Contrary To Fox's Claims, The Obama Administration Is Not Defying The Supreme Court

Fox News is falsely accusing the Obama administration of “thumbing its nose” at the Supreme Court's recent decision to strike down most of Arizona's controversial immigration law. In fact, the federal government is continuing to enforce immigration law in a manner consistent with the Supreme Court decision.

The court on Monday struck down most of the law, but allowed the so-called “show me your papers” provision of the law to go into effect. In response, the Department of Homeland Security announced that federal officials will not respond to every traffic stop at which Arizona authorities claim to have an undocumented immigrant in their custody. Federal officials will continue to take into custody immigrants with a criminal record and other people who meet federal immigration enforcement authority. DHS is also rescinding its immigration enforcement partnership program with Arizona.

While this announcement is in no way at odds with the court's ruling, Fox News is citing as evidence that the Obama administration is in defiance of the court.

Sean Hannity claimed that Obama was “basically thumbing his nose at the judiciary branch.”

Other Fox commentators made similar comments. Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer claimed that Obama was acting “high handed and lawless.” And Fox News host Greta Greta Van Susteren claimed the president “snub[bed] his finger, a little bit, at the full court.”

In fact, the DHS announcement is perfectly consistent with the Supreme Court's decision. The Supreme Court said that ICE must “respond to any request made by state officials for verification of a person's citizenship status.” And DHS will indeed continue to verify an individual's immigration status on request. But the Supreme Court did not impose additional limitations on the federal government such as a requirement that the federal government must arrest all the people that Arizona wants arrested.

Under the court's ruling, the federal government retains its well-established power to use its discretion to decide who it wants to deport.