So I guess all that hysteria about the Arizona immigration law was much ado about nothing. After months of telling us that the Nazis had seized Arizona, when the Obama administration finally got around to suing, its only objection was that the law was "pre-empted" by federal immigration law.
With the vast majority of Americans supporting Arizona's inoffensive little law, the fact that Obama is suing at all suggests that he consulted exclusively with the craziest people in America before filing this complaint. (Which is to say, Eric Holder's Justice Department.)
But apparently even they could find nothing discriminatory about Arizona's law. It's reassuring to know that, contrary to earlier indications, government lawyers can at least read English.
Instead, the administration argues, federal laws on immigration pre-empt Arizona's law under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution.
State laws are pre-empted by federal law in two circumstances: When there is a conflict -- such as "sanctuary cities" for illegals or California's medical marijuana law -- or when Congress has so thoroughly regulated a field that there is no room for even congruent state laws.
If Obama thinks there's a conflict, I believe he's made a damning admission. There's a conflict only if the official policy of the federal government is to ignore its own immigration laws.
Only slightly less preposterous is the argument that although Arizona's law agrees with federal law, Congress has engaged in "field pre-emption" by occupying the entire field of immigration, thus prohibiting even harmonious state laws.
Field pre-emption may arise, for example, in the case of federal health and safety laws, so that manufacturers of cars, medical devices and drugs aren't forced to comply with the laws of 50 different states to sell their products nationally.
And yet, just over a year ago, the Supreme Court held that there was no "field pre-emption" even in the case of an FDA-approved anti-nausea drug because Congress had not explicitly stated that state regulation was pre-empted.
The drug, Phenergan, came with the warning that, if administered improperly (so that it enters an artery), catastrophe could ensue.
In April 2000, Phenergan was administered improperly to Diana Levine -- by a clinician ignoring six separate warnings on Phenergan's label. Catastrophe ensued; Levine developed gangrene and had to have her lower arm amputated.
Levine sued the health center and clinician for malpractice, and won.