During the immigration give and take at last night's GOP debate in Las Vegas, CNN's Anderson Cooper somewhat patronizingly asserted that the 14th Amendment conferred US Citizenship upon anyone born in the US, clearly challenging the candidates not to question the absolute rightness of that well-established assertion. And, sadly, the candidates all dutifully and unknowingly fell into line like good little boys and girls.
Though it turned my stomach, I can't really fault the candidates for their ignorance on this issue. My guess is that neither they nor their handlers ever delved into the 14th Amendment to know any better. And, afterall, they can't be expected to be fully conversant on every possible topic that comes up.
But, the tragedy for me was that they proceeded with their immigration discussion utterly clueless to the reality that Anderson's premise was based upon incompetent and revisionist case law, totally at odds with the 14th's framers. Most disturbing of all is that the audience too fell victim to this misrepresentation as well.
For a very long time now, the conventional "wisdom" has been that, in fact and in law, any person born on US soil is automatically entitled to US citizenship. Well, folks, that's simply not true! It's a fanciful urban legend of the first order!
I can only hope the candidates and/or their staffers get up to speed on this subject before the next go-round and actually challenge that premise should it rear its ugly head again. How refreshingly sweet that would be. Of course, whether they would dare to knowledgeably challenge the premise at all remains to be seen. Sometimes it's more politically expedient to simply yield to politically correct assumptions so as not to ruffle feathers. But, who knows. Perhaps there is some spine and principle on that political stage afterall. We can certainly hope so anyway.
For those readers not interested in pursuing this topic, I will spare you a laborious rehashing of my research on this subject here. But, for those of you who wish to know the truth, I am referring you all to the following two posts at Opinerlog.blogspot.com: "Birthright Citizenship: Politics v Rule of Law" (8/14/10), and "Birthright Citizenship and Judicial Incompetence" (3/7/11). Both shed much needed light on this deliberately mangled and tragically misunderstood subject.
Constittution first! Information is power!