Posted on January 24, 2011



Don’t you find it ironic that the people who claim to love the U.S. Constitution more then anybody are so eager to drastically change it?

The new Republican majority in the U.S. House  of Representatives are playing to its tea party base by opening the proceedings with the reading of the Constitution. Well, most of them anyway, skipping some embarrassing parts, like that business about “three fifths of all other persons,” part of the 14th Amendment. But now let us turn our attention to how the tea party folks would amend the document they regard with such reverence.

It took U.S. Representative John Lewis from Georgia to read the 14h Amendment which gives  black babies equal rights to any person born in this country.

The Republicans want to amend the 14th Amendment to delete giving equal rights to babies born in the U.S., thus Hispanic babies would not be citizens.

This Amendment was ratified in 1868 and 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.”

Fortunately it seems unlikely that this Amendment will be repealed by any act of Congress. Such a repeal or amending would require two thirds of the states to approve. Of the state legislators, 12 states have come out in favor of this nutty idea, as has Virginia’s attorney general Kenneth Cuccinelli, and the new majority leader in the House, Rep. Eric Canto of Virginia.

This Constitutional amendment is the so called “birthright” legislation that would deny citizenship to children born nof immigrants, illegal or legal.

Republicans blocked the “Dream Act” which would have made it possible for people brought to the county by illegal immigrants as children to earn their way to citizenship.

The Republicans have come out with a repeal amendment.

“A repeal amendment would provide a check on the ever expanding federal government ,  protect against Congressional overreach,  and get the government working for the people again, not the other way around,” Cantor says. Sounds good,  but it will not be done. Just a lot of rhetoric.

Why didn’t Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington and the other founding Fathers thank of this? Let the states be the fourth branch of government.

In the way of checks and balances, the founders provided three branches: the chief executive, two houses of Congress and the Supreme Court. The chief executive can check Congress with a veto, the two houses can check each other (and the president in several ways), and the Supreme Court can check them all.

This design has worked pretty well so far. But the Republican sponsored repeal amendment would essentially establish a fourth branch of government,  with power, but without responsibility.

In the debate in establishing the Constitution, Hamilton countered those who objected to the idea that the laws of the United States would be the supreme law of the land.

“But, what inference can be drawn from this or what would they amount to, if they were not to be supreme?” Hamilton asked, and answered: “It is evident they would amount to nothing.”

And what should we make of  the tea party members who want to repeal the 17th Amendment adopted 98 years ago, which provides for the direct election of U.S. senators by voters, rather then state representatives electing the U.S. senators? Do not these Republicans trust people in this democracy?

Nice going Republicans. It seems your love for the Constitution goes only so far, and then you want to tear it up with amendments.

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