Monday's 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision against Arizona's SB 1070 demonstrates the complete contempt that many federal judges have for the Constitution and the democratic process. Unfortunately, judges all too frequently abuse their power to impose their own agenda. The 9th Circuit is widely held as the most activist court in the nation and even ruled that the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional.
The decision against SB 1070 went a step farther in that the judges explicitly appealed to their own ideological and political concerns, and went as far as to cite the views of anti-American dictators as a justification for subverting the rule of law.
Justice Richard Paez, who wrote the decision, argued that the law has "created actual foreign policy problems." Among the "problems" he cited was the disapproval of the Mexican government, the United Nations Human Rights commissioners, the government of Bolivia, and the Organization of American States. What he does not mention is that the United Nations commission includes dictatorships such as Cuba and Saudi Arabia. Cuba is also a member of the Organization of American States, as are the socialist dictatorships of Bolivia and Venezuela.
The United States has not had diplomatic relations with Cuba for more than 50 years. In 2008, Bolivian President Evo Morales said that all Latin American nations should expel American ambassadors and cheered on a mob who tried to burn down our embassy. He said, "I don't mind being a permanent nightmare for the United States." Venezuela's dictator Hugo Chavez has spewed so much anti-American rhetoric that even Barack Obama expelled their ambassador just three months ago. Chavez had called Bush the "devil" and Obama "Satan."
The idea that the SB 1070 will affect our relationships with this country is preposterous.
Judge John Noonan wrote a concurring opinion against Arizona in which he argued that SB 1070 would upset our relations with Mexico, which he called a "policy... of cordiality, friendship and cooperation." Really?
The Mexican government has tried to subvert American immigration laws and protested any attempts by the federal government to secure our borders long before SB 1070. In 2005, the Mexican government published the Guia de Migrante Mexicano (Guide for the Mexican Migrant) that gave advice to help illegal aliens break into our country, such as "If you cross by desert, try to walk at times when the heat will not be too intense."
Mexico President Felipe Calderon has stated "I have said that Mexico does not stop at its border, that wherever there is a Mexican, there is Mexico," and protested against "unilateral measures taken by the Congress and the United States government that exacerbate the persecution and the vexing treatment against undocumented Mexican workers."
These judges did not come up with these bogus arguments by themselves. They echo an affidavit against SB 1070 by Obama's Deputy Secretary of State that cited the same concerns over the United Nations and foreign governments.
While claiming this did not affect his decision, Judge Noonan also felt compelled to state in his opinion, "For those sympathetic to immigrants (he won't acknowledge they are illegal) to the United States, (SB 1070) is a challenge and a chilling foretaste of what other states might attempt." The role of the courts is to judge a law against the Constitution as the founders intended it. The views of Third World dictators, United Nations bureaucrats, and whether the judge themselves are "sympathetic to immigrants" should have no bearing on their rulings.
The Tenth Amendment of the Constitution clearly states that powers not "prohibited by (the Constitution) to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." In the 87-page ruling, not one of the justices even tries to point to a word in the Constitution that denies states the right to enforce immigration law.
Prior precedent also supports SB 1070. The case United States v. Vasquez-Alvarez stated that there is "pre-existing general authority of state or local police officers to investigate and make arrests for violations of federal law, including immigration laws." The 9th Circuit's own decision in Gonzales v. City of Peoria said that local police can inquire about and if need be arrest illegal immigrants if there is "probable cause to believe either that illegal entry has occurred or that another offense has been committed."
Despite this setback, the people of Arizona will fight on. We will appeal this decision up to the Supreme Court, where there are at least a few constitutionalists on the bench. Poll after poll shows that the citizens of Arizona and America support SB 1070 by at least a 2-1 margin. Personally, I value their opinions more than a couple of left wing activist judges.
Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, is president of the Arizona state Senate.