Counting The Silverware


Nobody likes to pay for legal advice.

But it’s a double whammy when you end up paying for really bad legal advice.  Just ask the good citizens of Hazelton, Pennsylvania whose pockets have been emptied to the tune of $2,400,000 in legal bills run up by Kris Kobach, a fringe anti-immigrant restrictionist and candidate for Kansas Secretary of State.

Kobach proudly touts his role in drafting the poorly-written 2006 Hazelton statute, which thrusts on landlords and businesses the responsibility for figuring out who is and isn’t lawfully present in the U.S. before renting or providing services to an individual.  The law was quickly thrown out by a federal judge because it violated the Constitution.  Just last week, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals agreed stating,

It is … not our job to sit in judgment of whether state and local frustration about federal immigration policy is warranted. We are, however, required to intervene when states and localities directly undermine the federal objectives embodied in statutes enacted by Congress.

Now the taxpayers of Hazelton are left with Kobach’s astronomical legal bill; and he is pining away for still more litigation claiming, “It’s going to be difficult for [the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals decision] to stand. The court really had to stretch to find a way to agree with the ACLU.”   Can you hear the “ch’ching” of Kobach’s legal fee cash register?  How many more small American communities will be duped by Kobach into supporting his hate filled anti-immigrant crusade?

And Hazelton is not alone.  Sharing the dubious honor of owing Kobach a lot of money are Farmers Branch, Texas ($4,000,000), Valley Park, Missouri ($270,000) and Maricopa County, Arizona ($12,600 plus expenses).   According to Political Correction this adds up to a whopping $6,600,000!  Not a bad day’s pay for shoddy lawyering.

Along with the legal bills Kobach is developing an impressive record of courtroom defeats.  His 3rd Circuit smack-down comes on the heels of Judge Susan Bolton’s ruling that S.B. 1070, Arizona’s infamous “show me your  papers” law, also offended the Constitution.  In case you hadn’t heard, Kobach was instrumental in drafting that law too.

Kobach claims to be an expert in the Constitution. But he might want to take a moment and read it. The good news is that even if he won’t the courts will.

In the meantime, if you live in small town America hold on to your wallets.  And if Kobach visits your town you might want to count the silverware when he leaves.

by David Leopold