Tag Archives: 14th Amendment

Count the ‘persons in each state’

It’s a given that Donald J. Trump doesn’t know the U.S. Constitution, the document he swore on oath to defend and protect.

With that established, let’s understand that when Trump says that census counters are not to count undocumented immigrants as part of the 2020 census, he is violating the Constitution … which he doesn’t understand.

Trump wants to limit the count of those who are living here to just citizens, actual Americans. No can do, Mr. POTUS. That 14th Amendment to the Constitution, the one that talks about equal protection under the law, has this to say about how states must be represented in Congress:

“Section 2: Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States, according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State … “

If you look throughout the 14th Amendment, you will not find a word in it that stipulates that only citizens can be among the “whole number of persons” counted in each state. The framers threw open the counted to be “persons.” Citizens or non-citizens, documented or undocumented immigrants. They all count the same, according to the U.S. Constitution.

That is the basis for progressive groups complaining about the restrictions that Trump is seeking to place on the census takers.

This kind of ham-handedness would have an impact on Texas, which stands to gain as many as three new representatives once the census is taken. The state also is home to quite a large number of undocumented immigrants, which you know about already. Many of those immigrants happen to be “dreamers,” the folks brought here as children when their parents sneaked into the country to pursue a better life for themselves and their families.

Trump is trifling with the Constitution in a way that is going to do harm to communities and to states. He must not be allowed to get away with this attempt to pilfer power from states that deserve a loud and clear voice within the halls of government.

By all means, ‘look at’ birthright citizenship, but then …

Don’t mess with the 14th Amendment provision in the U.S. Constitution that grants citizenship to anyone born in the United States of America.

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, says that the status of the amendment is worth “looking at,” but adds that Donald J. Trump is mistaken if he thinks he can get rid of it through an executive order.

Manchin, who is fighting for re-election in a state that Trump won in 2016 by a lot of vote, often is the rare Senate Democrat who sides with the Republican president. His view that birthright citizenship is worth examining doesn’t suggest he wants to get rid of it, but that it’s worth a closer look than many of us have given it.

The Hill reported: “I think there’s a lot can be done and a lot can be controlled, but he cannot do it by an executive order,” the senator added, arguing that the president can’t unilaterally change the Constitution.”

Trump raised millions of eyebrows across the nation by declaring his desire to issue an executive order to rescind part of a constitutional amendment. He cannot do it through executive action. His new BFF in the Senate, Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, said he plans to introduce legislation to deal with the birthright citizenship matter.

The president’s tactic is a ploy aimed at pleasing and firing up his political base. That’s the name of that game. The amendment has been on the books for 150 years. It became an issue only because Donald Trump decided to make it one.

As for whether it deserves a closer examination, sure thing. Do it. Take whatever time you need to look at it.

My own preference is that Congress should leave it alone.

Trump lies his way into the swamp

I cannot let go of this “birthright citizenship” matter that Donald J. Trump has thrust to the top of our minds’ awareness.

He said he wants to issue an executive order to rescind a portion of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the part that says anyone born in the United States becomes a citizen of this country simply by virtue of his or her birth.

Trump had the gall to declare that the United States is “the only country” on Earth that allows such a thing.

The president lied. Again. Imagine my (non)surprise. It’s shocking, I tell ya … simply shocking that the president would lie.

The truth is that 30 other countries allow birthright citizenship. Canada is one of them. Mexico is another of them. Those three nations, with a combined population of about 500 million residents, have such laws on the books.

Ours is written in the Constitution. It was ratified in 1868. It has been on the books for 150 years. Birthright citizenship has never been a serious issue — until now. Why? Because Donald Trump has made it one. He is sowing the seeds of division and fear. He is appealing to the bigots among us to believe that birthright citizenship is now something to rescind and he’s going to do it by issuing an executive order, by golly!

No. He isn’t. He cannot do it.

Nor can he continue to lie about it, by repeating the lie that the United States is Earth’s sole country that has such a law.

The liar in chief is continuing to serve in the most disgraceful manner possible.

First the 14th Amendment, then … what’s next?

Donald John Trump must believe he is the only man on Earth who has an original thought or an original idea to put forward.

The president believes he has the power to rescind a part of the U.S. Constitution through an executive order. He wants to do so by issuing an order that bans birthright citizenship to anyone born in the United States of America. It’s part of the 14th Amendment, ratified in 1868 … 150 years ago!

He is making this noise as a political stunt — along with his ordering 5,200 active-duty troops to the southern border — on the eve of the midterm election.

