Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Usual Cutthroats

As the Homeland Security Chief tries to throw that ludicrous fence across border segments that aren't owned by friends of the occupied White House, some locals, and even some law enforcement officials, have gained the attention of their representatives. By waiving considerations of environmental and safety measures, Chertoff has evidently scared some of those supposed to enforce the laws.

The Supremes may be required to go on record as to whether they have any intention of retaining that pesky constitution that supposedly is the basis of our system of laws. It would be refreshing, but hardly expected, if the KKKourt does show a reborn respect for the laws it has been so fast reshaping to serve the business community rather than the public.

The U.S. Supreme Court may get a chance to join the fractious debate over building fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border.

A legal challenge by two environmental groups seeking to limit enhanced Department of Homeland Security powers to suspend more than 30 laws to build the fence is gathering support in Congress.

But at least one constitutional expert said that although the legal challenge underscores the broad array of powers Congress has delegated to Homeland Security, "environmentalists face an uphill battle."

"There is a legitimate legal gripe here, in that there are serious questions about how much power Congress can delegate to other branches of government," said Jonathan Turley, a constitutional law authority at George Washington University Law School.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced the waiver of about three dozen environmental laws to expedite construction of the border fence in Texas and Arizona on April 1.

Fourteen House Democrats, including Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and seven other committee chairmen then said they would file friend-of-the-court briefs asking the Supreme Court to take up the lawsuit on whether the department had overstepped constitutional limits.

"This blanket waiver of laws like the Clean Air Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act is a clear and disturbing abuse of the secretary's discretion," said U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce committee. "Congress' efforts to seek justification for this waiver from DHS have been stonewalled, which leads me to believe none exists."

U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Dallas, disagrees, saying continued illegal immigration and violence is a greater "risk to good conservation policies."
Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman D-N.M., sent letters asking Mr. Chertoff and Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne to justify the waivers.

Environmental concerns may not have the force that has been required to make our existing laws weigh with the KKKourt. The threat of new, more definitive, legislation might be more important. Public outrage would also be a help.

Cuts in the fence have as predicted been a mockery of it. The immigrants who breach it are not going to be stopped by this flimsy barrier.

Guzman, who has worked in the area for nearly a decade, said agents have found holes cut with acetylene torches, hacksaws and even plasma torches — a high-powered tool that uses inert gas or condensed air to quickly cut through steel and other dense metals.

"We see it once or twice a week," Guzman said of the holes along the 1.5-mile stretch of fencing about 80 miles west of El Paso.

The border fence has been a canard from its inception. Using it to overthrow our legal system may not be as easy as Chertoff seems to think.

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7:25 PM  

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