Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution

10 craziest right-wing statements of the week –Tea Party meltdown edition

10 craziest right-wing statements of the week --Tea Party meltdown edition

Rick Scarborough (Credit: YouTube)

Salon

1. Justice Antonin Scalia: “The 14th Amendment protects all races, not only the blacks.”

No friend of affirmative action, voting rights protections, or anything he deems “racial entitlements,” the high court’s least inhibited conservative was at it again this week during oral arguments in a case in which advocates for minorities are challenging Michigan’s voter-approved ban on affirmative action in college admissions. The case reached the Supreme Court after a federal appeals court held the ban violates the 14th Amendment’s equal protection guarantee, in that it prevents minorities from lobbying for racial preferences, when other groups can lobby for their favored programs, Huffpo explained.

A lawyer challenging the ban argued that the original goal of the 14th Amendment was to protect minority rights against a white majority.

Scalia begged to differ. “My goodness,” he said. “I thought we’ve held that the 14th Amendment protects all races. I mean, that was the argument in the early years, that it protected only—only the blacks. But I thought we rejected that. You say now that we have to proceed as though its purpose is not to protect whites, only to protect minorities?”

A little history: the 14th Amendment was approved three years after the end of the Civil War, and it was definitely about protecting the rights of former slaves. Scalia has not made any secret of his view that the country is all done with that racism stuff. If anything, the pendulum has swung too far the other way, he seems to think.

In February, Scalia said Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act was a “perpetuation of racial entitlement.” He later joined the majority in voting to strike down the provision, which quickly led to several states enacting voter ID laws that are blatantly discriminatory.

Wonder how he’ll vote this time.

2. Confused Republican thought the debt deal included money for Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army.

With all the dopey things said and done by intransigent Republicans in last week’s shitstorm of dopey intransigence, Republican Rep. Mick Mulvaney earned his place right up there in the pantheon. When the 11th hour deal to raise the debt ceiling and reopen the government was struck between Senate leaders Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell, it did not have much trouble getting through both houses of Congress. But there were those Republicans deluding themselves that they could fight on.



Rep. Mulvaney of South Carolina was one—and among his objections? The deal, he said, included funding for Joseph Kony’s Uganda-based Lord’s Resistance Army. Now, that would be pretty evil if it were true. Kony is an exiled war criminal with a messianic complex known for kidnapping children, and turning them into sex slaves and soldiers who kill their own families. The funding, if Mr. Mulvaney had read a little closer, was a small amount earmarked to the Pentagon which is funding African troops trying to capture Kony and end his reign of terror and atrocity. Ohhhh…oops. It seems Sen. David Vitter isn’t the only Republican in Congress Harry Reid could legitimately claim was not playing with a full deck.

3. Tony Perkins: Democrats are the theocrats for wanting to help the poor.

This will be news to biblical scholars. The Bible apparently says that government should have no role in helping the poor. Expressly forbids it.

This comes straight from the horse’s mouth, Tony Perkins, head of the right-wing Family Research Council, in a radio interview with conservative host Janet Mefferd. He then follows what can only be termed a rather bizarre train of thought to its illogical conclusion which is that it is the liberals who are trying to establish a theocracy in this country, not conservatives, because liberals want government to help the poor. Wait, we thought Christianity forbids that. Color us confused.

Perkins’ organization does have a unique take on the Bible and its treatment of the poor. Another spokesman for the group recently said there is “nothing more Christian” than eliminating millions of food stamp recipients from the government rolls.

But in this round Perkins does not merely want to stick it to the poor, he wants to flip the whole argument about which group is conflating church and state. It’s those liberals, you see. “They accuse evangelicals of wanting to create a theocracy, which is the farthest thing from the truth, when in fact, they are treating the government as if it had divine instruction from God to be a form of theocracy.”

So there!

4. S.C. official: Trans people should be put in camps.

It is tempting to suggest: Don’t drink and tweet. Well, we don’t know for sure that drinking was involved, but the former head of the South Carolina Republican Party went a bit bonkers with some recent rants on Twitter about transgender people and the people who support them.

“There are people who respect transgender rights,” Todd Kincannon tweeted this week. “And there are people who think you should all be put in a camp. That’s me.”

People? Or you?

Kincannon further opined that transgender people are “sick freaks” who should be “locked up in mental institutions and their care paid for by the state.” He thinks this shows his compassion for these “sick freaks.”

