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About That California Litigation

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Oh, it’s war is it?  At least says former Gov. Moonbeam, now turned Gov. Belligerent, leaving me wondering what happened the hippie sentiment “Peace & Love.”  Well just who is it that started this little fracas?  It was, after all, the California Attorney General that set up shop in DC expecting to sue the feds a lot.  A quick google and I come up with four lawsuits filed by the state of California against the federal government – one to stop wall constructionone for release of funding recordsone about Waters of the United States –  and one about offshore drilling.  It took me longer to write that than it did to come up with the links, so this is just barely scratching the surface.  My pot-name-calling-kettle meter is pegged and the alarm is sounding.  Give me a break Jerry, you and Becerra (California Attorney General) declared war here long before AG Sessions made this move.

OK, now that I have called “hogwash” on the multi-term governor I never voted for, the background:

The Trump administration on Tuesday sued to block California laws that extend protections to people living in the U.S. illegally, the most aggressive move yet in its push to force so-called sanctuary cities and states to cooperate with immigration authorities. California officials remained characteristically defiant, vowing to defend their landmark legislation.

The Justice Department argued a trio of state laws that, among other things, bar police from asking people about their citizenship status or participating in federal immigration enforcement activities are unconstitutional and have kept federal agents from doing their jobs. The lawsuit named as defendants the state of California, Gov. Jerry Brown and Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

(Just as an aside – you have no idea how hard it was to find anything that even resembled “straight reporting” on this to give you a summary.)

I am not a lawyer, though I am the son of a lawyer, and this seems pretty straightforward to me.  As AG Sessions said:

“I understand that we have a wide variety of political opinions out there on immigration. But the law is in the books and its purposes are clear and just,” Sessions said during a speech to the California Peace Officers’ Association in Sacramento on Wednesday.

“There is no nullification. There is no secession. Federal law is the supreme law of the land. I would invite any doubters to go to Gettysburg, to the tombstones of John C. Calhoun and Abraham Lincoln. This matter has been settled,” he continued.

But then a sense of history has been missing from many on the left for quite a while now.  In this particular case, that is a crying shame.  All it takes is one visit to a Civil War battlefield and the graves therein to understand the unbelievable cost of that war to this nation.  It is a gross dishonor to the dead on both sides of that war to have to re-litigate this matter.  Federal power is not absolute, there are limits, but it is the attitude that is the issue.  The defiance and grandstanding are extraordinary.  Glenn Reynolds seems to think there is some grand strategy here.  That I doubt seriously.  The rhetoric and emotion are just to high right now to indicate strategic thinking.  At bottom this is about the rule of law – simple respect for authority.

I have been going on for a while now about how everybody views things in personal terms.  That they are is doing tremendous harm to the rule of law..  I had a particular distaste for Barack Obama.  But that is a personal thing.  He was POTUS and my respect for the law, and therefore the office, meant that I could disagree but not disregard.  I certainly never considered saying things like “He’s not my president.”  Yet not only have I heard that “He’s not…” line more times than I can remember, those that use it seem hell-bent on disregarding the current administration and its policies.  I get their distaste for President Trump but that distaste cannot be allowed to undermine the office itself.  Ultimately that’s what is at stake in this brouhaha.

It is, of course, preferable to raise a child with minimal resort to corporal punishment.  But sometimes a kid gets too big for their britches and nothing but a spanking will do.  Given Brown and Becerra’s behavior since Donald Trump took office, I do not think the federal government has much choice here.  California officialdom has behaved more like tantrum throwing children than leaders in the free world.

You’re going to hear a lot of accusations about “stunts” and “virtue signalling” as this discussion continues.  You’re going to be told all about how the federal government cannot compel a state to use its resources to enforce federal law.  Because Sessions invoked the Civil War, you are going to hear charges of racism hurled around like plates in a food fight.  Do not be distracted.  This is not about any of that.

This is about simple respect for the law.  The disrespect that California is showing for the duly and legally elected President of the United States is, in the end, disrespect for those of us that voted for him.  That people on Facebook or Twitter are that disrespectful is just a fact of life.  But when government officials are so disrespectful it is not an act of leadership, nor is it becoming of the office they hold.

Hopefully before I retire and leave this state there will be at least one day that I will wake up and be as proud to be a California citizen as I was when I moved here more than 30 years ago.


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