After a quick read of Judge Bolton’s decision in the Arizona illegal immigration case and based on a bit of experience in federal preemption issues in a previous life, I concur with Andy’s take on the matter.
Many in the media are reporting the decision as a major win for the Obama administration. That’s a sloppy description. It’s a temporary judicial win and a likely political problem — at least in the short-to-intermediate term — for the administration.
Today’s decision increases the probability that supporters of the Arizona law will see the federal government’s refusal to enforce the border as an issue in the fall elections. Those supporters, who outnumber opponents of the measure by more than two to one, will be motivated to vote this November — and again and again until the case is finally adjudicated on the merits. That might not be for some time, possibly extending to the 2012 elections. Obviously, that could complicate the reported long-term administration strategy of galvanizing those voters perceived as opponents of the Arizona measure. If the law is still not in effect in 2012, opponents of the Arizona law won’t be as motivated as its frustrated supporters.
Today’s biggest losers are Arizona Democrats, followed by any other candidates nationwide who will have to defend their opposition to the law and support for today’s decision.