Ultimately, the Supreme Court decided that states cannot create laws that are intended to make up for a federal government’s failure to enforce them which has far reaching implications beyond SB1070.
Consider the current administration’s decision to not enforce deportation statutes and The Defense of Marriage Act. Whether Americans agree or disagree with those laws, this decision means that states do not have the right to create the same or stricter laws and enforce them within their borders.
Now consider other federal laws and amendments to the Constitution:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Taking SCOTUS’ decision into account, are states now banned from creating more restrictive laws on gun carry and ownership? It would seem to be so. The premise that the second amendment states that this right may not be infringed is the basis upon which many second amendment challenges by groups like the NRA, CALGUNS and more have asserted there cases. Perhaps the Supreme Court has just strengthened every one of those cases.
The Government’s argument was that federal law preempted or “trumped” the state’s efforts to strengthen immigration laws. Is that not what several states have done with the second amendment?
Many states such as California have chosen to write environmental regulations stronger than those posed by the EPA. Since the EPA is the federal legal authority, do states no longer have the right to create and enforce state-level laws more restrictive than those set by Congress and implemented by the executive branch?
The SCOTUS decision on SB1070 seems in the short term to be a weakening of State’s rights and an empowerment of the federal government. While it seems to be a protection of individual liberties in these cases, it may also limit the ability of states to experiment with lighter or stricter laws – an inherent characteristic of our governing framework. The soft spot may be that no state may write a law that trumps the federal which gives our central government even more motivation to create more laws and bureaucracy. The more laws the misfits in D.C. create, the less power left in the hands of the states.
Focused attention on Congressional elections will be required this year – very focused.