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Must-Read Op-Eds for Monday, July 2, 2012


PLAYING IT DANGEROUSLY SAFEBY THOMAS B. EDSALLNEW YORK TIMESImmigration is a complicated problem for Romney because the issue pits hard-core anti-immigration forces on the right against two distinct constituencies: Hispanic voters; and the business wing of the Republican party, which wants legal access to the services of millions of low-wage workers. All three groups are crucial to Romney. By ducking the issue, Romney may be taking what seems like the safest route, but equivocation carries its own liabilities. Perhaps most dangerously, Romney makes himself vulnerable to the same charge of failed leadership that he has frequently leveled against Obama.

JOHN ROBERTS'S COMPROMISE OF 2012BY CHARLES LANEWASHINGTON POSTFor Chief Justice John Roberts, the temptation to join the other four GOP appointees, consequences be damned, must have been strong. Surely this lifelong conservative has little use for “Obamacare.” ... Roberts grasped two realities. First: In a great national debate, no side has a monopoly on wisdom. Second: Conservatism has no future if the country slides into division and dysfunction. And so, instead of standing on the legal principles articulated by his conservative brethren, Roberts sacrificed some of those precepts and persuaded some court liberals to reciprocate. ... What emerged was less a legal opinion than a plan for national cohesion, on terms remarkably favorable to conservatives.

SHOW ME YOUR PAPERSBY BILL KELLERNEW YORK TIMESThis country, unlike many other developed democracies, does not require a national identification card, because the same electorate that is so afraid America is being overrun by illegal aliens also fears that we are one short step away from becoming a police state. ... The reason Arizona and other states have deputized police as amateur immigration agents — and contemplated making enforcers out of school principals, emergency-room nurses and other civil servants — is that we have failed so utterly to fortify the most obvious line of defense. No, not the Mexican border. Employers. ...If we had a reliable way for employers to check the legal status of prospective workers, and held them strictly accountable for doing so, we would not feel the need for all these secondary checkpoints.MITT ROMNEY'S BAIN PROBLEMBY E.J. DIONNE JR.WASHINGTON this year’s 12 battleground states, many of which have gotten a heavy run of the anti-Bain ads, only 18 percent viewed Romney’s business experience positively; 33 percent viewed it negatively. Obama led Romney by three points nationally but by eight in the battlegrounds. This is disturbing news for Romney, who hoped his business experience would be an unalloyed asset. The numbers also underscore voter resistance to the core conservative claim that job creation is primarily about rewarding wealthy investors and companies through further tax cuts and less regulation. Americans are not anti-business, but they are skeptical that everything that is good for corporations is also good for their employees, and for job creation itself.A VAST NEW TAXING POWEREDITORIALWALL STREET JOURNALNow that we've had more time to take in Chief Justice Roberts's reasoning, we have a better summary: politician. In fact, his 5-4 ruling validating the constitutional arguments against purchase mandates and 5-4 ruling endorsing them as taxes is far more dangerous, and far more political, even than it first appeared last week. ... His ruling, with its multiple contradictions and inconsistencies, reads if it were written by someone affronted by the government's core constitutional claims but who wanted to uphold the law anyway to avoid political blowback and thus found a pretext for doing so in the taxing power. ... The irony is that the Chief Justice's cheering section is praising his political skills, not his reasoning. Judges are not supposed to invent political compromises.