Rick Akin: I apologize for my profession

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“Judges are but men, and are swayed like other men by vehement prejudices. This is corruption in reality, give it whatever other name you please.” — David Dudley Field

For the past few days, I have been studying the opinion of Judge Susan Bolton granting a preliminary injunction to block implementation of certain parts of the new Arizona immigration statute. I have to say that Judge Bolton’s reasoning just evades me.

Judge Bolton correctly observes that “A facial challenge to a legislative Act is, of course, the most difficult challenge to mount successfully, since the challenger must establish that no set of circumstances exists under which the Act would be valid.”

Also, she correctly states that courts “must be careful not to go beyond the statute’s facial requirements and speculate about ‘hypothetical’ or ‘imaginary’ cases.” Since the federal government alleged that the Arizona statute is unconstitutional on its face, these are the correct standards.

However, in analyzing the prime portion of the statute that requires police to verify the immigration status of people otherwise lawfully detained if there is a reason to think that they might be illegal aliens, she immediately sets about contriving imaginary and hypothetical cases.

She states two main reasons for preventing enforcement of this provision. First, she thinks that this unlawfully would restrict the liberty of legal aliens since they would be detained while the check is made.

Really? Have you ever been stopped for a traffic violation and detained while your plates and license are run, even though there is no reasonable basis to think you have violated any law? If she really means that it is unlawful to detain a person when there is a reasonable basis to think they have violated the law, then enforcement of the immigration laws, and any other law for that matter, is wholly impossible.

Second, Judge Bolton finds that verifying the immigration status of those detained would place an undue burden on federal agencies. Apparently, she thinks that the executive branch is not obligated to execute the laws of the United States. To reach this conclusion, she must think that the executive branch can pick and choose what laws it will and will not enforce. I guess my civics teacher had that whole “three branches of government” thing wrong.

Judge Bolton’s opinion employs a similar lack of logic in enjoining enforcement of other provisions of the Arizona statute. Obviously, her point was to reach the conclusion that her prejudices dictated, rather that preserving, protecting and defending the Constitution and laws of the United States. Although contemptible, I am sorry to report that this kind of conduct is all too common and has been since the 1930s.

It certainly is true that the immigration laws of this country need to be examined. They may restrict too tightly the number of foreigners that may lawfully immigrate. That, however, is a subject for public debate and action by the Congress.

The point here is that ignoring laws, whether because of the failure or refusal of the executive branch to enforce them or because of the sophistry of a judge, is bad policy of the highest degree.

Enforce the laws. If the people do not like the results, the Constitution is clear on how to change the law.

Rick Akin is an attorney practicing in Steamboat Springs, Denver and Austin, Texas, a former member of the Pilot & Today Editorial Board, and is vice chairman of The Steamboat Institute. He holds a Bachelor of the Arts in Letters from the University of Oklahoma and a doctorate from the University of Texas.

Comments

Scott Wedel 4 years, 2 months ago

I am not a lawyer and I didn't spend days reviewing the decision, but the judge's reasoning makes more sense than Mr Akin's.

Unlike vehicle registration or driver's license, immigration status is maintained by the federal government Unlike vehicle registration or driver's license which can be verified in minutes during a traffic stop, the immigration service makes no promise that they can determine someone's legal status within a few hours. It is entirely possible that a person's immigration status needs to be determined by a judge and the state of Arizona cannot hold a person in preventive detention while waiting for the outcome of a federal immigration case.

I think almost everyone agrees that current immigration rules are a mess, but there is no consensus on how they should be corrected. Just because the current laws are a mess does not allow preventive detention of people suspected of being here illegally.

Judge did rule that the part of the law that said that anyone already in jail for some other offense can have their immigration status verified. Thus, as long as the immigration status check has no impact upon the liberty of the person being checked then it is acceptable.

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ybul 4 years, 2 months ago

Legal immigrants can have a US drivers license, which would lead the officer to believe their immigration status is okay and provide ZERO need to go through an immigration status check. No license would be just cause for a person to be taken in as they are not operating their vehicle within the rules we have set up.

The law does not allow the officer to check immigration status on the passengers only the one driving the vehicle who broke the law and was pulled over. If they have a drivers license then there is no need to see any more and any reasonable person would realize this.

I think Common sense has been thrown out the window, in this debate.

