The Persistent Racist Accusations of the NC NAACP and Its Continued Attempts to Frustrate a Voter ID Law in North Carolina

Rev. Anthony Spearman - NC NAACP (photo courtesty of Virignia Pilot)

(Photo source: Associated Press and the Virginian Pilot)

by Diane Rufino, December 4, 2018

On November 6, an amendment to the North Carolina constitution requiring voters to present a photo identification for voting in person (the “Voter ID” amendment) passed with 55 percent support. The language of that amendment, per House Bill 1092 (H.B. 1092) which gave rise to the amendment, states: “Every person offering to vote in person shall present photo identification before voting in the manner prescribed by law.”

The next step in the process, of course, is to back the amendment up with appropriate legislation. The NC General Assembly officially began that task when it reconvened in Raleigh this week.

With this in mind, we can predict what the North Carolina NAACP, other black activist groups, and Democrats/liberals will do —  challenge any proposed legislation as too strict, too burdensome, and too discriminatory on black voters. Any law will be challenged as an orchestrated attempt to disenfranchise black voters at the ballot.  It has already filed a motion for Summary Judgement to declare all four of the adopted amendments void as being the product of an illegal general assembly (The NC NAACP holds that the election of the 2017-2018 General Assembly body was the product of racially-motivated gerrymandering and hence illegal).

On November 15, Reverend T. Anthony Spearman, the head of the NC NAACP held a press conference and outlined the group’s opposition to a photo ID law.  He said: “The North Carolina NAACP calls on all people of good will to attend the ‘All Roads Lead to Raleigh’ rally on November 27 as we prepare for a usurper general assembly which came to power illegally through racially-discriminatory maps and which will meet in Raleigh in a lame-duck special session to make a final effort to enshrine discrimination in our laws.”

He said the proposed amendments which were on the ballot on November 6 were “misleading and unlawful” and “forced upon North Carolina” by an illegal general assembly.

He continued:

“We will continue to fight the anti-democracy racist Photo ID law and its attempt to suppress black votes. A Photo ID discriminates against blacks, Hispanics, people of color, immigrants, and veterans. These people cannot be disenfranchised from their rightful access to the ballot box. Democracy requires that they have access to the ballot box.

History teaches us, and our hearts know it to be true – morally and constitutionally and practically that North Carolina is trying once again to suppress the votes of black people. I speak to our history……

Even before the ink was dry on President Grant’s clear signature on the 15th constitutional amendment on March 30, 1870, the slaveholders of North Carolina and the other ten treasonous states who declared war on the red, white, and blue flag and its government, had met in their lily-white caucuses to design schemes to deny and abridge, to suppress and gerrymander the black vote power down to nothing. Like today, in many NC counties, black voters were in the majority and anyone who could count could understand that if people voted by their racial category, the white man was going to lose. Like today, Mr. Berger and Mr. Moore hide in their lily-white caucus in our people’s house, and plan, with all their tricks, how to ram thru legislation and over-ride vetoes. Their motivations are clear. Their intent is to intimidate, trick, and confuse poor black voters…. “

He continued:

“The 15th Amendment states clearly – ‘The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” House Speaker Moore, Senator Berger… What is it about the 15th Amendment’s clear guarantee that you don’t understand?  Perhaps we should hang the 15th Amendment high on a banner outside the lily-white caucus room in which you scheme up your scams. Will you have your police arrest us for holding up the Constitution, which you purport to love? The US Supreme ruled twice, in cases our organization brought, that the Photo ID legislation that you all passed (obviously talking to the NC General Assembly Republicans) was intentionally racist, ‘targeting voters of color with surgical precision.’ (quoting from the decision of the 4th Circuit’s 2016 opinion). You have contemptuously ignored the court’s ruling.

