GOP Wants To Revisit Dred Scott
The GOP continues to reveal itself:
Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told The Hill on Monday that Congress “ought to take a look at” changing the 14th Amendment[. . . .] McConnell’s statement signals growing support within the GOP for the controversial idea, which has also recently been touted by Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)In an interview, McConnell said the 14th Amendment provision should be reconsidered in light of the country’s immigration problem.
To refresh our memories, let's look at the first line of the Fourteenth Amendment, which is what Republicans are focused on now (they hate the whole thing of course):
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.
The Fourteenth Amendment was ratified in July 1868, by the Reconstruction Congress, and the line quoted above was intended to overturn the infamous Dred Scott decision which addressed this question:
Can a negro, whose ancestors were imported into this country, and sold as slaves, become a member of the political community formed and brought into existence by the Constitution of the United States, and as such become entitled to all the rights, and privileges, and immunities, guarantied by that instrument to the citizen?
The Dred Scott Court answered that no, "a negro, whose ancestors were imported into this country, and sold as slaves" could not become citizens of the United States even though they were born in the United States. The Fourteenth Amendment overturned Dred Scott.
Today, the GOP wishes to revisit the question, reformulating the question as follows:
The question is simply this: Can a person whose ancestors were not in the country legally become a member of the political community formed and brought into existence by the Constitution of the United States, and as such become entitled to all the rights, and privileges, and immunities, guarantied by that instrument to the citizen?
The GOP would, like the Dred Scott court, answer in the negative. to wit, the GOP would have it that the status of the parents of a person born in the United States and subject to its jurisdiction is determinative of whether someone born in the United States could be a citizen.
Now, in order to enact such a change, the GOP will have to use the mechanism created by Article V of the Constitution:
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress [. . .]
To wit, two thirds of both the House and the Senate would have to approve this return to the rule of Dred Scott and then three fourths of the states (38 of 50) would have to vote in the affirmative for the adoption of the GOP's Dred Scott amendment. Seems unlikely to me. But when you are consumed with irrational hate, as the GOP has for Latinos (and of course other minorities), then this is what you do.
A revealing episode.
Speaking for me only
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