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The 14th Amendment Does Not Mandate Birthright Citizenship

It was about removing vestiges of slavery, not regulating aliens.

By Andrew C. McCarthy

Shortly after the Constitution went into effect, the first Congress enacted a naturalization law. Lawmakers superseded this statute just five years later. Both provisions derived from the Constitution’s grant to the legislature (in Article I, Section 8) of the power “to establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization.” That grant, along with these naturalization statutes of 1790 and 1795, edifies us about the Framers’ conception of citizenship, and of the status of aliens and their children.

Status questions about the children of aliens have moved to the fore in recent months. Central Americans, enticed by laws that perversely incentivize illegal immigration, have sought entry en masse at our southern border. This week, with an oncoming “caravan” of migrants galvanizing President Trump’s base on the eve of the midterm elections, these questions have stoked a heated debate — with all the shopworn smears of racism and bad faith that are now staples of American public discourse.

In campaign mode, the president floated the idea of issuing an executive order that would purport to deny “birthright citizenship,” i.e., to end the policy of granting American citizenship to children born in the United States to alien parents who are not legally present here. I highlight “purport” and “policy” because the president’s opponents counter that these newborn children of illegal aliens are granted citizenship by the Constitution, specifically, by the 14th Amendment. Therefore, the argument goes, this grant of citizenship is not a mere policy but a command of the highest law of the land; it may not be reversed by an executive order, or even by a law of Congress, the branch empowered to set the terms of citizenship.

That is a lot of weight to put on an amendment that had nothing to do with regulating aliens — an amendment ratified in 1868, a time when there was no federal-law concept of illegal aliens.

State Responsibility

Rarely noticed in our era of the Beltway Behemoth is how sparse the Constitution is on the matter of central-government power over aliens. The naturalization clause is the beginning and the end of it. Congress was given the power to prescribe what aliens needed to do to become Americans. But there is not a word in the Constitution about law enforcement, nothing about which aliens would be allowed into the country, or on what conditions they would be permitted to stay.

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Video: Flashback-Sen. Harry Reid: 'No Sane Country' Would Grant Birthright Citizenship

By Craig Bannister

Iconic Democrat Harry Reid, a Nevada senator in 1993, declared that “no sane country” would grant citizenship to illegal aliens and their children born in the U.S.

In a speech on the Senate floor on September 20, 1993, Sen. Reid said America can neither reward illegal entry into the U.S., nor afford to pay for the services taxpayers would have to fund if it did:

"If making it easy to be an illegal alien isn’t enough, how about offering a reward for being an illegal immigrant?

“No sane country would do that, right? Guess again.

“If you break our laws by entering this country without permission and give birth to a child, we reward that child with U.S. citizenship and guarantee a full access to all public and social services this society provides. And that’s a lot of services.”

The incentive for illegal aliens to have babies in the U.S. is both obvious and costly to taxpayers, Sen. Reid said:

“Is it any wonder that two-thirds of the babies born - at taxpayer expense - in county-run hospitals in Los Angeles are born to illegal alien mother?”


Bowing to union pressure, Sen. Reid recanted his remarks in 1999, Fox News reports:

"Reid reversed his position in 1999 and apologized for his stance, shortly after the union group AFL-CIO, which holds significant political sway nationally and in Nevada, changed its position to support birthright citizenship. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Reid has since called his speech "way up high" on his "list of mistakes," and in 2006 he referred to it as a "low point" of his legislative career."

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WIN! Landmark Seventh Circuit Decision Says Fourth Amendment Applies to Smart Meter Data


By Jamie Williams

The Seventh Circuit just handed down a landmark opinion, ruling 3-0 that the Fourth Amendment protects energy-consumption data collected by smart meters. Smart meters collect energy usage data at high frequencies—typically every 5, 15, or 30 minutes—and therefore know exactly how much electricity is being used, and when, in any given household. The court recognized that data from these devices reveals intimate details about what’s going on inside the home that would otherwise be unavailable to the government without a physical search. The court held that residents have a reasonable expectation of privacy in this data and that the government’s access of it constitutes a “search.”

