Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Debate Surrounding the 14th Amendment

Being the nerdy attorney I am, and given all the controversy around "birth right citizenship," and the 14th Amendment, I looked up the debate surrounding what it meant.  As a reminder, this is what Section 1 of the 14th Amendment says:
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.
Here is the link to the actual discussion surrounding adoption of this Section.  It's quite a fascinating read, particularly with respect to why they decided it was okay that people who were born in this country of foreigners should become citizens.  At least arguably, things are very different now.  Also fascinating, and what led me to this in the first place is the meaning of "subject to the jurisdiction thereof".  At page 2893 (about midway through the left column), it is explained:
What do we mean by "subject to the jurisdiction of the United States?"  Not owing allegiance to anyone else.
Very interesting read. 

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