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While checking out an immigration diary at Red State, rehoboam tipped me off to a very, very interesting article in the Washington Post, authored by George Will and entitled "An argument to be made about immigrant babies and citizenship" (March 28, 2010).

George Will’s argument is that

To end the practice of "birthright citizenship," all that is required is to correct the misinterpretation of that amendment's first sentence: "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." From these words has flowed the practice of conferring citizenship on children born here to illegal immigrants.

Mr Will is an intelligent man, and his article draws on the authority of Dr. Lino Graglia of the University of Texas law school, so this argument they've put forward deserves scrutiny and consideration. I'm not a constitutional scholar, by any means, but you and I both know how to read so let's investigate this claim.

Both gentlemen start with the text of the Civil Rights Act of 1866. This is interesting history, no doubt, but the relevance to the interpretation of the text of the 14th Amendment, which was ratified two years later, is neither compelling nor convincing. Engage with it if you like, but I consider it a curious but irrelevant digression into textual analysis of repealed legislation (the credibility of their historiography, incidentally, will be thrown into doubt shortly). We're interested in the interpretation of the 14th Amendment, and these gentlemen have weightier evidence to present.

George Will's article rests on claims made by Dr. Graglia recent article entitled "Citizenship for Children of Illegal Aliens" (Texas Review of Law & Politics. vol 14 no 1. Fall 2009). Graglia's article uses a selective reading of Elk v. Wilkins, 112 U.S. 94 (1884) to argue that the US federal government has the discretion to grant or deny birthright citizenship. Dr Graglia writes of Elk v. Wilkins:

The decision seemed to establish that American citizenship is not an ascriptive (depending on place of birth), but is a consensual relation, requiring the consent of the United States as well as the individual. This would clearly settle the question of birthright citizenship for children of illegal aliens. There cannot be a more total or forceful denial of consent to a person’s citizenship than to make the source of that person’s presence in the nation illegal. (p.9)

If we are to accept or reject Dr Graglia's argument, we should first determine if we agree with his representation of the case. Here is the wikipedia page about the Elk v. Wilkins and an HTML version from Justia.

Dr Graglia uses clear an intelligible language to explain that Elk v. Wilkins establishes that someone born within the borders of the United States is not a citizen by birth. This is literally true, but even a cursory reading of the SCOTUS's ruling reveals that the professor has over-simplified to the point of deception. Take this passage, from the syllabus of the case:

An Indian, born a member of one of the Indian tribes within the United States, which still exists and is recognized as a tribe by the government of the United States, who has voluntarily separated himself from his tribe, and taken up his residence among the white citizens of a state, but who has not been naturalized, or taxed, or recognized as a citizen either by the United States or by the state, is not a citizen of the United States within the meaning of the first section of the Fourteenth Article of Amendment of the Constitution. (Elk v. Wilkins, Syllabus)

If we assert that the italicized text is irrelevant verbosity on the part of the court, then the bolded text suggests that Dr Graglia's argument (and Mr Will's article) are well founded. However, the fact that the Court felt this characteristic (being born to an Indian tribe) was significant enough to not only include in the Syllabus, but lay as a foundational issue in the description of the plaintiff's case, suggests it might have some significance. I can't say that the import of being born to an Indian tribe is immediately clear but the Supreme Court saw fit to explain:

Under the Constitution of the United States as originally established, "Indians not taxed" were excluded from the persons according to whose numbers representatives and direct taxes were apportioned among the several states, and Congress had and exercised the power to regulate commerce with the Indian tribes, and the members thereof, whether within or without the boundaries of one of the states of the Union. The Indian tribes, being within the territorial limits of the United States, were not, strictly speaking, foreign states, but they were alien nations, distinct political communities, with whom the United States might and habitually did deal as they thought fit, either through treaties made by the President and Senate or through acts of Congress in the ordinary forms of legislation. The members of those tribes owed immediate allegiance to their several tribes, and were not part of the people of the United States. (Page 112 U. S. 99)...General acts of Congress did not apply to Indians unless so expressed as to clearly manifest an intention to include them.(Page 112 U. S. 100)

This case was brought by plaintiff John Elk, who was born to such an alien nation, left his tribe, severed ties, moved to live among the white man and sought to claim citizenship under the 14th Amendment and was denied the right to vote. The court denied his claim because:

