11 October 2007

Court Enforced Anarchy

Yesterday, an effort by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to crack down on people using false Social Security numbers to gain employment was halted by a federal judge in San Francisco (AP feed). Despite the fact that using a false Social Security number is a felony, Judge Breyer blocked the plan, which would notify employers of Social Security number “mismatches” and give them 90 days to fix the error or fire the employee, temporarily so that he “could determine whether the plaintiffs would suffer damage if the government were allowed to go forward with its plan.”

It seems very odd to me that a judge, any judge, would block DHS based on this reasoning. The plaintiffs in this case, according to the AP article, are labor and civil liberties organizations. What damages, other than reduced membership rolls, would they suffer?

But the real question is why would a judge, any judge, block a plan meant to allow for stricter adherence to existing law? If using a false Social Security number is a felony and what DHS is looking to quash is the use of false Social Security numbers to gain employment illegally, how in the world could that be considered illegal or harmful? What takes precedence here?

It appears that from Judge Breyer’s point of view, business and labor unions ability to skirt laws takes precedence and any excuse will do. The mismatch plan will cause harm to someone – never mind that “someone” is probably breaking other laws. The mismatch plan will force companies into costly measures to comply – never mind that compliance with law is the responsibility of every person and entity in the country.

I don’t want to jump off the cliff here, but it seems that there is an ever-growing cacophony of individual and “interest group” anarchistic application of the law. Hence the thought pattern that “the law is unjust if it inconveniences me.” Courts which allow and promote this thought pattern further the cause and take law-making power away from those designated to write laws, the legislature, and enforcement power away from those meant to enforce the law equally, the executive.

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