Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Is this the type of man we want on our Supreme Court?

According to a CNN article, Justice Antonin Scalia opened the Supreme Court's new session by saying,

"No one thinks your client is abstaining from tequila for fear of being deported," he said. Supervision "is impossible once he leaves the country," he added. "This is an ingenious exercise of the conceivable."

The racist comment was in reference to an undocumented immigrant's attempt to fight deportation. The U.S. Supreme Court is working on two immigration cases that will likely change the way all immigrants are treated in the U.S.

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According to the Houston Chronicle, the purpose is:
To decide, the justices will need to clarify a federal immigration law that once was aimed at ridding the country of foreigners convicted of crimes such as rape and murder but increasingly is being used by immigration authorities to deport those charged with relatively minor offenses, including drug possession and shoplifting.

"The idea was that when immigrants commit really serious crimes, we didn't want them in the country," said Magali Candler, a Houston lawyer who chairs the regional chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. "But over the years, the immigration laws have been amended repeatedly and now they are written so broadly that an immigrant who commits a minor crime, even if they never served a day in jail, can be deported."

Unfortunately, with Republican-supported justices cracking jokes about Mexicans drinking tequila are not going to inspire confidence in the impartiality of the justices on these issues. It's clear that the Republicans, including their Supreme Court, are in the business of bigotry, not protecting human rights or the U.S. Constitution.

1 comment:

Duke1676 said...

“Both cases turn on a question of statutory interpretation: Lopez and Toledo-Flores were noncitizens convicted for drug crimes that were felonies under their respective state laws, but misdemeanors under federal law. The Immigration and Nationality Act provides that noncitizens convicted of "aggravated felonies" can be deported. The question for the courts is whether "aggravated felonies" should include convictions that are felonies under state law, but only misdemeanors under federal law.”

While Scalia obviously found the case and his remarks “humorous” , the two cases heard today are very important given the reinterpretation of “aggravated felony” in the immigration bill sponsored by the House. In that enforcement only bill, championed by House Republicans, the crimes which could be classified as aggravated felonies resulting in deportation and indefinite detention has been greatly expanded.

If in fact the court rules to allow the states higher classification of certain drug crimes as felonies to supersede the federal classification as misdemeanors, it would set the stage for the states to in effect be able to write immigration law at the state level by allowing them to reclassify minor crimes that would not normally lead to deportation into felonies. That power, in light of the propossed changes in the House bill could set the stage for the possible mass deportation of millions simply on the grounds that they lack proper documentation. It’s all about the slippery slope.

But obviously Scalia would rather play to racist stereotypes …