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kathy foos 4 years, 2 months ago

The reason we all get a check run on our license when we get pulled over is to make sure that we have no outstanding warrents that we need to be taken in for,proper insurance,proper license,will we as citizens be excempt from this as it will be could be predjudiced to us, now that the illegals are protected from being asked,do we as citizens have the right to sue for harrasement,because we are being examined under a microscope when we are pulled over ,and they wont be ,because they are illegal?The cops have to analyze drivers ,lawbreakers of all different races for safety,(like they already do)but when it comes to an illegal,just let them slide,because they cannot be asked ,like we already are ,by law?,You have no right to see their papers unless they commit a crime or murder ,then you can deport them(like the guy in Craig a few years ago)and send an American to prison for life or death?Get rid of the illegals ,just get rid of them,if you want to harbor them ,coddle them,hire them illegally,you are a traitor to this country,this lawbreaking isnt going to last forever.We are a nation of laws,the illegals have broken the laws to get here and they are not staying,we the majority of AMERICANS will LAWFULLY get rid of them ,and it will be your turn for disapointment,if you want this insane border crashing to continue,or harbor those who are already here,you will know disapointment .Fellow Americans will not allow this to go on ,If you harbor illegals,support illegals, hire illegals,you are a traitor to this country..Stealing our law abiding society,it wont go on.Its not right.

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seeuski 4 years, 2 months ago

@Scott, You make the case for the beginning of Ricks statement, "Also, she correctly states that courts “must be careful not to go beyond the statute’s facial requirements and speculate about ‘hypothetical’ or ‘imaginary’ cases.” Since the federal government alleged that the Arizona statute is unconstitutional on its face, these are the correct standards."

Then Scott writes:"It is entirely possible that a person's immigration status needs to be determined by a judge and the state of Arizona cannot hold a person in preventive detention while waiting for the outcome of a federal immigration case." That is mighty large hypothetical not unlike King Obama's threat that "A latino father would be harassed walking his kids to get ice cream".

We are dooming ourselves as a sovereign Nation by playing with, and not enforcing our immigration laws. We don't need new laws, we need to have our existing laws enforced and the White House won't do it because they want the votes in the next two election cycles. And now we have proof: "Memo outlines backdoor 'amnesty' plan" http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/jul/29/memo-outlines-backdoor-amnesty-plan-for-obama/

What do you think? Over 10 million new votes for Democrats, could that be a motivator?

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 2 months ago

There is a lot of hype of both sides of this Arizona law.

The law is about local police checking immigration status. The law and the ruling does not affect things like driving without a license or an unregistered vehicle.

The judge ruled against the feds on their arguments that checking immigration status of people already in jail would cause problems.

But if you know people that have dealt with the immigration service, it is factually true, no hypothetical that they often cannot quickly tell whether a person is here legally or not.

Just because the federal immigration laws are a mess, that does not allow states to jail people they suspect are not here legally.

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aichempty 4 years, 2 months ago

ybul,

You said it perfectly. A person with a valid license and registration should have nothing to fear.

Judge Bolton's actions are in line with the highest judicial traditions. Judges are just about bullet-proof and they can pretty much do what they want, no matter how much trouble and harm it causes for someone else.

Just this week, after a six-year period spent in real-estate limbo, a fraudulent and spurious lien placed against my home without jurisdiction (statute of limitations) expired. This lien encumbered the title to my property so that, if I had sold it, I would probably have been forced to pay the fraudulent debt rather than take the matter back to court for a "ruling" on the status of the lien. There was never any attempt to foreclose on the property to collect the fraudulent debt. It was done simply for harassment and to do a favor for an attorney with political influence at the state level.

If the Department of Justice enforced the racketeering laws in this state, a lot of things around here would be different. The problem is that the DOJ decided, by policy, that non-violent crimes were "civil" matters not worthy of spending federal money to prosecute. That leaves it up to US, the law-abiding citizens, to spend our family fortunes on legal fees with no guarantee of success, and by the way, that's how guys like Bernie Madoff get away with it for years. There are thousands like him who have not been caught yet, running other scams, because the federal government sits back and allows it to happen.

If the feds won't do it, and the states are not allowed to do it, then what happens to the rest of us? We get screwed until somebody who has lost everything says ,"ENOUGH!" and parks a truck loaded with explosives outside a federal building. Most people are forced to take their lumps, decide that personal freedom is more important than revenge, and the crooks get away with it. It applies to immigration, financial fraud, election fraud, workmens comp fraud, and all the rest.

We are free in name only, and enjoy the protection of the Constitution right up to the point where the government is required to do something, and then we discover that we must either give in to the criminals, or become criminals to protect what we have.

