Ignorant fucking crackers

>> Wednesday, May 26, 2010

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. 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.

Constitution Of The United States,
Amendment XIV, section 1


...49 percent say the U.S. should continue to grant citizenship to all children born in the United States, versus 46 percent who believe the law should be changed so that children of illegal immigrants are not automatically granted citizenship. (Among Latinos, a whopping 79 percent believe the country should continue to grant automatic citizenship.)

-Mark Murray, "On immigration, racial divide runs deep",
MSNBC, May 26th, 2010


So I'm waiting, checking news on my BlackBerry while I wait, and I read this MSNBC article about a poll conducted by NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo, and I get to the paragraph I quoted above, and my eyeball explodes. The right one, the one that I'm pretty sure will go if I ever actually have that stroke and my head really explodes. Blood and eye-juice all over the place--I kid, it only fell out and I popped it back in before anyone noticed; it would have been embarrassing if they had, of course.

What. The. Fuck?

No, I shouldn't be surprised. A large number of my fellow Americans are, as the scientific classification goes, homo ignarus crustulae, which is as close as I can get to a Latin classification of "ignorant cracker people" using online translation services and my complete lack of mastery of Latin (notwithstanding one semester of the language in high school, a course I frankly passed solely through being the only enthusiastic student in the class and not because I retained a single solitary declension); anybody who wants to suggest a better taxonomic label have at it.

What's the Latin for "fuck"--fucare or something like that? Ignorant fucking crackers is what we're talking about.

I have no idea how this poll would break down along party or ideological lines, though I fear I can guess. The proclivity of certain folks on the American right to favor immigration "reform" is matched by their ridiculous appeals to Constitutional originalism and fidelity. Which brings us to the irony, of course: that one suspects quite a lot of the people who perhaps think the Fourteenth Amendment ought to be repealed in whole or in part are people who rant and froth about how we should get back to the "original" Constitution, whatever the hell that is.

And that is what they're talking about, by-the-way. "Granting citizenship to children born in the United States" isn't something done by operation of statute or shady regulation of Immigration And Naturalization; it isn't policy or regulation. It's the Constitution Of The United States, the foundational document of who we are, made a part of the fundamental fabric of the Nation in the wake of the American Civil War as part of the process that made former slaves legal human beings instead of chattel.

(At which point it's also worth observing that the whole claim that certain folks--e.g. members of the teabag movement--aren't racists and it's mean and unfair to call them that may be laughable farce, since "racist" versus "person who wants to dial American Constitutional law back to 1860" may be a distinction with no meaningful difference whatsoever. After all, while not every early-19th-Century American was a racist, and some indeed were abolitionists, they lived in a country with a racist founding document, a country in which not only was apartheid legal but so was treating a man like a horse to be bought, sold, whipped or pampered per the whims of the possessor. Put another way, those early-19th-Century Americans who weren't racists didn't want to live in early-19th-Century America either and were often actively engaged in disturbing a longstanding status quo that American racists were trying to preserve. Draw your own conclusions.)

Now, there is a peculiar trick, a sort of loophole that you might try to slip a piece of nativist legislation through. Notice that the Fourteenth Amendment says (quite clearly) that "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and , are citizens...." It seems that a few clever-ish Congresspersons have tried to pass legislation that would define children born in the United States to illegals as not being within U.S. jurisdiction and therefore, logically, not citizens.

Clever-ish, not clever. You do know, of course, that a court cannot hear a legal action--neither criminal nor civil--over somebody it doesn't have jurisdiction over. Indeed, a government can't do much of anything with somebody it doesn't have jurisdiction over, meaning that a piece of legislation as dubiously worded as the Citizenship Reform Act Of 2005 (or the nearly-identical Birthright Citizenship Act of 2007) could possibly have the accidental effect of giving a broad grant of civil and criminal immunity to the people it's trying to deny citizenship to. (The CRA and BCA tried to limit their application to the Immigration And Nationality Act, which looks like it would solve the immunity grant problem by making either act almost certainly unconstitutional by--wait for it--violating the Fourteenth Amendment Citizenship Clause. Gosh, talk about being made of win.1)

In trying to explain how ridiculously wrong and idiotic these people are, I'm actually starting to feel like I'm going down the rabbit hole myself. They can't do it because of x and they'll fail if they try to work around x with y and z is just no help; this becomes an example of how crazy is like dogshit--you step in it and it's impossible to get it totally out of the sole of your shoe. I've been at this longer than I meant to be and even ended up throwing a Supreme Court cite in when I said to myself I wasn't going to even go to that much trouble, was just going to do a sort of Internet drive-by on the raving incomprehensible idiocy. So I'm going to pull the plug on this instead of working through all the reasons you have to do a contortionist act to ignore the plain meaning of a Constitutional Amendment, and hope it's sufficient to say that the only way for them to get what they say they want is by way of a Constitutional Amendment that would repeal the Fourteenth Amendment in whole-or-part (and good luck getting the votes for that) and would not only do away with nearly a century of post-Civil War law but would probably have fucked their own ancestors if it had been the law whenever they came over on a boat.

I'm long out of patience with these jackasses. They are offended to be called "teabaggers" and "racists" and "ignorant fucking morons," but at some point a thing speaks for itself and obviously is what it is. These people do not have opinions that should be heard and respected and considered, they have prejudices that should be publicly aired and repudiated, and those bigots who are not educable should be humiliated for the greater benefit of society so that future idiots might be deterred if possible. It is possible, however unlikely, that they may indeed manage to take "their" country back, i.e. seize the reins of power by fair means or foul and, like many a reactionary rabble before them, drool and spasm until things fall apart and the grown-ups return to pick up their juvenile mess; that they might temporarily "succeed" in the vaguest possible sense of "briefly winning" does not alter the fact they are entitled to no more respect than any other mob of uneducated, bleating fools.