This Kincannon fellow has a heart as big as all outdoors. Previously, he’s drawn attention to himself for calling it a shame an Iraq veteran did not come home in a body bag, mocked murdered teenager Trayvon Martin, and scoffed at the victims of Hurricane Katrina. But in another tweet, he said his hatred was limited: to commies.

Good to know.

5. Tea Party leader suggests “class action suit” against “homosexuality.”

While most rational people interpreted this week’s events as a rather strong rebuke to the Tea Party, Tea Partiers really didn’t feel too bad. So at their Tea Party Unity event on Thursday, Chairman Rick Scarborough floated another novel idea for the assembled haters and nut jobs to rally behind now that the darn federal government is reopened: filing a “class action lawsuit” against “homosexuality.”

Now, how exactly would that work, you might ask? Or, maybe more to the point, how does that even make sense? Here goes:

“Homosexuality,” argued Scarborough, a former Baptist minister, “is much more likely to lead to AIDS than smoking is to lead to cancer. And yet the entire nation has rejected smoking, billions of dollars are put into a trust fund to help cancer victims and the tobacco industry was held accountable for that.”

So, similarly, the gay industry, whatever that is, could be held accountable.

Continue reading here…

Eleven North Carolina Republicans Sponsor Resolution Saying Their State Can Ignore The Constitution

Apparently they’re taking issue with the First and Fourteenth Amendments…

Think Progress

The Constitution “does not grant the federal government and does not grant the federal courts the power to determine what is or is not constitutional” according to a resolution sponsored by North Carolina House Majority Leader Edgar Starnes (R) and ten of his fellow Republicans — a statement that puts them at odds with over 200 years of constitutional law. In light of this novel reading of the Constitution, Starnes and his allies also claim that North Carolina is free to ignore the Constitution’s ban on government endorsement of religion:

SECTION 1. The North Carolina General Assembly asserts that the Constitution of the United States of America does not prohibit states or their subsidiaries from making laws respecting an establishment of religion.

SECTION 2. The North Carolina General Assembly does not recognize federal court rulings which prohibit and otherwise regulate the State of North Carolina, its public schools, or any political subdivisions of the State from making laws respecting an establishment of religion.

This resolution is nothing less than an effort to repudiate the result of the Civil War. As the resolution correctly notes, the First Amendment merely provides that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,” and, indeed, the Bill of Rights was originally understood to only place limits on the federal government. For the earliest years of the Republic, the Bill of Rights were not really “rights” at all, but were instead guidelines on which powers belonged to central authorities and which ones remained exclusively in the hands of state lawmakers.

In 1868, however the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified for the express purpose of changing this balance of power. While the early Constitution envisioned “rights” as little more than a battle between central and local government, the Fourteenth Amendment ushered in a more modern understanding. Under this amendment, “[n]o State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States,” nor may any state “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” The Fourteenth Amendment completely transformed the nature of the American Republic, from one where liberties were generally protected — if at all — by tensions between competing governments to one which recognized that there are certain liberties that cannot be abridged by any government.

There is some academic debate about whether the architects of the Fourteenth Amendment intended the freedoms protected by the Bill of Rights to be applied to the states because these liberties are part of the “privileges or immunities” of U.S. citizens, or because they are liberties that cannot be denied under the Constitution’s “due process” guarantees. Regardless of the correct answer to this academic question, however, one of the most important judicial projects of the Twentieth Century was a series of Supreme Court decisions applying most of the Bill of Rights’ limits to state governments. This project completed the work the framers of the Fourteenth Amendment began nearly 150 year ago — reconstructing America as a nation that recognizes certain civil rights which no lawmaker is allowed to trample. The right to be free from government endorsements of religious is one of these civil rights.

So when Starnes and his colleagues lash out against this one freedom, they are not simply lashing out against some court decisions that they disagree with. They are rejecting the most transformative moment in American constitutional history and denying that their side lost the Civil War.

Proposition 8 Ruled Unconstitutional

Justice, served well.  Next stop, Supreme Court of The United States…

Salon

“Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples.” With these resounding words from the decision by the 9th Circuit (with one judge of three, a George W. Bush appointee, dissenting), the judges agreed that California’s ballot initiative, Proposition 8, violated the 14th Amendment, finding no “legitimate reason” for the law to exist.

