Not Your Father’s 14th Amendment

AnchorBabyby Jon N. Hall8/24/15
On August 19, two excellent, must-read articles ran on the Net that are sorely needed correctives to a common misunderstanding about the 14th Amendment. Unfortunately, this mistake is even made by certain legal professionals who should know better.

Human Events ran “Fox News Anchored in Stupidity on 14th Amendment” by Ann Coulter. Ms. Coulter explains the original intent, history, and case law surrounding so-called “birthright citizenship.” Ann makes a compelling case that the children born to illegal aliens on American soil were never intended to be granted automatic citizenship by the 1868 amendment:

The anchor baby scam was invented 30 years ago by a liberal zealot, Justice William Brennan, who slipped a footnote into a 1982 Supreme Court opinion announcing that the kids born to illegals on U.S. soil are citizens. Fox News is treating Brennan’s crayon scratchings on the Constitution as part of our precious national heritage.

(Is Brennan’s footnote an actual holding or is it mere obiter dictum?)

One quibble: Coulter is a bit unfair to Gov. Chris Christie; Christie actually told Greta van Susteren the other day that we need to look at the 14th Amendment “through a 21st Century lens, not through a 19th Century lens.” I mentioned this in a blog last week, noting that Christie “delves into subjects other candidates seem afraid of, like the ‘birthright citizenship.’” If you watch Christie’s Fox News segment, you can position the video at the 8:15 mark to hear him on the 14th. (Of course, Ann would say the problem isn’t the 14th Amendment; it’s that stupid footnote.)

The other must-read article appeared at National Review: “Trump’s Critics Are Wrong about the Fourteenth Amendment and Birthright Citizenship
by Edward J. Erler, a senior fellow at the Claremont Institute. I’m not going to tell you everything that’s in these articles as they should be carefully read in their entirety. But I must quote Erler on the following point:

No one is advocating that those who have been granted birthright citizenship be stripped of their citizenship. Equal protection considerations would counsel that citizenship once granted is vested and cannot be revoked; this, I believe, is eminently just. The proposal to end birthright citizenship is prospective only.

That “prospective only” point is important, as it should calm fears about revocation of citizenship already conferred.

Also on August 19 at Independent Sentinel was “Can Birthright Citizenship Be Overturned Without A Constitutional Amendment” by S. Noble, as well as a must-view segment on Fox News’ Hannity that featured Mark Levin, (“The Great One” is always bracing).

Many conservatives are all up in arms about talk of repealing the 14th Amendment. But as Ms. Coulter writes, clarifying the language in the citizenship clause wouldn’t require an amendment; it could be done by Congress with a simple law. She cites the liberal Judge Richard Posner of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to back that up. Erler makes the same point: “A constitutional amendment is no more required today than it was in 1923.”

Were one of Osama bin Laden’s pregnant wives to scramble across the border and give birth, her child would be an American citizen according to the current interpretation of the 14th Amendment. Does that sound like a sovereign nation to you?

If we do not destroy the magnets to coming to America illegally, such as the current policy on “birthright citizenship” that spawned “anchor babies,” we’ll never get control over who gets to be an American. If we destroy the magnets, we may not need to build a 2,000-mile wall. If we don’t destroy the magnets, no wall will protect us.


Jon N. Hall is a programmer/analyst from Kansas City. • (937 views)

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29 Responses to Not Your Father’s 14th Amendment

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    Congress can and should pass a law eliminating birthright citizenship for the children of illegal aliens. Of course, La Raza and other activists will sue to have the law declared unconstitutional, so it will ultimately be up to SCOTUS to decide the issue. Let’s hope “Justice” Kennedy gets up on the right side of the bed the day they decide the issue.

  2. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    I want to make a point about citizenship which I believe would be very helpful in weeding out faux Americans.

    When I was a child, Americans could not hold a foreign citizenship. If a person wished to become an American they had to give up their foreign citizenship.

    This is no longer the case. It should again become law that everyone who holds American citizenship cannot hold another, foreign, one.