Indians born within the territorial limits of the United States, members of and owing immediate allegiance to one of the Indiana tribes (an alien though dependent power), although in a geographical sense born in the United States, are no more "born in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof," within the meaning of the first section of the Fourteenth Amendment, than the children of subjects of any foreign government born within the domain of that government, or the children born within the United States of ambassadors or other public ministers of foreign nations. (Page 112 U. S. 102)

Ok. That's pretty clear. Indians are recognized as a sovereign (if not foreign) nation who's members have not more claim to US citizenship than subjects born in a foreign domain. Like, you know, France. How is this in any way equivalent to the child of a sovereign domain born in the United States?

It's not.

Dr Graglia approvingly quotes from the third to last paragraph (bottom of page 177) where SCOTUS approvingly quotes Judge Deady from another case:

"But an Indian cannot make himself a citizen of the United States without the consent and co-operation of the Government. The fact that he has abandoned his nomadic life or tribal relations, and adopted the habits and manners of civilized people, may be a good reason why he should be made a citizen of the United States, but does not of itself make him one. To be a citizen of the United States is a political privilege which no one, not born to, can assume without its consent in some form."

In a creative use of grammar, Dr Graglia reads this passage as "To be a citizen of the United States is a political privilege which no one can assume without its consent in some form," conveniently omitting the caveat "not born to." The whole sentence, again, so that our local Grammar Nazis can revel in the power of ignoring two commas:

To be a citizen of the United States is a political privilege which no one, not born to, can assume without its consent in some form.

Does SCOTUS have anything else to say on the matter? Is it possible that Dr Graglia and George Will are correct that the question of foreigners giving birth in the United States was a question un-contemplated when the 14th Amendment was ratified?

Well, no.

Dr. Graglia helpfully provides United States v. Wong Kim Ark (1898), the syllabus of which reads:

A child born in the United States, of parents of Chinese descent, who, at the time of his birth, are subjects of the Emperor of China, but have a permanent domicil and residence in the United States, and are there carrying on business, and are not employed in any diplomatic or official capacity under the Emperor of China, becomes at the time of his birth a citizen of the United States, by virtue of the first clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution

Dr Graglia dismisses this case as an illegitimate aberration of American jurisprudence which relies on alien common law without domestic tradition. The reader is welcome is welcome to review United States v. Wong Kim Ark (1898), a veritable bibliography of support for birthright citizenship. Among the "alien" common law decisions used by the court to decide this case:

Inglis v. Trustees of Sailor's Snug Harbor, 28 U. S. 99 (1830)

In negotiation the question of the disposition of an estate of a man born in New York in 1776, the Court resolves complicated questions of how citizenship was derived during the War of Independence. The court finds (38 years before the 14th Amendment) that jus soli is so consistent in American law as to automatically grant American citizenship to children born in New York City between July 4 1776 and September 15, 1776, but not to children born in that city during the British occupation which followed September 15th of that year.

"Nothing is better settled at the common law than the doctrine that the children even of aliens born in a country while the parents are resident there under the protection of the government and owing a temporary allegiance thereto are subjects by birth.." Inglis v. Trustees of Sailor's Snug Harbor, 28 U. S. 99 (1830)

Minor v. Happersett, 88 U. S. 162 (1874)

In deciding the claim of a woman denied the right to vote in Missouri, the Court recognized that within common law "there have been doubts" as to whether to "include as citizens children born within the jurisdiction without reference to the citizenship of their parents". The court found that women were unquestionably citizens, whether by birth or naturalization, and 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." Minor v. Happersett, 88 U. S. 162 (1874) (Italics in the original.)

Writing six years after the 14th Amendment, the Court ruled that "the Constitution of the United States does not confer the right of suffrage upon anyone, and that the constitutions and laws of the several states which commit that important trust to men alone are not necessarily void". The astute historian might note that as of 1870 the 15th Amendment had been ratified, and section one read that "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude." That the court may have erred in writing that the Constitution "does not confer the right of suffrage upon anyone" is self evident, but the question of denying the right to vote on the basis of sex was not resolved until the 19th Amendment was ratified in 1920.

There are, of course, many, many more cases, which the reader is welcome to review at their leisure. At 2100 words, my time is up.