Marriages won’t resume, as the stay will remain in place. (The court also rejected the offensive argument that the district court judge, Vaughan Walker, should have recused himself because he happens to be gay). The next step for gay marriage opponents — whose right to defend Proposition 8 in the absence of any state official’s interest was upheld — is to either demand a rehearing from the full 9th Circuit or appeal to the Supreme Court to rule on it, a process that could take years.

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IMPEACHMENT MAY BE THE OBJECTIVE

PM Carpenter wisely suggests that the GOP never intended to pass any real debt ceiling bill but merely to stall until the President was forced to use the ‘nuclear option’…the 14th Amendment.

Remember, the congressional GOP have already sent out trial balloons saying they will start impeachment procedures if Obama uses the 14th amendment.  However, it looks like this was their plan all along.

P.M. Carpenter

This thought does occur.

It may be that congressional Republicans privately have removed brinkmanship from the table; that their revised plan is to ensure that no default-avoiding bill, under any circumstances — not even their own — shall emerge from Congress; and that a guaranteed default will thereby force President Obama to reluctantly exercise the Constitutional option next week, thus creating the grounds for another year-long distraction: impeachment.

He also mentions the Congressional GOP’s manipulations just to bring us to this point:

FORCING OBAMA’S HAND

A rather stunned Sen. Kent Conrad just reported on “The Last Word” that Mitch McConnell has informed Harry Reid that he intends to filibuster the Reid proposal. Needless to say, this maneuver collides with any workable solution to Congress’ self-imposed debt crisis prior to the default deadline.

I repeat my earlier speculation that congressional Republicans may be intentionally forcing President Obama into what the House will later maintain, in impeachment proceedings, was a usurpation.

From earlier today:

It may be that congressional Republicans privately have removed brinksmanship from the table; that their revised plan is to ensure that no default-avoiding bill, under any circumstances — not even their own — shall emerge from Congress; and that a guaranteed default will thereby force President Obama to reluctantly exercise the Constitutional option next week, thus creating the grounds for another year-long distraction: impeachment.

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Bill Clinton: I’d use 14th amendment

Former President Bill Clinton would invoke the 14th Amendment – “without hesitation, and force the courts to stop me,” he says – to raise the debt ceiling if he were in President Barack Obama’s shoes, with the deadline to raise the limit just two weeks away.

“I think the Constitution is clear and I think this idea that the Congress gets to vote twice on whether to pay for [expenditures] it has appropriated is crazy,” Clinton said in an interview with journalist Joe Conason.

Clinton said he would turn to the Constitution “if it came to that,” but doesn’t think that Obama will need to. “It looks to me like they’re going to make an agreement, and that’s smart,” he said.

Obama has sidestepped direct questioning about invoking a clause in the amendment to the Constitution that has been interpreted by some to mean that the president has the authority to take all necessary steps to maintain the good credit of the United States. But a lawyer for the Treasury Department has publicly refuted that interpretation, saying that Secretary Timothy Geithner has “never argued that the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution allows the president to disregard the statutory debt limit.”

Clinton said that raising the debt ceiling “is necessary to pay for appropriations already made.” Congressional Republicans, he said, “can’t say, ‘Well, we won the last election and we didn’t vote for some of that stuff, so we’re going to throw the whole country’s credit into arrears.”

The former president also noted that he could have faced a similar crisis during his own time in office, when congressional Republicans weighed blocking a debt ceiling hike. Republicans “did think about doing that … and I knew they were thinking about it,” but they decided against it because “they didn’t want to get caught” in a position where they might be seen as attacking Clinton’s two immediate predecessors, both Republicans.

“The reason that raising the debt limit is so unpopular is that people think you’re voting to keep [increasing] deficit spending, instead of voting to honor obligations that were already incurred,” he said. “I think [the Gingrich Republicans] figured I’d be smart enough to explain to the American people that they were refusing to pay for the expenses they had voted for when Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush were president. And that would make ‘em look bad.”

