Selective Constitutionality under the Obama Justice Department

By Dan Cadman, April 6, 2017

The Washington Post is reporting that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has ordered senior Department of Justice (DOJ) officials to review all police reform agreements signed, or initiated and yet pending, between DOJ and some 25 police departments nationwide.

According to the article, Sessions wants to ensure that the agreements — all of them initiated by the Obama administration, and most under the pressure of lawsuits — don't work against the goals of promoting officer safety and morale while fighting violent crime. I have nothing much to say about all of that, other than it sounds reasonable enough, because it's outside the scope of immigration matters.

What did catch my attention, though, was this quote from Jonathan Smith, executive director of the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, who, according to the article, also spent five years as DOJ's chief of special litigation under Obama's White House:

This raises the question of whether, under the current attorney general, the Department of Justice is going to walk away from its obligation to ensure that law enforcement across the country is following the Constitution.

Last time I checked the Constitution, it also assigned federal preeminence on all matters relating to immigration. Article I, Section 8, Clause 4 says that "The Congress shall have power to ... establish an uniform rule of naturalizaton", which has repeatedly and logically been interpreted by the Supreme Court to mean all immigration matters, since immigrating is a prelude to naturalization.

And yet, there are at least 300 known law enforcement organizations all over the country that engage in the scofflaw practice of refusing to provide information about criminal aliens to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, or go even farther by refusing to honor immigration detainers, refusing access to their jails so that ICE agents can interview the aliens in lockdown, and other similar contemptible practices. Worse, more "sanctuary" jurisdictions are being discovered weekly now that ICE is monitoring and reporting on such places as required by a recent presidential executive order.

Not one of these sanctuary jurisdictions was ever taken into court by the Obama administration to obtain consent decrees or restraining orders or "reform agreements" to oblige cooperation with — or, at minimum, end obstruction of — the federal government in performing its duties in one of the few areas uniquely within its responsibility. Where were you then, Mr. Chief of Special Litigation?