The second sentence of the 15th Amendment is even more elementary than the first. It reads: ‘The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.’  In 1965, Congress authorized the Voting Rights Act and re-authorized it three times. Since last Tuesday, many believe the votes are there to pass the bill (the Photo ID bill) that was stalled in the house. Thank God. The House used every trick I the book to abridge, curtail, trick, suppress, supplant, scare, intimidate, humiliate, and violently kill people, characterize them as felons, frame them as felons, imprison them as felons, and create impossible barriers to register – such as finding and producing birth certificates when high proportions of older black voters today were born with midwives with no birth certificates at all.

Even before the ink was dry on President Grant’s clear signature on the 15th constitutional amendment, sore-loosing slaveholders began organizing a defeated confederate army into secret political societies. In North Carolina, not far from here, in Alamance County, Colonel Sanders, from Chapel Hill, shed his gray uniform and donned a silly-looking white sheet to ride with burning sticks. That being in the White House and Nazi groups were particularly upset when black and white neighbors came together and began challenging the fake history that glorifies the statues of Robert E. Lee.  Perhaps it would be worthwhile to erect statues of Ulysses S. Grant across the South since many of our neighbors and students don’t seem to know who won the war to abolish slavery…….”

Wow, what a mouthful of racism….   So much hatred oozing from his words.

NOTE:  Spearman was absolutely INCORRECT (and perhaps even intentionally misleading) in his claim that the US Supreme Court has ruled on the NC Voter ID law. The Supreme Court DECLINED to look at the law (see later).

Well, at least we know now that the NAACP, with its extreme racist political position and its toxic, offensive, racist, and hate-filled rhetoric, is once again hoping to derail honest intentions to ensure honesty and integrity in North Carolina elections and once again framing the initiative (voted on by a majority of the voters in NC) as one pursued by Republicans for the purpose of intentionally disenfranchising blacks. Its intent is clear – to fight a restrictive Photo-Voter ID law.

And keeping its word, the NC NAACP held its protest beginning in the morning of November 27 (as the special lame-duck session of the NC General Assembly met to take care of business) on the Bicentennial Mall, headlined by its head, Rev. Spearman, and Rev. William Barber. In keeping with his rhetoric of November 15, Spearman shouted these words: “Senator Berger, Speaker Moore, what is it about that clear guarantee in the 15h Amendment that you cannot understand?”

Spearman thinks the racially-divided South of the Jim Crow era and pre-Civil Rights era has never ended. He needs a reality check. Sure, racism existed for a long time in our country. No one can deny that and no one does. But to think that it exists on a level even close to what it did back during the Jim Crow era and even up until the early 1960’s is sheer dishonesty. Although it took far too long for blacks to be recognized with full civil rights, the federal government not only stepped in to solve the problem but it went far beyond, granting all kinds of special protections, government over-sight, court orders, and affirmative action programs to remedy generations of past discrimination. Every race was discriminated at some point in our 20th century history (including Italians, Irish, Chinese, Middle-Easterners – all facing employment practices that excluded them from being hired. All faced horrible stereotypes which translated into the government intentionally limiting their numbers or banning them through our US immigration laws). Yet only one race has received and continues to receive special protection. Just look at all the federal and state laws that protect blacks and punish employers, schools, public accommodations, etc who attempt to discriminate against them. There are even laws that make it particularly easy to sue on the basis of racial discrimination. (When whites sue for discrimination, including when they are discriminated against in their application to universities in favor of blacks who are far less qualified, they are told that there is no law that protects them and hence, those schools are given great latitude and deference as to what they choose to do in reviewing and accepting applicants).  Only one race believes it holds the copyright on discrimination and disenfranchisement.

Writer and journalist Rachel Lu (of The Federalist) is tired what she sees as constant, unfounded accusations of racism from the left. She explains: “Liberals need racist foes to vanquish. Most of the time they have to resort to finding them where they obviously aren’t there.”  What I think she means is that accusations of racism by Democrats and other leftist groups are means to an end.

