Patterico's Pontifications


Deport Criminal Illegals First

Filed under: Court Decisions,Crime,General,Immigration — Patterico @ 11:38 pm

Jonathan Adler reports that a recent Supreme Court decision limits the group of illegal alien criminals that must be deported under federal law, after convictions for certain crimes.

I have no opinion on the correctness of the decision as a matter of statutory interpretation.

But as a matter of policy, we should be deporting illegal alien criminals before we deport any other illegals. I discussed this idea here.

UPDATE: I haven’t read the decision, and commenter Kevin Murphy says it apparently relates to deportation of immigrants who are otherwise here legally. If that’s true, it’s a somewhat different issue. I suggest only that those here illegally should be deported if convicted of any crime, and that we concentrate on achieving that goal before we turn our attention to deporting working illegals.

More on Forced Integration

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:09 pm

Of my post regarding the cases on forced integration, Scott Lemieux says:

not surprisingly he [Patterico] can’t be bothered to make a constitutional argument at all.

I think it’s best to ignore Lemieux’s sneering phrase “not surprisingly” — other than to note that it is a cheap shot that is apparently born of lack of familiarity with my writing.

But what of the complaint that I did not make a constitutional argument at all? Well, in my post, I said:

The issue is whether government may institute forced integration of schools as a matter of state policy. If not done to remedy a specific and demonstrated past history of discrimination, this would arguably violate the very idea behind Brown: that the state may not assign pupils to different schools on the basis of race, even if the schools are arguably similar in quality.

Put simply, the argument is that the Equal Protection Clause generally forbids the use of racial classifications by government. For the benefit of Scott Lemieux, that’s a constitutional argument — and one likely to be accepted by the High Court in the recently argued cases.

Of course, this is a generalization, and like any generalization, there are exceptions — albeit limited ones. As I say in the quote above, the State may engage in racial classifications intended “to remedy a specific and demonstrated past history of discrimination” by the State. As Justice Scalia explained in 1992: “the Equal Protection Clause reaches only those racial imbalances shown to be intentionally caused by the State.”

For example, if the State illegally practices segregation at schools, as happened in the earlier part of last century, then it is responsible for desegregating those schools. But there comes a time when a rational observer sees that schools are still segregated — but this result can’t blamed on a long-since-abandoned policy of state segregation. Across the country, there is segregation by choice, arising from people’s voluntary decisions — including decisions about where to live and raise their children.

As the recent arguments made clear, the State is welcome to seek the goal of racially balancing schools. But there are certain means that the State may not employ, such as racial classifications, to achieve that goal. The State may still encourage voluntary racial balancing through programs such as magnet schools, or by locating a school in an area that the school district believes will result in a racially diverse student population, as a matter of demographics. But simply sorting children by race, I hope (and, based on the arguments, suspect) will soon be a thing of the past.

P.S. I’d love to engage in more arcane legal discussion, but I gotta get to bed. Perhaps I’ll have time for more in coming days. For now, I’ll simply observe that there is considerable disagreement concerning Lemieux’s assumption that the country did not intend to outlaw segregation with the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment. As we complain about originalism, it’s good to keep in mind Justice Scalia’s words about providing remedies for racial imbalances intentionally caused by the State. Also, Justice Scalia is not someone who arbitrarily analyzes the specificity of an alleged constitutional right, as footnote 6 to this case illustrates.

Yahoo: Gates Says Exactly the Opposite of What He Says

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:58 pm

Robert Gates said yesterday that we are not winning in Iraq — but that we are not losing, either. Here’s a representative quote:

SEN. INHOFE: [Y]ou were asked the question, “Are we winning in Iraq?” General Pace was asked that question yesterday. He said, no, we’re not winning, but we’re not losing. Do you agree with General Pace?

MR. GATES: Yes, sir, at this point.

So on Yahoo News, the headline for an AP story read as follows: “Gates says U.S. losing Iraq war.”

Media bias. You gotta love it.

More here.

In the extended entry is a link to a transcript of Gates’s full remarks, as well as a selection of relevant quotes on winning and losing — just so you don’t think I’m taking anything out of context!


Parents Choose Genetic Defects for Their Children

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:12 pm

AMac sends along the link to an essay in the New York Times titled Wanting Babies Like Themselves, Some Parents Choose Genetic Defects:

Wanting to have children who follow in one’s footsteps is an understandable desire. But a coming article in the journal Fertility and Sterility offers a fascinating glimpse into how far some parents may go to ensure that their children stay in their world — by intentionally choosing malfunctioning genes that produce disabilities like deafness or dwarfism.