1I'm trying to keep this fairly simple, but see also Plyler v. Doe (457 U.S. 202 (1982)):

In appellants' view, persons who have entered the United States illegally are not "within the jurisdiction" of a State even if they are present within a State's boundaries and subject to its laws. Neither our cases nor the logic of the Fourteenth Amendment support that constricting construction of the phrase "within its jurisdiction."



11 comments:

vince Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 1:13:00 PM EDT  

To paraphrase Dean Wormer from Animal House - "Ignorant, racist and stupid is no way to go through life, son."

Or as Robert Heinlein once wrote: "Most people can't think, most of the remainder won't think, the small fraction who do think mostly can't do it very well. The extremely tiny fraction who think regularly, accurately, creatively, and without self-delusion- in the long run these are the only people who count."

Janiece Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 1:47:00 PM EDT  

Lovely. Just lovely.

What Constitution? We don't need no stinking CONSTITUTION!

::head, desk::

Dr. Phil (Physics) Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 2:01:00 PM EDT  

Well, there's your problem. The 14th Amendment ain't The Original Constitution. Of course that solves some other problems, eh, Sarah? 'Cause under The Original Constitution, not only can't you become President of the United States, you can't vote either.

Ain't reality a bitch slap to the head?

Dr. Phil

copstrag -- some for of Police gulag for sorting out Strict Constitutionalists.

Eric Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 3:40:00 PM EDT  

Hmmm... y'know, Dr. Phil, that would almost be the proverbial lemonade-from-the-lemons....

Nathan Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 5:44:00 PM EDT  

At the risk of sounding like an idiot, you lost me when you started talking about "jurisdiction" (in the paragraph that starts "Clever-ish, not clever). If you feel like parsing that bit for the slow (me), that'd be fine.

If not, I can live with my ignorance.

:D

Eric Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 6:13:00 PM EDT  

Not a problem, Nathan. Let me see if I can clear this up without making it worse:

To have jurisdiction over somebody or something (or some place) is to exercise legal power over it/him/her. A state has jurisdiction to enforce its laws within its borders, or a court has jurisdiction over an individual to issue a judgment for or against him, to provide a couple of f'r'instances. Jurisdiction might be over a subject (e.g. all legal disputes involving less than $500) or a place (e.g. within the borders of Hazzard County). No governmental entity can exercise power over a person unless they have jurisdiction over that person granted by location, connection (e.g. property owned within a locality), power of law (e.g. a statute saying that a certain kind of person is within a government's power), etc.

Jurisdiction is a big, wobbly concept and means a whole lot, and encompasses a lot of concepts. Some of those concepts are very abstract and some extremely concrete.

Lack of jurisdiction--whatever kind of jurisdiction might be relevant--is always a bar to state action. North Carolina can't set the speed limit on New York highways because North Carolina has not been granted jurisdiction to do so. A state court generally can't hear a question of Federal law because it isn't granted to hear such cases.

Now, the Citizenship Clause of Amendment XIV ties citizenship to two things: [birth or naturalization] and [being subject to American jurisdiction] (I've bracketed them to hopefully make them clearer. "Subject to jurisdiction" can mean all sorts of things, but we know of three things that it didn't mean:

1) foreign diplomats have diplomatic immunity and are therefore not subject to United States jurisdiction--and their children aren't, either, and therefore aren't citizens even if born on U.S. soil;

2) the government has no control over what happens in enemy-occupied territory, therefore the children of hostile wartime invaders aren't under U.S. jurisdiction and aren't citizens even if born on U.S. soil;

3) Native Americans used to be a special case where American jurisdiction was concerned, and sort of still are, but this has changed; prior to 1925, however, Native Americans members of tribes not subject to Federal taxation were not citizens even if born on ostensibly U.S. soil.

The statutes mentioned in the post would attempt to strip the United States from holding jurisdiction over the children of illegal immigrants. The problem would be understanding what that would mean, exactly, since jurisdiction includes the entire power the state has over an individual. In other words, you can't be tried for a crime without the state actor having jurisdiction, you can't be taxed, you can't be--well, basically, if the state doesn't have jurisdiction, you don't exist as far as the state is concerned. And if you don't exist, you can do whatever the hell you want, because, legally speaking, nobody is doing whatever the hell it is.

Does that clarify things or muck them up some more?

Nathan Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 6:30:00 PM EDT  

Does that clarify things or muck them up some more?

A little of each. I understand "jurisdiction" per se, but not how it effects the particular situation under discussion. I'm having trouble grasping what the loophole-mongers think they're exploiting.

And just to further murkify the waters... a state would, of course, have jurisdiction if, for example, an undocumented alien committed a murder or armed robbery within that state's borders.

Eric Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 9:15:00 PM EDT  

A little of each. I understand "jurisdiction" per se, but not how it effects the particular situation under discussion. I'm having trouble grasping what the loophole-mongers think they're exploiting.

"Citizenship" under Amendment XIV has two components--birth on American soil (or naturalization) and being within the jurisdiction of the United States--both criteria must be met, and if one is missing the individual is not a citizen. The loophole-mongers would strike the second of the two criteria for anyone born to an illegal immigrant.

And just to further murkify the waters... a state would, of course, have jurisdiction if, for example, an undocumented alien committed a murder or armed robbery within that state's borders.

I think that could be a valid point--stripping the United States of jurisdiction over children born on American soil to illegal aliens would not necessarily strip states of jurisdiction.

Warner (aka ntsc) Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 9:53:00 AM EDT  

The solution is simple, they aren't people.

Tom Friday, May 28, 2010 at 5:38:00 PM EDT  

Eric, Ritziots. Coital Ritziots for the full title.

You're welcome.

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