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Scalia: Women Don’t Have Constitutional Protection Against Discrimination

Once again, Justice Antonin Scalia appears incourrigible in his delusional view of American civil liberties…

Huffington Post

The equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution does not protect against discrimination on the basis of gender or sexual orientation, according to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

In a newly published interview in the legal magazine California Lawyer, Scalia said that while the Constitution does not disallow the passage of legislation outlawing such discrimination, it doesn’t itself outlaw that behavior:

In 1868, when the 39th Congress was debating and ultimately proposing the 14th Amendment, I don’t think anybody would have thought that equal protection applied to sex discrimination, or certainly not to sexual orientation. So does that mean that we’ve gone off in error by applying the 14th Amendment to both?Yes, yes. Sorry, to tell you that. … But, you know, if indeed the current society has come to different views, that’s fine. You do not need the Constitution to reflect the wishes of the current society. Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn’t. Nobody ever thought that that’s what it meant. Nobody ever voted for that. If the current society wants to outlaw discrimination by sex, hey we have things called legislatures, and they enact things called laws. You don’t need a constitution to keep things up-to-date. All you need is a legislature and a ballot box. You don’t like the death penalty anymore, that’s fine. You want a right to abortion? There’s nothing in the Constitution about that. But that doesn’t mean you cannot prohibit it. Persuade your fellow citizens it’s a good idea and pass a law. That’s what democracy is all about. It’s not about nine superannuated judges who have been there too long, imposing these demands on society.

For the record, the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause states: “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 laws.” That would seem to include protection against exactly the kind of discrimination to which Scalia referred.    More…

Tennessee GOPer Curry Todd: Illegal Immigrants Will Multiply ‘Like Rats’ (VIDEO)

It seems disgusting racist rhetoric is quite prevalent among right-wingers.  This GOPer appears to be following his right-wing colleagues….

Huffington Post

Tennessee State Rep. Curry Todd took his dissatisfaction with the birthright citizenship clause in the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to a strange level this week, when he suggested that pregnant immigrants will “multiply” like “rats” if they are not asked about their citizenship status.

During a discussion about procedures for approving patients for health care access, Todd asked a panel of prenatal health care officials if they require potential patients to show proof of citizenship in order to be accepted for treatment.

One woman then explained that such a process is not necessary — and is in fact prohibited — because unborn children will become United States citizens upon birth.

“There’s a technical guidance letter that states that, for covering the unborn child, we are not permitted to determine citizenship because the child, once born, is a U.S. citizen,” the woman explained.

“They can go out there like rats and multiply, then,” Todd responded.

According to the Associated Press, Rep. Todd later agreed that he had used harsh wording.

“I was actually wrong, and I admit when I’m wrong,” Todd said, before clarifying that he should have used the term “anchor babies” instead — presumably in an entirely different sentence.

He then qualified that statement, however, by saying that the issue is actually a serious concern that needed to be addressed.

Many in the GOP, like Rep. Todd, have voiced strong concern over the 14th Amendment. ThinkProgress reported in October that 130 congressional Republicans favored ending birthright citizenship, not including a swath of newly elected GOPers.

Watch:

The Tea Party: It’s Worse Than You Think

The following article is provocative and informative.  It’s a very long article but I’ve only inserted the relevant parts as it applies to the title of this post.  I recommend that everyone read this article over at truthdig from beginning to end:

Truthdig

A debate has raged over the last 18 months as to whether the tea party movement is racist. Never mind that the inauguration of the first black president in January 2009 was followed in February by the first of the tea party “moments”—when CNBC’s Rick Santelli called for a Chicago tea party on national television from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Never mind that April 15 of 2009 saw the first nationally organized protest of the tea partyers in cities across the country. When the summer of 2009 arrived, all tea party guns (some real firearms were openly carried at Obama events) turned on President Barack Obama and his health insurance reform proposals. Obama was demonized with invective that included being called Hitler, Stalin and the Antichrist.

[…] The tea party is racist. Its followers have deployed a brilliant strategy to deflect charges of racism by using a form of the legislative provision known as severability. Whenever a tea party group or person is “caught” with a racist sign, or saying explicitly racist comments, they simply “sever” that person from the movement by saying, “That person does not represent the tea party.” They get away with it because they claim the status of a “movement” with no structure, leadership or cohesive identity except allegiance to the three magic phrases: “Constitutional Republic,” “Founding Fathers” and “I want my country back!”

I submit that their defense, while clever, is inadequate. Racism virtually drips from their lips when they spew out their ridicule of President Obama. It lies just underneath the surface of all the signs imaging him as a native African, a Muslim or an animal. But, one might note, they never called Obama by a racial slur. They have never said they don’t like him because he is black. Well, they don’t have to say it—he is black. And to say, “I don’t like [black] Obama because he is black” would be redundant.

