SCOTUS Rules on Immigration

The Supreme Court considered four provisions of Arizona’s immigration law, SB 1070, and today it struck down three of them.  Eight justices took part because Justice Kagan recused herself, since she had worked on the matter before she joined the Court.

Ruling 5-3, the Court struck down the provision making it a crime for illegals to apply for or have a job in Arizona. The Court held that this provision violated federal preemption of immigration law because Congress has chosen to pursue employers who hire illegals, but not illegal employees.

Also ruling 5-3, the Court struck down the provision allowing the police to arrest someone without a warrant if they suspect that person has committed a crime that could result in his deportation.  The five votes were Kennedy (who wrote the opinion), Breyer, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Roberts.  The three against were Scalia, Thomas, and Alito.

Ruling 6-2, this time joined by Alito, the Court struck down the provision requiring all non-citizens to carry papers with them to prove they are here legally.

The Court upheld for now the most controversial provision, 8-0, which allows police to check the immigration status of someone stopped for another reason (such as speeding) if the police have “reasonable suspicion” the person is here illegally.

The challenge to the “stop and check” provision was based on concern that “reasonable suspicion” would lead to racial profiling.  Justice Kennedy wrote that since the law hasn’t been enforced yet, it is too soon to tell if “reasonable suspicion” would be applied in a manner consistent with federal law:

“The Federal Government has brought suit against a sovereign State to challenge the provisions even before the law has gone into effect.  There is a basic uncertainty about what the  law means and how it will be enforced.  At this stage, without the benefit of a definitive interpretation from the state courts it would be inappropriate to assume that [‘stop and check’] will be construed in a way that creates a conflict with federal law.

“This opinion does not foreclose other preemption and constitutional challenges to the law as interpreted and applied after it goes into effect.”

So the law will have to take effect, some people will have to be stopped and checked and then sue, and their cases will have to work their way back up to the Supreme Court to see if there is racial profiling.

Basically, the Court said “stay tuned” on the “reasonable suspicion” provision.

Overall, this was a victory for President Obama and probably the best outcome he could hope for.  There is a strong sentiment that the Court’s failure to throw out “reasonable suspicion” at this point will energize Hispanic turn out and increase Obama’s votes.

Mitt, who has called S. B. 10170 a “model” for the country, gave a cowardly word-salad reaction to the decision that basically blamed President Obama for not passing immigration reform (which he tried, but failed to do because of the filibuster in the Senate), but didn’t say what he would do about immigration if he were president.

SCOTUS Rules on State Campaign Contributions

In a two-paragraph opinion, the Supreme Court refused to revisit Citizens United and ruled 5-4 that Montana’s 100-year-old law limiting corporate campaign contributions was invalid, reversing the Montana Supreme Court.  Twenty-two other states had joined with Montana.

So efforts to restrict corporate spending in local and state elections have failed.

The case was American Tradition Partnership, Inc. v. Bullock.

SCOTUS Rules on Murders Committed by Juveniles

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 (and you know who voted how) that a mandatory sentence of life without parole for those who commit murder when under 18 is cruel and unusual punishment  and therefore unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment.  Back in 2005, the Court ruled against the death penalty for minors who commit murder.

Today’s cases were Miller v. Alabama and Jackson v. Hobbs, both involving plaintiffs who were 14 at the time they committed murder.

Issa Admits No Evidence of White House Wrongdoing

Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Darrell Issa, the GOP congressman leading the witch hunt investigation into Fast and Furious admitted that he has no evidence that the White House was involved either in any cover-up or in misleading Congress.

Of course this won’t stop the Fox Machine from spinning its Second Amendment conspiracy theories or in going after President Obama on this.

I should point out that I’m not a fan of Eric Holder and was disappointed when he was appointed Attorney General.  I was very upset about President Clinton’s pardon of Marc Rich, and Holder was up to his eyeballs in that.

Mitt the Viking

I may not have an MBA from Harvard, but I know this isn’t right:*

“For example, after Bain acquired Ampad a paper products company, in 1992, the company grew through a series of acquisitions.  Sales jumped, but its debt climbed to nearly $400 million, and it found itself squeezed by ‘big box’ office retailers.  It filed for bankruptcy in 2000.  Bain and its investors walked away with a profit of more than $100 million on their $5 million investment, on top of at least $17  million in fees for Bain itself, according to securities filings and investor prospectuses.

“A similar phenomenon unfolded with DDi, a Bain-owned, circuit board maker that expanded aggressively in the late 1990’s.  Sales soared, but so did its debt.  The bursting of the tech bubble forced it to scale back.  It filed for bankruptcy in 2003.  The gains for Bain’s investors easily exceeded $100 million.  Bain also collected more than $10 million in fees.”

Whatever happened to Bain’s companies, it was always heads, Mitt and Bain won; tails, Mitt and Bain won.

To me, Mitt and his merry Bain band were a bunch of marauding, looting Vikings, pillaging what and where they could and leaving misery in their wake.

Mitt looks down on us “little people,” because he thinks if we were as smart and hard-working as he is, we’d all be rich too.  He sees us as inferior.  But what he leaves out of that equation is that some of us lack his ruthlessness and wouldn’t have had the stomach to deprive people of jobs and health care and pensions as cold bloodedly as he did.

I said he’s a Viking.  Maybe I should have said he’s a reptile.

* “Companies’ Ills Did Not Harm Romney’s Firm,” Michael Luo and Julie Creswell, NYT

The Fight Fox Wanted

From “Fast and Furious:  How President Obama and John Boehner got to the brink,” Josh Gerstein and Jake Sherman, Politico:

“For Obama, the political costs of the executive privilege showdown are obvious:  In an election year, there’s little upside to him being tied more closely to a failed gun-smuggling investigation that may have led to the death of at least one U. S. law enforcement agent and hundreds of killings in Mexico.  The executive privilege claim also undercuts his promises to run the most transparent administration in history and could open him to claims of hypocrisy and coverup.

“For Boehner, an unprecedented floor vote to hold an attorney general in contempt threatens to undermine the GOP’s promise to keep a laserlike focus on the economy and Republicans’ determined effort to hammer away at what they view as Obama’s inability to fix the country’s economic ills.  Headlines about the investigations could remind some voters of the 1990’s, when a flurry of probes the Republicans launched of the Clinton administration boomeranged on congressional inquisitors.

“Boehner, Cantor and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy also began to feel extraordinary pressure from their membership, chiefly Reps. Jason Chaffetz of Utah and Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, who both serve on the Judiciary Committee and Issa’s panel.  There were also more than 100 members who signed onto a resolution expressing no confidence in Holder.

‘White House officials insist there’s nothing in the records that would do any real damage, beyond perhaps revealing some emails with intemperate language about Issa’s investigation.

Some administration officials believe that Issa and Boehner were essentially forced into the contempt vote because intense coverage of the probe on Fox News and by conservative online news outlets fed expectations in the Republican base that heads would roll and a smoking-gun memo would surface.

“‘They’ve created their own problem because they made so many outrageous statements and created expectations that something big is going to happen,’ said Matt Miller, a former Justice Department spokesman involved in the initial response to Congress.   ‘The Republican leadership in the House has known for a long time that this is a fight they didn’t want to have but were going to be force by their base to have.'”  Emphasis added.

I really believe this is going to bite the GOP in Congress, and by extension Romney, on the tush and not hurt Obama.