Kovacik Goes to Law School - June 17, 2010 | NBC Southern California

Kovacik Goes to Law School - June 17, 2010

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Robert Kovacik

    Court is in session. We had plenty to talk about. What will happen with Medical Marijuana? Prop 8? And what is the federal government going to do about illegal immigration in Arizona? Professor Karl Manheim said, ending our conversation at last night's cocktail reception, "By the way, that Arizona law can't be enforced. See you in class."

    The Dust Bowl. That's how Mannheim got around to talking about SB1070 during the first session of the morning. The mere mention of "illegal immigration and Arizona" in the same sentence sent hands shooting up faster than a White House press conference. Let's get back to the dustbowl.

    It used to be when Okies, who lost their farms, headed West they would be greeted in California by some form of border patrol. These days, Inspection Stations will ask, for instance, about produce and vegetables. In 1930s California you were asked about the money in your pocket, specifically, "How much money do you have?" The last thing the state wanted was more broke families moving in to already packed settlement camps.

    However, Edwards v. California would determine no state had the power to regulate interstate migration.

    The preamble of SB1070 reads "to discourage and deter the unlawful entry and presence of aliens and economic activity by persons unlawfully in the United States." Manheim, who has been teaching at Loyola for more than 25 years, winds up to hit it home: "You see, the real issue is whether the state of Arizona has the power to regulate illegal immigration. Doesn't matter what type of law it passes or what the need is. None of that matters. The state simply lacks the power."

    We learn the difference between "preemption" and "preclusion". The former says state law must give way to a given federal law, the latter says a state law can't has no jurisdiction in a specific area; e.g. foreign affairs. Federal law occupies the field of Immigration. It is so dominant even state law that harmoniously adopts federal law would be preempted. "And that's the way it should be",

    Professor Manheim adds, "because it is an international issue. If President Calderon of Mexico comes to Congress and objects to SB1070, he is not going to say 'were are going to take it out only on Arizona, but the entire country'".

    All this and Professor Laurie Levenson still has to tackle Criminal Law before lunch. No wonder they keep us so well fed. This is a lot to digest.