A blog by Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Brian Tannebaum. Commenting on criminal law issues of local and national interest.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Supporting Arizona

Not a single happening in this country defines our broken political system more than Arizona's new immigration law.

Upon it's passage, a huge gasp throughout the nation. All those who had a microphone, ran to speak. This was a "show me your papers," "Nazi Germany," unconstitutional statute that caused even those who see the Constitution as a hindrance to law enforcement to cry foul.

Then, a couple weeks later, another story came out - a poll.

66% of the country support the law. 70% of Arizona residents are fine with it.

Ut oh.

One of the dirty little not so secret things a politician needs to do, is get votes. If the majority of people support something, and you want to win, you've got to get a majority vote. There's no better way to get the majority vote, than to pander to the majority.

So Arizona's immigration statute is now a Florida campaign issue. Sure, our education system sucks, we have high unemployment, people are moving out, but hey, we also have a lot of illegal immigrants, so why not make that the focus since it's now a topic on the national stage.

Those Florida candidates who were against the Arizona statute, are now, um, tightening up their ties, and want you to know they are with you, you good people of the 66%.

The Republican Party's front-runner for governor, Florida Attorney General Bill McCullom, threw his support Thursday behind a tough new immigration law in Arizona that he criticized as ``far out'' just two weeks ago.

Seeing an opportunity to grab that same 66%, after the city of Los Angeles declared a boycott of the state of Arizona, Attorney General candidate Holly Benson, as the newspaper says embroiled in a hotly contested Republican primary chimed in: Illegal immigration is a serious problem facing our country and it is unfortunate that the Los Angeles City Council came down in support of illegal activity, over the actions of Arizona's attempt to enforce the law.

Yes! Rally those Florida citizens by telling them Los Angeles is a bunch of poopy heads.

U.S. Senate Candidate Marco Rubio also abandoned his (principles) previous opposition. He and McCullom say they changed positions in light of amendments that aimed to outlaw ethnic and racial profiling by the police.

Because as lawyers, they know that if the police aren't able to racially profile suspects, they will not. Nope.

It's a joke. All of it. And yet we sit back and act like there's nothing wrong with it. It is a foundation of our system that leaders made decisions based on polls and their ability to "get elected."

It's empty, and it works.

I have more respect for someone that supported the Arizona law from day one, than someone who now supports it because supporting it is a good place to be.

Leaders are required to lead, to take stands, to support the minority against the majority.

But we as Americans are just as happy to have them follow.

Vote early and often.

Brian Tannebaum is a criminal defense lawyer in Miami, Florida practicing in state and federal court, and the author of The Truth About Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer.Share/Save/Bookmarkokdork.com rules Post to Twitter


  1. Anonymous6:17 PM

    Has Tannebaum read the Arizona law ?

  2. Anonymous11:54 PM

    What does the Arizona law actually say?

  3. Yes, but I have no idea what that has to do with the point of the post that politicians have shifted their support based on polls. Perhaps you should read the post.

  4. Anonymous10:55 PM

    It's unconstitutional alright, but not for the reasons you listed (and didn't indicate if you agreed with those reasons). Its unconstitutional because it violates the Supremacy Clause.

  5. Despite what critics say about the law, the police can't actually stop someone for "looking Mexican." The police, at a minimum, must have grounds for a Terry stop. Federal courts have previously made clear that racial characteristics are not a basis for a Terry stop or for probable cause.

    Although Terry is usually honored only in the breach, there is a good statistical probability that if the police are making unconstitutional Terry stops, then they will be stopping US citizens and resident aliens in large numbers. Therein lies the basis for a Sec. 1983 claim, which if successful - which in this hypothetical is likely - would provide sufficient economic incentive for police departments to enforce the law in a non-discriminatory manner.

  6. To the anonymous commenter, the Arizona law mirrors that of the Federal law, but with cleaner glass. Arizona is honoring the Federal Law and more. To make the argument that it violates the Supremacy Clause is completely vain. Your attempt is weak, which in reality, proves the validity of the Arizona law as does anyone attempting to disprove it with the myriad of reasons. All those against it cannot find a fact-based reason, instead they resort to these exaggerated claims. If you disagree with my thoughts, I implore you to stand upon the inteligence of the facts and not speculation. For as you know, when you assume something you make...

    As for the point of this post, it is ludicrous for a politician to flip-flop soley for political gain. A man such as this should not be trusted. If, however, a man, standing upon the facts, has an earnest change of heart in support of this law, absent political reasons, his genuineness will be apparent to those who are in tune to what is true in nature. It's obvious when a politician is lying, especially when he/she cannot answer a simple question simply.