  3. Pst4usa says:

    I admit I have not gotten a chance to read these articles yet, but the 14th amendment has to be one of the most misunderstood and hence one of the most destructive amendments to date. Not just birthright citizenship, but equal protection clause has been used to impose federal jurisdiction in cases that they have no jurisdiction. But “We The People” just keep shirking our duty to stand up against this kind of crap, and go about our business eating their bread and watching their circus.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      But “We The People” just keep shirking our duty to stand up against this kind of crap, and go about our business eating their bread and watching their circus.

      So true, Pat. Did you hear Mark Steyn on Rush this morning regarding abortion? He says it’s egregious that United States has by far the worst laws regarding abortion of the major Western countries. And he says, What have we got from sending these candidates through a litmus test of how supposedly against abortion they are? They have not forwarded the agenda of the right. What use is the Republican Party?

      So, yes, we citizens are to blame. But note that true evil of the Republican Party. We keep voting these guys to do a job and they don’t. They cave to the Left. As Steyn notes (and I have noted myself) there is always an excuse: Well, we hold the House but not the Senate. Or we hold the House and Senate but not the Presidency. Or, we Hold the Presidency and the Senate but not the House. It never ends. And all the while the Left advances their agenda.

      The Republican Party needs to be dissolved and replaced by something else. As Steyn also noted about Trump, what use is it to obsess over the supposed conservative credentials of those in the Republican Party? What have they conserved? We have socialized medicine, abortion, huge spending, etc.

      I hope Trump keeps bitch-slapping Jeb Bush and these other phonies around. And I hope to hell Trump doesn’t turn out to be yet another phony.

      • Pst4usa says:

        I did not hear that Brad, but, I think Trump is an absolute phony, and, I hope he continues to bitch slap Jeb Bush and these other phonies as well. He still wants single payer, and that one issue right there, for me, takes him out of the conservative corner.

        As far as the Republicans go, I agree with Dennis Prager on this one. We have two parties in this country, the destructive and the stupid. I am a member of the later. He does however, leaves off the worst part of today’s Republican party, PC, Political Cowardice. That is why they cave to the left.

        But, the party is no more to blame for their nature than society at large, they are in fact a reflection of us and what they think will get them re-elected; they must be right, because we just keep sending them back at an over 90% rate of return. Term limits might fix this.

        I go back and forth on Term Limits, the only reason that I am opposed, is that it is just a crutch for us to be let off the hook. The founders never envisioned that people would become such sheep. (although Jefferson did warn us about this with his “all experience hath shew” statement in the Declaration.) We already have term limits and we refuse to use them, we have abandoned our duty.

        We have power, if we would just use it. But as long as we continue to wait for the perfect candidate, or we beg for a king, sometimes, (unfortunately) you get what you ask for. It all just seems a nice way to let someone else be responsible, so I can claim victim-hood status, and if that holds, it is not my fault.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          The refreshing thing about Trump’s phoniness — if that is what it is — is that he isn’t constrained by “tone.” I think it was a recent article by Jeffrey Lord that said that Trump creates a real problem for Establishment Republicans because they agree on many of the same liberal issues, therefore they can only attack him on “tone.”

          Well, for my money, I’ll take a phony fighter over a phony doormat. With a fighter, at least there is a chance he’ll fight for something thus enacting the rule “even a blind chicken may find a grain.” The GOP, on the other hand, can find nothing. They are just chickens.

          But, the party is no more to blame for their nature than society at large, they are in fact a reflection of us and what they think will get them re-elected; they must be right, because we just keep sending them back at an over 90% rate of return. Term limits might fix this.

          This definitely relates to Patricia’s latest article about the corruption of the church. I think most here understand that today’s citizenry is all about sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll (analogously speaking). The average citizens is engaged with engagement. He wants only to be distracted and entertained. He is fine with other people doing his thinking. He has a short attention span…to the point where he now gets much of his news from comedians.

          You can’t run a country or have a church with that kind of shallow human being. But as long as things remain relatively easy and okay, the Tarzwell Rule will not yet kick in. And the Tarzwell Rule, as you well know (you wrote it), is that most of these dullards will not change their opinion on things until they’ve felt a little pain.

