Sunday, June 24, 2012

The other SCOTUS decision

In all the anticipation of the Supreme Court ruling on health care reform, lets not forget that we are also expecting a ruling on Arizona's dreadful immigration law - the one that allows local law enforcement to ask for "your papers" if they think you might be undocumented.

If that law is found to be constitutional, the Supreme Court will have given legal cover for racial profiling. That's it in a nutshell.

I'd like to introduce you to Lou and his family, some of the people in Arizona who will be affected by this decision.
Let me tell you a story about some MEXICAN IMMIGRANTS! My Tata Nacho and Nana Angelita immigrated to this country 92 years ago. Their legacy is profound. Contrary to popular belief these "Mexican Immigrants" were not terrorists, drug dealers or associated with crime. Instead they... worked hard, valued god and family, and passed those values on to all of us. Their children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, great great grandchildren have fought and died for this country. None have ever gone to prison. We are all productive members of society, public servants, teachers, policemen, firemen, professors, successful business people, the list goes on.

They came to this country for freedom. For the opportunity to work hard, raise a family and have security. I am so fortunate to be a piece of this immigrant legacy and part of this vast family. We are part of something bigger than ourselves and hope that the same opportunity afforded to our family will continue to be afforded to others. BROWN OR OTHERWISE!
Given that no one involved with this law has been able to identify how people will be targeted - other than their race - Lou and his family are as likely to be profiled as anyone else.

We should all remember that, in the everyday lives of people of color, this one is as deadly serious as health care reform.

1 comment:

  1. Everybody thinks these upcoming decisions are about health care and immigration. But the Supreme Court is supposed to think beyond the immediate issue. From that point of view, the Arizona case is really about what is called the doctrine of pre-emption. To what extent do Federal laws prevent the states from legislating in the same area? And while the conservatives on the court might like what Arizona is doing, they might not like it if other states start enacting stricter laws than the federal government has done in other areas. In environmental regulation for example. So they have to think carefully about the precedent they are setting for preemption.

    The health care case is really about the scope of the commerce clause in the constitution, meaning that it is about whether we want to go back to the era before the 1930's, when the Court took a narrow view of the scope of federal regulation of commerce. Clearly some of the judges are not afraid to turn the clock back, but others are going to hesitate before doing that. So what will be of interest to constitutional law buffs will be, IF they overturn all or part of the ACA (and I think that is still a big IF), will they do it on narrow grounds that only applies to this act, or will they issue a broader ruling that applies in other areas?

    What is at stake in these cases is nothing less than the relationship between the federal and state governments. Essentially, whether the federal government has the power to deal with important issues like immigration and health care, or whether we are going to disempower the federal government to a great extent from dealing with those issues.