Tuesday, June 15, 2010

According to Russell Pearce, an illegal alien could assassinate Russell Pearce with impunity.

According to Russell Pearce, an illegal alien could assassinate Russell Pearce with impunity.

He didn't actually say that, but he's quoted as follows in the Arizona Capitol Times:
Pearce’s interpretation of the 14th Amendment is much different than the definition established by the Supreme Court. He said the 14th Amendment makes it clear that, in order to be granted citizenship, a person born in the U.S. must also be under the jurisdiction of U.S. government. He said the federal government has misinterpreted that clause by allowing children of illegal immigrants to become citizens even though, as he sees it, they are not under the jurisdiction of the U.S. government.

“We don’t have jurisdiction over those who break into the country,” Pearce said. “Just like a foreign diplomat, we have no jurisdiction over them.”

That's new! "No jurisdiction" means that an illegal alien cannot be made to stand trial in a US court and cannot be sued except if he consents to be sued. If Pearce is correct, this would mean (among other things) that an illegal alien fed up with Pearce's contribution to absurd "enforcement first" opposition to immigration reform or perhaps with his attempts to incite pogroms could simply kill him and never have to answer for the crime.

Yes, this means that Arizona is "making news" again. At least with SB 1070 we could say that half of the attention was either hyperventilation of those who expect the courts to make a worst-case change of standards of reasonable suspicion or due to (deliberate) misrepresentation of what was in the law. (It does not, for example, establish a new trespassing offense.) And at least in the case of "ethnic studies" we could say that the prohibition of teaching crass ideology (much different than teaching history or teaching about ideology) on the taxpayer dime was justified. But this time, the press is dead-on: Pearce and John Kavanagh intend to introduce a bill in the next legislative session to challenge settled 14th Amendment law.

Kavanagh's justification (as quoted by CNN) is almost as loony as Pearce's:
"If you go back to the original intent of the drafters ... it was never intended to bestow citizenship upon (illegal) aliens," said Kavanagh, who also supported Senate Bill 1070 -- the law that gave Arizona authorities expanded immigration enforcement powers.

Yep, Kavanagh has gone to that modern-day last refuge of scoundrels on Constitutional matters, the same place the Brady Center went on the 2nd Amendment: original intent. When one cannot support one's position by textualism or, barring that, by appeal to some theory of law, pretend that one's own position is that of (all of!) those who drafted and adopted the law and that such "intent" should trump public meaning. "What they meant to say was: ___[wacky mad libs]___"

Original intent is an intellectual nonstarter and anyone advocating it in 2010 is an ignoramus, a sleaze, or a simple doofus. As legal theory it has been dead for over two decades and was rotten long before that. But unlike Pearce's position, taking it seriously doesn't lead to Kavanagh's assassination, unless...

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