Arizona immigration fallout: Obama thumbing his nose at the Constitution?

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," June 25, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Tonight, both sides of the aisle are claiming victory after the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a split decision on the Arizona immigration law. Now, three aspects of SB-1070 was struck down by the high court in the five to three ruling. However, the cornerstone of that law was upheld. Now, that critical provision is the one that requires police officers to verify the legal status of anybody that they suspect to be in the country illegally.

And liberals from President Obama to the Attorney General Eric Holder have long claimed that this measure would somehow lead to widespread racial profiling. And that line of attack was revisited today on the Senate floor by Harry Reid just moments after the ruling was in fact handed down. Let's watch this.


SEN. HARRY REID, D-NV.: I don't think you'll going to be carrying your immigration papers with you everyplace you go. But if you are in Arizona and you speak with a little bit of an accent or your skin color is brown, you better have your papers with you. That's unfortunate.


HANNITY: Now, it's unfortunate that Harry Reid would rather play politics than protect the border.

Now, later tonight we will be checking with Dick Morris and others on this developing story, but first, let me bring in our legal panel to explain exactly what was thrown out and what was left standing. From the American Center for Law and Justice, Jay Sekulow is back with us, along with Fox News legal analyst Peter Johnson, Jr.

All right. Why don't we go through this step by step, Jay, and explain to people what parts were left standing, what was taken out, and what you believe the impact of this decision will be.

JAY SEKULOW, AMERICAN CENTER FOR LAW AND JUSTICE: Sure. Well, Sean, you know, first of all, the crux of the case was the section 2B as it's called, and that was the provision which when a police officer stops someone for a lawful reason -- they have to have probable cause to stop someone -- when that happens, you've got a situation where if there is probable cause they can check and ask for identification, whether it's papers, and make a call to immigration to make sure that the person is here legally. That was the controversy. That's what President Obama was talking about when he did his press conferences.

And the Supreme Court unanimously said that provision was in fact constitutional and not preempted by federal legislation. The provisions that were declared unconstitutional actually were the minor provisions. You never heard about those in the press, that was the issues involving employment, documentation for employment and reporting. Minor provisions overall. Clearly, I agree with Justice Scalia, I wish the entire law was upheld as constitutional. I believe that Arizona has the right to defend its citizens. They do have that right under section 2B and that the Supreme Court said it was unconstitutional.

All right. Let me go to Peter Johnson, Jr. Two things. First of all, the person had to ultimately have been stopped already on something else.


HANNITY: It's not like they can pick somebody else.

JOHNSON: No, it's not a matter of saying, I see a brown person, I see yellow person, let's stop them.


JOHNSON: That's not the law.

HANNITY: Well, that's an important part of this. And also the language mirrored federal law. And this is what Scalia was pointing out in his dissent today.

JOHNSON: Everybody has got to read Scalia's descent. Because it says actually that the Founding Fathers would have taken for the doors and not taken up with the United States if they believed that the president had the ability not to enforce the law as written. And so, now we've seen it in reaction to the Supreme Court decision that the federal government is continuing in its ways.

Today, Sean, they suspended the partnership between state and local law enforcement and the federal government on many immigration enforcement activities. Suspended it because of this decision in the United States Supreme Court.

SEKULOW: Including the phone call.

HANNITY: Yes. All right. Let me go to Jay, this is the whole crux, what Peter is describing is Homeland Security suspended the immigration agreements with Arizona in particular here. Now, when you couple this with the president's actions a week ago Friday when he basically said, forget about the laws that Congress passed. You know, forget about the laws that past presidents have signed, I'm not going to enforce the law. So, it seems to me that there's a bit of a constitutional crisis, one after another, that's being precipitated by the president. Is that your take?

SEKULOW: Yes. Self-inflicted. Here's what you've got. Look at the situation. Peter is exactly correct. So, now the provision that's declared constitutional that all nine justices agreed, including the most liberal members of the Supreme Court of the United States said was constitutional which is, when you stop someone lawfully and you have reason to suspect that person's immigration status needs to be checked, make that call to ICE.

Now the federal government is saying, Arizona, you have the right to make that call, there's only one problem, we are not accepting that call. So, now you've got a situation where, you know, they talk about judicial activists. This is a presidential activism in an unprecedented scale. The president is issuing decreases as if he was the king. I mean, you've got legislation on the books, now they are ignoring it. The Supreme Court says, that one provision is constitutional. White House says, well, we're just going to suspend our relationship, enforcement relationships with the state of Arizona which by the way has the most difficult border control issue of any state in our union but that's the one that the Obama administration decided to suspend. It's politics, pure and simple.

