Right-wingers love to talk about how much they love the Constitution. But while they may love it, sometimes it seems like they don’t like it very much.

Bring up the protections of the Fourth through Eighth Amendments, and they’ll tell you that “we give too many rights to criminals.” They’re not all that crazy about the 16th Amendment, which establishes the government’s right to levy income taxes.

In fact, the only Amendment they seem to like is the Second, and they treat the first half of that (about the “well-regulated militia”) as if it were an embarrassing relative whom they don’t like to talk about very much.

The latest thing the wingnuts don’t like about the Constitution is the 14th Amendment, which provides 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.”

That “all persons” provision means that if you’re born here, you’re an American. Period. This Constitutional principle, commonly known as “birthright citizenship,” has become problematic for people who spend most of their waking hours terrified of the tide of Scary Brown People Who’ve Come to Take Our Stuff.

Donald Trump, as the current de facto leader of the Republican Party, brought the issue to the forefront. Following up on his famous “they’re rapists” comment, he laid out his plan for dealing with the estimated 11 million people already here illegally: “They have to go.”

Asked about what happens to those whose children were born here, Trump, a good family man if ever there was one, claimed we’d keep families together, but “they have to go.” When Bill O’Reilly pressed him on the question of deporting actual U.S. citizens, Trump blithely hand-waved away 147 years of 14th Amendment precedent, telling O’Reilly that “very good lawyers” had told him calling them citizens is “not going to hold up in court.”

Yes, folks, you heard right. The 14th Amendment, which clearly states that if you’re born here you’re a citizen won’t survive constitutional scrutiny, according to unidentified “very good lawyers.” In other words, Donald Trump apparently thinks the Constitution itself is unconstitutional.

This is, of course, utter claptrap, and deserving of nothing but scorn and derision. But since the majority of the Republican field are like rudderless sailboats that blow hither and yon in the wind that emanates from Donald Trump’s wherever, they began rushing to assure us that they, too, either didn’t believe in birthright citizenship at all or that they thought it needed to be done away with.

“We need to end birthright citizenship for illegal immigrants,” Gov. Bobby Jindal’s campaign declared on Twitter. Dr. Ben Carson told Breitbart.com that “it doesn’t make any sense to me that people could come in here, have a baby and that baby becomes an American citizen.” Sen. Lindsey Graham took a moment off from gibbering about Islamic terrorists under everyone’s bed to say, “I think it’s a bad practice to give citizenship based on birth.”

Former Sen. Rick Santorum insists that we don’t have to amend the Constitution to do away with birthright citizenship. We “merely have to pass a law.” I guess this is true if by passing a statute we can change the literal meaning of the words “all persons born” to “all white persons born.”

For his part, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker seemed to be vying for the coveted Mitt Romney Ribbon for Campaign Weaselry. Walker told NBC reporter Kasie Hunt in response to a direct question that we should “absolutely” abolish birthright citizenship. Later, however, he said to CNBC he is “not taking a position on it one way or the other.” Still later, he took a third stance with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, answering “no” when asked if we should “repeal or modify” the 14th Amendment—but only after Stephanopoulos had asked him three times.

But remember folks: Only Democrats flip-flop. Republicans “evolve.” Walker’s “evolving” before our eyes like something that came out of an egg in a bad horror film.

I well remember the screaming tantrum the Republicans threw when it was revealed that Barack Obama once called the Constitution as originally written “an imperfect document … that reflects some deep flaws in American culture, the Colonial culture nascent at that time.”

He was, of course, talking about the way the original document embraced slavery as an institution, but from the way Rush Limbaugh and others reacted, you’d have thought the president had proposed using the sacred text to line the White House birdcage before setting it on fire.

Amazing, though, how disposable the beloved Constitution becomes when it comes to getting at the Scary Brown People — and their children. Principles you discard when inconvenient to your prejudices are not principles at all.