          • Pst4usa says:

            Don’t get me wrong Brad, I am glad Trump is out there making noise. Ted Cruz says the same thing and there is not one word about what he has said, but Trump is a celebrity so the media will cover it. Bad tone or not, he may be waking people up. And yes, most of the Republicans are just a bunch limp wristed, spineless cowards.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Note that, though it wasn’t (yet) constitutionally required, Washington stepped down after 2 terms and thereby set a tradition that lasted until FDR decided to ignore it. (To be fair, both Ulysses Grant and TR ran for third terms after a hiatus, though TR had only been elected once. Wilson also wanted a third term even though he was incapable of doing his job.)

          In addition, there weren’t many politicians who made a career in a single position. They might have a career in public office, but the positions would change. Some parties also believed in alternating office-holders, which is why Cousin Abe stepped down after a single term in the House.

  4. jeff says:

    Birthright citizenship was common law before the Constitution, even prior to the Articles of Confederation.

    People cry about so called, “anchor babies” like they (and their parents) don’t grow up to pay taxes and hold productive jobs, just like everybody else. *atomicfacepalm*

    In the entire history of civilization, isolationism has never worked out well for the citizens; for the plutocracy, maybe, but not the country as a whole.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I would like to see the evidence for your claims. Note that the concept of illegal alien implies that there are lies controlling immigration, which at that time didn’t exist. There can be no birthright citizenship for illegal immigrants if there are no illegal immigrants.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      One must consider things in context. Up to the 1930’s there was no welfare state therefore, if anyone came to the US they were not able to draw on the public purse. This is no longer the case.

      Furthermore, immigrants who came to the US were required to assimilate as their home countries were far away.

      In the entire history of civilization, isolationism has never worked out well for the citizens; for the plutocracy, maybe, but not the country as a whole.

      This is a straw man argument. To conflate “anchor babies” with isolationism is the type of discourse one expects from those who do not have facts on their side.

      This country is in no way isolated, and not wishing to attract millions of illegal aliens with the “anchor baby” magnet is completely reasonable.

      In the industrialized welfare States of the world, I believe only Canada and the USA grant so-called “anchor babies” citizenship.

    • Pst4usa says:

      You may be right on some aspects of your comment Jeff, but before the Constitution we did not pay for their life. They had to work or starve to death, we did not have the moronic idea of a minimum wage, welfare, food stamps, medicare, medicaid and the long list of state programs there to enslave people and make them so dependent on bigger and bigger government, for their very existence, so that they will become reliable supporters for the gigantic progressive bureaucracy.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      In the entire history of civilization, isolationism has never worked out well for the citizens; for the plutocracy, maybe, but not the country as a whole.

      This sounds like a libertarian talking point, Jeff. Nobody is talking about halting all immigration, just illegal immigration (illegal aliens).

      But the Brad Plan is that every two years every American citizen gets to choose one Federal law to ignore. That’s basically what you’re stumping for, trashing the rule of law and making excuses for law-breakers. Why, it’s downright Old Republic and Colonial to do so!

      Would you be okay with illegal aliens ignoring your property rights and pitching a tent on your back forty?

      Libertarians, as with Establishment Republicans, do not have a solid and rational footing for how to deal with the problem. All we hear are just-so stories to excuse what should not be excused. These are the kinds of creepy rationalizations typical of the Left, which is no doubt why Mr. Kung calls Libertarians “the Bolsheviks of the right.” And I agree.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        There is an interesting scene in John Brunner’s Squares of the City which shows what poor Hispanic peasants can do to the house of a middle-class Western type. The results aren’t pretty, and that’s without any direct hostility involved — simply vastly different cultural norms.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I also want to show you why conservatives (or anyone) should beware of Libertarians.

      It is standard Libertarian philosophy that all of life can be ordered by private contracts between atomized individuals. So illegal aliens aren’t really illegal aliens. They are just people looking for work in a free market.

      This sounds all well and good to some extent. But not all contracts are created equal. The contract we have made with each other as a nation (including especially the protection of the integrity of our borders) does not count to the Libertarian. And in this you see their convergence with the “blame America first” Left.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        An example of a type of Libertarian ideal at work was the “Liberum veto” exercised in the Polish-Lithuanian Duma. This allowed any single member of the Duma to veto not only any single piece of legislation before the Duma, but one representative could nullify a whole session.

