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July 26, 2010
Arizona immigration law and Federalist number 27
In the Federalist number 27, Alexander Hamilton commented upon how the states were to participate in executing the laws of the federal government:
"It merits particular attention in this place, that the laws of the confederacy, as to the enumerated and legitimate objects of its jurisdiction, will become the SUPREME LAW of the land; to the observance of, all officers, legislative, executive, and judicial, in each state, will be bound by the sanctity of an oath. Thus the legislatures, courts and magistrates, of the respective members, will be incorporated into the operations of the national government, as far as its just constitutional authority extends; and will be rendered auxiliary to the enforcement of its laws. Any man, who will pursue, by his own reflections, the consequences of the situation, will perceive, that if its powers are administered with a common prudence, there is good ground to calculate upon a regular and peaceable execution of the laws of the union."
The officers, legislature, Governor and police force of Arizona appear not only to understand not only their Constitutional duties exceedingly well but also the original intent of the authors of the Constitution.
It is worth mentioning that Hamilton wrote this passage in retort to objections raised at the time by opponents of the Constitution who feared that the federal government might be negligent in its duties and leave the States without recourse to defend themselves and enforce the law. In addition to making the point that the officers, courts, legislatures and magistrates of the States would be auxiliary to the federal government in enforcing federal laws, Hamilton closed the chapter by making his feelings known that he felt this apprehension was overwrought and not based on any rational supposition as to why the federal government would be motivated to neglect its duties:
"But though the adversaries of the proposed constitution should presume, that the national rulers would be insensible to the motives of public good, or to the obligations of duty; I would still ask them, how the interests of ambition, or the views of encroachment, can be promoted by such a conduct?"
That, Mr. Hamilton, is a very good question.