October 4, 2006
What Rhymes with Scalia? Tequila?
Jennifer Chacon discussed the Toledo-Flores case on the blog earlier. CNN reported on this oral argument exchange involving Justice Scalia:
Justice Antonin Scalia opened the Supreme Court's new term Tuesday by questioning whether a man deported to Mexico would be "abstaining from tequila" for fear of violating his U.S. parole terms, in a case involving a state/federal conflict over the seriousness of drug crimes involving immigrants.
Toledo-Flores was deported in April, his lawyer Timothy Crooks told the justices in oral arguments, but rejected suggestions the case is moot as a result. His client was still subject to "supervised release", a form of parole that, technically at least, could have him under U.S. jurisdictional control over his behavior.
Scalia appeared incredulous. "No one thinks your client is abstaining from tequila for fear of being" sent back to the United States, he said. Supervision "is impossible once he leaves the country. This is an ingenious exercise of the conceivable."
Neither Crooks nor the other justices reacted visibly to Scalia's remarks, and there was no immediate reaction from immigrant rights activists, many of whom were in the courtroom.
P.S. A controversy is brewing over the Scalia remark
Dan Sokol (Wisconsin) opined on the Latino-law-Profs listserve that "Somehow I doubt that Scalia would have made the same comment about drinking grappa if the immigrant was from Southern Italy." In an article entitled "Scalia's 'Tequila' Remark Raises Eyebrows During Immigrants' Rights Argument," Tony Mauro in Legal Times writes of the remark: "During oral arguments Tuesday in an immigrants' rights case, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia made a reference to one of the parties, a Mexican man who has been deported back to his country, as someone unlikely to keep from drinking tequila on the chance he could return to the United States." Click here for the full story. On a vaguely related note, I wonder if Justice Scalia knows what mescal is.
October 4, 2006 | Permalink
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Short of his impeachment, or Scalia recusing himself, any stink made of this by illegal alien adovcates on this subject is only going serve to bias his decision, if unconsciously. The attorney's silence was a very wise move.
While you legal beagles abhor the idea of it, I suspect that the justices already harbor negative opinions of the idea of foreign nationals attempting to impose their will on U.S. immigration policy and our political process. Illegal alien advocacy groups should fight like hell to keep any of their cases out of the Supreme Court, as it is unlikely that illegal immigrants will find any friends among the justices. I look forward to the level-headed judges rulings on the many illegal immigration issues that will come before the Court in the near future, as they will rule solely on law and not be distracted by the coercive politics of advocacy groups.
Posted by: George | Oct 9, 2006 3:59:34 PM