HANNITY: So, what he did a week ago Friday was he was bypassing Congress, bypassing laws that were already on the books. It seems like he doesn't respect the Constitution in this sense, separation of powers, checks and balances, and these actions today seems like he's just basically thumbing his nose at the judiciary branch.

JOHNSON: Oh, I think it's an absolute thumb at the nose but it goes even a step further, and I agree what Jay has said. Now, in essence, the federal government has put out a wanted poster. A wanted poster in effect for law enforcement in the state of Arizona. They have now published a hot line phone number so that people in the state of Arizona can report police officers on these kinds of stops. Now, the only reason they would want to report police officers is to indict those police officers for civil rights offenses.

HANNITY: All right. But let me ask you, what does it mean that -- the only reason that Arizona came up with this law and Scalia goes into this, is because they, in Arizona, are bearing the brunt of the fact that the federal government is not enforcing the laws of the land.


HANNITY: So, they said OK, we will use the exact language, the exact law and we will do the job you failed to do, we are on the front lines of this. What does it mean that the president would not enforce it and then bypass.

JOHNSON: It means that the president is not interested in enforcing those laws.

HANNITY: But isn't he's sworn to uphold the Constitution, Peter?

JOHNSON: He is sworn to uphold the constitution but it means that he has no interest, especially in an election year, in enforcing those laws, and he's taken two steps today. Two concrete steps that say, I'm going to make it as difficult as possible to enforce immigration laws. Stay out, Arizona. We don't want your help.


SEKULOW: So, Arizona --

HANNITY: Go ahead.

SEKULOW: Understand, Arizona has got a 1-800 number to report police officers doing their lawful job. At the same time, that's what the federal government has done here. At the same time, under Eric Holder as attorney general, the United States Department of Justice was running guns into Mexico and said -- what do they do? They sue Arizona on this immigration case, that's where they are spending the resources, and now they are saying sorry, Arizona, if you find somebody illegally here, too bad. We are not going to follow up at all.

HANNITY: Am I talking to two brilliant lawyers? Both of you here, and you are basically saying the president of the United States is taking a jackhammer to the concept of checks and balances, separation of powers and an oath that he was sworn to uphold or is that a stretch?

JOHNSON: No, I don't think it's a stretch. And I don't think the separation of powers means very much for this particular president. And I think that he wants to get the case across that, do not medal at all, do not try to enforce the laws that are on the books of the United States because we are going to get in your way and there will be a hot line. If you try to enforce those laws, and we think you are doing it wrong, you're going to go to jail.

HANNITY: You know, let me Jay, quote to you Jonathan Turley, who is more liberal in his political point of views. He said, in many ways President Obama has fulfilled the dream of an imperial presidency that Richard Nixon strived for. We've seen this now -- go ahead.

SEKULOW: No, Charlie is right. I mean, here's what -- the reality of the situation is, when you look at not just this case but look at a whole series of things that happened in the last few months, whether it is Fast and Furious, whether it's waiving the immigration issue between 16 and 30. And then you got to ask yourself this. The president of the United States had a Democratic controlled House and Senate for the first two years of his term. Did he put forward one comprehensive immigration bill? No. Did he put forward any immigration bill? No. So what does he do five months before a general election? Politics. That's what this is all about.

HANNITY: And Peter.

SEKULOW: You know, the Supreme Court isn't -- yes, that's the danger here, is the politics of this because the people in Arizona are suffering.

HANNITY: He said in his own words that he couldn't do this, but now he is literally negating parts of, you know, I guess the laws that he doesn't agree with.

JOHNSON: This is very serious. We have a new nullification crisis in the United States whereby the president decides by words and deeds and executive orders and hot lines and decisions to revoke immigration agreements with states and localities, I can nullify laws in this country. And they may be on the books, and there may be laws that say you need to enforce the boarders and we need to have limits, but states, if that doesn't comport with what I want to do, you are not going to --

HANNITY: Remember what he said, because it's the right thing to do in his mind.

JOHNSON: For him.

SEKULOW: Even though he said, he couldn't do it. But six months before that, he say, he could not do it, then he decided to do it. That's politics. And except you are playing politics with an immigration issue that's very serious. Very serious.

HANNITY: All right. Guys, we have a lot more to get to tonight. Thanks you both for being with us.

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