Whatever real freedom we have comes from the good will of strangers and the limited protection provided by law enforcement agencies against violent crime. Lawyers and judges are 99% responsible for economic crimes committed against innocent people, and this latest ruling from Judge Bolton proves it -- it prevents the citizens of Arizona from protecting themselves against the financial burdens imposed by illegal immigrants. Judge Bolton will never miss a cent in income. If the legal professions were held liable for the harm they do, they would be the ones declaring bankruptcy.

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ybul 4 years, 2 months ago

Scott, the only way legal immigration status would need to be checked is if they did not have proper paperwork when stopped for another crime. Any individual that is stopped for doing something wrong needs to prove who they are or they go to county to figure out what they are hiding.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 2 months ago

The issue is not that illegals are allowed to drive without license or registration. The issue is whether driving without either is, for Anglos, a ticket and, for Hispanics, sitting in jail while immigration status is verified.

I've heard it said that the cops need to arrest Hispanics because that is where you'll find illegals. That may be true if the objective of law enforcement is to most efficiently catch those breaking the law. Our Founding Fathers when writing the US Constitution put individual rights as more important than law enforcement having an easy time. Things like needing a search warrant and not being allowed to compel suspects to incriminate themselves make law enforcement much harder. Since there are Hispanic US citizens then they have the constitution right to be expected to be treated the same as everyone else when being pulled over for driving without a license or registration.

I note there are people here illegally from all sort of countries including English that have overstayed tourist visas and some of them can disguise their foreign accent. So presumably, you all would propose the Colorado version of the law to be that everyone pulled over by the police without a valid driver's license sits in jail until their US residency status is determined. Or maybe we have a big issue of euro trash here. So the Colorado version should target Hispanics and Caucasians, but not Blacks or Asians. I jam just suggesting that if the Arizona law should be no issue to Caucasians then let's put that to the test and treat everyone the same.

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seeuski 4 years, 2 months ago

@Scott says: "I've heard it said that the cops need to arrest Hispanics because that is where you'll find illegals.'

Again you prove Ricks point. These assumptions are not what the law is based on and you fail to account for the known illegal Arabs crossing the border for nefarious purposes. Because of foolish reasoning like yours on this issue we are ALL at risk of the warned pending terrorist attacks here at home. Arizona has the right to protect it's Citizens from people that have crossed the border illegally and that Liberal Judge contradicted herself in her decision against AZ. I don't know about you but I for one feel pretty vulnerable since the ruling. But maybe the glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel is that even more Americans will feel that way and this November 2nd vote to bring back "common sense" in DC, and kick out those pansies who won't abide by their Constitutional duties.

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sledneck 4 years, 2 months ago

You nailed it Aich.

I am being sued right now for something for which I am not the least bit responsible. The local attorney (who will remain nameless... for now) told a friend of my wife that "of course the case has no merit but if this guy wants to pay me I'll persue it." (meaning sue me, and 3 other innocent bystanders along with the one responsible)

If the legal professions (judges and attorneys) were held liable for the harm they do... If only! There is a spot picked out for many of them in Hades... right next to the boiler room.

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exduffer 4 years, 2 months ago

Scott, if a drivers license or vehicle registration can be checked in minutes why not status? If I get pulled over in AZ with outstanding warrants in CO will I not be jailed?

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John Fielding 4 years, 2 months ago

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A quote about a historic immigration debate.

"I am not a Know-Nothing. That is certain. How could I be? How can anyone who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor of degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that 'all men are created equal.' We now practically read it 'all men are created equal, except Negroes.' When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read 'all men are created equal, except Negroes and foreigners and Catholics.' When it comes to this, I shall prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty--to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure and without the base alloy of hypocrisy."

  • Abraham Lincoln Quotes About Slavery, August 24, 1855 - Letter to Joshua Speed

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seeuski 4 years, 2 months ago

Are you saying that blacks immigrated here by crossing the border illegally? Not even close but nice try John. We have laws for immigration that have no bearing on the National origin or the race of an immigrant. Accusing Americans backhandedly of being racist for wanting our immigration laws enforced is just plain wrong.

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seeuski 4 years, 2 months ago

And the title says that it is a quote about slavery not immigration. Those Africans were forced here and it can be interpreted that Lincoln reasoned that these people deserved full rights because it was the Americans who brought them in. I don't see the correlation with those that jump the border.

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trump_suit 4 years, 2 months ago

Perhaps Mr. Akin, you should apologize for being in your profession. It is clear from your many letters and speeches that you allow your politics to affect your thinking on the issues. Have you allowed your bias to affect your decision making as well?