This case, Naperville Smart Meter Awareness v. City of Naperville, is the first case addressing whether the Fourth Amendment protects smart meter data. Courts have in the past held that the Fourth Amendment does not protect monthly energy usage readings from traditional, analog energy meters, the predecessors to smart meters. The lower court in this case applied that precedent to conclude that smart meter data, too, was unprotected as a matter of law. On appeal, EFF and Privacy International filed an amicus brief urging the Seventh Circuit to reconsider this dangerous ruling. And in its decision, released last week, the Seventh Circuit wisely recognized that smart meters and analog meters are different:

"Using traditional energy meters, utilities typically collect monthly energy consumption in a single lump figure once per month. By contrast, smart meters record consumption much more frequently, often collecting thousands of readings every month. Due to this frequency, smart meters show both the amount of electricity being used inside a home and when that energy is used.”  

The Seventh Circuit recognized that this energy usage data “reveals information about the happenings inside a home.” Individual appliances, the court explained, have distinct energy-consumption patterns or “load signatures.” These load signatures allow you to tell not only when people are home, but what they are doing. The court held that the “ever-accelerating pace of technological development carries serious privacy implications” and that smart meters “are no exception.”

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Federal Court Puts Progressive Bureaucrats on Notice: The Constitution Is Back In Business

By Tyler O'Neil

On Monday, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals breathed new life into the Constitution in an era of stifling bureaucratic "progressivism." For nearly 100 years, progressive leaders have been creating administrative agencies that effectively insulate the process of lawmaking from the clear limits in the Constitution. This ruling will help pare back the bureaucratic hydra.

"Agencies that have been making law now for decades are going to get more scrutiny, I'm sure of it," Thomas Jipping, senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation, told PJ Media on Tuesday. "This case is a strong precedent for a core principle of the Constitution."

In Collins v. Mnuchin, the 5th Circuit ruled that the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) was unconstitutional because it had too much "insulation" from the presidency. As an administrative agency, FHFA came under the purview of the president's powers under the Constitution. The 5th Circuit ruled that Congress had insulated the agency from presidential control, effectively stealing his authority under Article II of the Constitution.

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Memo to Kagan: The Bill of Rights Was Meant To Be A Weapon – Against Government Overreach And Tyranny

By J E  Dyer

Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan caused a minor stir this week in her dissent on the Janus case, in which the court ruled that non-members of public-sector labor unions can’t be compelled to pay “fair share” union fees.

In a dissent described as “scathing,” Kagan complained that the majority decision was “weaponizing” the First Amendment.  There are a number of complaints to make about the dissent, and I don’t intend to go into all of them here.  But this is the paragraph containing the scare word:

There is no sugarcoating today’s opinion. The majority overthrows a decision entrenched in this Nation’s law— and in its economic life—for over 40 years. As a result, it prevents the American people, acting through their state and local officials, from making important choices about workplace governance. And it does so by weaponizing the First Amendment, in a way that unleashes judges, now and in the future, to intervene in economic and regulatory policy.

Yes, I know.  The Janus decision actually does the opposite of preventing the people from making important choices about workplace governance.  And the idea that the judges are only now being unleashed to “intervene in economic and regulatory policy” is a gut-busting thigh-slapper.

But keep those thoughts for another day.  The important point for this post is a very basic one.  It goes past the specifics of precedent and legal arguments to the concept of government that lies in the people’s sphere, and theirs alone.  It’s not about what lawyers or judges think.  It’s about what the people affirm and agree to as our philosophy of government, the compact between man and the state.

It’s simply this.  The First Amendment, like all the amendments in the Bill of Rights, was meant to be a weapon.

“Weapon” is not a scare word here.  Kagan means it as one, but for the survival of our republic, we have to cowboy up and listen with different ears.  The Bill of Rights is a defensive arsenal against tyranny and overweening compulsion, and it was meant to serve as exactly that.  It was meant to stop schemes of compulsion against the people in their tracks.  It was meant to fence off the people’s rights in such a way that sudden “good ideas” from political factions cannot override the Bill of Rights’ protections.

