Ex-Justice O'Connor on AZ immigration law: perhaps "a little too far"

Answering questions after a speech at San Francisco’s St. Ignatius College Preparatory School, from which her husband graduated in 1947, former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor said her home state should not be boycotted over its punitive new immigration law.

Still, she said, Arizona “may have gone a little too far in its authority, in encouraging local law enforcement officers to take action” against anyone they reasonably suspect of being an illegal immigrant.

Opponents say the provision invites racial profiling.

“It doesn’t read that way, but it might work that way,” O’Connor said.

Well, yes.

This space doesn’t see the logic in one state boycotting another — as some in California, including State Democratic Senate leader Darrell Steinberg, are suggesting. But Arizona’s law is wrong. And O’Connor is right in saying that “It’s the job of our federal, national government to secure our borders, not a job of state government.”

Now, if the federal government would just get to work…


  1. Former Justice O’Connor may not always have voted the way I would have wanted, but it appears she was always reasonable. The Arizona situation is a huge dilemma, the application of the law in a situation which cannot be so easily dispatched with literal interpretations. Corporations encourage breaking the law and the people who just want to support their families are the ones who pay. And in Arizona, particular, the effect will be that only Hispanics (legally here or not) will be singled out. That’s the reality of it. Unfortunately, the boycotting of the state will be equally problematical, in that many of these same folks will be the most affected by the process. I can’t suggest an answer outside of the federal government creating a program that allows for there to be a honest and transparent method to deal with the realities of the economy and the law. That means lowering the heat and turning up problem solving.

    1. Gosh. Lowering the heat and turning up the problem solving… we should be so lucky. It is indeed the way the government could work, though. Thanks for reminding us.

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