In conclusion, there is more evidence in US Supreme Court rulings, before and after the ratification of the 14th Amendment, to support birthright citizenship than to support the right of citizens to vote, or the right of transnationals to own private property. Claims seeking to redefine the 14th Amendment, made by Dr Graglia, of the University of Texas, and propagated by George Will, of the Washington Post, rely on misrepresentations of a SCOTUS ruling which does not, in fact, support their position. Whether these misrepresentations were the result of malice or incompetence I cannot divine. However, I would respectfully suggest that, by leveraging their social position to propagate these errors, they have undermined the US Constitution in the minds of the citizenry, to the detriment of the Republic and our political culture.

It is a rare power to be able to de-education one's audience, and a true scandal to see it exercised by a nationally recognized journalist and a university professor. But there you go: that's how the grown-ups roll these days.

Originally posted to opendna on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 01:08 AM PDT.

Poll

A(n) ____ who misrepresents evidence is worse than the others.

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29%23 votes
21%17 votes
8%7 votes
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2%2 votes
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| 78 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

    •  Will and the professor are also off (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      opendna, Cartoon Peril

      because they are citing case law which is no longer relevant, at least since The Indian Citizenship Act of 1924, also known as the Snyder Act.

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 08:37:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'll give them that point. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cartoon Peril

        I don't think the case law was never relevant to their claim in the first place.

        You're absolutely right that John Elk's case would be different today because of the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 (h/t to jbro for being the first), but the principles underlying that decision remain valid: if you're not subject to US jurisdiction, the 14th doesn't apply.

        For example, "children of subjects of any foreign government born within the domain of that government, or the children born within the United States of ambassadors or other public ministers of foreign nations" are still not citizens at birth.

        --- Perma-ban or bust. - opendna

        by opendna on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 12:51:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Very late, but wow, what a fantastic diary (0+ / 0-)

      It is so well researched and presented that I'm hotlisting it and will use it as a refernece in the future.  

      One thing--the only thing--I can add to this is that the jurisdiction of the United States government per se can be reasonably argued, in my opinion, only in cases where the subject is involved with a crime:

      "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."

      "Subject to the jurisdiction thereof" suggests the ability of the US government to cover the person's citizenship when there is no conflicting issue.  To play the devil's advocate, I could argue that if an illegal alien crossed the border as a wanted criminal from Canada and then had a baby in Montana (subject to Montana's laws, of course) the baby's citizenship could be questioned as not under US jurisdiction due to the illegality of the entrance.  Of course, a person doesn't have to have committed a crime to be an illegal alien in the US, but it could add an extra layer of difficulty to jurisdiction, imo.  Probably not much of an argument, and one I'd have to research and don't have time to, but it's the only thing I can offer to your excellent diary:)

      Sorry so late, I have a 2-year-old:)

      Sarah Palin: All pistol and no squint.

      by CanyonWren on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 07:25:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for the comment. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CanyonWren

        I may dive into the "jurisdiction" question in the future, because there's been plenty written about it. The version you present is pretty typical on the Right: "if they aren't following the law then they aren't subject to the US's jurisdiction".

        That is not how SCOTUS has understood jurisdiction. The Court seems to regard everyone within the territory of the USA to be under US jurisdiction unless otherwise specifically exempted. "Exempted" is a good word because to be outside of US jurisdiction means the laws do not apply to you.

        If an ambassador gets drunk and kills someone in a DUI, there is nothing to be done except ask his country to take him away. The laws do not apply to him because he is outside the jurisdiction of the USA. If an illegal immigrant gets drunk and kills someone, his rejection of the authority of the court won't keep him out of jail any more than it will a natural born citizen. The laws apply to him, whether or not he likes it, because he is subject to US jurisdiction.

        This is why legal reforms to circumvent the 14th Amendment by excluding foreigners from the jurisdiction of the USA are particularly silly. If you exclude illegal immigrants from US jurisdiction to deprive their children of citizenship, then you also make them immune to prosecution under American laws. That doesn't sound like a good idea to me.

        --- Perma-ban or bust. - opendna

        by opendna on Fri Apr 16, 2010 at 01:07:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Great example, which helps me (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          opendna

          understand it better, thanks.  I'll look forward to your next diary--if it doesn't get on the wreck list please hunt me down and let me know it posted, ok?  