Think of it as “smart armor” or “missile defense.”  The swordsman’s shield.  The people’s bullet-proof body armor.  The small arms that deter use of the bigger ones, and make intimidation of the people by the state too hard – too costly – if not impossible.

The Bill of Rights was meant to restrain government.  It was meant to tell government that it cannot confer the privilege on factions – such as unions – of compelling subsidies that have an inherent political-speech content.

Where there is disagreement on issues and principles, the intent of the Bill of Rights is to come down against compulsion.  The U.S. Constitution is full of restraints on government, and provides for a relatively short list of enduring compulsions on government.  But it is not about concepts of compulsions on the people, as instances of what Kagan calls “workaday economic and regulatory policy.”  It enshrines a tiny handful of them only by implication; e.g., if Congress has the power to levy taxes, the payment of those taxes is rather obviously a compulsion on the people.

The compulsions we have today arise entirely from the great expanse of what the Constitution doesn’t say.  That’s the expanse in which legislatures make statutory law.  Many of those laws entail compulsions on the people, to be sure.

But the purpose of the Constitution was to say enough to set boundaries on how compulsions could be levied on the people.  The Bill of Rights is an armed sentry at those boundaries.  Governments are not supposed to cross them.  Stopping such overreach, and the tyranny it fosters, is why the Bill of Rights is a set of defensive weapons.  It’s not there to negotiate or give way, no matter how urgent you say your workaday policy is.  It’s there to function like a weapon.  It’s there to stop overreach cold.

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Justice Thomas: America Now in Conflict Between Religious Liberty and Court's Decree on Gay Marriage

By Terence P. Jeffrey

(CNSNews.com) - In his dissenting opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges, Justice Clarence Thomas predicted that the court’s declaration that same-sex marriage is a right would ultimately lead to conflict between that purported right and religious liberty.

In his concurring opinion today in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, Thomas concludes: “This case proves that the conflict has already emerged.”

In Obergefell, decided by a 5-4 vote in 2015, the Supreme Court declared that the 14th Amendment creates a right for people of the same sex to marry one another.

“The Court’s decision today is at odds not only with the Constitution, but with the principles upon which our Nation was built,” Thomas wrote in his dissent in Obergefell. “Since well before 1787, liberty has been understood as freedom from government action, not enti­tlement to government benefits. The Framers created our Constitution to preserve that understanding of liberty.

“Yet the majority invokes our Constitution in the name of a ‘liberty’ that the Framers would not have recognized, to the detriment of the liberty they sought to protect,” Thomas continued. “Along the way, it rejects the idea—captured in our Declaration of Independence—that human dignity is innate and suggests instead that it comes from the government. This distor­tion of our Constitution not only ignores the text, it inverts the relationship between the individual and the state in our Republic. I cannot agree with it.”

In his Obergefell dissent, Thomas went on to warn:

“In our society, marriage is not simply a governmental institution; it is a religious institution as well. Today’s decision might change the former, but it cannot change the latter. It appears all but inevitable that the two will come into conflict, particularly as individuals and churches are confronted with demands to participate in and endorse civil marriages between same-sex couples.”

“The majority appears unmoved by that inevitability,” wrote Thomas.

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Video: Antonin Scalia - On American Exceptionalism

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia delivers opening statement before a Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on the Role of Judges under the U.S. Constitution. Remarks delivered 5 October 2011.


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Video: What Is America's True Form Of Government Supposed To Be?

The true American form of government was meant to be a constitutional republic not a democracy or anything else. Democracy means mob rule. 51% of the people rule the other 49%.   And our Constitution guarantees "unalienable rights" rights that no mob can take away, not even 99% of the rest of the population.  Well, IF the Constitution were honored and upheld that is instead of being treated as nothing but a G.D. piece of paper like it is today.


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