Supreme Court Justice Scalia exposed his inner Federalist today during oral arguments for and against Arizona’s “Papers Please” anti-immigration law, wherein he suggested that immigrants are comparable to bank robbers, and that the federal government doesn’t want states to interfere with the bank robbers’ lives.
In his fervent defense Wednesday of Arizona’s right to crack down on illegal immigration, Justice Antonin Scalia likened immigration enforcement to crackdowns on bank robbers.
“What’s wrong about the states enforcing federal law?” Scalia said during his aggressive questioning of U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli. “There is a federal law against robbing federal banks. Can it be made a state crime to rob those banks? I think it is.” [...]
“But does the attorney general come in and say, you know, we might really only want to go after the professional bank robbers?” Scalia said. “If it’s just an amateur bank robber, you know, we’re going to let it go. And the state’s interfering with our whole scheme here because it’s prosecuting all these bank robbers.” [...]
“What does sovereignty mean it it does not include the ability to defend your borders? The states can police their borders,” he said, suggesting that the White House opposes S.B. 1070 because it “doesn’t want [immigration] law enforced so rigorously, and that preempts the state from enforcing it vigorously.”
It would seem that Scalia’s impassioned defense of Arizona’s “Papers Please” anti-immigration law, SB1070, is once against predicated on Right Wing talking points, just as his apparent contempt for the Affordable Care Act was.
Comparing immigrants to bank robbers is based on the notion that immigrants come here, take our jobs, utilize social services, and don’t pay any taxes. In other words, they rob the government.
Anyone who actually has experience with undocumented immigrants knows that’s not the case. They do pay taxes, and they seldom, if ever, utilize social services because that increases the chances they will be discovered.
The state of Alabama recently saw a massive drop in tax revenue because of their “Papers Please” anti-immigration law, which prohibited immigrants from doing business with the state. And that includes filing taxes.
Justice Scalia’s membership in the Federalist Society is directly reflected in his implication that state sovereignty should take precedent over federal law.
By the way, I find Scalia’s suggestion that the White House is pursuing this case because of politics to be pretty offensive, and if Supreme Court justices were bound by the same code of ethics that federal judges are, he would be skating awfully close to violating it.