In the fervent weeks leading up to the inauguration, Democrats are doing everything in their rapidly waning power to “Trump-proof” what parts of government they can before the president-elect takes office. While many of these actions are, as Alexander Hamilton would put it, “contrary to the tenor of the Constitution,” they offer an example (at least in spirit) conservative policymakers in red states ought to imitate in the months and years ahead.
In addition to President Obama stacking federal commissions with last-minute appointees (among them, a former attorney to a notable cop killer), cities across the United States are pondering and, in some cases, creating defense funds for illegal immigrants.
Local officials in Los Angeles city and county gave the go-ahead for a multi-million dollar defense fund to fight back against a president-elect who won with a strong border-security message.
“We’re trying to find a common solution to whatever threats the federal government throws our way,” City Council spokesman Fredy Ceja (D) told the LA Times. “We are telling the next administration and Congress: If you want to get them, you have to go through us,” said California Assembly speaker Anthony Rendon (D) earlier this month in Sacramento.
State officials are also planning to go toe to toe with a federal administration that doesn’t look like it will share the deep-blue state’s positions on the climate change issue.
“We’re ready to fight,” Gov. Jerry Brown (D) said at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco earlier this month.
Local officials in other major cities are also planning similar strategies on the immigration front. According to an Associated Press report, the city of Chicago is planning a $1.3 million defense fund, while New York City is “mulling” a similar public-private fund that would build on the city’s public defender program.
“We need to be able to be able to stand by people who are fearful,” Chicago Mayor, and former White House chief of staff, Rahm Emmanuel told his city council last week.
These efforts are directly in contradiction to the U.S. Constitution in both form and spirit. While the founders envisioned a robust federal system with clear delineations between state and federal power, one of the few jobs specifically given to Congress was that to control immigration and “establish an Uniform Rule of Naturalization.”
This should really be a no-brainer, folks. The states are united under the same national defense, currency, social safety net, etc., with permeable borders between them; it would make sense that decisions regarding how immigrants can join the body politic be decided at the top level.
In contrast, the Obama administration last week issued a rule in another 11th-hour power grab to prevent states from defunding Planned Parenthood. So, as Conservative Review’s Daniel Horowitz pointed out:
“The same liberals who champion sanctuary cities and suggest that Congress cannot force states to simply cooperate with federal immigration law — now believe that HHS can force states to fund a private organization under investigation for harvesting baby organs! Where are the sanctuaries for taxpayers who don’t want to fund murder?”
The truly frustrating thing here is less that Democrats are doing exactly what they should be expected to do (albeit unconstitutionally) in playing the part of the opposition. Rather, it is that these local officials have displayed the kind of fighting spirit that conservatives in red states have needed for decades — especially the past eight years.
Some will say that sort of thing and need is in the past; the tables have turned and the shoe is on the other foot – at least in regard to the White House. And there’s some truth to that. With Trump and company taking the helm of the federal leviathan, state and local government have a much better chance of reclaiming territory than they ever would have under Obama. But POTUS 44 was and is far from the only existential threat to the federal order.
Even if the president-elect turns out to be the most state-friendly president since Thomas Jefferson, the overreach committed on a daily basis by the federal judiciary will still be present. And America’s oligarchy of black-robed jurists will be waiting, gavel in hand, to undo conservative policies as they come — regardless of whether that was the framers’ intention.
Imagine for just a moment if state and local officials in the red states and counties were as adamant about fighting back against federal usurpations with the same fervor and unflinching orthodoxy that liberal politicians in California, New York, and Chicago are channeling against immigration enforcement.
Not only would it be good for their constituents and their sovereignty, but the “conservative” officials would also have the Constitution on their side. (For more from the author of “Steal the Playbook: What Conservatives Lawmakers Should Learn from Open Borders Loons” please click HERE)