The Justice Department has decided to file suit against Arizona on the grounds that the state's new immigration law illegally intrudes on federal prerogatives, law enforcement sources said Monday.
The lawsuit, which three sources said could be filed as early as Tuesday, will invoke for its main argument the legal doctrine of "preemption," which is based on the Constitution's supremacy clause and says that federal law trumps state statutes. Justice Department officials believe that enforcing immigration laws is a federal responsibility, the sources said.
The preemption doctrine has been established in Supreme Court decisions, and some legal experts have said such a federal argument likely would persuade a judge to declare the law unconstitutional.
But lawyers who helped draft the Arizona legislation have expressed doubt that a preemption argument would prevail. The law, signed by Gov. Jan Brewer (R) in April, is scheduled to take effect later this month.
There's a small problem with arguing that the federal government is the only entity that can enforce immigration laws, though. The Department of Justice, the very people that are suing Arizona have a program to train state and local law enforcement on immigration enforcement. (Follow the link to Basic Immigration Enforcement Training (BIET) via Hot Air)
So after months of banging on the law for being discriminatory and playing on people's fears with respect to racial profiling, the Justice Department doesn't even mention it in the suit but rather goes after the law on shaky legal ground that is contradicted by a Justice Department program.
Because of the sheer lameness of this tack which cannot be explained away merely by incompetence alone, we think there is something else in play here: The Obama administration sincerely wants the Arizona law to pass legal muster.
If it stands then they get the help they know they need on the border. However, far more important is the political cynicism inherent to this administration. This Arizona law, much like California's Prop. 187, will be the progressives' and the Obama administration's whipping boy and rallying cry for the foreseeable future as they demagogue it in order to register voters and whip up resentment against Republicans and even those within their own ranks, like a handful of Arizona Democratic lawmakers.
Think about it. What political purpose does the law serve for Obama if its struck down? If there is anything this man has proved is that he is not about substantive results but rather political agenda. The opportunity to whine about S.B. 1070 is a far more attractive option than having to do anything of import like enforcing the sovereignty of our nation's borders.