If it seems like the world is topsy-turvy, it is. If you wonder if the multilingual babel America is becoming has untoward side effects, it does, including an increasing inability or unwillingness to understand plain English. How else can we explain the absurd notion that people illegally in the United States have a right to affect the apportionment of representatives in the federal House? To shift congressional votes from one state to another? They're not citizens, nor can they vote, and are excluded until naturalized because they're subject to the jurisdictions of the nations from which they come.

The Constitution's Article 1, Section 2 makes the census's purpose clear—apportionment of representatives. Section 2 of the 14th Amendment drops the talk of direct taxes and refers to “persons,” not the Constitution's original “free persons.” Does that mean anybody who sets a toe on America is therefore to be counted and represented in the U.S. Congress? Hardly. Thomas Cooley, 19th century legal scholar, notes that without naturalization the state cannot give an immigrant “title to all those privileges and immunities of citizens of the Several States...” The authors of the 14th dropped “free” in order to make slaves full citizens of America. “Persons” now referred to not only America's freemen but slaves as well. They were all citizens now. Many Americans weren't allowed to vote—minors and women, e.g.--but they were still citizens counted in censuses and represented in Congress.

Thus the supposedly unbounded term “persons” meant, according to those who wrote the 14th Amendment, that only those “born within the jurisdiction of the U.S. of parents not owing allegiance to any foreign sovereignty” and the duly naturalized could be citizens. Puerto Ricans and District of Columbia residents have no representation in the House, but illegal aliens should?

The authors of the 14th Amendment were clear about who was and wasn't covered by Section 2. Clarity matters here because some, wittingly or not, think that American jurisdiction excluded only foreign ambassadors and the like. In fact, as the U.S. Supreme Court wrote in the Slaughter House cases, U.S. jurisdiction operates to not only exclude ambassadors but also “ministers, consuls, and citizens or subjects of foreign states born within the United States.”


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As with much of the rest of the Constitution, the 14th has been perverted to match the zeitgeist of the day. Sen. Jacob Howard, R-Mich., one of the amendment's backers, affirmed that it “settles the great question of citizenship and removes all doubt as to what persons are or are not citizens of the United States.” Evidently not for those who despise America as it is.

Not a few on the left accuse those who take the Constitution seriously of wanting to slant votes toward the GOP. But this is a double-edged sword: Those who trample the law want to turn votes to their favored party, the Democrats. Why is one hypocritical but not the other?

Cal Thomas calls the anti-citizenship census question stand “national suicide. The country we inherited from our forebears will be no more.” I suspect the left intends just that.