We see how racial discrimination has been dealt with in employment and public accommodations, so let’s look at how race influences things these days in other areas that really matter:

A 2005 study by Princeton sociologists Thomas J. Espenshade and Chang Y. Chung compared the effects of Affirmative Action on racial and special groups at three highly selective private research universities, including Harvard University. The data below, which is from the study, represents admissions disadvantage and advantage in terms of SAT points (on the old 1600-point scale):

Whites (non-recruited athlete/non-legacy status): 0 (control group)

Blacks: +230

Hispanics: +185

Asians: –50

Recruited athletes: +200

Legacies (children of alumni): +160

In other words, whatever the SAT test score that a white applicant received, the university judges that student and weighs his or her application exactly on that score. Whatever SAT score a black applicant received, the university automatically adds 230 additional points to the score before that applicant’s application is reviewed and judged and compared to other applicants. Hispanic applicants have their SAT scores upgraded and recruited athletes as well (and legacies, but we all kinda suspected that). Universities (again, at least the top private universities which were the target of the study) punish Asian applicants by automatically subtracting points from their earned SAT scores before reviewing their applications.

In 2009, Espenshade and researcher Alexandria Walton Radford, in their book No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal, examined data on students applying to college in 1997 and calculated that Asian-Americans needed nearly perfect SAT scores of 1550 to have the same chance of being accepted at a top private university as whites who scored 1410 and African Americans who got 1100.

After controlling for grades, test scores, family background (legacy status), and athletic status (whether or not the student was a recruited athlete), Espenshade and Radford found that whites were three times, Hispanics six times, and blacks more than 15 times as likely to be accepted at a US university as Asian Americans.

It’s hard for most Americans to understand the notion that blacks are insidiously discriminated today in American society.

President Obama signed two federal orders, one in 2011 and another in 2016, which strengthened the ability to use race-related affirmative action to enroll in elementary and secondary education, as well as an Executive Order to require schools to ease off on punishing blacks in their school discipline policies (Obama assumed that since blacks were disproportionately the target of high school disciplinary action, the policies or the school administrators must be racist]. President Trump rescinded the federal orders.

The NC Voter Integrity Project, in talking about cases of voter fraud in North Carolina, recalls the incident where a black woman voted multiple times. No one wanted to say anything or call her out on it because they were afraid it would create a scene. Finally, on the third or fourth time voting, one poll worker finally questioned her. She immediately started screaming “They are trying to disenfranchise my vote!” She said she was voting for her black neighbor. The poll officials essentially did nothing; she was told to come back with her neighbor. As it turned out, she HAD voted multiple times, she LIED and DECEIVED the poll officials, the poll officials CHOSE to look the other way and ignore the fact that she voted illegally, and poll officials DECLINED to go to the officials about what she had illegally done. Once that brave poll worker left, she could continue to keep voting. (The last attempt at voting, she gave the name of her neighbor, a man).  Imagine if a white man had claimed: “I’m white and they are trying to stop me from voting.”  What do you think the outcome would be?  And people wonder why a photo ID is absolutely necessary.

Again, it’s hard for most Americans to understand the notion that blacks are insidiously discriminated today in American society.

The Supreme Court has said, in so many words and in many different ways, that our laws have done everything possible to eradicate discrimination against blacks and there is nothing else that can, or should be, done. To continue affirmative action programs (except in professional programs, such as law schools, for example) would be to violate the 14th Amendment as reverse-discrimination.  All that being said, I deplore racism in any form, whether it is outright in its action or application or whether it results by disparate application of law or policy. There is something wrong with a person who thinks that just because a person has a different skin color, there is something fundamentally different about what’s underneath – in his or her heart or mind. There isn’t…..  Unless, of course, it is the skin color that compels people to act differently, in a bad way – in a way that harms society. We are all different, on so many levels, but to think that skin color, a feature that a person is born with and has no ability to change (unless he or she is Michael Jackson) somehow makes that person inherently superior or inferior is the very definition of racist.

