Alabama must have a masochist’s heart. Or perhaps, it is a spoiled child, seeking attention any way it can. Whatever the psychosis, recent immigration and abortion legislation making its way through the State House and Senate ensure Alabama will get plenty of attention and suffer substantial embarrassment and pain upon passage, as the US Supreme Court will be forced to judicially bitch-slap the state for having thumbed its nose at the principles of federal preemption and precedence.
This recalls the good old days of the Warren Supreme Court, which routinely used Alabama as its Civil Rights era example of what not to do in the way of State action so far as civil rights were concerned, and what the consequences for disobedience would be. By the time the Supreme Court’s judicial-activism of the era concluded, it should have been paying tax in Alabama. It effectively owned and managed the state. Plus ca change.
The illegal immigration bill was signed into law today by Alabama’s new Governor, Robert Bentley, who by doing so, was able to made good on the campaign hints he dropped favoring secession (Alabama only has an immigration problem if it is a sovereign nation), along with his pledge to get control of Alabama’s illegal immigration problem. Thus for him, it was something of a two-fer. The bill has been described as the toughest in the nation; yes, even tougher than Arizona’s. It allows police to arrest people on simply the suspicion of being in Alabama illegally if they are stopped for another reason, and we all know, police can conjure any number of reasons to justify stopping someone. In years past, it was the simple matter of being black. Nowadays it appears being Hispanic will suffice, no matter what the police will claim was their motive for making the stop. The bill requires schools to determine whether their students are in the state illegally. Evidently, the schools are doing so well at educating kids they can now become official government snitches. It makes it a crime to knowingly give a ride to an illegal immigrant. In other words, the bill is intended for society to operate something like Mao’s Cultural Revolution, where the State encouraged its citizens to shun and snitch on the counter-revolutionaries.
The abortion bill is winding its way through the Alabama Senate, and might get a vote today (the last day of the session this year), having passed the House in May. It changes the legal meaning of the term “person” as used in state laws to mean “any human being from the moment of fertilization and implantation into the womb”. It would effectively outlaw abortion in the state (you can’t intentionally kill a person, such as a fetus or zygote would be under the law), and would completely confuse the meaning of every state law with the word “person” in it (i.e., pretty much all of them).
This is political folly on a par with the military folly that was Pickett’s charge at Gettysburg, and arises from the same Romantic strain in the Southern mind. Pickett’s charge was essentially a suicide pact meant to prove the value of the Confederacy’s dying way of life by the depth of the commitment (suicide) expended to defend it. These bills (one now a law) are meant to show the depth of feeling Alabama has for the two issues by willingly engaging a costly battle that it knows it will lose. Both bills were worded specifically to make them outrageous. A pro-life advocacy group even suggested that Alabama’s definition of person in the abortion bill was “problematic”.
No consideration was given to the harm that might accrue to the State’s standing and competitiveness were the bills to pass into law and then be enforced, because the Romantic ideal that the depth of feeling determines the value of the emotion will admit no concern for costs; and of course because no one believes for a minute either of them will pass constitutional muster.
The Romantic futility of the bills is just theater for the masses. The whole point of their passage is to provide a show; a contrived battle against the forces of evil in Washington that conspire to allow all the fereners* in, and to ensure that promiscuous women (the horror!) suffer the consequences for their actions. Football season doesn’t start again for another two and half months. This’ll have to do for entertainment until then.
*Southern for anyone not from the South, including illegal aliens, but also any other outsiders.