(14) comments

Frank Staples

Apparently our Mr. Roadie didn't get to class the day his prof talked about the 2nd Amendment. You apparently never heard that the "well regulated" in the vernacular of the times meant "well equipped" now did you? Oh well, now that you're a writer to go with your scholarly lawyerly job I guess you don't care for the 2nd and therefore weren't paying attention! Funny how these things will sometimes come back to bite you in the hiney!!

Frank Staples

Dusty, so now you're not only a writer to go with your scholarly lawyerly skills but an expert on the 2nd Amendment also?? Wow! You are sincerely impressive, dear boy! But I must call you on your comment, just to keep you honest, don'cha know? The good old "well regulated" that you mention...well, you see old son, in the vernacular of the time that "well regulated" meant "well equipped". Funny how these things will just sneak up at times and bite you in the hiney!!

Richard Wright

Dusty, as is the liberal bent, puts everything into a color or race perspective. There never is a cogent argument or the chance to have a reasonable fact based dialogue, only the Republicans hate someone or something.

gail hanley

It has occurred to me that the hoopla about the Latino community has taken the dialogue off the many other real problems we have inner city violence, corporate corruption, healthcare crisis, crumbling city infrastructure and terrorism. Maybe this IS Hilary's secret weapon.....changing the dialogue.

Mark Hayes

It is not hoopla, it is about laws in place that seem to go without being enforced, about one ethnic group demanding, not applying for citizenship, it is about a government that caves into these demands because they fear reprisal, it is called infestation and over population by those we know little about and have no means of knowing. It has forced an issue into our political arena that should never taken place, immigration is a welcoming of new citizens, illegal immigration is a criminal act and should be viewed as such. Latinos/Hispanics should be as upset over this issue as any other that has grown tired of this criminal act of entry into this country, troubling that so many are not, makes one wonder if they themselves have taken the path of least resistance when coming to this country, are they too illegals?

"but to assume all people who have come here for a better life are drug dealers and rapists is just ignorant."

That would be ignorant. Who has done such a thing? It is also ignorant to turn a blind eye to the obvious.

Sally Larson

I am disgusted by the demeaning comments being made here against the Latino community. What is this, Nazi Germany talk against the Jews? How ignorant can you be? It's odd that when a white man guns down a bunch of people in a movie theater no one says "those white people, they're a dangerous group." But here you feel good about lumping all "Brown people" (Francis' comment above) together and have the self righteous idea you are so clever and superior.

There are many people here who have become American citizens and many others who are in the process. Of course in any group of people there is going to be a criminal element but to assume all people who have come here for a better life are drug dealers and rapists is just ignorant. What is this blustering and bravado you are projecting in your shallow accusations? Is it out of fear that makes you so bigoted or are you just plain stupid?

Dan Roman

Amazing how those without the education qualifications and linguistic skills to comment intelligently always do.

Mark Hayes

More amazing is how one can make the claim of having been a combat pilot yet never has seen combat.

Frank Staples

Yes, OP, it does seem to be true...but the Pilot still lets you comment so the rest of us are simply stuck with it!!

Mark Hayes

Rhoades is not listed as a " immigration lawyer " as of yet, but that will become a very lucrative business for him and those of his profession if Democrats have their way, I think that is the thinking of many of these lawyers that advocate for immigration reform that includes citizenship, especially those who have openings in their scheduled client list, it's not about the Constitution, it is more of the hopes for financial gain, after all it is the American way, liberalism has it's price and we will all pay for it.

I wish those who think like DR could experience just for a day the grief that Kate Steinle's parents will have to endure for the rest of their lives. Of course there are thousands of families who have lost loved ones at the hands of illegal aliens. They should have the right to sue the government for criminal negligence for failing to fulfill their duty to defend US citizens for not securing the border and also hindering state and local law enforcement.

Tom Hill

Amidst all his using the 14th amendment for his latest free for all slam of most of the GOP candidates, Dusty omits that the 14th was considered one of the "Reconstruction Amendments" needed after the civil war and why that was. Ironic how it was originally enacted to protect blacks from democrats but now the democrats love it.

Conrad Meyer

Dusty,
Amazing that you can interpret the 14th amendment literally, but refuse to do the same on the 2nd amendment.

Can't have it both ways....

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