Just suppose, though, that Trump were able to enact this birthright citizenship nonsense. What would stop a president, then, from rescinding the clause of the Second Amendment that says the “right to bear and keep arms shall not be infringed.”? Or the portion of the First Amendment that says citizens have the right to worship as they wish, or protest the government’s policies or (and this is one I am sure Trump no doubt has considered) placed restrictions on a “free press.”? How about rescinding the Fifth Amendment clause that protects criminal defendants from self-incrimination? Or the Fifth’s other clause about requiring compensation if the government seizes your property?

If the president had that authority, why didn’t any previous president think of invoking this power to, say, take away our guns or clamp down on the media?

This idiocy is just another example of the ignorance Trump demonstrates about the Constitution and about executive authority. It also appears to betray a desire of the president to lock down control of federal government, placing it in the hands of a single individual.

Here’s the good news, though. Donald Trump’s stated desire to rescind the birthright citizenship to anyone born here — yes, even those who are the products of undocumented immigrants — will not come to pass. The man is just bellowing nonsense.

Speaker pushes back, finally, against POTUS

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan’s time in public office is running out, which I guess means he’s able — and willing — now to push back on the president of the United States, a member of his political party.

Donald Trump has said he wants to issue an executive order to rescind “birthright citizenship,” a provision granted by the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Ryan, who is not running for re-election to his Wisconsin House seat, says his fellow Republican can’t do that.

Ryan said, “We didn’t like it when (former President Barack) Obama tried changing immigration laws via executive action, and obviously as conservatives we believe in the Constitution. … I’m a believer in following the plain text of the Constitution and I think in this case the 14th Amendment is pretty clear, and that would involve a very, very lengthy constitutional process.”

There you have it. A key congressional Republican leader has spoken out clearly against a Republican who’s hijacked the party under which he ran for public office.

The 14th Amendment says that anyone born in the United States or naturalized in this country is a citizen. No doubt about it. Thus, an effort to rescind that provision would require, as Ryan noted, “a very, very lengthy constitutional process.”

The president has plenty of executive authority. Trump was generous in his criticism of President Obama over his use of the authority. Changing the Constitution, though, doesn’t fit into the purview of a president affixing his signature to an executive order.

Mr. President, stop this nonsense.

“It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment. Guess what? You don’t,” Trump said in an interview with Axios.

Yes, you most certainly do!

Birthright citizenship far from ‘absurd’

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham is trying to cover Donald Trump’s backside with a plan to introduce legislation in the Senate to reverse a constitutional amendment that provides U.S. citizenship to anyone born inside the United States of America.

Nice try, senator.

Trump declared his desire to issue an executive order that would end the right of instant citizenship to anyone born here. The big problem facing the nutty idea is that the rule comes to us in the form of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which was proposed in 1866 and ratified in 1868.

Now it’s an “absurd” notion, according to Sen. Graham, who wrote in a Twitter message: “Finally, a president willing to take on this absurd policy of birthright citizenship. I’ve always supported comprehensive immigration reform — at the same time — the elimination of birthright citizenship.”

Graham jumps in

In order to amend the Constitution, this legislation needs a two-thirds vote in both chambers of Congress and must be ratified by three-quarters of the 50 states. It is a steep hill to be sure.

It’s also a ridiculous and gratuitous attack on a U.S. tradition that has been part of the law of the land for 150 years.

Donald Trump has sought to demonize all illegal immigrants, even those who were brought here as children by their parents — and now those who were born here to parents who came this country illegally. He suggests that all illegal immigrants come here to do harm, to commit crimes, to perform terrible acts of violence.

This is the answer? This is the solution?

No. It isn’t.

Good grief, if we’re going to get tougher on illegal immigration, then let’s use existing laws and modernize security policies. We don’t need to build a wall along our southern border.

Nor do we need to repeal the clause contained in an existing amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Trump seeks to amend Constitution with an executive order?

Hold on, Mr. President!

You used to excoriate your immediate predecessor, falsely, for over-using his executive order authority. Now you are considering a notion to issue an order to stop birthright citizenship to everyone who is born within the United States of America?

I do not believe you can do that, Mr. President. Your White House legal team is giving you bad advice. I feel confident saying such a thing even though I am no lawyer, nor do I purport to know “the best words” or surround myself with “the best people.”

I understand that you just don’t want all them “illegal aliens” giving birth in this country to babies who become immediate U.S. citizens. You want citizenship only for those who “merit” it.

Let’s take a quick look — shall we? — at the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Section 1 says it clearly: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the State wherein they reside.”

The amendment was proposed in Congress on June 13, 1866, a little more than a year after the Civil War.

Constitutional scholars say the amendment was a result of efforts granting full citizenship to African-Americans who only three years earlier were “emancipated” from their enslavement by President Lincoln.

Still, it’s written in the Constitution, that everyone born in this country is granted immediate citizenship upon birth.

