“No matter whether the Constitution follows the flag or not,” Finley Peter Dunne’s Mr. Dooley said long ago in an obsolete dialect, “the Supreme Court follows the election returns.”
Both of these—the traveling flag and the election returns—formed a complicated subtext Tuesday at the first argument the Supreme Court has heard in Trump’s America, along with the nature of life along a wall on the Southern border. The question presented, boiled down to its essence, was this. If a Border Patrol officer in the U.S. is so vexed by the antics of a Mexican teenager standing on Mexican soil that he shoots the boy dead across the border, does the Constitution even apply? And if so, does the law give the boy’s father a remedy?
The Justices’ questions of the parties showed little sign that they are considering this issue in a country that has changed—is changing—its attitudes toward foreigners, immigrants, and law enforcement almost hourly, and for the worse. (Indeed, the Administration released its sweeping new guidance memos, which target for deportation a wide swatch of immigrant America, literally while the Court was sitting.)…Read More