Jan Brewer, Russell Pearce, Tom Horne Lose (Again) on SB 1070, This Time On Harboring Provision
Governor Jan Brewer, recalled redneck pol Russell Pearce, Brewer's "brain" Chuck Coughlin, and Attorney General Tom "Hit-and-Run" Horne best hope and pray there is no afterlife.
Because if there is, I virtually can assure them that they, along with their pal Sheriff Joe, will boil in a hot tub of molten lava for their futile, money-sucking, Tea Party-pandering support of Senate Bill 1070, which has suffered yet another defeat in federal court.
On Tuesday a panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the harboring provision of 1070 was so badly written as to be "unconstitutionally vague" and "nonsensical."
Which isn't surprising, considering that Brewer has the functioning IQ of a tadpole and Pearce, 1070's hateful "author," is borderline illiterate to judge from the man's near-incomprehensible emails and incoherent oratory.
The Ninth's opinion, written by Judge Richard Paez, reads, in part, that,
"Section 13-2929 states that `[i]t is unlawful for a person who is in violation of a criminal offense' to knowingly or recklessly transport, conceal, harbor, or shield an unauthorized alien. We conclude that the phrase `in violation of a criminal offense' is unintelligible and therefore the statute is void for vagueness."
Paez cites the Oxford U.S. English Dictionary, which defines "offense" as a "breach of a law or rule," and Black's Law Dictionary, which defines "offense" as "a violation of the law."
The jurist continues:
"In sum, an offense is an action...And one cannot violate, or be in violation of, an action...`In violation of an offense,' an element of § 13-2929, thus translates to "in violation of a violation of the law,' which is, of course, nonsensical."
How pathetic that Paez is called upon to explain the English language to Her Highness Jan "We Have Did" Brewer and the passel of hillbillies that make up our state's legislature.
The appellants' lawyers tried to save the day, arguing that the Ninth Circuit "should interpret the statute as they suggest because...that would save the statute."
To which, Paez sniffs, "Rewriting the statute is a job for the Arizona legislature, if it is so inclined, and not for this court."
All three judges on the Ninth's panel agree that the harboring provision is "void for vagueness." But even if they were to let that slide, two of the judges conclude that the harboring provision is, in any case, preempted by federal immigration law.
Crikey, didn't the appellants bother to read the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Arizona v. United States, wherein the court ruled that federal immigration law is paramount and the states cannot go around concocting their own immigration schemes?
In the Arizona decision, the nation's highest court kicked to the curb three provisions of 1070 as being preempted by federal law. But it let stand section 2(b) --which requires cops to inquire after someone's immigration status following a stop under certain limited circumstances -- while allowing that the law could be challenged on other grounds after going into effect.
Remember when Pearce and others claimed 1070 was copacetic because all it did was "mirror" federal law?
Well, the Supreme Court has since held that -- faced with a comprehensive federal immigration scheme -- "even complementary state regulation is impermissible."
As a result, the Ninth Circuit, as well as other federal appeals courts, have found that, "the current federal scheme reserves prosecutorial power and thus discretion over harboring violations to federal prosecutors."
But Arizona's harboring law, unlike the federal harboring provision, does not provide an exception for "certain religious activities." So the law directly conflicts with the federal scheme.
Despite all this, what's the knee-jerk reaction of jerks Brewer and Horne?
Horne, according to local scribe Howie Fischer, has vowed to appeal.
Proving the old adage that you can tell a man from Harvard (where Horne got his degrees), but you cannot tell him much.
As for the guv, our x-ray tech-in-chief was appropriately confused.
"But what befuddles me is what do they expect our law enforcement officers to do?" Brewer asked rhetorically.
I dunno, Jan, maybe chase after some real criminals, like murderers, drug dealers, or criminally insane rapists like your son?
Sigh. So it goes in the Land Time Forgot, where brontosauruses forage among the cacti and pterodactyls haunt the night sky, outdoing each other with Jan Brewer impressions.
I should mention that though the Ninth's ruling "upheld" the District Court's preliminary injunction against the harboring provision, the effect, according to the ACLU's Dan Pochoda, is essentially that of a permanent injunction.
That is, unless our bumbling AG appeals and the Supreme Court overrules the Ninth.
Um, don't bet the double-wide on the latter.
So why my hellish admonition above toward Horne, Brewer, Coughlin (the guy who told Brewer to sign 1070), et al.?
'Cause these nudniks deserve some punishment for wasting money on 1070's hateful enterprise, this particular portion of which sought to put ministers and good Samaritans behind bars for giving undocumented parishioners and fellow children of god a place to sleep or ride to the supermarket.
Save for Pearce, they've all (so far) escaped earthly judgement for their sins, and likely will continue to do so. Though Horne's comeuppance may follow on the heels of the 2014 general election.
So, dearest Beelzebub, keep that whirlpool of hot lead fired up and waiting. And be careful, I hear Chuck Coughlin is gunning for your job.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Phoenix, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.