Thursday, January 6, 2011

Catch of the Day

Well, maybe this one is too easy, but still....Scott Lemiuex is good on Steve King's decision to introduce a plainly unconstitutional "birthright citizenship" bill because, as King said, it's "easier" than introducing a constitutional amendment.  Lemieux points out that the 14th amendment isn't exactly ambiguous on this one, comparing it to "running a 21 year-old for president."  Lemieux:
Similarly, it would be “easier” for the president to abolish the Senate through executive order than to call a new constitutional convention — let’s do that! I guess that reading of the Constitution will have to skip some parts…

Good fun, and great catch.

By the way, whatever the merits of justifying things in general by referring to what the "founding fathers intended," as King does, this is perhaps one of the times when it's most inappropriate.  In content, it's like saying that the income tax or direct election of Senators couldn't possibly be constitutional because the founding fathers didn't want them; one may base opposition to those amendments on the purported intent of the Framers, but obviously the amendments don't depend on that intent.  But while I'm not ordinarily a fan of dismissing the Framers because they accepted slavery, this is one instance where that really applies.  Does King really believe that we should be mindful of the Framers' intent when it comes to the topics of citizenship and the Civil War amendments?

1 comment:

  1. The framers were obviously perfectly fine with amendments to the Constitution. After all, they specifically outlined a process by which new amendments could be added, and they themselves added almost half of the amendments we have today!

    You're also right that it is pretty stupid to question the intent of the framers when discussing amendments that were adopted long after every single one of the founding fathers was dead.

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