Calling for Repeal of the 14th Amendment Would Be Too Honest.

Roy Edroso has a good column up about the crazed right-wing reaction to the Gaza flotilla incident, but I think he misreads the movement against birthright citizenship here:

When it was revealed that one of the dead was an American citizen, rightbloggers were quick to point out that the late Furkan Dogan wasn't really a citizen citizen, having left our shores at a tender age. Power Line took the opportunity to suggest that the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution be repealed so that people born in the U.S. could be denied citizenship. Clearly the laws of the United States aren't worth much compared to the need to get Israel's PR problem taken care of.

This is actually wrong. Johnson did not call for a repeal of the 14th Amendment, and in fact most right-wingers who oppose birthright citizenship do no such thing. Repealing an amendment is extremely hard, because it requires the passage of a new amendment. What Republicans want is to pass laws outlawing birthright citizenship, then have them litigated to the Supreme Court where Antonin Scalia or Clarence Thomas can shoehorn them into constitutionality -- despite the fact that doing so would require ignoring the plain language of the Constitution. A campaign to repeal the 14th Amendment would frankly be too intellectually honest for this crowd -- instead, they are relying on judicial activism to get the job done.

Here's a brief lesson in the 14th Amendment, which I'm qualified to provide by virtue of the fact that I'm literate. The first sentence of Section 1 reads, "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." It doesn't say "unless you were protesting the blockade of Gaza."

-- A. Serwer

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