people often have a hard time getting clear on the Court’s role in cases like this:

In a case like this, the Court is supposed to decide if a given law is permitted by the constitution. It isn’t supposed to decide if the law constitutes good policy, or if it helps various "interests."

This morning, the Times employs a professor of law to speculate about the policy implications of the Court’s decision. No one helps us figure out if the law is constitutionally valid.

Not that there’s anything wrong with it! But we’ll be featuring the work of them perfesser fellers on several occasions this week. And by the way:

It isn’t just “immigrant interests” which will be advanced if SB 1070 is permitted to stand. As he continues, Spiro hands us this bit of Classic New York Timesism:
SPIRO: Similar anti-immigrant laws are often introduced but rarely enacted, as corporate interests work quietly to kill or defang them. Mississippi became the latest state to refuse to follow in Arizona’s footsteps when an illegal-immigration bill died in a State Senate committee earlier this month in the face of opposition from prominent local business groups.
Hurrah! “Corporate interests” will also be served if SB 1070 stands!

On this morning’s front page, the Times offers a news report on this question. It helps us see that agricultural interests want this law struck down.

In her front-page report, Julia Preston boo-hoo-hoos about a “conservative” farmer in Georgia who wants to have plenty of good cheap labor to hire for work on his farm. Just like in the old days!

In such ways, the Times engages in its greatest crusade. It pretends to stand for high-minded racial justice, even as it makes a joke of all it pretends to survey.

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