Thus, I just don’t believe, Mr. President, that you can circumvent the Constitution with the kind of executive order you said was abused by former presidents.

If you do, sir, my sincere hope is that someone challenges it immediately and that it finds its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. If the conservative majority on the court — which has been buttressed by the recent confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh — stands by the document y’all have pledged to protect and defend, they’ll join their liberal colleagues in shutting down this unconstitutional effort.

This executive authority notion, Mr. President, is un-American.

Mr. POTUS, we must ‘have judges’

Donald J. Trump wants to change U.S. immigration policy by diminishing the role of — get a load of this — the federal judiciary.

Trump wants to toss all illegal immigrants out of the country without the benefit of having their cases heard by judges.

The president of the United States today yet again took dead aim at our immigration policy. He called it the worst policy “in the history of the world.” He then said something quite remarkable in a brief give-and-take with reporters gathered at the White House.

Trump noted that when immigrants cross our border, “they have judges.” Yes, judges. These are the men and women who take an oath to administer the law in accordance with the U.S. Constitution, to ensure that federal law doesn’t violate the Constitution.

Federal immigration law — indeed, the 14th Amendment to the Constitution — grants “any person” the right to “due process” and “equal protection” under the law. It doesn’t limit those guarantees to U.S. citizens, let alone to those who come here legally from another nation.

The president’s desire to toss out the Constitution, to ignore existing federal statutes crosses the line into a desire to create an autocracy. He wants to throw into the crapper a fundamental tenet that the nation’s founders insisted on when they created this government. That tenet established a judicial system that is ostensibly free of political pressure and coercion.

Yes, we need more federal judges — not fewer of them — to deal specifically with this issue of immigration. Yet the president now disparages the role these judges play? He disrespects their vital contribution to the administering of justice?

Reprehensible.

Oh, boy … let’s watch this clerk’s race

Kim Davis is going to seek re-election as county clerk in Rowan County, Ky.

Big deal, you say? Sure it is. Here’s why.

Rowan is the county clerk who made a big-time name for herself after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2015 to legalize gay marriage in all 50 of our states. It declared that the 14th Amendment’s “equal protection clause” meant that gay couples are entitled to be married because they are entitled to equal protection under the law.

Davis didn’t agree with that. She said that her religious beliefs wouldn’t allow her to sign off on marriage certificates involving gay couples. The court told her to do her job; she refused and then spent a few days in the slammer on a contempt of court charge. The issue was resolved when the courts ruled Davis didn’t have to sign the certificates, but could allow her deputies to do so.

During all that tumult, Davis changed her party affiliation from Democrat to Republican. So now she wants to be re-elected to a second term.

I normally wouldn’t give a royal rat’s rear end about Kim Davis, except that I spent a good bit of time on this blog commenting on how she violated the oath of office she took.

It’s that oath — and her violation of it — that make her unfit for re-election.

This campaign under normal circumstances wouldn’t command any attention outside of Rowan County. It will, because Davis made such a spectacle of herself by protesting the high court’s decision on gay marriage.

Davis took an oath office to defend and protect the U.S. Constitution and to obey the law of the land. She failed to do her job by injecting religion into a secular political office. The oath she took doesn’t allow her to use her faith as a dodge.

That is how her political opponent ought to frame his or her campaign against her.

So, with that Kim Davis is going to run for re-election. I should resist the urge to follow how this will play out.

But I won’t.

Remember the time Kim Davis … you know?

Someone out there has brought back an earlier episode involving politics in the workplace, so I’ll just jump on that horse and ride it briefly here.

Kim Davis is the Rowan County (Ky.) clerk who once defied a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that declared that gay marriage is a protected right under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

She said her religious beliefs wouldn’t permit her to issue marriage license to gay couples. She violated the oath of her office; she had vowed to obey the Constitution and, you know, follow the law of the land.

She brought her personal political beliefs into the workplace. Bad, Kim … bad!

So now there’s some argument being kicked around in social media about those pro football players who are doing that very thing. They’re bringing their politics into their workplace, which happens to be on a field surrounded by tens of thousands of paying fans and millions more of them watching them do their jobs on television.

Some of those players are “taking a knee” when “The Star-Spangled Banner” is sung before games. Others are locking arms with teammates. Critics of this practice say that the athletes are acting inappropriately by politicizing their profession, not to mention that they’re “disrespecting the Constitution,” which I believe is a ludicrous assertion.

I’ll stipulate once more that I am not pleased by the nature of the protests by pro football players. I wish they had found another way to protest against police brutality against African-Americans, which is the initial reason for the protests.

That all said, if it’s OK — in the minds of many Americans — for Kim Davis, who serves the public in a public office, to bring her political beliefs into her workplace, why is it not OK for pro football players to do the same thing?