he Obama Administration finally filed suit against Arizona, seeking to block the July 29 implementation of the state's controversial immigration law. The Justice Department argues that only the federal government can set and enforce immigration policy, and that Arizona's law runs afoul of the Constitution's supremacy clause. Arizona lawmakers, not surprisingly, disagree, and even some opponents of the law say the federal suit is just inflaming an already hot political issue. Is Obama making a wrong move? (Watch a CBS report about outrage over the lawsuit)
Obama had to sue: Arizona officials, "particularly keen to appear tough on this issue" in an election year, are claiming they were forced into this by federal inaction, says O. Ricardo Pimentel in The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. But the Mexico border "has never been more rigorously guarded," and "if precedent and logic have any remaining force in the nation's judiciary," the courts will block, then "dismantle the law entirely."
"Suing Arizona — A good thing"
Arizona has a decent case: Obama's legal argument is hardly "a slam dunk," says the Chicago Tribune in an editorial. And Arizona's complaint about the feds not enforcing existing law "is well taken." The federal government has "ducked" fixing immigration for more than a decade, and Arizona isn't the only state that's "run out of patience." If Obama wants them "to stand down," he needs to offer them a better alternative, ASAP.
"Obama vs. Arizona"
It's a bad lawsuit for a bad law: "The feds may well win their case on the Constitutional merits," but a lawsuit is still the wrong answer to Arizona's misguided "cry for federal help," says The Wall Street Journal in an editorial. We can only fix immigration through comprehensive federal reform. "GOP restrictionists" in Arizona and elsewhere have made that harder, but so has Obama's cynical and "divisive approach" to the issue.
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