WorldNetDaily is a prime go-to destination for unhinged screeds, and it makes another contribution with an August 10 column by Christopher Grey attacking the 14th Amendment. The headline sets the tone: “14th Amendment is a fraud that should be repealed.”
Grey begins by explaining why the amendment is a “fraud and abomination on our Constitution”:
Let's begin with how we got the 14th Amendment in the first place. It was ratified under very dubious circumstances in the immediate aftermath of our devastating Civil War. Nearly half of all U.S. states effectively were controlled under martial law when this amendment was ratified. Procedurally, this calls into question whether or not the ratification of this amendment was even legal.
One of the major reasons for the 14th amendment, in fact, was that the Congress had passed several laws that it knew probably were unconstitutional because they illegally transferred enormous powers from the individual states to the federal government. The 14th amendment was the blunt instrument that they used to correct this problem, but it has grown over the years into a voracious monster that is devouring everything in its path.
The rant then bashes the amendment’s citizenship clause:
This clause is why people from Third World countries around the world sneak into our country to have their babies. Once they have a baby here, the child is automatically a U.S. citizen and the parents are allowed to stay here even though they came here illegally.
This is ridiculous. No other country in the world allows people to do this. This clause encourages people around the world to come here for the express purpose of raising their children on the backs of U.S. taxpayers. Our country is going broke and we still allow this to happen because we have no choice. The 14th Amendment guarantees this to everyone.
Grey goes on to declare the amendment’s equal protection clause to be something commies would do:
The Equal Protection clause guarantees that each state provide equal protection under the law to all people within its jurisdiction. Think about this statement for a moment. It sounds reasonable on the surface. However, it has been used as a justification for the creeping advance of socialism and tyranny for decades. It has been the backdoor for the federal government to place more and more restrictions on the ability of states to operate independently from Washington. It also has been used to justify more and more federal regulation of private businesses. If you think about this equal-protection clause statement more deeply, its true implication is extremely Marxist or even Leninist and Maoist.
How can a state or any government possibly provide equal protection under the law in a free and capitalist society? The answer is that it cannot. It's impossible. The only way for everyone really to have equal treatment under the law is if people all have the same resources and aren't allowed to make free choices about their own lives. This is an extreme version of socialism akin to what Mao forced upon the Chinese during the Cultural Revolution.
Using the equal protection clause to end school segregation is just not realistic, according to Grey, because it’s just too much of a pain for a “free and capitalist system” to give people the same opportunity at a decent education no matter where they live:
Let's just take a few examples to further illustrate this point. If you live in a good neighborhood, you have better law enforcement, health and safety services, schools, transportation, and the list goes on and on. There's no way that someone living in a very poor neighborhood reasonably can have protection under the law equal to a person living in a good neighborhood.
Someone might say that this isn't the intent of the equal-protection clause. That's true. It wasn't the original intent, but this is exactly how it's been used over the years. The whole point of Brown vs. Board of Education, one of the most famous Equal Protection clause cases in our nation's history, was that separate but supposedly equal services such as education were not equal enough.
It is not any stretch of the imagination to jump from this conclusion to mandating that all school districts must be of equal quality, which is of course impossible in a free and capitalist system. This was the idea behind forced busing in the 1970s, which fortunately was ended after disastrous consequences made it politically abhorrent.
Finally, Grey declares equal protection as something that’s just too impractical in a “free society.” If you’re poor and need an attorney, but you can’t afford a decent one, well, too bad:
Another clear example of how the Equal Protection clause really cannot function in a free society applies to the criminal and civil justice system. It's obvious that people who have more money have access to much better lawyers than people who don't have money. This creates a very clear difference in the amount of protection under the law that is afforded poor people versus rich people.
Specific and egregious examples of this are the acquittals of O.J. Simpson, Robert Blake and Claus von Bulow even as we know many innocent, but poor, defendants are convicted because they lack sufficient legal representation to defend themselves against the charges.
Attempts to remedy this problem by giving poor defendants a public attorney in criminal cases is like putting a fig leaf on the problem. There really is no solution to this disparity in legal representation between the rich and the poor in a free society. This is just part of the injustice that we all have to tolerate if we want to enjoy the freedoms that we have.
Right-wingers have been railing against the 14th Amendment in recent days, but Grey gives us a all-too-clear view of what would actually happen if it were repealed -- and how much the amendment contributes to a genuinely free and equal society. Grey has no apparent problem with poor people and minorities having fewer rights than him, but the vast majority of the country believes differently.
(Cross-posted at Media Matters.)