The Instigator
The_Silent_Consensus
Pro (for)
Losing
8 Points
The Contender
clsmooth
Con (against)
Winning
17 Points

14th Amendment

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/23/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,782 times Debate No: 5119
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (7)

 

The_Silent_Consensus

Pro

The 14th amendment reads:

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

Section 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

In a previous debate, you said that the 14th Amendment is part of the collapse of this country. From what I'm reading, the 14th Amendment assured everyone born in the U.S. is a citizen, reversing the Dred Scott decision, it removed the 3/5ths rule for blacks, it applied the Bill of Rights to the states ("nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law"), and it also entitles all citizens to equal protection under the laws, which resulted in school segregation being overturned. Without further ado, why do you think the 14th Amendment is a mistake?
clsmooth

Con

"In a previous debate, you said that the 14th Amendment is part of the collapse of this country."

Yes, and I will explain why this is my opinion herein. Now let us examine each of your contentions about the 14th Amendment:

1. "[It] assured everyone born in the U.S. is a citizen"

Prior to the 14th Amendment, individuals were citizens of their States, and not of "the United States," of which there was no such thing. The Originalist republican model was a voluntary union of sovereign states, in which the limited central (federal) government was given very few and specific powers. The 14th Amendment is "part of the collapse of this country" because it aggrandized the central government at the expense of state sovereignty, concentrating power, and leading to greater tyranny.

Let us take the issue of immigration and naturalization, since that is the matter at hand. I am pro-immigrant and wish to welcome all peaceful laborers and entrepreneurs into my state, but there are various anti-capitalists and xeonphobic populists who wish to deny these heroic individuals entry. As part of the 14th Amendment's nationalism, we are left with a single, one-size-fits-all solution, rather than each individual state making its own rules for citizenship, etc. The central (federal) government was intended to be an umbrella organization composed of STATES, not of people, and thus, it is contrary to the Original Intent for their to be any such thing as "citizens of the United States."

2. "[The 14th Amendment] reversed the Dred Scott decision"

Dred Scott was an example of gross judicial activism and the folly of the notion that the Supreme Court is the sole arbiter of what's constitutional. This is entirely contrary to the Original Intent, and through it, we can see the wisdom of nullification as advocated by Thomas Jefferson and (the flawed, but right in this case) Andrew Jackson. The problem is that the 14th Amendment has been interpreted by that monopolistic judicial body, the Supreme Court, as an even greater extension of their power. And thus, there have been more instances of such activism, as heinous or nearly so as Dred Scott, in the 14th Amendment's wake. This has to do with the "Incorporation Doctrine," which I will cover in Point #4.

3. "it removed the 3/5ths rule for blacks"

The 3/5 rule "for blacks" is widely misunderstood. Firstly, it wasn't "for blacks" but for slaves, so once blacks were no longer slaves, it no longer held. But you see, given slavery, blacks should have been viewed as 0/5 persons, and would have been better off had they been considered such. After all, their being counted as 3/5 persons was solely for congressional representation: This meant that slave states got extra representatives in Congress based on the number of slaves in those states! How cruel indeed to give a slave 3/5 representation in the person of a man who would continue to vote for the slave's bondage! If slaves had been viewed as 5/5 people, then slavery would have been even stronger. It made no sense to count slaves as even 1/100 persons so long as they were not allowed to vote.

Furthermore, the 14th Amendment was not needed to repeal this clause, because here is what the clause originally said: "Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons." -- Former slaves would now be "free persons" and not "all other persons" (i.e. non-"free persons," i.e. "slaves" -- a word the framers vigorously avoided using). So in summary, the idea that the 14th Amendment somehow did away with the 3/5 clause is false -- the 13th Amendment did that.

4. "it applied the Bill of Rights to the states"

Yes, here we have the insidious "Incorporation Doctrine," in which the 14th Amendment is ridiculously interpreted to extend the Bill of Rights, which originally underscored the limited powers of the federal government, to the states. Thus, instead of being the umbrella organization of the states for mutual defense and management of trade, the federal government became the "defender" of individual "rights" against the states -- a task for which it is not fit, as history and the present (see the Patriot Act) shows.

First, by playing this card, you're admitting the Original nature of the Bill of Rights, and of the Union. As an anarcho-capitalist libertarian, I believe that ALL RIGHTS are inherent in individuals, and no government at any level has the right to abrogate any of my rights or yours. However, in making the federal government the supposed defender of individual liberty, the 14th Amendment reduced state sovereignty. This is a concentration of power that always leads to greater tyranny and less freedom. Under an Originalist Union, if Michigan became tyrannical, I could move to Ohio. But under George Bush's Imperial State, there's nowhere for me to go when the Patriot Act is passed.

