Thursday, December 01, 2005

Immigrant Nation 

Our illustrious colleague Avedon Carol informs us that Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito is one of those strict constructionists who will interpret the Constitution based on what it secretly means, rather than what it explicitly says:
As a senior lawyer in the Reagan Justice Department, Samuel A. Alito Jr. argued that immigrants who enter the United States illegally and foreigners living outside their countries are not entitled to the constitutional rights afforded to Americans . . . .

In his 1986 memo, Alito cites a 1950 Supreme Court case to support the contention that nonresident immigrants of other countries have "no due process rights" under the Constitution and a 1970 case that he said suggests illegal immigrants in the United States have limited constitutional rights.

Martin Redish, a constitutional law professor at Northwestern University Law School, said that view could also be used to justify a current administration policy under which the CIA is interrogating suspected terrorists in a covert prison system in Eastern Europe and elsewhere.

Conservative constitutional analyst Bruce Fein, who served in the Reagan administration with Alito, said that by the time Alito wrote the memo the Supreme Court had ruled that school-age illegal immigrants had a right to a public education.

"He seems to be saying that there is no constitutional constraints placed on U.S. officials in their treatment of nonresident aliens or illegal aliens. Could you shoot them? Could you torture them?" Fein asked. "It's a very aggressive reading of cases that addressed much narrower issues."
In Alito's strict-constructionist view, the term "person," as it appears in the Fifth Amendment --
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
-- does not in fact mean "person," a laughably broad category that could be interpreted to include immigrants and foreigners. It plainly means "citizen of the U.S." And the Bill of Rights, despite its odd wording, does not enumerate a set of explicit restrictions on what the government may do; instead, it grants certain carefully-limited rights and freedoms to the preferred class of American citizens.

Everyone else is fair game. Got it?

Categories: ,

| | Technorati Links | to Del.icio.us