Does the bitter and contentious debate on health care reform in the Supreme Court have anything to do with immigration? Not, perhaps, at first glance. Just for one example, I am sure that my colleague and fellow blogger Matt Kolken, whom I greatly respect and who is doing such terrific work in holding the Obama administration's feet to the fire over its disgraceful, if not criminal, immigration detention abuses, would be the first to point out that providing health care of any sort is not exactly a well known feature of immigration detention conditions.
But there is a connection between the Obama administration's approach to health care reform and its approach to immigration - to cave in. With regard to health care reform, Obama tuned a deaf ear to liberal Democrats who supported a single payer system. Instead, he opted for the Republican individual mandate Trojan Horse.
I say Trojan Horse, because the "gift" of promises of Republican support for health care reform if the mandate idea were accepted not only turned out to be illusory, since no Republicans voted for the final bill, but the mandate itself was open to Constitutional attack. As if no one already knew this before, and of course everyone did, we certainly found out this week, courtesy of Justices Scalia, Roberts, et al.
We are now seeing the result of Obama's failure to stand on principle and support single payer, which, as Justice Kennedy stated during the oral argument over health care, would have been much harder to attack on Constitutional grounds. Because of Obama's failure to stand up for the best solution of all, the entire health care law may very likely be thrown out by the same Supreme Court which gave us the "gift" of Bush v. Gore and Citizens United.
On immigration as well, Obama has tried to compromise with people for whom there is no such word as compromise. He is deporting 400,000 people a year, most of whom have committed no serious crimes and are no threat to society. How many normally Republican or independent voters will support him in November because of this? Very few.
But many of the Latino and other minority voters whose support he must have in order to be re-elected will stay home, or even vote Republican on the theory that the Democratic devil who lies to us is worse than a Republican devil who at least tells the truth about what he has in store. Obama's cowardice and expediency are not only bad morally. They are even worse politics.
Roger Algase is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been practicing business immigration law in New York City for more than 20 years