We can hold our own opinions regarding culture, cultural values, cultural conduct, and cultural priorities, and that is, in fact, where we are today. And that is our right as individuals who are allowed to think freely. It is our right of conscience and are right of association. But what we should never do is think that any one group of persons, simply based on skin color, is inherently inferior or superior. And we should never impute a bad quality to a group of persons simply because of skin color. Yet we see that all too often, from both sides.

And that’s why I hate racists; I hate what they have done to our society and what they continue to do. I hate race baiters and race mongers. I hate that they constantly force people to look at the characteristics that we can’t change, like skin color, rather than the characteristics that we have control over, such as character, personality, intelligence, talent, kindness, goodness, the ability to promote harmony, and the ability to make others smile. I hate racists from both sides. But to be honest, aside from neo-Nazi groups and strict white supremacists, the real racists are the ones on the left, and yes, from the black community like the NC NAACP, the Democratic Party, Reverend Al Sharpton’s black activist group, Black Lives Matter, the liberal mainstream media, and more. No one takes the neo-Nazis or the white supremacist groups seriously; they are lunatic fringe hate groups. Sadly, they have First Amendment rights. But luckily, they are small, powerless groups who don’t organize huge protests or cause any real violence or damage (as a group).  Dylann Roof, the young man who killed 9 when he shot up a black church in Charleston, identified as a white supremacist and even wrote a manifesto following the Travon Martin shooting.

But the more insidious racism comes from the left. President Obama accused every white person of being a racist (“whether they know it or not”), of being incapable of subconsciously thinking that black people are inferior. Hillary Clinton said the exact same thing. Michelle Obama spent almost her entire life seeing the world, and especially academia, in terms of black and white. She accused Princeton of being a racist institution yet protested the school demanding that black students be allowed to have their own dormitory (blacks, she said, have their own issues and shared interests that warrant getting their own living arrangements). As soon as Barack Obama took office, he rushed to judgement, publicly, when a Harvard professor, Henry Gates, a black man, was apprehended by a police officer when he was caught breaking into his own home (he lost his key).  Obama characterized the incident as an all-too-commonplace incident when a white officer racial profiles a black man. The truth of the matter is that Gates was observed by a neighbor who only saw his back, concluded it was an attempted home break-in, and notified the police. She never once said the man was black. When police arrived at the scene, Gates became overly hostile and accused the police of harassing him only because he was black and refused to answer the policeman’s questions. It was Gates who was the racist; it was he who created a racist incident where it didn’t deserve to be. The Black Lives Matter movement encourages blacks to kill white members of law enforcement for no other reason than they are white. Al Sharpton led a march in New York City in protest of supposed police brutality against blacks in which the marchers chanted “What Do We Want?  Dead Cops!  When Do We Want Them?  NOW!”)  The mainstream media perpetuated an incorrect narrative regarding the Travon Martin shooting, reporting that Community Watch leader George Zimmerman stalked and shot Travon because he was black and didn’t belong in the neighborhood. The truth is (I studied the tox reports, the autopsy findings, the court filings, and the case itself) that yes, while Zimmerman was keeping an eye on Travon (in his car), it was Travon who ultimately stalked him, attacked him, and beat him almost to the point of death, prompting Zimmerman to shoot his gun. Travon was high on drugs, had a history of aggressive behavior (was expelled from high school on account of it), had likely became paranoid because he saw Zimmerman keeping an eye on him (a side-effect of the drugs), and became aggressive, jumping Zimmerman, and while on top of him, punching him and beating him so hard that his nose was broken and blood was flowing down his throat and into his lungs. Zimmerman thought he was going to die and felt himself beginning to lose consciousness, which finally prompted him to shoot Travon. We all remember Obama condemning Zimmerman and saying “Travon could be my son.”  The dishonest media, throughout the ordeal, continued to show Travon as a sweet-faced young kid rather than the angry, thug-faced teen he had grown into, all in an effort to push the narrative that the shoot was racially-motivated. And how many times have we heard the testimonies of pro athletes who talk about their lives in the inner city and how they were raised to hate and mistrust whites. Even college-age liberals seem to be indoctrinated with the notion that all whites share a history of discriminating and mistreating blacks and that all whites are inherently given preferential treatment in society, in schools, in employment, in business, etc even when they don’t deserve it (“white privilege”). That term alone tells us that racism is becoming more entrenched in our society.

