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October 16, 2007

A Blight on Enlightenment

Farrell Keough

As many of you are aware, we are in the midst of a rigorous paper tiger fight over how to deal with a huge influx of illegal intruders. Some have the audacity to believe we should view this circumstance as a problem. Nothing could be further from the truth.

This is yet another example of how Maryland differs from the rest of the nation - we are comprised of an enlightened leadership, while the rest of the nation exists in the Dark Ages.

How can one know our standing when compared to, say a neighboring state like Virginia? Virginia has been on a course to attempt to withhold services and begin deportation of illegal intruders.

But when confronted with this approach Montgomery County Executive, Democrat Isiah "Ike" Leggett explained: "I think part of it is enlightened leadership. I think we have leaders in the State of Maryland who have looked at the challenges we've had and have stepped up to say 'we need to be more inclusive as a community.'. In Maryland, we've dealt with this question of diversity much longer with our Hispanic community, in many venues over the past. I think we have a history and a legacy of leadership and accomplishment." [Local radio station 630 WMAL].

Enlightened leadership. It is so simple. We spend our hard earned taxes on those who have stolen into our country and we elevate diversity and become enlightened. Simple, yet so very profound. And, when one considers that Mr. Leggett joined Gov. Martin O'Malley in support and assistance, (meaning more of our tax dollars) for CASA de Maryland, it all comes together.

Even Guy Djoken, of the local NAACP, backs a policy of diversity and seeming willingness to spend our tax dollars, not just on our local populace, but on those who came here without obeying the law. He too is enlightened.

So, we have a perfect circle of enlightened leadership taking us down a path of diversity and spending our hard earned tax dollars on such a quest. We have an embedded Supreme Court decision which backs certain of these expenditures. And now, we have funding and support for an organization whose primary function is to support both legal and illegal immigrants. A truly enlightened leadership and circle of diversity.

Balderdash, baloney, twaddle, drivel, claptrap, pollucka!

What we have seen is posturing, cowardice, and an outright disregard for the law. We have seen our Republican leadership in Congress collude to develop legislation which amounted to amnesty. We have seen the Democrats in Congress do nothing since this debacle. We have seen our state and local officials fight over proposals and resolutions only to submit meaningless words. And we have seen political dialogues and sound bites which do not begin to deal with the real issues at hand.

With respect to the last point, here is a single argument of tremendous importance to understanding how we deal with illegal intruders: education.

In 1982, the Supreme Court decided Plyer v. Doe. In short, this was a case of educating illegal intruders. Did the State of Texas have the authority to deny education and the expenses associated to "children who were not 'legally admitted' into the United States."

The decision was based upon an interpretation of the Constitution. It very simply stated that "the benefit of the Equal Protection Clause, which provides that no State shall 'deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.'" And further, that "illegal aliens are 'persons' protected by the Due Process Clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, which Clauses do not include the phrase 'within its jurisdiction,' cannot be distinguished on the asserted ground that persons who have entered the country illegally are not 'within the jurisdiction' of a State even if they are present within its boundaries and subject to its laws."

In short, one area of the Constitution is specific with reference to jurisdiction, while another is not and by their logic, the omission of the phrase 'within the jurisdiction' was an error on the part of the writers of the Constitution, and that court needed to remedy that error.

Further, the court determined that the discrimination outweighed the financial burden imposed upon the State of Texas to educate this population. Other rational upon the overall benefit of giving a group an education was also cited and the reader should look into this decision to further instruct themselves.

Decisions such as this are often called "judicial activism." This is a very weighty term which carries as many truths as it does misconceptions. I am by no stretch of the imagination a constitutional scholar, but a friend recommended an article that referenced a scholarly piece on this issue, so it seemed a good place to start.

For instance, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, considered a conservative legal mind by most, stated something along the lines that calling oneself a strict constructionist while criticizing others for being judicial activists "doesn't mean anything. It doesn't say whether you're going to adopt the incorporation doctrine, whether you believe in substantive due process. It's totally imprecise. It's just nothing but fluff." Hence understanding the meaning of judicial activism is tremendously important.

In my next article, aspects of what this means and how it has been interpreted and used will be discussed. We are on the precipice of huge changes in this country and understanding the specifics of how and what we face is paramount in developing well grounded and informed methods for change. Plyer is a serious and potentially disastrous decision, but changing something as important as a Supreme Court decision involves a knowledgeable public interested in being involved.

We have limited options left to us: remain "enlightened" or actually become knowledgeable about our options and what we need to do to gain our rights back.

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