Justice Scalia Cites Pro-Slavery Laws Excluding ‘Freed Blacks’ To Justify His Anti-Immigrant Opinion

As ThinkProgress reported yesterday, conservative Justice Antonin Scalia’s dissenting opinion claiming that Arizona’s entire harsh immigration law should be upheld sacrifices both factual and mathematical accuracy in order to attack one of the Obama Administrations recently announced policies. Perhaps the oddest part of Scalia’s dissent, however, is the fact that he actually relied on pro-slavery laws excluding free persons of African descent from much of the south to justify allowing Arizona to target undocumented immigrants:

Notwithstanding “[t]he myth of an era of unrestricted immigration” in the first 100 years of the Republic, the States enacted numerous laws restricting the immigration of certain classes of aliens, including convicted crimi­nals, indigents, persons with contagious diseases, and (in Southern States) freed blacks. State laws not only provided for the removal of unwanted immigrants but also imposed penalties on unlawfully present aliens and those who aided their immigration

This kind of thing is, sadly, common in Scalia’s opinions. He’s defended torture and finds little wrong with executing the innocent. When a majority of his colleagues reached the radical conclusion that people have a right to choose their own sex partners, Scalia railed against them for embracing the “homosexual agenda.” During oral arguments over the Affordable Care Act, Scalia seemed unable to distinguish legal arguments from partisan talking points.

Nevertheless, looking to slaveholding states for guidance is beyond the pale, even for Scalia.


[HT: Matt Yglesias]