[…]

However, I will make my argument for their fundamentally racist opposition to Obama and their racist opposition to any and every government program that they perceive to be taking their hard-earned tax dollars and redistributing them to people of color. This racism is at the core of their opposition to health care reform that would subsidize premiums for people who cannot afford them or educational or tax credits to low-income persons and families or any of the myriad social programs meant to strengthen the general welfare of the nation. In their opinion, these monies are going to noncitizens who do not deserve the benefits and blessings of their dear USA, USA, USA.

I stumbled across my evidence through an e-mail alert I received for tea party “meet-ups” near where I live. When I noticed a tea party meet-up in south Orange County [Calif.] being held at a church, I couldn’t resist taking a closer look. Five clicks later I was enthralled by a document that I found both horrifying and revealing. The document was titled “The Non-Ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment” and written by A.H. Ellett, a retired Utah Supreme Court justice. Ironically, the tea party movement generally “supports with worshipful intensity the constitution of the United States,” according to historian Mark Lilla, but when its followers say “Constitution” they don’t mean the same U.S. Constitution that you and I mean. The recent issue for the tea party has been the repeal of the 14th Amendment. But repeal is just one small step compared to the giant leap that Justice Ellett makes in claiming that the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments (the so-called Reconstruction Amendments) were never legally (i.e. constitutionally) ratified in the first place. When the tea party folk say that they want their country back, I’m starting to understand just how far back they want it—back before the Civil War!

 The goal of this retrogression is revealed in Ellett’s opening paragraph of his arguments specifically against the fact of the ratification of the 14th Amendment. He writes:

The validity, or should we say invalidity, of the Civil War Amendments is very important to reinstating the inalienable rights of free white Citizens in the United States of America. At every juncture where the government of the United States of America and/or the governments of the several States attempt to usurp inalienable rights, the Civil War Amendments are ultimately claimed to be the authority for such deprivations of rights.

His 200-page treatise is filled with sophist (not sophisticated) argument that hinges on whether the authors of the 14th Amendment used uppercase or lowercase when conferring C/citizenship and P/personhood on the newly freed slaves. He also warns the contemporary reader that his citations may make some uncomfortable but they are necessary to the truth of his argument. He warns and then continues:

Please remember that the following Authorities reflects the understanding of the Founding Fathers at the time the Constitution for the United States was adopted, and although they may not be “politically” correct today, the Authorities represents the law at the time the Fourteenth Amendment was (purportedly) adopted.

This is further clarified in Amy v. Smith: /60

“Free negroes and mulattoes are, almost everywhere, considered and treated as a degraded race of people; insomuch so, that, under the constitution and laws of the United States, they can not become citizens of the United States.”

Amy v. Smith, 1 Litt. Ky. R. 334.

In light of this, no person would be considered as a United States Citizen or a citizen of the United States; as the Constitution was framed to incorporate the common law, in opposition to international law.

· common law—one race governs;

· international law—all races govern.

The capitalization of the words “Person” and “Citizen” could mean only one thing, the denoting of only those of one race in compliance with the common law.

“According to the common law principle (upon which our Constitution was founded), only the race (family) of people forming the sovereignty to adopt the Constitution (We the People) are considered “Citizens.” All others born inside the Country and owing allegiance to “We the People” are natural born “Subjects.” Under principles of International Law, that is, inter-racial law (See definition in Webster’s Dictionary, [1828]), these “Subjects” (who, by special privilege, are licensed to become something or do something normally illegal under the common-law), are said to be “citizens” and “persons.”

… [B]ut only those of the white race could be recognized as national citizens under the Preamble to the Constitution for the United States of America and be treated as “Citizens” in any State they entered.

And finally he reaches the ultimate point of it all for the tea party. While party followers might like to disenfranchise all persons of color, they are really after one in particular, President Barack Obama. To wit, Justice Ellett continues:

Thus, only white State citizens held the privileges and immunities known to Article IV, Section 2, among the several States, and no State could confer that Constitutional protection on any other race. In consequence thereof, the “also” could not authorize a “non-white” to be an “Officer” of the United States government.

Thus, according to Justice Ellett, Obama cannot constitutionally be president of the United States.

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