So in summary of my points, I oppose the 14th Amendment because it was and is an instrument of nationalism, and I think history has shown that the federal government cannot be trusted with the power it has been given. We've had drafts, internments, sedition acts, etc. Our country is torn in two over judicial activism like Roe v. Wade, which would be better handled at the state level, so that some states may allow for abortion and others not -- and the 14th Amendment is the culprit here, too. We turn to the Supreme Court to settle disputes over the use of religious symbols in village parades, when these problems could and should be handled locally. The 14th Amendment is a tyrannical piece of work that, contrary to the light in which you cast it, has done more to undermine freedom than it has to protect it.

But here's the clincher: THE 14TH AMENDMENT WAS NEVER EVEN RATIFIED. You see, following the Civil War, the southern states were readmitted to the Union and played a part in passing the 13th Amendment to abolish slavery. But then, when they balked at the passage of the 14th, the South was denied equal representation in the Senate -- which is unconstitutional. It was under this rump Congress that the 14th Amendment was passed and then sent to the states to be ratified. The Southern states were told they'd continue to be denied representation in the Senate unless they did pass it, and they'd continue to be occupied by Northern states -- so they finally relented, literally with guns to their heads. But guess what?: Upon seeing this, the state legislatures of Ohio and New Jersey REVOKED their votes in favor of the 14th Amendment, thereby denying the amendment the necessary votes to pass. So here is what the rump Congress did: They passed a resolution saying the amendment had been passed, and also a law saying that the Supreme Court COULD NEVER REVIEW the constitutionality of its passage. Why would they do this if the amendment had in fact been passed constitutionally?

So, even if you think the 14th Amendment is a good thing, it was passed in an unacceptable manner, that has set the precedent for further roguish acts by the federal government. How can you expect this entity to defend your rights?
Debate Round No. 1
The_Silent_Consensus

Pro

Thank you for accepting this debate and explaining your view. You mentioned that our rights are inherent that no level of government can infringe on, and that the Patriot Act is wrong, on those two points, I agree with you completely. I was not aware of the 14th Amendment not being ratified, but if that's the case, then it should be removed just for that.

1. "Prior to the 14th Amendment, individuals were citizens of their States, and not of "the United States," of which there was no such thing."

I'm afraid that's not the case. The original Constitution made multiple mentions of citizens of the United States.

Article 1, Section 2, Clause 2: No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.

Article 1, Section 3, Clause 3: No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.

Article 2, Section 1, Clause 5: No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

Also importantly, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 4 gives the Federal government the power to: [E]stablish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

In other words, acts of Congress are supposed to define the requirements by which immigrants can be citizens. Only the federal government was supposed to determine who becomes a citizen, not the states.

You may be arguing for the Articles of Confederation, but that's not the Constitution, as I'm sure you're aware.

2. What role does the Supreme Court have if it's not to be the arbiter of what's Constitutional? Furthermore, that power is not vested in Congress or the executive branch. So if the SCOTUS's role is to be the arbiter of what's Constitutional, and that power's not vested in any other branch, why wouldn't it be the sole abiter.

On Dred Scott, we agree it was a bad decision, but the point remains: They ruled that African-Americans were not citizens. The 14th Amendment made clear they are.

3. Agreed that they would have been better off. You are right that the 13th Amendment negated any effect of the 3/5th rule.

4. The federal government shouldn't be the "defender" of "individual rights" against the states. The Supreme Court should. Nowhere does the 14th Amendment give the feds the role to do what that. Nowhere does the 14th Amendment give the feds the right to pass things like the Patriot Act.

I completely disagree with you about Roe and about religious symbols. No, it should not be addressed locally. You said it yourself, our rights are inherent and cannot be infringed on by any level of government. We may disagree on the right to choose, and that's fine, but the underlying premise is that the states should not be able to infringe on our right of privacy. If you want to argue that abortion isn't privacy, that's fine, but assuming it is, the SCOTUS absolutely had a right to stop the states from infringing on that right.

I totally reject this dilemma of "move to a different state" vs. "have nowhere to move." You should not need to move to a different state in order to have your rights honored. They are, as you said, our rights, and if they are being infringed on, whoever's infringing on them should stop. You shouldn't need to be inconvenienced because someone else is infringing on our rights.