        The theory behind this was that all representatives in the Duma were equal thus could not be overruled, even by a majority. Sounds strangely close to something a Libertarian might like.

        The end result was that special interests, including foreign governments, could buy off individual representatives in order to halt any legislation. Anarchy followed and shortly thereafter, Poland disappeared.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          The libertarian science fiction writer L. Neil Smith wrote a series of books about an alternate America in which Jefferson had written that governments derive their power from the unanimous consent of the governed. I commented that he obviously didn’t know of the liberum veto, or for that matter of just how non-unanimous the Declaration of Independence was.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Either libertarians had overbearing parents or they didn’t have a proper father at home to instill in their children (particularly their young boys) that life includes duty, that you can’t have everything you want, that some compromise is usually necessary, that life is complicated, and that there is no utopia.

          It’s hard to believe that any sane person could believe that any form of communal governance would be possible if one person could veto it all. Certainly in our American republic we attempt to balance both elements by having majority rule checked by both written law (such as the Bill of Rights) and the various checks and balances built into the Constitution. Conservatives understand that “majority rule” (aka, pure democracy) is nothing more than three wolves deciding to have the two sheep for breakfast.

          This is also simple enough to understand. Therefore that it is a central issue for Libertarians leads me to believe that this is more of a psychological issue for them. Again, because either they had overbearing parents (too much authoritarianism) or too little authority and guidance from parents (thus they became ninnies).

  5. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Here’s another great quote from Ann’s article on the subject:

    Nonetheless, until Fox News’ scholars weighed in, there was little confusion about the purpose of the 14th Amendment. It was to “correct” — as Jack Nicholson said in “The Shining” — the Democrats, who refused to acknowledge that they lost the Civil War and had to start treating black people like citizens.

    On one hand, we have noted legal expert Bill O’Reilly haranguing Donald Trump: “YOU WANT ME TO QUOTE YOU THE AMENDMENT??? IF YOU’RE BORN HERE YOU’RE AN AMERICAN. PERIOD! PERIOD!” (No, Bill — there’s no period. More like: “comma,” to parents born “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States “and of the state wherein they reside.”)

  6. SkepticalCynic SkepticalCynic says:

    I’ll probably be black balled for saying this but it sure feels like it to me. Perhaps the Iranians and other Mooslims have it right when the hold the signs that say “Death to America.”

    Only it is self inflicted suicide by which we will get our death.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      No black balls for stating the obvious, Cynic. As I was quipping to my brother yesterday, “Probably the only way that feminism will ever be repelled is if we become an Islamic country.” That’s certainly a likely truth in Europe. And it’s also likely, especially in Europe, that the only force that will oppose the Pink Mafia is Islam. They’re not particularly fond of homosexuals.

      Allowing the Iranians to nuke up is nothing less than suicidal. But then the ethic that is the majority movement in America is one that belittles America and raises up everyone else. This is suicidal. And no one really cares because they suppose they won’t be around to deal with the consequences of their narcissism.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        Within the “philosophy” of feminism is its own demise. Sadly,it is also proving to be the demise of the West and advanced societies. Women from industrialized countries are not having children. We already see where this is leading the world.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Mr. Kung, perhaps you just named our next symposium topic.

          I’m more than willing to parse this subject into gain/loss. Women have increased their political and economic power due to feminism. That’s (for them, at least superficially) a gain. But there have been losses as well. One of those losses is the stable two-parent family (and all the social chaos that stems from this). Another is masculinity and the kind of authority it brings and that is absolutely vital to a lawful society.

          We can decide whether or not it’s a better world with women running it. I’ll as readily admit to the gains as to the losses. There are both. And yet one of the amazing losses, particularly in Europe, is the loss of the next generation itself. Europe is demographically doomed. They are not creating the next generation. Who needs to if the point of life is economics only and the support structure of the family (particularly of men) is disposable? And that’s ultimately what modern Big Government is about. It’s about dispensing with the need for families (particularly men) and substituting government as a surrogate spouse or parent.

