Alabama Law Largely Upheld

By James R. Edwards, Jr. on September 29, 2011

A federal judge's ruling that much of Alabama's immigration-related law may stand marks progress in a number of ways. Here's a brief, first-cut take on the victory for Alabama's citizens and defeat for open-borders zealots.

First, the judge in Alabama seems unclear on what's federally pre-empted and what's not. Some of the provisions of this law that the judge continues to block are similar to provisions in Arizona's law that the courts have okayed. Other provisions, while novel, such as verifying lawful residence for school enrollment, are welcome. The principle of "broken windows" policing underlies such laws. This principle involves vigilance at every turn where illegal foreign residents come in contact with government. Alabama understands that such closing of official negligence will determine the effectiveness of these laws. Too bad the judge couldn't grasp the underlying principle, which also undergirds each state's broad police powers.

Second, the court decision comes in a jurisdiction far outside the loopy Ninth Circuit. The latter is where Arizona is located. The Ninth Circuit has the dubious distinction of being the most oft-overturned appellate court in the land. That is, the Supreme Court often steps in with adult supervision. So, getting a favorable ruling in a more normal jurisdiction bodes well for other states and localities suffering the consequences of unchecked immigration.

This decision further helps the legal landscape, generally speaking, for states and localities beating open-borders and leftist warfare by litigation. It improves the prospects of other laws recently enacted in other states withstanding vicious legal attacks. Given recent Supreme Court rulings on related issues, Alabama's chances of coming out ahead on this seem to be pretty good.