Last week the Washington Republican Party defined, as a platform item, the elimination of the law that causes people born in the United States to be citizens. This law of course is the <a href=”http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data/constitution/amendment14/”>14th amendment to the Constitution</a>. This amendment, as we know, is a cornerstone of the civil liberties, that we celebrate in our tributes to democracy. This is quite a bold step for defenders of our country’s historical values.
This historic undertaking was not supported by Republican state Attorney General Rob McKenna, who alluded to disregarding 200 years of judicial history. He said, though, that it does not make much difference because people don’t remember what’s on the party platform.
Republican Party Chairman Luke Esser was not daunted by constitutional history, saying that this amounted taking a case to the Supreme Court to ask it to reinterpret the Constitution. He no doubt would argue to the conservative justices that the constitution is a living document and should not be interpreted according to its plain meaning or the intent of the drafters. He would have to argue that it should be interpretted in light to the social menace that he sees.
The constitutional provision that the Washington GOP wants re-interpretted is
All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States . . .
On the face of it its hard to say that the Washington GOP has any regard for the constitution.
There is precedent for a narrow reading of the 14th amendment. If our local GOP did research on this topic they no doubt found encouragement in the Dred Scott decision which, as far as I know, was the last time section 1 of the 14th amendment was interpreted in a manner other than its plain meaning.