An important victory for Americans who believe in controlling immigration was handed down Thursday by the U.S. Supreme Court - which at the same time served up a major defeat for President Barack Obama.
States and even municipalities daring to restrict illegal immigration in any way have felt the wrath of Obama's Justice Department. While claiming he wants to control U.S. borders, the president opposes those who really attempt to do so.
Justice Department lawyers insist only the federal government can legally restrict immigration. That puts Washington at odds with states such as Arizona that have enacted their own statutes on the subject.
A 2007 Arizona law penalizes businesses that hire illegal immigrants. A lawsuit challenging the statute was decided last week by the nation's highest court.
By a 5-3 vote, with one abstention, justices ruled Arizona can enforce the law. States do have some authority regarding illegal immigration, the court ruled.
Obviously, details of the case at hand differ from situations involving other local and state immigration rules. The court could at some point rule against such laws.
But for now, justices appear to have pulled the rug out from under one of Obama's key contentions. It amounts to a position that even if he and federal agencies aren't doing a good job stemming the flow of illegal immigrants into the United States, no one else is allowed to tackle the task.
Again, that may be a bad development for Obama - but it is excellent news for Americans who are insisting that someone do something about our nation's porous borders.