“‘Originalism’ as many politicians practice it today has little to do with what the Constitution really says,” writes University of Baltimore law professor Garrett Epps in The Atlantic.
The Constitution’s Citizenship Clause, for example, should be read exactly as it is written: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States."
Yet “Da Vinci Code originalists” such as Sens. Paul Vitter, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, and Jerry Moran, suggest secret meanings where there are none, selectively quoting from the legislative history to reach the conclusion that the children of undocumented immigrants born in the United States are not U.S. Citizens, Epps explains.
During a recent panel discussion on birthright citizenship co-hosted by the American Constitution Society and the Center for American Progress, Epps elaborated on the clear constitutional and historical underpinnings of birthright citizenship.
During the original debate on the clause, he explained, some expressed concern about so-called “gypsies” becoming citizens, calling them, “those people who flout our laws.”
This was what Epps termed the “Lou Dobbs moment" in the debate, and the drafters, unequivocally rejecting these concerns, had the following response: “How someone who professes such high regard for humanity and civilization could object to making citizens of these innocent children is simply beyond us.”
ACS and CAP are hosting a second lunchtime panel discussion May 11 on the potential impact of proposed laws that seek to repeal or limit the Citizenship Clause. Bookmark this link for more information about registering and watching the simulcast from your computer.