At Least Alberto Gonzales Cares About the 14th Amendment

As White House counsel to President George W. Bush and later as attorney general, Alberto Gonzales didn’t exactly distinguish himself as a staunch protector of the U.S. Constitution. It turns out there’s at least one provision of the document he is willing to defend. As Gonzales writes in The Washington Post:

Most recently, some politicians and concerned citizens have expressed a desire to amend the 14th Amendment of our Constitution, which says in Section 1, "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." Proponents want to discourage undocumented mothers from crossing our borders to give birth to children derogatorily referred to as "anchor babies," who by law are American citizens. Such a change is difficult to carry out, as it should be, requiring a new amendment ratified by three-quarters of the states.

I do not support such an amendment. Based on principles from my tenure as a judge, I think constitutional amendments should be reserved for extraordinary circumstances that we cannot address effectively through legislation or regulation. Because most undocumented workers come here to provide for themselves and their families, a constitutional amendment will not solve our immigration crisis. People will certainly continue to cross our borders to find a better life, irrespective of the possibilities of U.S. citizenship.

Read the rest here. I discuss the GOP’s misguided effort to ban birthright citizenship here.

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  • Alice Bowie||

    Q: You know what I really love about conservatives like Speedy Gonzalez and Dick 'the dick' Cheney?

    A: They are social conservatives and are willing to push their values on EVERYONE except for when it hits home.

  • Tony||

    Conservatives lack basic human empathy outside of their immediate sphere. Like hunter-gatherers.

  • Chonilicious||

    I care, I care, I care. I care so much, I'm clearly a better person than you. So I can tell you what to do.

  • ||

    Yes, Tony that is clearly true. There are no examples of conservatives having even "basic human empathy".

    Except for, you know, the part about how they voluntarily give more in charity than liberals. But I'm sure that is all uncompassionate giving, right?

  • Tony||

    Well if you include donations to Preacher's Lexus fund.

  • ||

    ""Except for, you know, the part about how they voluntarily give more in charity than liberals.""

    The top liberal donors probably give more than the conservative donors combined.

    But conservative do like to give money to advance their cause. Too bad it's taxpayer money going to rebuild other nations.

  • ||

    cite?

  • ||

    I don't have to cite a guess, only facts. Feel free to dispute my "probably" all you want.

    Maybe I'm give Bill Gates too much credit.

    "The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the world's largest charitable foundation. Its assets of approximately $22 billion dwarf most other foundations, including such well-known giants as the Ford Foundation, the Carnegie Corp., and the Rockefeller Foundation."
    http://www.answers.com/topic/b.....foundation

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    Conservatives lack basic human empathy outside of their immediate sphere. Like hunter-gatherers.

    You're wrong, Conservatives are just as capable of stealing and give the loot to their political cronies as Socialist.

    Socialist: An eleutherophobe that lacks the character to steal by himself.

  • Anonymous||

    I rather like that definition.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Alice Bowie,

    A: They are social conservatives and are willing to push their values on EVERYONE except for when it hits home.

    Q: You mean, just like Socialists?

  • ||

    That doesn't seem to be a thing to love about a political faction, Alice.

  • Asharak||

    Perhaps, but at this point, I have to admit that even the Bush Republicans are now preferable to the modern-day Know Nothings who are taking over the GOP.

  • ||

    You're missing a main point in what Gonzo was saying.

    " I do not support such an amendment. Based on principles from my tenure as a judge, I think constitutional amendments should be reserved for extraordinary circumstances that we cannot address effectively through legislation or regulation."

    He's OK with changing the Constitution through legislation and regulation and his experience as a federal judge says that's just peachy. Changing it through the correct process (i.e.: passing another Amendment) is not the way to go because it's permenant...and unnecessary.

    The way I read what he is saying is that we don't really need to go to the extreme measure of Amendment when we can go down the regulation and legislation road, and that he was fine ruling on cases like that when he was a judge. Now, I am no scholar on his juducial rulings, but I doubt Bush put him in as AG for his strict constructionist viewpoints.

    This statement is more alarming than if he had come out and said he was for the amendment.

  • ||

    for the amendment=for the amendment to be changed. sorry.

  • Jeffersonian||

    I agree. It's one thing to make such a change through the amendment process, where it's in the open and subject to public debate and legislative ratification, quite another to have it attached to an omnibus spending bill or in a raft of ICE regulations.

  • Xenocles||

    "He's OK with changing the Constitution through legislation and regulation and his experience as a federal judge says that's just peachy. Changing it through the correct process (i.e.: passing another Amendment) is not the way to go because it's permenant...and unnecessary."

    ^This^

  • Jack McCock||

    Fuck the illegal aliens, fuck their anchor babies, fuck these open and unsecured borders with that failed narco-state we call Mexico and fuck the 14th Amendment.

