PLEASANT HILL,NOVEMBER 2, 2018 – It seems that the 14th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States answers the question clearly as to who is and who is not considered a “birth” Citizen. The Historical perspective is important. This is the Post Civil War Bill of Rights and was adopted on July 9,1868. It was designed to correct forfuture excesses based on what happened during Reconstruction.
Questions that had to be answered:
- Who is a citizen of the united states?
- Can the rights of a citizen be abridged based on race, color, or creed?
- In short, are the laws to apply equally to all citizens (back up to #1).
The 14th Amendment points out clearly in section 1 that:
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. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States;nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws14th Amendment – section 1
Pay close attention to the phrase in the first sentence: “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof”. This phrase is the one that is the crux of the entire matter. What did the writers of the 14th amendment have in mind.
Some postulate that the meaning was to exclude those who are born in the geographical United States but were here as official representatives of other governments. They further assert that the international law that protects diplomats is what the phrase refers to.
I think that those who make that assertion are too narrowly defining the 14th amendment.
If you read the end of Section 1 you find one of the most impactful phrases in this amendment: “nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws”
There are a large number of Supreme Court decisions that site part or all of the above as a reason why something is or is not constitutional.
Let’s go to Section 2 of the 14th Amendment
Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.14th amendment – Section 2
Let me draw your attention to the following phrase, “counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed.” In this phrase the writer defines who has and has not jurisdiction to be counted as a citizen. Keep in mind that till this point, a slave or ex-slave only counted as a portion of a person for the purpose of apportionment of legislators. In this amendment, it clearly says that if you are a citizen of the United States you are counted a one (1) entire person.
Then it goes on to clarify who does not qualify – an expansion of the Jurisdiction clause above in Section 1. It says that it excludes Indians that are not taxed. Explore that a moment. Why single out the Indians? If everyone born in the geographical United States is to be a citizen, why are Indians excluded?
You and raise the argument that perhaps it was because Indians were a sovereign nation, even if relegated to the various reservations. But think a moment. In 1868 that was not entirely the case yet. Indians still roamed the various states. So, tell me, why are they excluded in 1868? Why did it take another amendment to the constitution to grant the Indian population citizenship?
The most logical explanation is that the phrase “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof” specifically means that if you are a citizen of another sovereign nation (Indians were members of a sovereign nation) you did not get to be a naturalized citizen of the United States, simply by geographical birthplace.
In other words, your parents had to be under the jurisdiction of the United States if your birth was going to grant you the same citizen privileges. If your parents were members of a sovereign country, then you were not to be counted. A distinguishing measure for citizenship is whether you are “taxed”.
The 14th Amendment, in the logical analysis does not grant a constitutionally protected birth right to citizenship to those who come into the country for the purpose of having a child. This may be a constitutionally untested practice or law, but it is not constitutionally mandated, and it is certainly not constitutionally protected.
The Lee’s Summit Conservative.