Turning Our Backs on the 14th Amendment

Ongoing Attacks on Birthright Citizenship

— by Tom Jawetz and Sanam Malik at Center for American Progress

The topic of birthright citizenship has resurfaced in the broader immigration debate. Immigration opponents are proposing legislation intended to undo this bedrock principle of American society written into the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution: If you are born in the United States, you are a citizen. Although the popular rhetoric surrounding efforts to end birthright citizenship mainly focuses on the U.S.-born children of unauthorized immigrants, many legislative proposals to rollback this constitutional right would actually deny citizenship to children born to lawfully present immigrants—including nearly all foreign students, temporary workers, and even some lawful permanent residents.

Removing or changing this crucial part of the Constitution would inevitably create a large class of less-than-citizens and stateless persons and require the creation of new burdensome regulations and oversight that would affect the lives of every new parent in the United States. At the end of the day, such efforts undermine the intentions of the 14th Amendment, the nation’s history, and the core values of inclusion and integration.

Read more and download the full issue brief here.


This material [the article above] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe. ‘Like’ CAP Action on Facebook and ‘follow’ us on Twitter

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The 9th Circuit Did NOT Invent Equal Protection

— by Rich Dunn, NVRDC 2nd Vice Chairperson

“After the voters of Nevada passed a law designating that marriage be defined as a union between a man and a woman, Nevada’s Democrat (sic) attorney general has co-opted with the ultra-liberal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and decided that ‘we can’t win after the Ninth Circuit changed the rules’ (by deciding in another case that any law that deals with homosexual people requires heightened scrutiny with regard to possible discrimination).”
-Teri A. Cotham of Gardnerville in a letter published in the Feb. 18th Nevada Appeal

Teri doesn’t seem to have heard about United States v. Windsor, the Supreme Court case which struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, thereby granting federal benefits to same sex couples who are married under state law. That’s the case upon which the Utah and Virginia same-sex marriage bans have been ruled unconstitutional, and upon which Nevada’s same-sex marriage ban will no doubt be overturned, regardless of whether the State of Nevada chooses to defend it. And it’s worth noting that the Windsor case came from the Southern District of New York in the 2nd Circuit, not the 9th Circuit.

Teri also doesn’t appear to understand what role the 9th Circuit played in Hollingsworth v. Perry, the case she appears to be citing. That was a 50-page ruling by Judge Vaughn Walker of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California that Prop 8, the anti-gay marriage initiative on the 2008 ballot, was unconstitutional under both the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the 14th Amendment.

The 9th Circuit issued a stay to give Prop 8 proponents an opportunity to appeal, then passed that appeal on to the U.S. Supreme Court, which refused to hear it, ruling that proponents of initiatives such as Prop 8 don’t have standing to defend the resulting law. On that basis, the court directed the 9th Circuit to lift its stay and vacate its concurrence, allowing Judge Walker’s ruling to stand. And that is how Prop 8 was overturned.

Lastly, Teri seems unaware that the concept of subjecting certain kinds of legal challenges to “heightened scrutiny” is based on the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause. When a law has the potential to infringe upon a civil right, the government is called upon to defend it. If it’s found to be too broad in scope, fails to accomplish its stated purpose, or unreasonably infringes upon constitutionally protected rights, it will be struck down in any circuit, not just the 9th Circuit.

The Weekend Reader

 

On the Sabotage of Democracy
by Bill Moyers
"At least let’s name this for what it is, sabotage of the democratic process. Secession by another means. And let’s be clear about where such reckless ambition leads."

 

Are Utility Companies Out to Destroy Solar’s ‘Rooftop Revolution’?
by Jon Queally
"What environmentalists and solar energy advocates see is the utility companies putting barriers up to a decentralized system they will not no longer be able to control or profit from."

 

Dear WWII Vets, Forget About the Monument, They Are Gunning for Your Social Security
by Mary Bottari
"As the government shutdown marches on and the dangerously real deadline of the federal debt limit approaches, it is increasingly clear that the fight over ‘Obamacare’ is merely an opening salvo."

 

Over 865,200 Gallons of Fracked Oil Spill in ND, Public in Dark for Days Due to Government Shutdown
by Steve Horn
"Over 20,600 barrels of oil fracked from the Bakken Shale has spilled from a Tesoro Logistics pipeline in Tioga, North Dakota in one of the biggest onshore oil spills in recent U.S. history."

 

At the UN, a Latin American Rebellion
by Laura Carlsen
"Without a doubt, the 68th UN General Assembly will be remembered as a watershed. What failed to make the headlines, however, could have the longest-term significance of all: the Latin American rebellion."

 

Libyan Captive Faces Interrogation Aboard Floating US ‘Black Site’
by Sarah Lazare
"The detention and interrogation of a Libyan captive and suspected al Qaeda operative aboard a Navy warship in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea is prompting concerns about an Obama administration policy of using floating ‘black sites’ to deny legal rights."

 

A Rationality Shutdown
by Robert C. Koehler
"In an agony of stupidity, the government shuts down.  Only some of it shuts down, of course. The part that stays open is the part that’s at war."

 

Supreme Court Hears Case That Could ‘Empower Super-Rich to Buy Elections’
by Andrea Germanos
"The outcome of a case dubbed the next Citizens United could bring ‘a rise in corruption both as the public understands the term – meaning the entire political system will shift still more to favor the super-rich – and as the Supreme Court defines it – meaning quid pro quo corruption,’ said Robert Weissman."

 

Their Real Goal: To Make Us All So Cynical About Government, We Give Up
by Robert Reich
"As average Americans give up on government, they pay less attention to what government does or fails to do — thereby making it easier for the moneyed interests to get whatever they want."

 

Poll: Government Shutdown A ‘Jaw-Dropping’ Disaster For GOP

by Henry Decker, The National Memo
The government shutdown has been a “jaw-dropping” disaster for the Republican Party, leaving it with historically low levels of support, according to a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll.

 

When Republicans Supported U.S. Debt Unconditionally

by Eric Foner, The National Memo
Award-winning historian Eric Foner explains how the 14th Amendment came to be — and how it could hold the answer to the debt ceiling crisis.   

image   VIDEO:  The Last Hours of Humanity — Warming the World to Extinction
by Thom Hartman

"Last Hours" is the first in a series of short films that explore the perils of climate change and the solutions to avert climate disaster.