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McCULLOUGH: Federal power grabs put states' rights in jeopardy

The federal government continues to push the limits of the waistband on its britches.

After meeting with a select group of police chiefs who oppose Arizona’s new immigration law, Attorney General Eric Holder and the Justice Department are considering taking action against the state.

We’ve all heard the cliched, aimed-at-the-heart-strings crowing from the left: Racial profiling, bigotry and their favorite one (altogether now in a self-righteous voice with ominous undertones), “It’s like Nazi Germany.”

It is, in fact, nothing like Nazi Germany. Nazi Germany was a brutal regime intent on killing everyone who didn’t meet their standards of Aryan excellence. Arizona simply wants to stop the continued influx of illegal (there’s that pesky word again that so many people keep ignoring) aliens by allowing its police officers to identify them. It has tired of waiting on the feds to do anything about it, so the state is taking its defense into its own hands.

Despite the fact that an increasing number of Americans support laws like the Arizona one and despite the fact that other states are considering similar measures, the feds are apparently going to rush in and attempt to stem the flow — of states taking matters into their own hands, that is. Not the flow of illegal immigrants.

The arguments about why we need to stop illegal immigration are numerous and have been hashed over ad infinitum. But what this latest example points to is yet another effort by the federal government to exert its ever-expanding power in what can only be viewed as an attempt to bypass states’ rights.

Quite a few states have drawn a line in the sand between themselves and Congress and/or the Obama administration in the past few years. And who can blame them, what with Washington trying to regulate everything from how many calories you take in (and what kind) to what sort of light bulb you read by.

Therefore it’s not surprising the ongoing battle between states and the feds is not limited to immigration reform. A number of states are attempting to reject the health care law, of course. And, as pointed out by former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor this week, several legislatures have had to write adjustments to No Child Left Behind (which puts heavy emphasis on reading and math) in an effort to make sure students also learn civics and science.

In a Supreme Court decision several years ago concerning medical marijuana in California, the court essentially ruled that the powers granted to Congress by the Commerce Clause of the Constitution allowed the government to regulate things within a state that it saw as a threat to the commerce between all states. I have no doubt that since the police chiefs came from several different states that the Justice Department will cite that in its arguments, right along with the 14th Amendment, for equal protection despite the fact that (for the millionth time) these people are here illegally and not citizens.

Arizona got tired of waiting on the feds to do something about illegal immigration. It acted within its Constitutional rights.

If the federal government had a backbone at all, it would be supporting Arizona, not turning on it like the rebel it sees it to be.

E-mail Nate McCullough at nate.mccullough@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Fridays.