In yet another demonstration of how low the GOP has sunk, this week Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is pushing for hearings on whether the United States should continue to grant birthright citizenship as required by the 14th Amendment. TPM's Josh Marshall is right to call the move "pure theater." Practically, it's nearly impossible to do. Abolishing birthright citizenship would require a new constitutional amendment, which in turn requires supermajority votes in both houses of Congress and three-fourths of the states to ratify it.
Arizona’s SB 1070 has yet to take effect, but it’s already causing an exodus of immigrant families from the state. Predictably, this is hurting the state's economy. As The Arizona Republicreports, many small businesses have seen a precipitous drop in their customer base, and apartment owners are struggling to find new renters for rooms where undocumented immigrants used to live.
A voter at a local election. (Flickr/Congress of Local and Regional Authorities)
On June 8th, California's voters passed Proposition 14, a measure that would end California's semi-closed primary system, replacing it with a system in which all primary voters receive a single ballot listing all candidates running for each office. The top two vote getters proceed to the fall election regardless of party. Supporters say that the "top two" primary is less polarizing and empowers moderate candidates who can have a real effect in a state legislature mired in gridlock and budgetary crisis. Critics of the measure say it undermines each party's right to determine its own candidates, and increases the influences of special interests by making primaries more competitive and thus more expensive.
Earlier this week, a group of city police chiefs from the Southwest – including Tucson’s Roberto Villaseñor and Phoenix’s Jack Harris – met with Attorney General Eric Holder to express concerns about Arizona's SB 1070 and similar immigration-enforcement measures being considered in neighboring states. The police chiefs say laws like Arizona’s place an undue burden on local law enforcement, making them less able to fight other types of crimes.