By Alex Gonzalez
Amendments to the Constitution Article Article [X]: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
Sergio Garcia, an undocumented immigrant’s case to get his California law license finally got his day in court this week. After years of waiting, Garcia, who grew up in Chico CA, has secured his law degree but not his U.S. citizenship, will be at the center of closely watched legal arguments in the California Supreme Court in what has been dubbed a States Rights case.
But that case, case is very ironic because it puts the Federal Government represented by Holder (Department of Justice) against California Attorney General Kamala Harris. In this case The Obama administration, despite publicly supporting the rights of immigrants has urged the State Supreme Court to deny Sergio a law license in California.
If State’s Rights conservatives were wise, they could use this case to woo Latinos. In this case, it is Holder and Obama who want to prevent the state from issuing a license to practice law to a Latino student, while the state attorney argues it is OK. Thus, this issue is a States Rights v. the federal government where the federal government is trying to tell a state not to issue licenses, and therefore, usurping its authority since the issuing of licenses is not an “enumerated power in the Constitution. So is this right is left to the states to regulate it?
The Constitution does not say anything about licenses to practice law, and thus, any power not “enumerated in the Constitution is delegated to the states. The federal government has the right to regulate immigration, but issuing the licenses does not grant any immigration status, only the chance to practice law.
Hence, if conservatives want to be consistent on the State Rights views, it would behoove them to always have that States Rights position, and particularly in this case since it is political too, rather than throwing the “illegal alien” card, which is bad for politics in CA. Where are the writers for the National Review that vehemently supported Arizona during the SB1070 fiasco under the argument of States Rights and accused Obama of meddling in state matters? Shouldn’t they be doing the same for California in this case?
All those “conservatives” in California who supported SB1070 in Arizona ought come out in support of Sergio claiming that the state has the right to act when Congress has failed. If Conservatism, and State Rights, is the same across state lines, Conservatives need to cherish States Rights conservatism always, and not bend their own tenets over trivial political feuds on immigration. As a matter of a consistent States Rights mantra, conservatives cannot one day, in Arizona, ardently defend the right of Arizona to implement a diluted immigration law, but next day in California ask the Obama administration to intervene in preventing the state of California from granting Sergio a license to practice law just because of his immigration status. This, type convenient cheery-picking conservatism is bad for conservative tenets because it diminishes the values of conservatism, it makes it look hypocritical.
If Conservatives want to be consistent in their States Rights views, they should support Sergio by arguing the federal governmentneed not usurp its authority, and take a political jab at Holder, who is preventing a Latino students in this case from getting his license; this could be good test-case to bring Latinos to the Party. But too often is easier to throw the “illegal alien” or “breaking the law” than stepping back and see what State Rights conservatism really is.
Also, on the issue of the bill passed by the state Legislature granting undocumented residents driver licenses—which Gov. Brown said he will sign- Republicans need to stop fighting this lost cause just to pander to right-wingers like Tim Donnelly and Tea Partiers.
For example, Harmeet Kaur Dhillon, the vice chairwoman of California Republican Party, on Friday told her facebook “friends” that she was going on Fox News to stress that Legislature was “breaking the law.” But if that argument was to be taken serious, as matter of policy, she would have to explain—rather that throwing the code word “breaking the laws or “illegal alien” to stir the base–why Republican governor of Nevada, Brian Sandoval, who signed a similar law this year is not ‘breaking the law.’ Or why is the state of Utah, an Ubber Republican conservative state, is not “breaking the law” since they have had similar legislation since 10 years ago.
So unless Mrs. Kaur Dhillion, who is a Hindu immigrant educated in London living in San Francisco, and an attorney, is willing to say that Republican governors across the southwest are also breaking the laws by granting undocumented residents driver licenses then we can see the she is genuine on her views. Perhaps, she could, as attorney, explain how other 10 state that now have similar law are also “breaking he law.”
But if she is doing just to pander to right-wingers who get morbidly excited each time they hear code words like “breaking the law” and “illegal aliens” it would be wise for her to move on from this lost cause.
If conservatives, and Republicans elected officials in California, want their State Rights values to be true and self-evident, rather the pandering to right-winger over trivial issues like driver licenses to get their spot on Fox News, they need to support Sergio Garcia. But yet again, Republicans never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity to lure Latinos. Republicans in California really need to stop, once and for all, Partying as if it was still 1994.Alex Gonzalez is a political Analyst and Political Director for Latinos Ready To Vote! He received a Bachelors Degree and a Masters’ Degree, with emphasis in American politics, from San Francisco State University. comments to firstname.lastname@example.org