Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Affirming humanity at the Supreme Court

The oral argument at the Supreme Court over Arizona's immigration enforcement law has "utterly depress[ed]" Linda Greenhouse of the New York Times.

Not, she tells us, because the Court seems poised to uphold the law (which she presumably disfavors on policy grounds). No, Greenhouse's depression was caused by "the failure of any participant in the argument, justice or advocate for either side, to affirm the simple humanity of Arizona’s several hundred thousand undocumented residents."

Let me get this out of the way, so as not to contribute to anyone's mental illness: I affirm the humanity of Arizona's several hundred thousand undocumented residents. They are human beings, entitled to be treated with all the respect and dignity that this status necessarily entails.

But what, exactly, did Ms. Greenhouse—a seasoned journalist who has covered the Supreme Court for decades—expect? Perhaps that the Solicitor General would clear his throat, take a moment to compose himself, and say:
Let's take a moment to talk about something other than the federalism issues in this case. Let's talk about humanity. Let's talk about our feelings. Because if we don't, someone in the gallery might get sad. Lookie here: I have a visual aid. It is a picture of a four-year old girl's face. As you can see, her beautiful brown eyes are gigantic. [Clears throat as he chokes back tears.] Stare into them for a moment, Justice Alito. This four-year old is an American citizen because she was born here. But her mother is not an American citizen. She's an "illegal"—an undocumented resident of Arizona who may be targeted under this law. This law may or may not be "constitutional," but I beseech you, Justice Scalia, have a heart!!
What depresses me is that Ms. Greenhouse did apparently expect something like this.

Thankfully, "Lady Madonna" just came on my iTunes shuffle, and I can't stay sad when that song's playing. Ms. Greenhouse, if you're reading: I recommend giving it a spin to help get you out of your funk.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments on posts older than 30 days are moderated because almost all of those comments are spam.