          Hope you have a great weekend, and you've inspired me to know this topic better.

          Sarah Palin: All pistol and no squint.

          by CanyonWren on Sat Apr 17, 2010 at 09:28:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  George Will is a pompous lying asshole (21+ / 0-)

    From FAIR's blog:

    Back when Republicans filibustered a Clinton economic stimulus bill in 1993, he cheered them on in a column headlined "The Framers' Intent" (Washington Post, 4/25/93). Will defended "the right of a minority to use extended debate to obstruct Senate action" and praised "the generation that wrote and ratified the Constitution" for properly establishing "the Senate's permissive tradition regarding extended debates."

    "If Senate rules, exploited by an anti-constitutional minority, are allowed to trump the Constitution's text and two centuries of practice, the Senate's power to consent to judicial nominations will have become a Senate right to require a supermajority vote for confirmation."

    -- George Will, Feb 2003, complaining that Senate filibusters are a "Coup Against the Constitution"

    And in Feb 2010:

    Great innovations," said Jefferson, "should not be forced on slender majorities." Liberals say filibusters confuse and frustrate the public. The public does indeed mistakenly believe that government is designed to act quickly in compliance with presidential wishes. But most ideas incubated in the political cauldron of grasping factions are deplorable. Therefore, serving the public involves -- mostly involves -- saying "no."

    It's not difficult to see he's all over the map, freely quoting "the founding fathers" to mean one thing or its exact opposite, whichever way the right-wing wind needs to blow (hard).

  •  1924 Indian Citizenship (8+ / 0-)

    Most of those arguments about American Indian citizenship should have been resolved by the

    Indian Citizenship Act of 1924.

    "The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself." -FDR

    by jbro on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 01:33:52 AM PDT

    •  True. True. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      buddabelly, myrealname, journeyman, Joieau

      Their arguments revolved around intent and original meaning; a kind of attempt to misrepresent history to claim the its authority in the service of a future redefinition of the blatantly obvious.

      I could have argued for moral progress (i.e. the 19th Ammt and the many citizenship acts), but I figured beating them with their own sources was sufficient for this exercise.

      Thanks for the link.

      --- Perma-ban or bust. - opendna

      by opendna on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 01:42:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks for pointing this out. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      opendna

      I was actually wondering about it.  So basically this shows that Will and Graglia are using an exception that never applied and has subsequently been OBE.  Typical.

      "I always found it interesting that people would cast aspersions on failure, as if it were a bad thing." -- Michael Steele, RNC Chairman

      by journeyman on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 07:25:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  sounds like (6+ / 0-)

    he's trying an end runaround to say President Obama isn't legal because of his father and mother's status.

    Just another day in birtherland.

    •  I think it's more about the coming fight (8+ / 0-)

      over immigration law.  Dismantling jus soli is a major, if unofficial, conservative platform.

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 01:41:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  heh (10+ / 0-)

        should be interesting to see how that plays out when one of the most shrilly anti-immigrant right wing commentators is herself an anchor baby.
        The way that argument is presented, it would make her a non-US citizen, children born to her would become non-US citizens as well.

        Conservative commentator Michelle Malkin — herself born in the United States to alien parents who were legally, temporarily in the U.S. at the time[11] — has asserted that "the custom of granting automatic citizenship at birth to children of tourists and temporary workers...and to countless 'anchor babies' ...on American soil, undermines the integrity of citizenship—not to mention national security".

        •  Malkin is part of a new species (3+ / 1-)
          Recommended by:
          Kimball Cross, fizziks, anastasia p
          Hidden by:
          Cartoon Peril

          homodumbbitchicus, biped with single cell brain...and oh how the homodumbbitchicuns love one another.  

          But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have laid my dreams under your feet; tread softly, because you tread on my dreams. -- Yeats

          by Bill O Rights on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 02:09:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  She is one of the dumbest... (5+ / 0-)

            ....and more immoral people I know of, but there's no reason to be sexist by calling her a bitch.

            •  Personally I think you are a moron (0+ / 0-)

              for having such poor comprehensive skills.  But IS that as far as I'm going to take the confrontation?  Although, after being called a blasted by someone who can't read...I'm very fucking tempted...yep, I'm gonna respond.