The other point I made that I didn't get an answer about was school segregation.
clsmooth

Con

1. I concede that I was a bit far reaching when I said "there was no such thing" as the United States. Article 2, Section 1, Clause 5 damns me, and I lose this point. However, the Constitution does several times refer to citizens of a given state. I'm fairly certain that a "citizen of the United States" was nothing more than a citizen of one of the states that comprised the United States, plus naturalized citizens.

2. The Supreme Court's role is to interpret law, not create new law or assess the merit of a given law. And the Supreme Court was not intended to be the SOLE arbiter of what's constitutional -- it gave itself that job in Marbury vs. Madison. Jefferson and Jackson and, in fact, most everyone prior to Lincoln thought it was the job of all people at all levels of government to determine what was constitutional. This is the principle of nullification.

3. Okay. I win this point, you win point #1. We shall continue to battle on points #2 and #4.

4. At the time that the Constitution was ratified, there were states with official state religions and churches. You've already admitted that the Bill of Rights did not apply to the states until the 14th Amendment (actually, some time after that, but it was the 14th Amendment that made the case for this). Now I'd prefer not to have my local town display religious symbols and I think "separation of church and state" is a good principle. However, I do NOT trust the federal government to have the power to interfere in local matters. You like the federal government doing this now, but what if, for example, the Supreme Court overtuned Roe v. Wade (which they should) and then Congress passed a national abortion ban? The precedent has already been set.

The Supreme Court cannot defend or protect rights. Let's say my town has a cross on its city crest. The Supreme Court rules this "unconstitutional" (incorrect decision, but that's not the subject at hand), but my mayor won't back down. The town is unanimously behind him -- even I, an atheist, support him because of the Jeffersonian principles at work. What happens? It is the federal government who will take action -- via the military -- just as they did to desegregate the South. So what you're saying here is that you support the idea of the federal government determining what is right, even if it goes against local custom and culture, and then enforcing that "right" by means of violence. I, in contrast, support state sovereignty and local rule. My question to you is: Where does it stop? Should the U.N. invade the U.S. to defend my rights? Should the U.S. invade China? This is a matter of jurisdiction, and in my mind, the U.S. lacks the jurisdiction to invade states and cities ... because there is no such thing as the 14th Amendment, and even if their were, this would be a bad idea.

So we should dwell on this matter of the 14th Amendment's non-ratification a bit. Here is what usconstitution.net -- NOT a libertarian or anarchist or paleoconservative site by any means -- says:

"Some argue that it was passed in an unconstitutional way, which is an interesting and plausible argument. The fact remains, however, that it is a part of our Constitution, and deserves as much respect as any other part, unless it is at some point repealed."

You see, they say it's a "plausible argument," and then totally discount the implications!

You can read more about it here: http://www.barefootsworld.net...

Of course, the Establishment takes two approaches to the non-existence of the 14th Amendment: 1. Ignore it, or 2. Admit it but say it doesn't matter (like usconstitution.net). There's no really denying the fact that the amendment was "passed" in a manner that was unconstitutional, and therefore, was not passed at all. However, I still stand by the assertion that, even if it were passed legitimately, it should be overturned for the reasons I've outlined.

Final thought for this round: Switzerland is the freest and most peace-loving nation in the world. It also has the most decentralized government of any First World nation. These two things go hand in hand. Ever since the U.S. became "one nation" rather than a union of states, we have been nearly constantly at war. The 14th Amendment is one of the major instruments of nationalism -- along with the 16th and 17th and the illegal Federal Reserve Act -- that has brought us to this situation.

Oh, and I don't want to dodge the school segregation issue: I find racism entirely repugnant and have long been an anti-racist activist. That said, Brown v. Board was a constitutionally incorrect (even as it was "morally correct") decision. Besides: I'm against taxpayer-funded schools anyway.
Debate Round No. 2
The_Silent_Consensus

Pro

2. Yes, the Supreme Court's role is to interpret law. And not just interpret what the law means, but interpret whether the law is permissible under the Constitution. We still have nullification now, yet, state laws can't override federal laws. Hasn't that always been the case?

4. I am aware that state religions and churches existed when the Constitution was ratified. That doesn't make it right. I would be for separation of church and state even if the Constitution called for merging church and state. No, I wouldn't be for undermining the Constitution, but I would be for amending it to call for separation. Yes, the 14th Amendment, with its due process clause and the privileges or immunities clause ended up applying the Bill of Rights to the states, as should be the case. Everyone has the right to follow a religion of their choosing as long as they don't infringe on other people. They don't have the right to use the state to force it on others. I know you agree as a libertarian, but this is part of why I support the 14th Amendment.

