Friday, August 27, 2010

Continuing the Constitutional Theme: The Fourteenth Amendment

I find it so amusing/infuriating that Republicans, who have been going on and on about how they are the only ones defending the Constitution, are now complaining about one part of the Constitution: the Fourteenth Amendment. Specifically, Republicans have a problem with the part of the Fourteenth Amendment that declares all persons born in the United States to be citizens. Here is the text:
Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
The text is about as clear as you can get. All persons born here are citizens. End of story. Well, apparently, only the parts of the Constitution that Republicans like are sacred. And Republicans don't like the thought of babies born to illegal immigrants automatically being citizens. Republicans claim that illegal immigrants are coming over the border (because this is really only about Mexicans, right?) to have "anchor babies" who presumably will help them stay in this country. Actually, children can only sponsor parents when they are 21 years old. That's a pretty long-term plan! There must be easier ways, right? Another outlandish claim is that terrorists are coming here to birth "terror babies" who will rise up in 20 years to rain terror upon us! Again, a pretty long time to wait for evil plots to come to fruition. I mean, seriously, where do they come up with this crap?

The argument Republicans are making that irritates me the most is that the Fourteenth Amendment was only put in place to guarantee citizenship for former slaves, and there was no intent for it to go beyond that. That is utter bullshit. The people who wrote the amendment and went through the onerous process of getting it ratified would not have gone through all of that trouble if they did not intend it to be a permanent addition to the Constitution. In fact, the reason it was a constitutional amendment was to take citizenship out of the political process. They didn't want a Supreme Court or Congress voting to take away such rights and wanted to make it pretty damn clear and well-defined.

Either you honor the whole Constitution or not. You can't pick and choose the parts you like (e.g. the Second Amendment) and then ignore the parts you don't like (birthright citizenship, freedom of religion - see mosque controversy, equal protection -- see anti-gay marriage movement, cruel and unusual punishment -- see Bush torture memos, unlawful search and seizure see Bush illegal wiretapping, etc. etc. etc.) Wow, seeing it all laid out, it seems the only part of the Constitution that Republicans do like is that part about the right to bear arms!

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