              READ:  species doesn't = a population of ONE!
                   
              Bitch is NOT a one-d word that means ONE Thing...Curse words are malleable..that is why they are CURSE WORDS.  They are meant to BITE, to EMPHASIZE!

              IMO, bitch is not a sexist epithet when 90% of the people IN MODERN USAGE OF THE TERM are MEN.  

              Last, I called her HomodumbBITCHicus which made her a part of a species called HomodumbBITCHicuns...like say TALKING FUCKING HEADS THAT INCLUDE HANNITY, LIMBAUGH, BECK and a whole host of others that include other women AND other men.

              I'm sorry you can't read.  I'm sorry you wanna be quick to judge and are LOOKING FOR COMMENTS that you can deliberately misinterpret and that give you "the high ground".  

              Well, in this case, you are wrong.  Also, after META BS part 164 on dKos, I'm a little fucking sick of the PC cops running around screaming their fucking heads off at shit that either doesn't exist or that isn't meant to offend.  You people whine when gays refer to THEMSELVES as homos.  You people whine when women use the word BITCH themselves.  I'm sure you sit at home asking "why does that Chris Rock keep using the words nigger and nigga?"

              If everyone wrote in Perfect PC this would be a boring MOTHERFUCKING SITE (yea, I hate my mom and my child's mom, right?  because certainly I wouldn't use a term like MOTHERFUCKER if I didn't hate MOTHERS....certainly it couldn't be that using a curse word can be done in a non-Websters defined way.  My dad is an ASSHOLE!(no, not the little starburst from the hind end of a pootie diary.  Wow, asshole has indeterminate sizing when used as a curse word...HOW BIG AN ASSHOLE IS HE?  Is the type asshole who didn't let you drink before you were 21 or the type of asshole that got drunk and beat you and your mom to a bloody pulp?)

              I could go on, but if the way I define cursing; how I feel about PC; or what I think of your moronic contextualization isn't evident by now...I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to explain it better.

              Yes, I'll take criticism when it is deserved.  When it is a pile of petty bullshit like this?  Not so much.  Your response is why so many diaries devolve into OT bullshit.  Take an innocuous comment, throw in some "righteous indignation" in the hopes that a few more will see it "your" way and voile, we have a shouting match where the original statement is redefined so many times that 60 comments later not one fucking person remembers what started the whole rigmarole in the first place without having to scroll back up to see.

              Keep crying wolf, just like the other PC cops, and the faster we can get back to open honest discourse.

              But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have laid my dreams under your feet; tread softly, because you tread on my dreams. -- Yeats

              by Bill O Rights on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 12:06:07 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You wasted your time writing that moronic screed? (0+ / 0-)

                Christ, if you want to complain about PC people, go hang out with Rush.

                Bitch is a sexist term to describe a woman. Sexism is wrong. There's no reason to use the term. Are you a progressive or not? You can say whatever the hell you'd like. I'm not censoring you. I'm simply pointing out the fact that you're not as progressive as you think you are because you're making use of sexism.

          •  can't use those words here, even on MM (0+ / 0-)

            You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

            by Cartoon Peril on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 09:48:46 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  I can kinda see where Graglia is hinging his (5+ / 0-)

    argument, because it seems like the text of the blockquote does say that geographical place of birth is secondary to parental allegiance.  Your stronger rebuttal, I think, is the wealth of decisions both before and after the 14th Amendment that have argued otherwise - if anything, it seems Elk is the 'illegitimate aberration' in the bunch.

    Great work digging up all these references.  Really informative read.

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 01:40:47 AM PDT

  •  If only you could get a court to understand the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cartoon Peril, happymisanthropy

    law your way.

    In the mean time. If you are born here you are citizen here.

    How else would you prevent the occurrence of a permanent underclass the an apartheid state?

    We shall overcome, someday. Yes we can.

    by Sam Wise Gingy on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 02:01:33 AM PDT

  •  Cal State Northridge Alum Cheech Marin (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    opendna, marykk, IreGyre

    was Born in East L.A.

    Thank God.

    -4.75, -5.33 Cheney 10/05/04: "I have not suggested there is a connection between Iraq and 9/11."

    by sunbro on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 02:23:45 AM PDT

  •  you mean caveat (5+ / 0-)

    a cravat is something else (:-)

    And George Will is just another racist looking for some rationalization. Although a more spectacular and interesting example than most.

