We had lawyers, they had lawyers, and our lawyers beat the snot out of theirs. Instead of slinking off in well deserved embarrassment as they should, the next chapter of the battle by the losers is to smear the victors as part of a “hate group”, and some are dumb enough to fall for this, or perhaps desperate enough to try to use it for leverage in the 11th District nomination fight among Democrats. I guess bothering to get the story straight isn’t that important if you can rail on in support of Leslie “the loser” Byrne, whose struggling candidacy apparently demands an ever-more screeching level of hyperbole in order to remain somewhat viable. Slamming Paul Nichols in the process makes this attack even more bizarre.
If little of this makes any sense, I can certainly understand. So let’s walk through this crazy story.
Help Save Manassas got a briefing by Mike Hethmon of the Immigration Reform Law Institute about federal immigration law and opportunities for local legislation in one if its first meetings, after being formed in April of 2007. It was an eye opener. There are more potential and dire pitfalls than most could possibly imagine when crafting local legislative approaches to dealing with the illegal alien problem, and it was clear from this briefing that caution and competence are absolutely essential. No one at that meeting had any previous experience with the complicated legal landscape of federal immigration law, and that education proved to be awfully valuable in the debate that followed.
When it came time to start talking about a legislative initiative to overturn the policies of the Prince William County Police Department which prevented officers from even asking suspected illegal aliens about their legal status except in some circumstances, it wasn’t only reasonable to get these constitutional lawyers involved, it was clearly the only responsible choice. We’re not the only folks who have tried to address this issue at the local level, and those that didn’t get solid legal advice right from the beginning ended up with lots of problems in the end, as we’ve seen too often. It’s not enough to intend to do things right. If you don’t do things right, your effort to make your community better is going to result in that community getting slapped with lawsuits from every civil rights legal organization. You must get it right, and get it right the first time.
That has proven to be the right choice. As soon as the Rule of Law Resolution was adopted, the threats of legal action came hot and heavy. Even before the resolution came into full effect, the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund cobbled together a bunch of folks — including a bunch of illegal aliens — who they claimed were fearful of what actual enforcement of immigration laws might mean, and filed a lawsuit against Prince William County. That lawsuit lasted only a couple of weeks before being dismissed in a pre-trial motion. The threats continue, but no lawsuit has been filed, despite an active effort by Mexicans Without Borders to recruit potential plaintiffs. The reason for all this is pretty clear: there’s simply no legal basis to claim that the Rule of Law Resolution violates anyone’s rights.
A few months ago, apparently frustrated that citizens in Prince William County, working with their elected officials and with the assistance of some top-notch legal experts, the illegal alien lobby decided to take a new tack. They lobbied the Southern Poverty Law Center, which is not southern, doesn’t deal with poverty, and rarely engages in any sort of legal action, to declare that the Federation for American Immigration Reform a “hate group”. FAIR has been around for about thirty years, and the SPLC had never seemed to have a problem with them before. Suddenly they do, and dig up some decades-old connection between FAIR and an eccentric named John Tanton who donated to FAIR, along with other organizations such as the Mayo Clinic. On that basis, the SPLC declares that FAIR is a “hate group”, and since the Immigration Reform Law Institute was set up with the assistance of FAIR, now IRLI is a “hate group” as well. Since IRLI gave legal advice in support of the Rule of Law Resolution, somehow the Rule of Law Resolution itself sports a pitchfork, horns, and a tail.
It’s an interesting way to try to win back a legal battle that was lost. If you can’t win in the courts, go ahead and brand someone connected in even a hugely tangential way as a “hate group” in order to make a legislative initiative carefully crafted to comply with federal law look like something irresponsible. I would assume that these folks wouldn’t have been placated had legal advice been provided by the firm of Dewey, Cheatem and Howe and required that illegal aliens parade around in pink underwear and sing “I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts” as an alternative, which certainly would have violated civil rights, even if it would have been amusing. The lawsuit then would have been swift, and successful.
Based on this ridiculous argument, NLS is trying to attack Delegate Paul Nichols of all people, someone who never had a role at all in the Rule of Law Resolution, not because he has ever actually disagreed with any of the legislation Nichols proposed, but because he has violated the NLS rule that thou shalt not support an unauthorized candidate in a Democratic primary battle. How’s that for tenuous connections? While I’ve no love whatsoever for “Boss” Connolly, and think he’s a disaster for Fairfax County, this is utterly ridiculous. If this is what the Leslie Byrne campaign has to offer the voters of the 11th Congressional District, they should pass.
Keith Fimian should have a field day with this garbage.
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