As most political pundits already know the Supreme Court issued their decision on the controversial Arizona SB 1070 immigration law (decision embedded HERE) . Earlier court cases had allowed implementation of Arizona's immigration law, minus four elements. Those four elements went before the Supreme Court, the most controversial of those elements was the right for law enforcement to ask for documentation of persons already detained for another lawful reason if they though those people were in the country illegally.
The other three parts were: Making it crime for immigrants without work permits to seek employment, make it a crime for immigrants to fail to carry registration documents, and authorize the police to arrest any immigrant they believe has committed a deportable offense.
The Supreme Court split the baby, so to speak, and upheld Arizona's right to ask for documentation, warning AZ to implement in a way that did not violate civil rights via racial profiling, and the High Court struck down the other three elements.
Liberals are declaring it an "almost-win" while at the same time whining about the "papers please" (their term) portion of the ruling.
AZ Governor Jan Brewer calls it a victory as the documentation part of the law is a key portion of the law. Barack Obama is calling it a victory for the decision ruling against the other three elements of the law.
One would think the Supreme Court is golden since Liberals are praising most of the AZ decision and patting the Supreme Court justices on the back, but at the same time they have a knife in their other hand stabbing the same justices over the possibility that the High Court will render the individual mandate portion of Obamacare unconstitutional and strike it down and/or the whole law on Thursday (decision is expected then) because Democrats deliberately removed the severability clause from the final bill that was signed into law.
So, the Supreme Court is being called an "activist" court because they might strike down the individual mandate and/or Obamacare in full, yet they are not activists when they rule in favor of something the Liberals want such as the three parts of SB 1070 that were struck down.
Noteworthy reading on the misconceptions of the Robert's court. Liberal fiction versus the reality of record, via, Volokh:
The problem with these characterizations of the court is that if by “judicial activism” one means a willingness to overturn precedents and invalidate federal laws, the Roberts Court is the least activist court of the post-war period. As a recent NYT analysis showed, thus far the Roberts Court has overturned prior precedents and invalidates federal at a significantly lower rate than its predecessors. Further, many of the Court’s most “activist” decisions, so-defined, have moved the law in a more liberal direction (see, e.g., Boumediene, Kennedy v.Louisiana) or were broadly supported First Amendment decisions (e.g. Stevens). This does not mean the Roberts Court’s decisions are correct and there are exceptions to every rule. Nor does the court’s past conduct necessarily predict the future. It does, however, mean that when one looks at the Court’s overall behavior (and not at a single case) it is inaccurate to say that this Court is particularly “activist” in moving the law in a conservative direction by overturning precedents and invalidating federal laws.
UPDATE: Since some have asked, here is the direct link to the NYT article. Here is the relevant quote: “The Roberts court is finding laws unconstitutional and reversing precedent — two measures of activism — no more often than earlier courts.” The data accompanying the article shows this is an understatement. Specifically, the data show the following:
- The Warren, Burger and Rehnquist Courts overturned precedents at an average rate of 2.7, 2.8 and 2.4 per term, respectively. The Roberts Court, on the other hand, has only overturned an average of 1.6 precedents per term.
- The Warren, Burger, and Rehnquist Courts struck down an average of 7.9, 12.5, and 8.2 laws per term, whereas the Roberts Court has only invalidated an average of 3 laws per term.
The data is through 2010, but adding the past two terms would not change much.
All we really need to know is that in the minds of Liberals, if the Supreme Court upholds the entire Obamacare law then the Justices are adhering to the constitution but if they strike part or all of the health care law, then the judges are ACTIVISTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am waiting for the next predictable conspiracy theory from Liberals where they accuse the Supreme Court of issuing this decision today giving Obama a partial win so they won't be accused of activism when they strike down the individual mandate.