Are You an Asymetrical Multiculturalist?


Obama: “We can’t label everyone who is disturbed by migration as racist”

Andrew Sullivan, The Opportunity of White Anxiety

Ronald Brownstein, Trump’s Immigration Policies Unify White Republicans: As the GOP’s political power concentrates in less diverse areas, resistance to the president’s agenda keeps on shrinking.

Brownstein, an acute political observer, acutely observes the main force behind Republican politics. Obama does what Obama does. Sullivan reflects on the expanding definition of whiteness in America, the alleged distinction between racism and mere racial conservatism, and why we should supposedly be concerned about asymmetrical multiculturalism. (Don’t know what that is? I didn’t, until I read Sullivan’s piece.)

I have a more basic point to make. People who aspire to influence and leadership in the progressive movement need to stop hemming and hawing about immigration. They need to have coherent, reasoned, humane, and defensible positions. If they are for open borders, say so, and explain why. If they are not for open borders, they need to say what rules they would apply, and why.

In particular, we need to have a coherent position on immigration from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Yes, I know, we need to help the folks down there build livable countries. No doubt about it. But unless and until that happens, what should the US do about migrants from those countries?


Readers today come from Canada, India, Singapore, the Palestinian Territories, Romania, the UK, and the United States. See y’all soon.

The Ninth Circuit’s Ruling: The Morning After the Night Before

America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

The “Rational Basis” Standard of Review

This morning, some are stridently taking the Ninth Circuit panel to task for omitting mention of the portion of the Immigration and Nationality Act that gives a president broad power to control our borders.

That’s right. Omitting reference to the statute does raise eyebrows. If Aardvark had been on the panel, he would have mentioned the statute in the decision. But let’s put this in context.

Going in, the government’s logical argument would be

  • Point One: There’s a very broadly written statute.
  • Point Two: There’s lots of case law saying that you can review the president’s use of his discretionary power, BUT that review must be highly deferential to the president’s determinations. (It’s called the “rational basis” standard of review.)
  • Point Three: This order has a rational basis.

We win.

Wham, bam, thank you ma’am.

If the government had made that argument, then the government might have won. Instead, it argued—contrary to precedent and contrary to the basic principles of our legal system—that the president’s order is not subject to any judicial review at all.

If the president thinks that red headed people are a menace and orders all of them barred from entry, no review is possible.

Not an appealing argument.

Was it Irrational for Counsel to Ignore “Rational Basis”?

Some this morning are urging that the government’s legal team was incompetent, and lead counsel should be fired. Maybe. Or maybe not.

Maybe counsel for the government didn’t want to argue the “rational basis” standard for review because they thought they had a poor case even under that legal standard.

How Judges React When Counsel Fails to Make His Best Argument

They have two choices. One is to write an opinion that ignores what counsel actually said and instead addresses what counsel should have said.

The other choice is to flatly address the extreme and untenable position that counsel advanced. Here, the panel made this second choice.

I won’t belabor the point, but it’s pretty obvious why all three judges on the panel probably thought it was extremely important to swat down Trump’s lawyers’ extreme position.

The Green Card Clusterfuck

Josh Gerstein writes this morning about 3 key Trump mistakes that led to the travel ban court defeat. The third mistake on his list of three is the one I have just addressed. The first two relate to the mass confusion over whether legal permanent residents are included or excluded from the order. Gerstein lays out the facts in detail.

Wise Counsel on How to Achieve Nefarious Ends

Many commentators argue that Trump’s best course of action would be to rewrite the order, cleaning up the green card mess, and probably tightening it up in other ways as well. Such a course, many argue, would be far better—from Trump’s own perspective—than rushing to the Supreme Court to support the existing order.

Will he take this wise counsel, or will his ego get in the way, and prevent him from effectively achieving his own odious purposes?

Stephen Miller, Wunderkind of Clusterfuck


On Monday, January 30, Morning Joe used his initial rant time to

  • identify White House staffer Stephen Miller as the author of the executive order on immigration,
  • assert that Miller failed to consult with attorneys at the Justice Department or elsewhere, and
  • generally damn Miller to hell.

The burden of Joe’s morning rant was that Mr. Miller is young, lacking in experience, wanting in judgment, and badly in need of adult supervision, or better yet, in need of being told not to let the door  hit him where the Good Lord split him as he walks out.

Aardvark seconds that emotion.

But I have uncovered some additional reasons to conclude that, while we may be in good hands with Allstate, we are not in good hands with Mr. Miler.

Firstly, though he was (per Morning Joe) drafting a legal document of vast import, Mr. Miller did not in fact darken the door of any law school and is not a member of the bar.

Secondly, his experience in government comes from being an aide to Michelle Bachman and then to Jeff Sessions.

Thirdly, he is a nutjob, who was raised in a liberal family but experienced politico-religious conversion through his reading of Guns, Crime, and Freedom by Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association.

Having done yeoman service for Bachman and Sessions, he was hired by Cory Lewandowski to work for Trump, where his reputation for nuttiness grew to an epic scale.

Oh, and by the way, Morning Joe assured us that he had spoken with some of the adults on the Trump foreign policy team, and that a clusterfuck like the one we witnessed this weekend definitely will not happen again.

Oh, yes it will.