The Jennings blog has moved!
As of October 1, 2011 the Jennings Project blog has moved and joined forces with Constitution Daily, the Center’s daily digest of smart conversation on the Constitution. All new posts will be published there, so be sure to subscribe and follow Constitution Daily on Twitter. If you are interested in submitting a post to Constitution Daily, please email Stefan Frank at JenningsProject@constitutioncenter.org.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
WATCH THE DEBATE: THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION MOVES TO ALLOW FOR LATITUDE IN PRE-MIRANDA INTERROGATIONS, BUT IS THIS MOVE CONSTITUTIONAL?
Today's New York Times features a story about a makeshift maternity home in San Gabriel, CA, twenty miles from Los Angeles. For fees ranging into thousands of dollars, the home offered well-to-do women from China the opportunity to give birth to their children in the United States. By being born here, the children are automatically American citizens under the "birthright citizenship" clause of the 14th amendment. The Times article described other businesses advertising similar services to women in China, Mexico, and Korea.
The birthright citizenship issue, which was the focus of a program mounted by PJP at its 2011 main event, has been at the heart of the debate over illegal immigration, usually from Latin American countries. But this is different, Mark Krikorian, the executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, tells the Times. "If anything, it is worse than illegal immigrants having a baby here. Those kids are socialized as Americans. This phenomenon of coming to the U.S. and then leaving with people who have unlimited access to come back is just ridiculous."
Saturday, March 19, 2011
FINALLY, REASON PREVAILS: MY STATE REJECTS FIVE IMMIGRATION BILLS THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN RULED UNCONSTITUTIONAL ANYWAY
Thankfully, the Arizona state Senate rejected five major immigration bills this week. This was a victory for Constitution-lovers everywhere because several provisions of these bills stood in direct conflict with the 14th Amendment to the federal constitution and with precedent-setting Supreme Court decisions.
Senate Bills 1308 and 1309 would have re-interpreted the birthright citizenship guarantee of the 14th amendment. The amendment declares that “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." It is the phrase “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” in the 14th Amendment that is claimed to be open to interpretation. Those who maintain that the amendment is being read too broadly believe that it should not apply to the children of those who are here illegally because they are not “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States. But I go with those who argue that the reason this wording was included in the amendment was simply to exclude the children of diplomats and ambassadors.
Friday, March 18, 2011
RELIGIOUS FREE EXPRESSION VERSUS NON-DISCRIMINATION: MY FIRST-HAND EXPERIENCE WITH A SUBJECT THAT LANDED IN THE HIGH COURT
by Erin Moriarty, 2010 Jennings Fellow
By the time that a case arrives for oral argument before the United States Supreme Court the passions that propelled the case to the High Court in the first place can feel remote, or even forgotten. I was reminded of that as I listened to some of this year’s Peter Jennings Project Fellows dispassionately dissect and analyze the decision in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez. I know firsthand how divisive the underlying issues were in this case and the damage caused to several public university law schools. One of those schools was the one I attended. It was no surprise to me when the Justices agreed to hear the case in 2009. This is a difficult issue.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
There are many reasons you can think of James Madison as the Jiminy Cricket of the Founding Fathers:
- diminutive size
- preference for black coats
- voracious student with an encyclopedia in his brain
- belief that conscience should be your guide.
Madison was born 260 years ago today. As we wish him a happy birthday, there is a great deal about his life and work for which to be thankful. But it’s our belief in freedom of conscience, which Madison did so much to establish, that commands particular attention today. Read full article at Constitution Daily.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Back in 2006, six Muslim imams boarding a plane in Minneapolis were reported by other passengers as suspicious when they prayed in their seats, switched seats, and asked for extensions to their seat belts. It was reported that three of the imams had checked no luggage and had only one-way tickets. Police boarded the plane and removed the imams, one of whom later asked, is it a "crime in America...to practice your faith?"
The imams sued US Airways, the Minneapolis airport and several of the passengers who had complained about them.
Monday, March 7, 2011
In preparation for your follow-on, I would like to emphasize some of the points that Vic Walczak made in his remarks to the group at yesterday’s concluding lunch: the Constitution is out there everywhere, if you just take the time to look.
One general piece of advice: give a call to the local law school and take a professor out to lunch. Do not wait for there to be an article where you need the professor for a quote or as a source. Work proactively: find out what issues he or she sees as central to the constitutional dialogue in your community,
Friday, March 4, 2011
Like so many constitutional questions, this one comes down to language. The 14th amendment declares that "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." But what does it mean to be "subject to the jurisdiction thereof"? ACLU lawyer Cecillia Wang, in an Op-ed for the Philadelphia Inquirer this week, says that the phrase was merely meant to exclude the children of diplomats and soldiers of hostile armies; Pennsylvania State Representative Daryl Metcalfe (R-PA/12), in an opposing Op-ed on the same page, says that it is beyond dispute that the original intent of the phrase was to separate out those with "allegiance to any foreign sovereignty," which he reads as excluding the children of illegal aliens. Like many who favor a more robust policy towards illegal immigration, Metcalfe sees these "anchor babies" as one of the three main incentives -- jobs and public benefits being the others -- drawing illegal immigrants to the United States. You can read Wang's piece here and Metcalfe's here. Both Wang and Metcalfe will be on stage before a sold out crowd in the F.M. Kirby Auditorium at the National Constitution Center this Saturday, March 5 at 5:30 p.m., as part of a Peter Jennings Project for Journalists and the Constitution panel exploring the 14th amendment's birthright citizenship clause.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Sai Prakash, in a lecture marking his appointment as the David Lurton Massee, Jr. Professor of Law at the University of Virginia Law School. Prakash's lecture, which can be read and/or watched here was titled, "No More Kings?"