I’m just left shaking my head. I simply can’t fathom how parents could deliberately choose to inflict a disability like deafness on their children. This strikes me as the height of selfishness, which is the antithesis of what good parenting should be about.

Am I being too judgmental? I don’t think so — but if anyone does, I’m sure they’ll let me know in the comments.

Weblog Award Finalists — Despite My Best Efforts to Avoid It . . .

Filed under: Awards,Blogging Matters,General — Patterico @ 9:49 pm

Really, I try to avoid this Weblog Awards nonsense. Paying attention to it has turned me into a pathetic vote-seeker in the past, and so I steadfastly refused to nominate myself or pay any attention during this last go-round.

But reader Rick W. e-mailed me with a link to the list of Finalists, and imagine my shock to see this list of Finalists for Best Conservative Blog:

Ace of Spades
Captain’s Quarters
Little Green Footballs
Hugh Hewitt
Michelle Malkin
Mary Katherine Ham
Patterico’s Pontifications
Red State
The Jawa Report
Power Line

I can’t look at that list without hearing that Sesame Street song going through my head:

One of these things is not like the others,
One of these things just doesn’t belong . . .

Well, it’s a pleasure to see my name on such a distinguished list, even if it’s a certainty that I will end up at the bottom. I’m okay with that. It’s like that saying: you’d rather have the worst house in the best neighborhood than the best house in the worst neighborhood.

This is a great neighborhood to be in, and I’m thrilled to be an occupant of the worst house of the group.

Jamil Hussein Controversy in U.S. News and World Report

Filed under: General,Media Bias,War — Patterico @ 6:40 am

The Jamil Hussein controversy is in U.S. News & World Report (at least online!), in a brief paragraph that quotes Jules Crittenden’s column on the subject.

Crittenden is a valuable ally to bloggers trying to bring issues to the attention of Big Media. You should be reading his blog daily.

Supreme Court Hears Cases on Forced Integration

Filed under: Constitutional Law,Court Decisions,Dog Trainer,General,Race — Patterico @ 12:02 am

The L.A. Times‘s David Savage has an article titled Cases retread Brown vs. Board of Education steps, which opens:

For the first time in a decade, the Supreme Court will revisit the legacy of a landmark: the Brown vs. Board of Education decision of 1954 that declared unconstitutional the racial segregation of public schools.

This certainly seems like an alarming paragraph. The Supreme Court “will revisit” the legacy of the landmark decision banning state separation of children by race in public schools??

But if you read the rest of the piece, it appears that nothing so upsetting is in the offing. Rather, the Supreme Court is simply weighing whether school boards may use racial classifications to assign students to schools based on the color of their skin, in order to accomplish racial diversity.

In other words, nobody is saying that government may once again institute forced segregation of schools as a matter of state policy. The issue is whether government may institute forced integration of schools as a matter of state policy. If not done to remedy a specific and demonstrated past history of discrimination, this would arguably violate the very idea behind Brown: that the state may not assign pupils to different schools on the basis of race, even if the schools are arguably similar in quality.

Listen to the argument in the first case here, and read the transcript here. Listen to the argument in the second case here, and read the transcript here. (All links via Howard.)

By the way, Savage is correct to counter the arguments of the hysterics who implausibly claim that magnet schools are jeopardized by the cases before the Court:

The [L.A. Unified School] district filed its own brief with the Supreme Court, urging the justices to uphold voluntary integration programs. Loss of the magnet program would be “devastating,” its lawyers said. . . . But such a dire outcome is not certain, even if the court does rule for the parents in Seattle and Louisville. They are objecting because their children were turned away from a nearby school because of their race. A voluntary busing program that moved children from the city to a suburb, or from a low-income neighborhood to a more affluent one, would not be affected by a ruling striking “race-based assignment” policies.

Anyone who listens to the arguments can easily tell that magnet programs will not be affected, and it’s good of Savage to note that.

My impression (and apparently Savage’s as well) is that a majority of the Justices believe that while achieving racial balance in schools might be a laudable goal for school boards, it is not something that can be achieved by alloting spaces on the basis of skin color, absent extraordinary circumstances not present in these cases. Expect a reasonable decision from the Court.

P.S. Ali Bubba is much less kind to Savage.

UPDATE: La Shawn Barber has a Washington Examiner column on the subject, as well as a roundup of reaction at her blog.

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