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Picking Your Pre-Emption Lawsuits

July 8, 2010

Arizona faces a lawsuit from the federal government because the Feds say the State’s Immigration law “Pre-empts” Federal authority.  The Federal government has used this argument successfully before, but never in fighting a law that actually supports the Federal laws on the books.  This has all sorts of interesting possible consequences.

First of all, it occurs to me that the Federal government has a whole lot of drug laws on the books.  Wouldn’t that suggest that they should sue to wipe out all those pesky state and local laws that “pre-empt” federal authority in fighting the drug war?  Also, there are all these state environmental protection agencies fluttering around “pre-empting” the Federal Environmental protection mandate.  And how about that Poor Housing and Urban Development department?  How can they help the homeless when all those State programs keep butting in?

I may be wrong, but don’t the actions of the Federal Government in this case set them up to be left holding the bag in a whole range of areas where state and local governments have previously propped them up with overlapping authority and combined resources?

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