The truth is that more than ever, we find ourselves faced with gentle societal pressure to view people in terms of skin color and race, even when we don’t want to… even when every instinct and every moral, religious, and practical impulse tells us it is wrong. But Rev. Spearman is wrong to suggest, and to dare perpetuate, the message that the racism of the pre-Civil Rights era is the same racism poisoning our society and guiding our legislature here in North Carolina.


In all its prior elections, North Carolina voters were not obligated to show any form of identification at all when they showed up to vote, which seems impossible given the many instances of voter irregularity, the numbers that don’t make sense, the highly questionable votes that continue to roll in even after the election, the persistent appearance of impropriety in several of the counties in NC, the many instances of reported voter fraud by poll workers and other eyewitnesses, the instances of actual verified voter fraud uncovered by the NC Voter Integrity Project, the refusal of the state Board of Elections to prosecute the instances of fraud, and the inconsistencies (pointing to a scheme of voter fraud) unearthed by Major Dave Goetze when he analyzed all the numbers of voters versus recorded votes.

The adoption of a photo ID requirement to vote finally brings North Carolina into alignment with the great majority of other states who have voter identification requirements. Thirty-four states already require some sort of identification for voting in person. Of those, 17 states require a photo ID.

A voter ID must be viewed as a common sense requirement because many Western democracies, in fact, require voter ID in some form.

North Carolina recognized the need for a photo ID to vote, to address the claims and the opportunity for voter fraud and to address the general lack of trust and confidence in the integrity of its elections, and had already passed a valid Voter ID law back in 2013 (HB 589, which was the initial bill that originated in the NC House; it was amended in the Senate and then enacted as SL 2013-381). It was actually an omnibus bill which essentially means that it includes many changes, or packages many smaller bills into one larger single bill that could be passed with only one vote in each house. SL2013-381, in fact, including many changes to North Carolina’s voting laws in addition to adding a photo ID requirement. It was to take effect in 2016, in time for the presidential election. But African-American activist groups, like the NC chapter of the NAACP, protested strongly against it and challenged it in court, alleging the law to be a “blatant attempt to disenfranchise voters of color.” The Federal District Court for the Middle District of NC found no discriminatory intent, but on appeal to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, the 3-judge panel agreed with the petitioners (challengers) and on July 29, 2016, it struct down NC’s Voter ID law as being an intentional attempt to target black voters in its changes to the states’ voter laws. In other words, the 4th Circuit struck the Voter ID law down as being intentionally discriminatory. The opinion of the 4th Circuit will be addressed later, in a little more detail. [The opinion can be accessed at: ]

The NC state legislature appealed to the US Supreme Court the following May, but the high court refused to grant review. It denied review, not on the merits, and not on the valid issue at hand, but based on a procedural inconsistency. Pat McCrory filed the petition for review but lost his Governor’s seat in 2016 to Roy Cooper, thus making the challenge by the legislature invalid. In the Court’s response to the NC legislature, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote: “Given the blizzard of filings over who is and who is not authorized to seek review in this Court under North Carolina law, it is important to recall our frequent admonition that ‘the denial of a writ of certiorari imports no expression of opinion upon the merits of the case.’” Again, in denying to hear the case, the Supreme Court was not ruling on whether the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ three-judge panel was correct or not in its assessment of the North Carolina law.

After the crushing blow by the activist 4th Circuit, the NC legislature was left to figure out another way to deliver to the NC citizens a Photo ID voter law, a law which was top on their list of demands in sending a Republican majority to Raleigh. A constitutional amendment was the solution. It was not a legislature-driven initiative but rather one voted upon by the people themselves. And the people voted to adopt it. It was their will; it was their voice.

