Friday, December 30, 2005

Strict Constructionists but...

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.

--U.S. Constitution, Fourteenth Amendment

Capt. Fogg is up early today leading off with the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I'll rant a bit about the 14th Amendment. Remember all those "originalists" and "strict constructionists" when it came to the U.S. Constitution? They were all for the "strict" and "simple meaning" of the original text of the document. Recently they love to see things that aren't even there. Apparently the president as commander-in-chief has more power than we thought. As long as an undeclared war on terror is going on (and will go on forever just ask the Israelis) I guess the president can make up whatever rules he wants. Checks and balances? According to W the checks and balances are the consciences of those spying on you. The question is what if they don't have a conscience?

We could argue about what "A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State " right before "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed" means. Maybe Jefferson and Franklin wanted 8 year olds to own an armory full of RPGs and 50 caliber rifles but at least you could "regulate" the rules since the actual word "regulated" appears in the Second Amendment. O.K. forget this for a minute since you could argue about what "Militia" means and before you know it you can buy as many handguns at a gun show as you can afford. Let's get to something that seems to be clear.

The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says, "All persons born ...in the United States...are citizens of the United States..." Seems pretty clear. If you are born here you are a citizen, you get a blue passport, you get pizza in 30 minutes or less and you have the right to have your vote not counted in Florida or Ohio. But the American flag pin on the lapel crowd in Congress has other ideas. They know better. They know that the 14th Amendment doesn't mean what it says even though the amendment uses small words without many syllables to allow those with small minds without many thoughts to understand it. Guess it doesn't always work.

A bill recently introduced in Congress would deny U.S. citizenship to children born to illegal immigrants. Supporters said the bill, called the Citizenship Reform Act of 2005, would be a good way to control the number of people who have the right to claim citizenship ---- and the rights and benefits that come with it. Opponents said the measure was "extreme" and would be likely to face constitutional challenges. The bill is now in the House Judiciary Committee. If enacted, the bill would stipulate that children born in the United States would be considered American citizens only if born to parents who are citizens or legal residents living in the country. Under current law, any children born in the country can claim American citizenship. The bill was introduced last month by Georgia Republican Rep. Nathan Deal and was co-sponsored by 16 other representatives, including Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, (R-CA); Rep. Gary Miller, (R-CA); and Tom Tancredo, (R-CO). What a shock. I'm sure all of their ancestors were either already here. Dances with Lobbyists? Stands with a Fist of Bribes? Maybe? Or maybe they were traveling first class, paid for by jack Abramoff probably, on the Nina, Pinta or Santa Maria.

So instead of relaxing this New Year's weekend I'm going to re-read the Bill of Rights and U.S. Constitution. Maybe I can find something in there about declaring my own country so I don't have to be subject to the insane musings of the stay the course, clap louder, spy on Americans, bankrupt the country, American flag lapel pin wearing, leakers of national security secrets, cut and run, incompetent war fighting Republicans any longer. Wish me luck.

BONUS POSTING: I resolve in the New Year to be less cranky. Unfortunately under a strict constructionist interpretation of that resolution "less" actually means "more.

10 Comments:

Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

Well, less is more, Lucrezia: I am judged.
There burns a truer light of God in them,
In their vexed beating stuffed and stopped-up brain,

Robt Browning

11:18 AM  
Blogger Crankyboy said...

Speak English foggy.

11:56 AM  
Blogger Ellen Beth said...

Capt. George Wellington Streeter declared his own sovereign country of the silt and debris that surrounded his beached steamship around what is now the McClurg Court Cinemas and a bunch of really expensive restaurants in Chicago. They took him away and threw him in the looney bin.

1:26 PM  
Blogger Crankyboy said...

The Republicans have already turned this country into a looney bin. I'll take my chances with Crankyland.

1:49 PM  
Blogger Hagop said...

Very rarely do you hit a nerve with me...Well, you dug deep and tapped into the mother of all nerves! Thank you for finally writing about a REAL fundamental flaw with the Republican Party. I know, I know...Spying, Iraq, The far right...Blah Blah Blah! But when you start denying citizenship to children born in the US then it becomes a permanent blemish on our freedom which we will never be able to fix! Many of us who were born of parents in the country illegally (they have since become citizens) have made great contributions to this country. Maybe a trip to Ellis Island is in order for the few 'Keystone Cop' members of congress who think this is a good idea...In fact, there's a statue of a big green lady holding a torch in the harbor just around the corner...It might be a good idea to check it out! Love ya man!

5:00 PM  
Blogger NoPT4Lent said...

My fear is that if said bill would become law and challenged in court, the Supreme Court would uphold it. That's what Big Brother is hoping for if he can get Alito confirmed too. Then again, if they would rule that such a law is constitutional, is the 14th Ammendment constitutional under a "strict constructionist" interpretation?

What I want to see is Big Brother's "new" court bitch slap him a few times. That would make my day.

The possibility for a challenge to the recent ruling on "intelligent design" is still out there. The ruling was made at the federal district level, and hasn't gone to the circuit court yet.

Q: Is Sandra Day O'Connor still on the bench? I remember seeing something that she said she would stay as long as necessary.

6:06 PM  
Blogger phinky said...

"Strict constructionists" complain about "activist judges" when the judges make a ruling the constructionists don't like. Nothing like the law of the land and the constitution to bring out the whinging wingnuts. I'm not a lawyer but I can read the Constitution and figure out what it means.

11:13 AM  
Blogger Crankyboy said...

You don't need to be a lawyer, which I am, you just need to be able to read plain and simple English which the wrong-wing Republicans do but then run it through the religious Bat-computer and tell you it means the opposite. Nice guys. Wonder if they'll propose to re-weld some phrases on the Statue of Liberty like "Don't give us you tired, your poor..."

3:18 PM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

Es war doch English - kannst du nicht lesen? - - Und was hast du denn gegen Browning, zum Gotteswillen?

10:26 AM  
Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

Cranky,

They'll probably propose a bill to change the motto on the statue of liberty to "Get the F Out" or "Don't Even Think About It, We'll Ship Your Ass Back."

10:11 PM  

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