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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Huh??? Isn't that what the 14th Amendment *already* says???

I just love reading Letters to the Editor, especially those that reveal an, um, "interesting" interpretation of words.

To wit, just read a letter in the "Dallas Morning News" headlined "Born in the U.S.A.;" the writer submits, "
If being born were enough to confer citizenship, the framers of the 14th Amendment would have simply written, 'all those born in the U.S. or naturalized are citizens.' But they did not."

Okay, fair enough. So just what did the folks who wrote the 14th amendment write, in this regard? Well, turns out they wrote this: "
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."

The letter-writer is apparently taking the writer of an opinion piece in the same newspaper to task, but I'm mystified by his argument, as his proposed statement includes some of the exact same points the actual Amendment does -- though his suggestion does ignore the crucial "and subject to the jurisdiction thereof," a point addressing, for instance, whether a child born on U.S. soil to another country's ambassador to the U.S. is a U.S. citizen or not. (As I understand it -- and no, I'm not a lawyer -- such a child is immune to U.S. jurisdiction, so is not a U.S. citizen.)

As the ad of yore plaintively asked, "Where's the beef?"

The way people sometimes write and speak can be most informative.

Remember the senior Thai politician who some years back raised so much of a stink over being denied a visa to the U.S. and demanding that the embassy staff explain why that the folks there did just that, publicly stating he was on a list of suspected drug dealers -- and the embassy obliged him with a press conference? Remember what the politician said? I can't quote him verbatim, but his statement was close to something like, "That's impossible. My constituents have elected me [such-and-such a number of] times."

Well, yes, the man had been elected, a first time and a fair number of times, successively, thereafter. He may -- or may not -- have been involved in illicit drug trade. But it's pretty amazing to think that it's impossible he was involved since, after all, he had been elected term after term after term.

Makes it easy for a court, doesn't it? -- just look at the last election return when considering any case against an elected official, and -- poof! "He [or she] was elected/re-elected, so can't POSSIBLY be guilty! Case dismissed."

I rest
my case.

Sigh. . . .

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