Judicial Activism in Arizona

By James R. Edwards, Jr. on July 29, 2010

The legal injunction that blocks key parts of Arizona's law enforcement statute from taking effect doesn't pass the smell test. The ruling reeks of politics, not jurisprudence – in other words, judicial activism.

The four stricken provisions mirror federal laws, so it's ridiculous for the Justice Department and the Clinton-appointed judge to claim Arizona creates its own immigration policy. No, the embattled state crafted corresponding laws. And even if the barred measures did go further than federal law, so what? Ever heard of the Tenth Amendment?

Consider: Federal law requires aliens to have their "alien-registration papers." Making it a state offense not to have those federally mandated IDs doesn't plow new policy ground.

Same story with a state requiring its law officers to determine a suspected illegal or criminal alien's immigration status. Such inquiries, based on reasonable suspicion, occur every day from state, local, and tribal police agencies across the land.

Nor do making it a state crime for an illegal alien to apply for or take an American job or allowing arrests without a warrant when the suspect is likely to be deportable run afoul of federal immigration laws.

When a federal judge can't distinguish between corresponding state statutes and conflicting ones, that judge's suitability for the bench should be questioned, not a thoughtfully crafted, common-sense law like Arizona's.