The Supreme Court's job is to keep the government in check with regards to our rights. As far as your cross on city crest example goes, if the mayor won't back down, then yes, the federal government should have the right to step in and ensure the state isn't infringing on our rights. You are arguing that state and local governments should be kept in check by people moving. I believe that people's rights should be honored by all levels of government and they shouldn't have to move in order to have their rights honored. As far as the federal government, if they are doing things like the Patriot Act, or any of those other right-infringing things you mention, the SCOTUS is supposed to be there to stop them.

It sounds like you have a bigger problem with how the feds implement the 14th Amendment than with the 14th Amendment itself.

To answer your question about where it stops... I believe that state and local governments are accountable to our Constitution, and if the federal government is needed in order to enforce that, the federal government can enforce that. Other countries are not bound by our Constitution, so I don't support the reason behind going into Iraq. The only time we should invade another country is if they pose a direct threat to us.

Let me ask you, where does your idea of state and local sovereignty stop? Should state and local governments be permitted to allow murder, assault and battery, theft, etc...? Lynching? Should they be allowed to enact black codes (http://www.answers.com...)? Jim Crow laws? Where does state and local sovereignty end and enforcement of individual rights begin?
clsmooth

Con

It is a pleasure to debate someone who attempts to use logic in making his points and refuting his opponent's, as you do.

2. There are very far-reaching implications to our disagreement that go well beyond the 14th Amendment itself. You say it is the job of the Supreme Court to interpret whether a given law is constitutional, and this is true -- but they were never intended to be the sole arbiters of what's constitutional. The original Constitution and first 12 amendments maintained very few restrictions on the states. It's not that the states were to be "unrestricted," it's just that it was the people of those states who were to do the restricting. So when the Court ruled whether something was constitutional or not, prior to the 14th, they were almost always talking about federal laws, and the federal government was very limited in its power. If, however, a state did not like a decision by the Court, it could simply choose to refuse to enforce a given law within its state's borders. Ultimately, the federal government could threaten to disaffiliate the state, or the state could peacefully secede (in theory). This all changed with the Civil War, more properly understood as the War to Prevent Southern Secession, in which Lincoln invaded the South to advance nationalism at the expense of state sovereignty. POINT BEING: Now that secession and nullification are not options, the Supreme Court's monopoly on interpretation makes them despotic legislators, not judges. They can, with no justification, create "constitutional law" as effective as constitutional amendments, and they have certainly done so on the issue of Church-State, in which the Original Intent of the Constitution and First Amendment is clearly not what the Court has held it to be in subsequent years. You may agree with the Court's view, but you cannot possibly argue that this was the framers' or ratifiers' view -- and thus, in endorsing the Court's actions, you are endorsing despotism.

4. I agree that state religions are a bad idea. I am for all possible freedoms you could imagine, and against the government on any level initiating force against its citizens or restricting their behavior on any level. You ask "where does the state sovereignty end?" You see, here is a point that's hard for non-hardcore libertarians to understand: We do not support the bad things that state and local governments might do, we just oppose the federal government having the power to stop them! When trusting the federal government to defend your rights, you are entrusting the greatest violator of individual liberty in human history to defend that which it has on so many occasions sought to destroy! It's totally irrational.
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Seth0311 6 years ago
Seth0311
I think the argument that its wrong for the federal government to intervene when a local government refuses to honor a supreme court decision is flawed because the reason the case would reach the SC to begin with is there are two opposing sides to the case, unlike the hypo above where all parties seemed in agreement. Take the desegregation of the South and its universities, the local government worked to oppress the black minority. The supreme court had to step in and make sure all humans received equal treatment by the government due to the abuse of power exercised by the majority. The SC corrects the wrongs of the majority when they don't handle themselves responsibly.
Posted by PoeJoe 6 years ago
PoeJoe
http://www.debate.org...

Read my comment (first one).
Posted by The_Silent_Consensus 6 years ago
The_Silent_Consensus
It was a pleasure debating you, clsmooth
Posted by clsmooth 6 years ago
clsmooth
Silent_Consensus is a worthy opponent who uses logic and reason. He should expose himself to some of the radical libertarian and revisionist history literature, and Austrian economics, though. I think he'd like it. Mises.org.
Posted by PoeJoe 6 years ago
PoeJoe
It's been a while clsmooth. Welcome back!
Posted by Rezzealaux 6 years ago
Rezzealaux
I smell something interesting.
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