From “The Week:” Strange Bedfellows — If “Sanctuary Cities” & Migrants’ Advocates Defeat President Trump’s Policies In Court, They Might Owe A Huge Debt To Conservative Judges, Like The Late Justice Antonin Scalia!

Self-described “free-market progressive libertarian” Shikha Dalmia writes in The Week:

“But there’s another big cost that will hamstring this sanctuary city crackdown: If he can’t command local cooperation by threatening to cut funds, then President Trump also can’t de facto deputize local law enforcement agents. So he will have to cough up large sums of federal money to triple the size of the federal deportation force that would be required to eject millions of additional people.

And that will also mean bad optics, because without cooperative local authorities, President Trump will not be able to order ICE agents to whisk away all of these folks quietly in the dead of the night, shielded from media cameras. Instead, he’ll have to start raiding schools, neighborhoods, and workplaces, which will make for terrible publicity.

Whether Trump will go that far remains to be seen. But thanks primarily to the conservative justices on the Supreme Court, it’ll be very hard for him to do so. And that gives undocumented workers far more of a chance than if they had to depend only on the good intentions of local liberal politicians.

The irony is that these immigrants would be in much bigger trouble if Justice Sonia Sotomayor, along with her liberal colleague Ruth Bader Ginsburg, had prevailed in the ObamaCare ruling, as many liberals had hoped at the time. They were completely on board with ObamaCare’s efforts to use federal funds to strong-arm states.

So what’s the lesson? That standing up for bedrock checks and balances is a far better protector of vulnerable minorities than do-gooding liberal politics.”


I’ve written before that the Trump Administration might not get the anticipated “free pass” to bash migrants that they apparently anticipate from Republican appointees on the U.S. Courts of Appeals and a conservative majority Supreme Court.  Leaving aside “hot button” or “litmus test” issues like abortion, doctrinal conservatives often have great Constitutional reservations about the unbridled use of Executive Power. Indeed, doctrinal conservatism at some point comes close to libertarianism, and libertarianism has some things in common with liberalism.

Thus, at some point in my career, I found myself sitting at a Cato Institute Seminar and nodding in agreement when none other than Grover Norquist described his essentially “free market” approach to migration and border enforcement issues.

In  the end, the fact that independent Article III judges, conservative, liberal, middle of the roaders, Republicans, and Democrats, freed of political control, will deliberatively decide what the law requires could turn out to be a bigger problem for the Trump Administration than they had anticipated.