U.S. Supreme Court to hear border case

Dec. 11, 2008 at 1:19 PM
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EL PASO, Texas, Dec. 11 (UPI) -- An official from El Paso County, Texas, says in a U.S. Supreme Court appeal request that state not federal officials should decide on a proposed border fence.

El Paso County Attorney Jose Rodriguez said Wednesday's court filing would allow the nation's highest court to create a legal precedent regarding whether federal officials can supersede the will of state or local officials, the El Paso (Texas) Times said Thursday.

The filing comes after the Congress granted Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and his federal department the right to waive state law and build a fence along the U.S.-Mexico border.

"We do think this does present for the court an opportunity to clarify for the national level what the authority is for declaring these kinds of waivers for the executive branch, and what circumstances you pre-empt state and local laws," Rodriguez said. "It was just kind of an unbridled authority that was given to the secretary."

Rodriquez said Congress' 2005 passage of the Real ID Act, which bestowed such a right to the Department of Homeland Security and its head, was an alleged violation of the U.S. Constitution and the 10th Amendment, the newspaper reported.

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