Monday, April 25, 2011

Proof-texting the Constitution - Starring: Mike Lee

From the Atlantic on-line Garrett Epps compares Constitutional Originalism to interpreting the Da Vinci Code. The most obvious expression of language supposedly hides "secret meaning" only to be interpreted by the possessors of the secret knowledge of the ancients, or maybe Tom Hanks. This is on the same line as what I've been saying with regard to the extreme right proof-texting the Founding Fathers here and here.

The context is the debate over birthright citizenship in the Fourteenth Amendment and the movement to deny citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants who are born in the United States. And, no surprise here, it comes up in the context of the proposed, oppositely-named Birthright Citizenship Act, co-sponsored by Utah's own, Sen. Mike Lee. He is joined by Rand (tea party) Paul, and Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas, another member of the Tea Party Caucus. The fourth co-sponsor is Vitter of Louisiana, not an official member of the caucus, but apparently a signatory of a tea party pledge (so says Wikipedia).

So, there we have it. One more legal scholar discounting the Tea Party contortions of the Constitution. Maybe we're all Liberal Eastern Elites, but that guy is from the University of Baltimore, a tier below my University of Maryland Law. So, the "liberal" may stick, but elite?

Sorry, Orioles fans.

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