Thursday, March 15, 2007

Legal experts: Uphill battle for Hazleton

For the second night in a row, a legal expert appearing on Lou Dobbs Tonight on CNN predicted that Hazleton's chances in the lawsuit are not good.

Tonight it was Jonathan Turley of George Washington University:
But it remains really a political, not a legal solution. They have got to change the people in Washington if they want to change the policy or at least change the minds of the people in Washington.

DOBBS: And meanwhile, it sounds to me like you are not giving the community of Hazleton or, any other community, in the entire country much confidence they will prevail.

TURLEY: I'd have to bet against them. It's not that it's a totally lost cause, but it's just going to be a very rough and long road to hoe for them.

Last night it was Jeffrey Toobin, CNN's senior legal analyst:
TOOBIN: Well, I think the toughest test for this ordinance is a doctrine called preemption, which is preemption is a constitutional law doctrine that says when the federal government is involved in regulating an area, the states and localities can't contradict or occupy the space.

The most famous case about preemption involves nuclear power plants.

DOBBS: Right.

TOOBIN: They said -- their federal laws dictate safety at nuclear power plants. Well, some states said, no, we want these -- the rules to be tighter, to be safer, and the Supreme Court said no, this is preempted by the federal government. The federal government determines it. I think that's the risk in this law.

DOBBS: And that's the risk. Who do you think prevails?

TOOBIN: I think the ACLU and the Chamber of Commerce, I think they're going to prevail. I think the judge is going to avoid the issue about whether it's discriminatory, and simply say, look, this is a federal matter. Hazleton, stay out of it.

Andy in Harrisburg

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the ACLU wins this one, it will be a pyrrhic victory, because it is not the judicial system they need to convince that amnesty is a good idea, but the people who hold the power of the vote. A victory will only frustrate what is readily apparent to all, the general will of the people to rid themselves of illegal aliens. The ACLU will be viewed a bullying a small town community that is only defending itself. There are thousands of communities ready to emulate Hazleton, and if they can't do so, their frustration will only cause them to prevail upon their politicians more furvently. Have fun on winning points of law, ACLU, but the fight has only just begun.

12:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, that's the whole point. You can't just pass laws willy nilly that interfere with federal policy. The appropriate way to deal with this is put pressure on Congress if you want to see change. But the real problem with the Hazleton laws is that they would lead to rampant discrimination and racial profiling and target anybody who is brown.

12:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's rather disingenuous to argue that it is the federal government's responsibility to enforce immigration law, when they manifestly have no intent to do so. That is what frustrates so many Americans and why they wind up in court with the ACLU. The ACLU is so aggressive in insisting that the rights of the people are upheld, but where are they when the people cry out that their immigration laws are not enforced? Why hasn't the ACLU filed a friend of the court brief on behalf of the American people's right to be free of illegal aliens? Why do they defend illegal aliens and yet eschew the appeal of the people whose will is being thwarted?

1:07 PM  
Blogger ACLU of Pennsylvania said...

Anonymous, re: your first post, did you sleep through 2006? The Rs tried the xenophobic platform, and after some high-profile losses by candidates who were riding the anti-immigrant wave (J.D. Hayworth, Rick Santorum), they got PO'ed at Sensenbrenner, the architect of the xenophobia platform, and kicked him to the back row of the chamber.

The whispers are that the reason why Barletta brought forth the ordinance was to help Santorum's campaign by providing an issue that would appeal to the lowest common denominator. We saw how well that worked for the now-former senator.

Karl Rove is a lot of things, and one thing that he is is smart. Do you think George W. Bush supports comprehensive reform out of the goodness of his heart? Maybe he does out of some sense of "compassionate conservatism," but Rove knows that Latinos are a growing voting bloc. The last thing they need to do is alienate them.

And if you need further evidence, see Pete Wilson and Prop 187. The Rs have been getting their behinds whipped in Cali ever since. They managed to get a governor by running a RINO in a race with- what?- eight candidates, including a porn star.

Bill Kristol, who usually drives me nuts, wrote a great column in April called "Y is for Yahoo":

"Most Republican officeholders know that the political--and moral--cost of turning the GOP into an anti-immigration, Know Nothing party would be very great. It could easily dash Republican hopes of becoming a long-term governing party. How many Republicans will have the courage to stand up and prevent the yahoos from driving the party off a cliff?"

I have yet to figure out how to hyperlink in the comments section (not that I've given it much effort), but you can easily find the column by Googling "Kristol Y is for Yahoo."

Being a xenophobe might work in some city council and mayoral races and certain Congressional districts, but if you think that candidates are going to ride anti-immigrant rhetoric to some kind of election sweep, you are living in Electoral Fantasyland.


7:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, Andy, the Hispanic vote is yet to be proven the monolith that you think it to be. Like many ethnic groups, including blacks, it has been impossible to get them to vote lock-step on any issue. Nothing in recent times, even in the current federal elections has proven that Hispanics are any different. The motivations that threw the Republicans out of the Senate and House are not so clear as you would espouse. Some argue that it was the current sorry state of affairs in Iraq, and others say that the public just threw them out of power due to the corruption of the K street affairs. The crystal ball is further clouded by the with fact that some Democrats campaigned on an anti-amnesty program, and after all the hoopla and arm twisting by the president, McCain and Kennedy, there is serious doubt of the outcome of the next amnesty bill that will come up for consideration.

Frankly, I will not give into political pressure from the advocacy groups. I find it unethical for an ethnocentric group to resort to blackmailing our government officers into nullifying our immigration laws, based on speculative changes in demographics. It's totally against our democratic principles to change law by nullification rather than by resorting to a vote by the people's representatives. Hispanic advocacy groups do not care for democracy or law and order when it goes against their special interests. I find this reprehensible and worthy of a fight.


7:59 PM  

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