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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Wydra on the Tea Party and the Constitution

Elizabeth Wydra (CMC `98) writes at the Huffington Post about the tea party movement and the Constitution:

The Tea Party's sights appear to be set on constitutional amendments ratified after the Civil War. Rand Paul, recent winner of Kentucky's Republican senatorial primary, and Rep. Duncan Hunter of San Diego have called for repeal of the 14th Amendment's guarantee of citizenship at birth for all children born in the United States--not to mention Paul's much-publicized criticism of the Civil Rights Act, legislation passed pursuant to the power given to Congress by the 14th Amendment to enforce its guarantees of equal protection, due process of law, and the rights of citizenship. Sharron Angle, the Tea Party-endorsed candidate who appears poised to win today's Republican senatorial race in Nevada, has called for repeal of the 16th Amendment, which allows for a federal progressive income tax. And many Tea Party activists are pushing for repeal of the 17th Amendment, which shifted the selection of U.S. Senators from state legislatures to the state's voters.

To repeal these hard-won parts of our Constitution would be pure folly. The constitutional changes made in the aftermath of the Civil War and the abolition of slavery wrote into the Constitution the promises of equality made in the Declaration of Independence, and gave the federal government the power to ensure that these promises were kept.