          One can see this as a positive or negative. And there are aspects of both. But only with this context clearly articulated can one understand why the Left inflates any attack on the welfare state or Big Government to a “war on women.” Essentially, they are correct. Any attack on Big Government today is an attack on the surrogate support structure of women. And I doubt you’ll live to hear even Donald Trump talk about it, but it is the elephant in the living room.

          • Pst4usa says:

            OK Brad I’ll bite,
            “And that’s ultimately what modern Big Government is about. It’s about dispensing with the need for families (particularly men) and substituting government as a surrogate spouse or parent.

            One can see this as a positive or negative. And there are aspects of both.”

            I admit I am one who cannot see the positive aspects???

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              Well, from a woman’s point of view, there have indeed been many harsh and brutal men. (And Lord save men from the over-emotional and manipulative female, but that’s another story and is likely one reason affairs and hookers never really do go extinct.) It’s nice to have government as a surrogate spouse so that I’m never trapped in a bad marriage.

              If I’m a woman — or anyone who is given the privileges of being in a government-anointed victim group — I like that I’ll receive money for having kids, even if there is no father there. I like it that I can get others to pay for my birth control. I like it that corporations make accommodations for pregnancies and sometimes even offer child care. I like that the government, via draining funds from others, forces the typical health care plan to pay for things that only apply to women.

              I like being able to binge drink and then wake up in the morning and blame some college guy for “raping” me. I get all the fun of acting like a slutty male and none of the responsibility. And I do like being able to have all the sex I want (even if it is in the name of “equality” and keeping up with the guys) and being able to dispose of the product of that sleeping around should it come to that.

              I like that they’ve lowered standards in many jobs and, via “affirmative action,” given some of those jobs to women.

              And I like the independence of not having to depend on a man. Sure, it tends to turn them into girly-men and eunuchs. There’s a part of me that still misses the idea of a gentleman, one who will hold doors open for me, who will protect me, and who will take charge in regards to some of the tougher decisions and realities of life. But that’s a small price to pay for them adapting to me instead of me to them. The shoe is now on the other foot, and I’ll be damned if I’ll give up that power.

              • Pst4usa says:

                I see all of those things you listed as desires, but not one, save the possible exception of the bad marriage escape, (and that has very little to do with bigger government), as a positive for the individual woman or society as a whole. But this is really a topic for something other than the 14th amendment.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        One rare social liberal who understood this, and thus rejected mass immigration of Muslims, was the late Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn, who was attacked as “right wing” for his opposition to immigration even though that stemmed from his support for Dutch social tolerance, and what Muslim immigration will eventually do to it. Of course, Fortuyn was assassinated before he could do something about it.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Islam would make a good topic as well.

          My official position is that there is evil in this world. How high it is anchored (to a proverbial devil) is anyone’s guess. And it’s almost my position that the ideas we hold can be evil or contribute to it, or be evil in an amalgamated sort of way.

          I view Islam as an inherently evil religion, much as Nazism was an inherent evil political/social philosophy. Yes, there were “moderate” Nazis. But that is beside the point. The movement itself was hateful.

          And so is Islam. Yes, I suppose it’s nice that there are the equivalent of “cafeteria Muslims” who pick and choose what they believe. Thank god they don’t all actively support the basic tenets of Islam which include Jihad (although they do mostly passively support those efforts, which as Mark Steyn notes is to sat that they just can’t be bothered to go out themselves and strap on the bomb vests).

          But the myth of benevolent Islam is another one of the evil myths foisted on us by the Left. Jefferson knew the essence of Islam as did Churchill. This religion does indeed produce and invigorate the mad dogs.

          And the Left’s blind multicultural love of Islam and hatred of all things Western (including family) shows you how evil that ideology is as well. And like many conservatives, we’re waiting for someone to get over their fear of the libtard tie-dye crowd and call a spade a spade. It’s time for the hippie generation (and others) to understand that they effed up badly and need to mend their ways.

          It’s really a shame that The Krell didn’t have the unction to stick it out here and write more articles such as his From Hippie to Happy. But I do understand it is not easy puncturing the bubble of libtard feelgood-ism. Or maybe he just doesn’t have the time. Or thinks we’re a bunch of right-wing kooks. I don’t know. But I did try to encourage him at the time.

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