    Its been nothing but trouble since it was ratified. Especially since its original purpose was the Radical Republicans to imperialistically lord it over the southern states after the end of the Civil War.

  • Plate-O||

    fuck their anchor babies

    You're in luck. Someone created anchorbabyfriendfinder.com

  • Asharak||

    It seems stories like this always bring out the vile sociopathic trolls/Internet tough guys (i.e. Jack McCock).

  • Contemplationist||

    lol Damon

    You expect a prominent hispanic ex-official to come out against birthright citizenship? This is as surprising as watching the sun rise in the morning.

  • GOP Establishment||

    Tea Partiers think they are the only ones who can get a base riled up? Well, we'll show them how it is done. Who needs economic issues when you can stoke the old cultural war? Let them bitch about Democratic policies destroying this nation, unemployment, failed stimulus, sky high levels of public debt, a public sector expanding at the expense of everyone else, over compansated public 'employees', banking sector free monies, corporate subsidies for bullshit green projects, when we know what the American public really cares about is those damn Mexicans popping out babies this side of the border. Now that is a real campaign issue!

    Hey, I hear there is a lady somewhere on a life support machine with a loose plug . . . whew wee, watch out democrats, you gonna run tail now!

  • ||

    """ People will certainly continue to cross our borders to find a better life, irrespective of the possibilities of U.S. citizenship."""

    Make our country a bigger shithole than Mexico. Then Mexico can worry about people crossing the border. Our last fiscal breath will be selling the wall to Mexico to make part of an interest payment to China.

  • IceTrey||

    The 14th amendment was never intended to endow birthright citizenship. It is only because the phrase, "subject to the jurisdiction of", has been misinterpreted by the courts that we have the situation we have now. "Jurisdiction" in this case not meaning "territorial jurisdiction" but "personal jurisdiction".

    http://federalistblog.us/2007/.....ction.html

  • Tony||

    If so, oh well. Hasn't done much harm to date and I fail to see how the discussion surrounding it is relevant except in light of the midterm elections (them mexicans are gonna rape yer daughter, vote republican!)

  • ||

    Umm, illegal immigrants would also unequivocally be subject to "personal jurisdiction" in the United States ("personal jurisdiction" is determined by “whether the defendant purposefully established ‘minimum contacts’ in the forum State,” Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 474 (1985)), so you're just blabbering nonsense.

  • ||

    I'm not sure that "personal jurisdiction" is the measurement for the 14th Amendment citizenship. Presence within a forum (the US) is always sufficient to establish personal jurisdiction. As such, presence in the United States would satisfy the "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" requirement based on personal jurisdiction. I think if you are trying to exclude children born in the United States, you need to argue that they are not completely subject to the jurisdiction of the United States...they don't have to register for selective service, and I'm not sure what else.

  • ||

    ...they don't have to register for selective service, and I'm not sure what else.

    Since any alien in the US who is not on an explicitly nonimmigrant visa must register with Selective Service, I guess it has to be something else.

  • ||

    Illegal aliens have to register with Selective Service?

  • ||

    That's absurd, like the tax on marijuana that was used basically to increase the fines.

    Well, if there are no areas where illegal aliens are not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, then the only conclusion is that their anchor babies are legal citizens.

  • ||

    Remember... The restart of Selective Service began back when immigration law enforcement was sane -- i.e., when there was very little of it.

    If someone was living in the US -- whether or not they had the paperwork to prove it -- they were deemed a resident and could be expected to carry the same responsibilities as others who lived here.

    Not that Selective Service is a legitimate function of government -- but the underlying rationale stands.

  • ||

    MikeP: I stand corrected, and have to explore the possibility that "subject to jurisdiction thereof" might not have any meaning anymore.

  • ||

    Of course, with the present persecution of illegal aliens, the Selective Service is probably forced to do a legal residency check on anyone who has the nerve to register as they were asked to.

  • IceTrey||

    You are actually correct about this. As soon as all former slaves and some free blacks became citizens under the 14th the 14th became irrelevant.

  • IceTrey||

    An illegal alien or a non resident alien does not purposefully establish ‘minimum contacts’ when they enter a state. Only when an immigrant lawfully declares their intentions to emigrate and rejects all other allegiances does this happen.

  • IceTrey||

    Just follow the link. They explain it more clearly. That's why I gave it.

  • ||

    Personal jurisdiction is established by presence in the state. Period. No "minimum contacts" are necessary. If you are in the state, the state has personal jurisdiction over you. Next question.

  • IceTrey||

    No. They have territorial jurisdiction.

  • ||

    There is only one way to guard against the loss of our prosperity, and that is to renew ourselves constantly. The Romans, Spanish, English were unable to do this. We have a unique opportunity....and people who want to squander it.

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