Sanctuary Cities Violate Supremacy Clause

  • 03/24/2017 12:00 AM
  • Douglas V. Gibbs
It has always fascinated me that the liberal left progressives regularly use the Supremacy Clause as an excuse for the unconstitutional control the federal government wields over the States, but when the Supremacy Clause is actually violated, they suddenly ask about States’ Rights and disregard the presence of the Supremacy Clause in the U.S. Constitution.

President Obama used the Supremacy Clause against Arizona S.B. 1050, that State’s immigration law, saying that if the federal government chooses not to enforce immigration law, as per the Supremacy Clause, the States cannot have laws contrary to that federal inaction.  Never mind that in Article II, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution the President is instructed to “faithfully execute the laws of the United States.”

The federal government uses the Supremacy Clause when it comes to Abortion, as well, telling the States they cannot outright ban abortion because it would be a violation of Roe v. Wade, despite the fact that the authority over the murderous procedure is not granted to the federal government anywhere in the Constitution, and the federal courts have no constitutionally granted powers to legislate (make law).

However, when sanctuary cities and potentially sanctuary States pass laws that calls for their “right” to harbor federal fugitives who have broken federal immigration law by crossing the border illegally, the Supremacy Clause is tossed aside, forgotten, and suddenly the Democrats who normally decry State Sovereignty begin to demand, “what about States’ rights?”

Current federal immigration laws require certain protocols and procedures to be followed if someone is to enter the United States as an immigrant.  The manners of these procedures were established in order to protect the receiving population, to ensure that those coming into this country are not ill with diseases that could infect residents of the United States, and that the entrants are not dangerous to the American Public as can be determined by their past history regarding criminal activity, terrorist associations or drug cartel involvement.  In short, we have immigration laws to protect those who already live in the United States from dangerous persons that may try to insert themselves into the immigrant population.

The authority for Congress to write laws regarding the prohibition of “any” persons for “any” reason into the United States is provided in Article I, Section 9 of the United States Constitution.  In that clause the Congress is granted the authority to prohibit the “import” of persons (the authority to outlaw the Atlantic Slave Trade), and to prohibit migrants (of their choice, regardless of country of origin or choice of religion) from immigrating into the United States, as of 1808.  Prior to the enactment of immigration laws pursuant of that clause the States held all immigration authorities.  Due to the Naturalization Clause in Article I, Section 8, the U.S. Congress was already issuing immigration and naturalization acts that were essentially geared towards the language defining who immigrants, and citizens, were, prior to 1808.

The assault of State Sovereignty was swift.  The unconstitutional idea of federal supremacy over “all” State laws was reinforced repeatedly by Chief Justice John Marshall, who single-handedly created our system of case law, which, from a leftist’s point of view, allows judges to “interpret” and tinker with the Constitution through their own ideological whims.  However, nothing in the Constitution provides for judicial review, nor federal supremacy over “all” State laws.  When it comes to the judges, their job is to “apply” the law to the cases they hear, but if they feel the law is unjust or unconstitutional, the judges may render an opinion indicating what their beef with the law is, but only the legislators have the authority to make law, modify law or repeal law (Article I, Section 1).

The Supremacy Clause is located in Article VI, Clause 2.  It reads: “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.”

Perhaps one of the most misunderstood and misapplied clauses of the U.S. Constitution, the Supremacy Clause has been used in line with the concept of Federal Supremacy. Federal Supremacy is a concept our first Chief Justice, John Jay, believed in. During his stint on the Supreme Court Jay worked feverously to establish broader powers for the courts, and to transform the federal government into a national government. He quit the Supreme Court after failing, pursuing an opportunity to be governor of New York.
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