The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

6 February 2005

Blinded justice

It's kind of hard to argue with most of this:

Title: To establish and rapidly implement regulations for State driver's license and identification document security standards, to prevent terrorists from abusing the asylum laws of the United States, to unify terrorism-related grounds for inadmissibility and removal, and to ensure expeditious construction of the San Diego border fence.

Until you get down inside the guts of it and turn up this:

Section 102(c) of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (8 U.S.C. 1103 note) is amended to read as follows:

(c) Waiver-

(1) IN GENERAL - Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall have the authority to waive, and shall waive, all laws such Secretary, in such Secretary's sole discretion, determines necessary to ensure expeditious construction of the barriers and roads under this section.

(2) NO JUDICIAL REVIEW- Notwithstanding any other provision of law (statutory or nonstatutory), no court shall have jurisdiction

(A) to hear any cause or claim arising from any action undertaken, or any decision made, by the Secretary of Homeland Security pursuant to paragraph (1); or

(B) to order compensatory, declaratory, injunctive, equitable, or any other relief for damage alleged to arise from any such action or decision.

(Emphasis added.)

Oh, yes. That pesky judicial-review business. Can't have any of that, can we? Why, there might be some of those activist judges out there.

Under certain extraordinary circumstances, I can see the need to suspend judicial oversight, but a mundane border-reinforcement bill hardly qualifies as extraordinary. Even beyond its backdoor attempt to turn the driver's license (which used to be a State function, remember?) into a de facto national ID card, this measure simply reeks. Yes, I'd like the borders tightened; no, I wouldn't like the government to get into the habit of thinking that the answer to any lingering legal questions is to cut the judiciary out of the loop.

(Via Matt Deatherage.)

Posted at 5:00 AM to Political Science Fiction