The NC NAACP can’t accuse 55% of the voters of North Carolina of being racist, of being motivated by a desire to disenfranchise blacks.

The more likely motivation was that they were concerned over too many irregularities in North Carolina elections (the election returns in Durham county, for example, back in 2016 ) and over too many stories (many true) of illegals voting and people voting by misappropriating the names of dead persons and those who have moved away. A photo ID requirement which proves to the poll official that the person who is voting is who he or she says he/she is is a simple way to address such opportunities to defraud the voting process (“One Citizen, One Vote”). Voter fraud and election fraud were also the reasons the NC General Assembly pursued a Voter ID law back in 2013, pursuant to a clear mandate pressured by the voters in the 2010 election. People were sick of the shenanigans being pulled at the ballot box. Despite what the mainstream media says about voter fraud, which in regard to this issue is absolutely fake news, the people know the truth. In 2010, Republicans finally secured the majority in both houses of the NC General Assembly (giving them the power to draw legislative districts, a critical move which helped them achieve GOP supermajorities in both the House and Senate). The opportunity finally arrived to address the lack of faith in NC elections and to address actual voter fraud and potential opportunities to commit it.

The voters of North Carolina put pressure on their state legislature for a Voter ID bill through the ballot box in 2010 (Republicans ran on a Voter ID bill) and then again on November 6 when they adopted a constitutional amendment requiring North Carolinians to present a photo ID to vote.

The language of the  Photo ID amendment, per House Bill 1092 (H.B. 1092), states: “Every person offering to vote in person shall present photo identification before voting in the manner prescribed by law.”

On November 21, Republican leaders in the NC General Assembly drafted a bill that describes what forms of photo ID would be allowed. It is considered a strict form of a photo ID bill; that is, it is restrictive in terms of what forms of ID would be allowed. That initial bill (v. 09) would have required persons to show one of the following forms of photo identification when they show up to vote: A North Carolina driver’s license, a U.S. passport, a military ID and veteran ID, tribal IDs, other forms of photo ID issued by the North Carolina Department of Transportation, a student ID (but only one issued by any of the 17 universities belonging to the UNC university system), and a voter ID card issued by each county’s board of elections office. This week, on Tuesday (Nov. 27), the General Assembly convened for a special two-week lame duck session in order to continue work on the new Voter ID law, as well as to address the other constitutional amendments adopted by voters on election day. Almost immediately, though, a revised draft of the Photo-Voter ID bill was submitted (Senate Bill 824; or S.824 – See below for its content) and as expected, Democrats played their games in an attempt to water-down the bill. From what I am told, the General Assembly will tackle in earnest the legislation to address photo ID next week.

And that is where the amendment stands right now.

The intent of the amendment would suggest that voters want a strict photo ID voter law. Why do I say this?  Considering the intense fight by Democrats and groups representing blacks to oppose and challenge a common-sense Voter ID law (it wasn’t even a strict one) and the intense media opposition campaign by the liberal-controlled media and by the Democrats (with George Soros providing much of the funding) to the Voter ID amendment, it seems obvious that the reason they were (and have been) so intently opposed to any type of voter ID is because they don’t want honest elections. Only a strict photo ID requirement can effectively thwart any of their plans to engage in voter manipulation or fraud.

NC Representatives Michele Presnell (R-Yancey) and John Sauls (R-Lee), both primary sponsors of H.B. 1092, believed the amendment was vital to block election fraud. As Rep. Presnell explained: “Citizens are increasingly concerned about attempts to subvert our elections process and it is incumbent upon government officials to safeguard public perception of our democracy as well as the actual ballots cast.” And Rep. Sauls added: “Confidence in the American democracy is essential to its longevity. Our state must not tolerate anyone’s vote being threatened because lawmakers failed to prevent fraud.”

