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July 08, 2005

NRO, Again: 14th Amendment Does Not Grant Citizenship To All Persons Born In US?

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the States wherein they reside.

Everyone says that means if you're born here, you're a citizen. Automatically.

But what's with that "subject to the jurisidiction therof" clause mean? If it means nothing, what's it doing in there at all? Does it restrict the broader preceeding clause?

Derbyshire catches this compelling argument that it does in fact restrict the "all persons born" language, and from no lesser authority than the man who drafted the Citizenship Clause himself:

Mr. HOWARD: I now move to take up House joint resolution No. 127.

The motion was agreed to; and the Senate, as in Committee of the Whole, resumed the consideration of the joint resolution (H.R. No. 127) proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

The first amendment is to section one, declaring that all "persons born in the United States and Subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the States wherein they reside. I do not propose to say anything on that subject except that the question of citizenship has been fully discussed in this body as not to need any further elucidation, in my opinion. This amendment which I have offered is simply declaratory of what I regard as the law of the land already, that every person born within the limits of the United States, and subject to their jurisdiction, is by virtue of natural law and national law a citizen of the United States. This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons. It settles the great question of citizenship and removes all doubt as to what persons are or are not citizens of the United States. This has long been a great desideratum in the jurisprudence and legislation of this country.

Emphasis not in original, but found in author's quotation.

Interesting.

How the hell has this been ignored for so long? I mean, I suppose constitutional scholars know all about this, but how do they argue against what appears to be the clear meaning of the intent behind the clause?

The Divine Miss M Update: Michelle Malkin was here long before.


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posted by Ace at 04:42 PM

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