    Why must Republicans lie all the time? Because if they told the truth, they'd be Democrats.

    by Robert Ullmann on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 03:29:40 AM PDT

    •  Nice catch. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      myrealname, marykk

      Fixed. Thank you.

      What's wrong with Will? I have no idea. I'm not generally in the habit of reading his work, but this one irritated me. tiggers thotful spot (above) suggests this kind of thing is par for the course for G.Will's articles.

      --- Perma-ban or bust. - opendna

      by opendna on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 03:49:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I wonder what "law" books are used at the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    opendna, litho, happymisanthropy

    U of texas law school?

    Never walk into a public restroom while breathing through your mouth.

    by quityurkidding on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 03:58:10 AM PDT

  •  Good diary, good discussion. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    opendna, journeyman

    This diary deserves more play.  Your arguments are sound, and well-researched.  Tipped and rec'd.

    Republicans are like alligators. All mouth and no ears.

    by Ohiodem1 on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 04:12:02 AM PDT

  •  Why do you assume (6+ / 0-)

    either malice or incompetence?

    text "YELE" to 501501 to give five bucks to Haitian relief, or "HAITI" to 90999 to give ten to the Red Cross.

    by litho on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 04:15:51 AM PDT

  •  Dr. Graglia's failure to use an elipsis (4+ / 0-)

    is an unforgivable error that is taught in high school English classes.  It is intended to allow the reader to know that it is not a direct quote, that something was left out, and to allow the reader to check the original source to gain the entire context.

    By this failure, Dr. Graglia, changed the meaning of the quoted part, with no clue to the reader that a change was made.  This failure to follow is dishonest.

    Republicans are like alligators. All mouth and no ears.

    by Ohiodem1 on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 04:27:51 AM PDT

    •  That's partly my bad. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ohiodem1

      You're talking about

      In a creative use of grammar, Dr Graglia reads this passage as "To be a citizen of the United States is a political privilege which no one can assume without its consent in some form," conveniently omitting the caveat "not born to." The whole sentence, again, so that our local Grammar Nazis can revel in the power of ignoring two commas:

      I'm pretty sure he actually included "not born to" in his quotes, though he certainly ignored it in deciding what the sentence meant. He just skipped over it as if it weren't there.

      If you have suggestions about how I could make this clearer, I'm open to suggestions.

      P.S. Wouldn't the ellipses have been dishonest too? I didn't think you were aloud to use them to change meaning.

      --- Perma-ban or bust. - opendna

      by opendna on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 01:03:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If he changed the meaning, he was dishonest (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        opendna

        I will try to find the original source.  Not trying to be a grammar nazi here.  The dishonesty is his.

        Republicans are like alligators. All mouth and no ears.

        by Ohiodem1 on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 02:23:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You say that like it's a *bad* thing. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ohiodem1

          What's wrong with being a grammar Nazi? :) I've learned more about grammar from people correcting me on blogs than I ever did in English class.

          If you're so inclined, the original sources are all linked above. But you're absolutely right that he changed the meaning, so I guess he was dishonest.

          --- Perma-ban or bust. - opendna

          by opendna on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 02:41:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  It's as unambiguous as words can be (5+ / 0-)

    Birthright citizenship may or may not be a good idea, but it's the only good-faith interpretation of the Constitution--Will and Graglia are dishonest and that's all there is to it.  It's fun to problematize things but there's nothing to see here.  

    When your dream comes true, you're out one dream --The Nields

    by Rich in PA on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 04:38:08 AM PDT

  •  The constitution is pretty much like (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    opendna

    the Bible, in that anyone can interpret it as fits their agenda.

    The republicans today look upon the constitution as their Bible and the "founding fathers" as the disciples.


    The religious fanatics didn't buy the republican party because it was virtuous, they bought it because it was for sale

    by nupstateny on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 06:18:17 AM PDT

  •  marker (0+ / 0-)

    Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

    by billmosby on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 06:21:07 AM PDT

  •  The Framer's intent was that everyone born here (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    opendna, Cartoon Peril, Joieau

    is a citizen and the government cannot revoke it. That was the 1866 framers.

