As Much as It Sucks, the Supreme Court Was Right in the Immigration Case This Week

AP Photo/Gregory Bull

Joe Biden and his administration have absolutely failed to do their job at enforcing federal law. That much is almost undoubtedly certain. There has been a failure to uphold both the law and the Constitution at several turns, but perhaps the most glaring of those failures comes with enforcing our southern border and immigration law.

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This week, the Supreme Court told Texas and Louisiana that they did not have the standing to sue the Biden Administration to force them to uphold those laws. In United States v. Texas, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, writing for the majority, told the states that it was not the Court’s job to make the Biden administration do its job. Kavanaugh joined Chief Justice John Roberts and the three liberal justices in the majority. Justices Neil Gorsuch, Amy Coney Barrett, and Clarence Thomas concurred in a separate opinion.

Only Justice Samuel Alito stood alongside the states in the case.

In the majority’s opinion, Kavanaugh wrote that Texas and Louisiana “want a federal court to order the Executive Branch to alter its arrest policies so as to make more arrests.” He also notes that “Federal courts have not traditionally entertained that kind of lawsuit; indeed, the States cite no precedent for a lawsuit like this.”

But, he did not say it’s impossible that this couldn’t be done.

“We do not suggest that federal courts may never entertain cases involving the Executive Branch’s alleged failure to make more arrests or bring more prosecutions,” he noted.

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As Dan McLaughlin notes at National Review, this is actually the right decision, even though it would only further harm states like Texas.

Faithful enforcement of the law is the duty of the executive branch. Only in unusual cases can courts step in and compel the executive to do his job. Kavanaugh’s opinion does not close the courthouse door to granting such relief under different circumstances, and lays out five types of situations where the courts have the right, power, and duty to act. But it reiterates the general rule: This is the president’s job, and the courts can’t and shouldn’t supervise his doing of it. Unless Congress can use its leverage to force a change in presidential policy, or unless it has the votes to impeach officials for failing to do their jobs, it is typically up to the voters to ensure that the president carries out his constitutional oath to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.

What’s more, there is something that very desperately needs to be said here: The Court is right to declare that states do not have the standing to get the courts to enforce their interpretation of federal law, which is what Texas and Louisiana sought to do.

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The battle between the states and the federal government isn’t new, nor is it unique. Louisiana’s Attorney General, Jeff Landry (who, it should be noted, is running for governor this year), has been in the mix for several of these battles over the years. But this dates back decades and will continue to be a major issue. However, what the Court appears to be hinting at with this case is that it is not the Court’s job to make the Executive Branch do its job. The primary focus of the Judicial Branch is to ensure that the laws that are carried out are Constitutional and that the proper execution of justice is maintained.

While, yes, we would love to see the Biden administration forced to do its job and maintain the southern border, granting those states standing to have the Court force their interpretation of federal law over the rest of the country is quite the slippery slope in a country where states are already shopping their pet grievances around to friendly judges, turning a single state’s spat into a nationwide injunction.

Had Texas and Louisiana been successful, it would have opened the door for a future, more liberal court to grant the same standing to, say, California, to enforce some extremely progressive interpretation of federal law on the Executive Branch of the U.S. government – a prospect that should send a chill down all our spines.

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The United States is a nation of laws and, yes, those laws should be enforced. But if the laws Congress passed are not being enforced, then Congress should be the group to act on it. Should the voters feel the Executive Branch isn’t doing its job, the voters should respond in the next election. That is how the system is set up.

In the meantime, Republicans can start fighting back harder not with an impeachment of Joe Biden, but an aggressive pursuit (and eventual impeachment) of Alejandro Mayorkas, the Secretary of Homeland Security. Work your way up, Republicans.

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