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kielyj 4 years, 2 months ago

The Know Nothings were the American party in the 1840's and 50's They were opposed to Catholics, Jews, Germans, Masons,especially Irish immigrants and of course free and enslaved blacks- pretty much anybody who was not of English or Scotch Irish descent. They were involved in several race riots attacking Catholic schools and orphanages. They ran Millard Fillmore for president in 1852 . They were part of the broad coalition that formed the original Republican Party. In this quote Lincoln is saying that he abhors the exclusion of black people from the ranks of the created equal and that the Know Nothings were in the business of expanding the ranks of the unequal. Lincoln opposed their influence in the Republican Party. For the Know Nothings only the whitest of white were Americans. They were also known as the Native Americans. The Know Nothing nickname came from their answer to questions about their inner dealings which was that they knew nothing. Who today represents this tradition? A movement with a predilection for conspiracy theories and strong racial and religious bias.

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sledneck 4 years, 1 month ago

I'll answer that, Kielyj.

Who accused Bush of blowing up the WTC? Who calls the white man "the devil"? Who blames every ill on racism? Who knows nothing when asked about their religious and social connections over the last 20 years? The extreme religious left and their communist "community organizers", thats who.

I recently listened to a local (not here) morning radio talk show. The subject was the poor math scores in local schools and what to do about it. A black man actually called in and said that the math tests were racist! Racist math tests!!! It just don't get no better than that.

I grew up in the south listening to why every ill visited on minorities was racism. If a black mans car broke down it was racism. If a drop of rain fell on a black mans head it was racism. If rain did not fall on a black mans garden it was because racism had relegated him to a drier part of the SAME NEIGHBORHOOD! If a black man was convicted of armed robbery after jurors watched a video of him doing it, still, it was racism.

It's wearing thin. When that ice breaks...

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John Fielding 4 years, 1 month ago

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My purpose in submitting the quote.was to illustrate that there is nothing new about the resistance to demographic change from an influx of immigrants.

The best of our lawmakers will make it clear what they support, and thus the phrase, "where despotism can be taken pure and without the base alloy of hypocrisy" struck me as pertinent. I am of the opinion that the judges ruling has those negative attributes.

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MrTaiChi 4 years, 1 month ago

"Who today represents this tradition? A movement with a predilection for conspiracy theories and strong racial and religious bias."

The Congressional Black Caucus??

The Council on Islamic American Relations??

Prejudice is in the eye of the beholder. There are ethnic and religious groups out there which cultivate and thrive on victimhood.

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seeuski 4 years, 1 month ago

"Illegal immigrant who killed nun in accident was released by feds" http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/aug/2/illegal-immigrant-killed-nun-released-by-feds/?clear_cache_true

"Driver charged with manslaughter after crash kills two Beach teens" http://hamptonroads.com/node/245121

http://www.midwestfreepress.com/2009/05/14/illegal-immigrant-kills-4-year-old-omaha-girl/

"Man gets life sentence in Bethesda home invasion murder" http://www.gazette.net/stories/08132009/montnew150420_32539.shtml

"Handyman is charged in slayings of 4 Potomac family members, painter" http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1995-07-22/news/1995203036_1_goff-family-alvarez-potomac An illegal who got work as a day laborer was raping the youngest daughter when his boss went inside and caught him and was killed and then one by one as the rest of the family came home they were bound and killed, I know the details because Dr. Goff was my fathers Podiatrist. And there was much more detailed reporting available at the time. There were also many MS13 crimes in the DC area all through the 1990's that would hit the news. Stuff like constant machete attacks of other gang members and drug deals etc. This issue should have been dealt with years ago but we are now at the crossroads, so where do we go from here? When will the Feds do their job and protect the borders?

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John Fielding 4 years, 1 month ago

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President Andrew Jackson; July 10, 1832 ... Each public officer, who takes an oath to support the Constitution, swears that he will support it as he understands it, and not as it is understood by others.

One thing is certain: Jackson had no qualms about overstepping the law, even the Constitution, when he believed that the very survival of the nation required it.

Jackson's Farewell Address http://xroads.virginia.edu/~cap/jackson/jack~1.htm

The Federal Constitution was then regarded by him as an experiment, and he so speaks of it in his address; but an experiment upon the success of which the best hopes of his country depended, and we all know that he was prepared to lay down his life, if necessary, to secure to it a full and a fair trial.

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John Fielding 4 years, 1 month ago

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Sorry, that was intended for the Bob McConnell thread.

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