Adherence to the Constitution, or Not?

U.S. conservatives generally make a fetish of, among other things, strict federal immigration policy and strong support of the Constitution. It never seems to occur to them that these two positions are inconsistent, given that the Constitution gives no power whatsoever to Congress in regard to immigration controls (the subject is mentioned only in the restriction that Congress could not prevent the importation of slaves before 1808). So, federal immigration policy of any kind is unconstitutional. Do conservatives believe in adherence to the Constitution or not?

Of course, the standard reply to this objection is either to assert that such authority is somehow inherent in the very nature of government, which flies in the face of everything we know about this oft-touted “government of enumerated powers,” or to note that the Supreme Court has in many of its decisions over the years refused to strike down federal immigration policies as unconstitutional. But this kind of Supreme Court usurpation is precisely what conservatives condemn in many other areas. It therefore appears that conservatives want to have their constitutional cake and eat it, too.

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Robert Higgs is Senior Fellow in Political Economy at the Independent Institute and Editor at Large of the Institute’s quarterly journal The Independent Review. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Johns Hopkins University, and he has taught at the University of Washington, Lafayette College, Seattle University, the University of Economics, Prague, and George Mason University. He has been a visiting scholar at Oxford University and Stanford University, and a fellow at the Hoover Institution and the National Science Foundation.

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4 years ago

Offer that Logic to “regular” Americans as I have tried to do for many years, including and especially on MANY other Issues, NOT-CONSTITUTIONAL, ( such as the Constitution is not a Christian document), but then, what do I know.

I’m not American, although my grand children are

ONLY Born WHITE Christian, Americans understand their Constitution, right? 🙂

Just ask the non-white, non-Christian Indigenous of a few continents, including the Americas,of course