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Justice Scalia, Your Racism Is Showing

Justice Scalia, Your Racism Is Showing

It’s impossible to have a debate about federalism and the relationship between the federal government and the states without, to some degree, harkening back to the ultimate issue of federalism in this country’s history, slavery. Yet that is exactly what proponents of Arizona’s controversial anti-immigrant law managed to pull off during oral argument before the Supreme Court, and by every indication the conservative wing of the court was more than happy to enable that historical whitewash.

Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli had not yet even started his argument when Chief Justice Roberts made it clear what the court would not be discussing. The court would not be discussing racial profiling, despite the fact that racial profiling is at the center of the political dispute surrounding the bill and that racial profiling and the impact of the federalism arguments go hand in hand.

“I just want to make clear what this law is not about,” Roberts said. “No part of your argument has to do with racial or ethnic profiling, does it?” At this point Verrilli had an opening to explain to the court that yes, your honors, the issue of race and racial profiling, while not immediately briefed before the court, informs the very heart of the Arizona bill and therefore the very spirit of this argument before the Court. I won’t armchair quarterback here except to say that Verrilli appeared to make the same mistake here as in the health care arguments, and that is assuming that most of the justices exist in a world of law and not of Fox News politics.

For a case that wasn’t about race, the justices spent the remainder of the arguments talking about immigrants in the most racially charged and unflattering manner possible. Justice Scalia referenced the “invasion” of undocumented immigrants, comparing them to a roving band of armed thieves. Scalia even threw a bone to the nativists suggesting what the Obama administration was really looking for was a ruling that would allow the US to “enforce our laws in a way that pleases Mexico.”

When Verrilli did muster up the courage to suggest that Arizona’s Latino population was implicitly, if not explicitly targeted in the law, it was obvious that Scalia had never considered the possibility that many of the state’s Latinos are there lawfully. “Are you objecting to harassing the people who have no business being here? Surely you’re not concerned about harassing them.”

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Justice Scalia in all his unbridled racist glory.

Justice Elana Kagan recused herself from the case, which means there is a possibility the justices could split 4-4 on their decision. If that were the case then the 9th Circuit ruling striking the 4 provisions on appeal would stand. But there’s not a guarantee that will happen. Former prosecutor Justice Sonia Sotomayor was sympathetic to the state’s case and to the arguments that an overwhelmed local law enforcement should have the ability to act. She could very well side with the neo-Confederate wing of the court on this one.

A decision on the case is not expected until late June.

Related Stories:

US v. Arizona: Preview Of The Arguments

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Photo from US Mission Geneva via flickr.

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102 comments

+ add your own
3:24PM PST on Dec 27, 2012

Thank you.

3:24PM PST on Dec 27, 2012

Thank you.

3:23PM PST on Dec 27, 2012

Thank you.

4:04PM PDT on Oct 18, 2012

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3:26PM PDT on Oct 12, 2012

Hello Shirley,
Perhaps you did not look up Elena Kagan's ties with the Koran and the sharia Law. She actually taught it at Harvard, then went to Egypt after the over throw of their government and told the rioters that when they write a new constitution do not use the US Constitution as a model. Now how stupid was that of her. She does not believe in the document that she is appointed to enforce?

When Obama goes so should Kagan.
Have a nice weekend, God Bless the US Constitution.

10:39AM PDT on Oct 11, 2012

Sheesh Bill R. Snap your brain into the real world.

Since when does a historic paper, written as an academic requirement by a university student named Elena Kagan become her own personal political stance? Your attitude means that there are vast regions of world and American history contained on your own personal taboo list.

Bill R. your attitude stinks of fearing the very freedom of speech that the American Constitution enshrines. Man up, Bill R. Become an American

3:46PM PDT on May 1, 2012

This just might be a good place to point out that Elena Kagan is a promoter of Sharia Law. Well read this, "What would you say if you learned that a member of the highest court in the land has spent the last 30 years openly advocating for the destruction of the US Constitution and even went so far as to accept $20 million from Shariah Law proponents to accomplish her goal?

That Supreme Court Justice is Elena Kagan.


The year after Ronald Reagan entered the Oval Office with the goal of restoring America to greatness; Elena Kagan penned a telling and disturbing senior thesis titled "To the Final Conflict: Socialism in New York City, 1900-1933." In that body of work, Kagan lamented that "a coherent socialist movement is nowhere to be found in the United States"; and that," no "radical party" had yet "attained the status of a major political force." Kagan went on to sound a rally cry for "those who, more than half a century after socialism's decline, still wish to change America." "

6:00PM PDT on Apr 28, 2012

Whoever kindles the flames of intolerance is lighting a fire
underneath his own home.
Harrold Stassen, 1907 - 2001

I can sympathize with the taxpayers of Arizona over subsidizing illegal immigrants schooling, health care, etc. At the same time they cannot demand "papers" to prove citizenship. Many US citizens
do not carry such papers. Nor should they target one race or color.
To compare all illegal immigrants as "a roving band of armed thieves" is neither correct nor unbiased; especially coming from a Supreme Court justice.

Mexican immigrants (legal or illegal) come to this country to better their lives. We spend enormous sums trying to keep them out, return them to their home country, as well as the increase in costs for schooling, health, etc. while in country. I believe it would be better to allow them to enter this country legally if they obtain a Socia Security Card, pay taxes, etc. as any other citizen in this country. We should also require that anyone employing them as well as our citizens must pay minimum wages with withholding taxes.

Too many large corporations collecting corporate wellfare are not paying their employees a living wage; thus transferring their responsibilites to government wellfare programs.

We have many complex problems that are interrelated and our Congressmen and lawmakers are over simplifying solutions without knowing their consequences. They also are one sided when it comes to big business ignoring the problems of the majori

7:13AM PDT on Apr 28, 2012

They can't immigrate legally because they are refused visas!

6:24AM PDT on Apr 28, 2012

Jim C Where do you get your information on the comments that you made about Slavery?

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