    •  And that intent (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      opendna, Cartoon Peril

      is mirrored in the laws and treaties of other nations around the world as well. Were that not so John McCain would not be a US citizen and neither would I (born to service couple in another country). I don't know how many times in my as Navy brat and Navy Wife I've had to educate bureaucrats at DMV offices, SS, and places where I've worked that the "citizenship" designation for my parents on my foreign birth certificate makes me as much a US citizen as any of my siblings born in the USA.

      Though I did hold automatic dual citizenship in the country where I was born until I turned 18. At which point I could have kept it if I filed the paperwork.

      •  Funny enough (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cartoon Peril, Joieau

        that "child of a citizen" thing is actually more tenuous than being born in country. I forget the details but it is possible that, after enough generations, US citizenship will no longer get passed from parent to child. Something about a residence requirement when only one parent is a US citizen. Anyway...

        Good on you for being a force of civic education. I know it wasn't by choice, but it's still good work.

        --- Perma-ban or bust. - opendna

        by opendna on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 02:31:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  NO it won't. (0+ / 0-)

          only by a constitutional amendment, which I'm sure will never get passed.

        •  Correct. Here's the law: every one born (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          opendna

          in US (except for children who have two parents with diplomatic immunity, surely an extremely small number of people), is a citizen automatically, regardless of the citizenship or immigration status of their parents.

          The legal presumption is that someone born overseas is NOT a U.S. citizen.  (Note: Canal Zone considered part of U.S., so McCain not considered foreign-born.)  However, Congress allows persons born overseas to "derive" U.S. citizenship from either their mother or father (although the test is somewhat different for a father), provided that the mother or father lived in the U.S for at least five years, including two years after the age of 14 (I think that is the cutoff age.)

          The residence requirement prevents a situation of multiple generations of Americans born abroad with no connection to the US and no residency in the US.

          Citizenship by derivation is automatic and it is different than citizenship by naturalization, in particular, like birth citizenship it can never be involuntarily revoked.  Even so, because the 14th Amendment doesn't confer birth citizenship on the children of U.S. born persons (if those children are born abroad), Congress has he authority to promulgate laws addressing their citizenship, and can (and has) changed the requirements from time to time.

          You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

          by Cartoon Peril on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 10:02:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  sidebar (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    opendna

    if memory serves ( and it may not so check to satisfy yourself )

    Alberto Gonzales was a professor at Rice University and he was a professor at Air Force Academy/college
    where he taught his doctrines about torture

    We can only afford to cut taxes on the rich - Candidate for CA Governor Meg Whitman

    by anyname on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 06:49:10 AM PDT

  •  George Will is (4+ / 0-)

    a pompous, self-absorbed shill for whatever Republican talking points need to be propped up on a given day. Wingers think he's a deep thinker because he uses big words and confusing sentence structure.

    He should stick to baseball, a subject about which he is very knowledgeable.

    "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

    by happy camper on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 06:51:10 AM PDT

  •  Good diary, what is wrong with these people? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    opendna, sberel, buddabelly, journeyman

    I was reflecting on Bob McDonnel's desicion to require essays from convicted felons to restore voting rights. An essay which may be approved, or presumably unapproved. This shows an essential misunderstanding about the concept of what is a  "right." They wish to convert a right into a priviledge that must be earned, by the good acts they discuss in the essay, or their competency to write effectively.

    Now, they want to walk back citizenship as a right? These people are crazy. It seems clear the demographics of the country are changing rapidly, consigning white men to also rans. And they are grasping at straws to game the system and maintain their power base and advantages.  

    "I am not guilty, I am not ashamed and I am not finished." --Lt. Dan Choi, 3/19/10

    by Scott Wooledge on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 07:25:13 AM PDT

  •  Great Diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    opendna

    Thanks for the solid argument and research.

    "I always found it interesting that people would cast aspersions on failure, as if it were a bad thing." -- Michael Steele, RNC Chairman

    by journeyman on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 07:26:00 AM PDT

  •  Graglia's article is a POS, very little (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    opendna

    authority cited, and is consistent with his being what he is, which is long-term anti-immigrant pseudo-intellectual.  Will is simply a fool for falling for this rubbish.

    You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

    by Cartoon Peril on Sun Apr 11, 2010 at 09:46:33 PM PDT

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