Birthright Citizenship

Washington Times

Some Republican lawmakers are considering ending birthright citizenship as we know it. The intriguing legal argument they tout is that the United States has been misinterpreting the Fourteenth Amendment for over 100 years. As a consequence, they argue, the United States awards citizenship to those whom the amendment’s framers never intended — and indeed, whom in some cases, common sense suggests we shouldn’t — like terrorists or agents of foreign powers. Then there is the question of illegal immigration. With a Rasmussen Poll indicating that half of Americans think children of illegals should not automatically receive citizenship, the idea could well grow legs.

The predominant interpretation of the citizenship clause of the Fourteenth Amendment holds that anyone born on U.S. soil is a citizen, except the children of diplomats. But six weeks ago, in testimony before a House Judiciary subcommittee that Hill staffers have since been touting, John C. Eastman, a law professor at Chapman University and a fellow of Claremont Institute, argued that the prevailing interpretation gives more weight to place of birth than originally intended and should be changed.

“Birth, together with being a person subject to the complete and exclusive jurisdiction of the United States (i.e., not owing allegiance to another sovereign) was the constitutional mandate,” he argues, calling birth and jurisdiction “a floor for citizenship.” And indeed the plain language of the clause contains items for both birth and jurisdiction: “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.”

3 Responses to “Birthright Citizenship”

  1. max Says:

    The doctors that fill out the paperwork to get the alien on public welfare and to get paid for the delivery of the baby are the criminals in this matter.

  2. Ralph Says:

    If they want to insert the phrase “not owing allegiance to another sovereign” into the Constitution, then let them try to do it. That’s fine. It would be better for them to waste their time on that instead of spending their time thinking of ways to increase spending.

    And for max, very few doctors fill out the paperwork for delivering mothers.

  3. domingo arong Says:

    The phrase “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof” is enclosed within a PAIR OF COMMAS. And this means that the phrase enclosed is “non-restrictive”; it is placed NOT as a modifier of the element preceding it.

    A comma placed before a coordinating conjunction (in this instance, “and”) is said to join TWO INDEPENDENT CLAUSES.

    A repeated subject in a compound sentence (or in two independent clauses joined by coordinators) may may be omitted, to be understood rather than to be stated.

    Then, try to analyze why Senator Doolittle (at p. 2897, 1st col.) asked:

    “But, sir, the Senator has drawn me off from the immediate question before the Senate. The immediate question is whether the language he [Senator Howard] uses, ‘all persons subject to the jurisdiction of the United States’ includes these Indians. I maintain that it does.”

    Note that the phrase “all persons subject to the jurisdiction of the United States” is printed in quotation marks, which means that the speaker merely quoted the phrase.

    Grammatically read (omission of repeated subject, pair of commas with the first comma placed before the coordinating conjunction “and”), does the Citizenship Clause confer a SECOND CATEGORY of still unrecognized citizens of the United States?

    “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and [all persons] subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

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