Which brings us to the special lame-duck session which convened this week. Republicans want a strict form of a Photo ID law and but they face a potential hurdle if they don’t act quickly – Governor Roy Cooper, a Democrat and a strong opponent of voter ID laws. In fact, his entire history as Attorney General and we see a little of it also as Governor is that he has little respect for laws that are duly enacted and supported by the majority of the people of the state. He refused to support the Marriage Amendment that was adopted in the state by a ballot initiative (refused to defend it when it was challenged, even though it was his job) and he refused to allow the Supreme Court to review the 4th Circuit’s opinion on the 2013 Voter ID law. If Republicans have any chance of passing a strict Photo ID law, it needs to do so while it still enjoys a supermajority on both houses (that is, it needs to pass it before the new General Assembly is sworn in and the 2019-2020 session begins, which will be in January).

Interested persons should review the recent draft (S.824 – see below) and if they have questions or concerns, they should contact their legislators as quickly as possible.


Let’s go back to the accusations made by race-mongers, Rev. Anthony Spearman and Rev. William Barber, and his racist organization, the NC NAACP.  I call them “race mongers” because they and their organization feed off racial stress and racial division. The organization exists only to perpetuate it and in fact, should racial harmony exist, the organization would die. It would become irrelevant; Rev. Spearman would become irrelevant. Rev. William Barber would be irrelevant. These men and this organization (like many similar ones) offer nothing brand new, nothing good, no solutions, but rather, just emphasize and re-emphasize the dispute between the races and the sins of the past.

Let’s look at their accusations that any form of Voter ID law is an absolute “abridgement” of the voting rights guarantee in the 15th Amendment to black people, that all attempts to enact a Voter ID law in North Carolina amounts to an intentional scheme to disenfranchise blacks of their right to vote, and that white legislators, in general, meet in their caucuses for the precise purpose to scheme against blacks and to seek legislation to discriminate against them and to disenfranchise them of rights and privileges and opportunities.

The first step, of course, is to take note of the relevant law, which I’ve summarized below:

A.  The 15th Amendment:

Section 1:  The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

Section 2:  The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

B.  The 14th Amendment:

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.

C.  Voting Rights Act of 1965 (relevant sections)

Section 4: (a) To assure that the right of citizens of the United States to vote is not denied or abridged on account of race or color, no citizen shall be denied the right to vote in any Federal, State, or local election because of his failure to comply with any test or device in any State with respect to which the determinations have been made under subsection (b) or in any political subdivision with respect to which such determinations have been made as a separate unit, unless the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in an action for a declaratory judgment brought by such State or subdivision against the United States has determined that no such test or device has been used during the five years preceding the filing of the action for the purpose or with the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race or color: Provided, That no such declaratory judgment shall issue with respect to any plaintiff for a period of five years after the entry of a final judgment of any court of the United States, other than the denial of a declaratory judgment under this section, whether entered prior to or after the enactment of this Act, determining that denials or abridgments of the right to vote on account of race or color through the use of such tests or devices have occurred anywhere in the territory of such plaintiff. An action pursuant to this subsection shall be heard and determined by a court of three judges in accordance with the provisions of section 2284 of title 28 of the United States Code and any appeal shall lie to the Supreme Court. The court shall retain jurisdiction of any action pursuant to this subsection for five years after judgment and shall reopen the action upon motion of the Attorney General alleging that a test or device has been used for the purpose or with the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race or color.

If the Attorney General determines that he has no reason to believe that any such test or device has been used during the five years preceding the filing of the action for the purpose or with the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race or color, he shall consent to the entry of such judgment

(b) The provisions of subsection (a) shall apply in any State or in any political subdivision of a state which (1) the Attorney General determines maintained on November 1, 1964, any test or device, and with respect to which (2) the Director of the Census determines that less than 50 percentum of the persons of voting age residing therein were registered on November 1, 1964, or that less than 50 percentum of such persons voted in the presidential election of November 1964.

A determination or certification of the Attorney General or of the Director of the Census under this section or under section 6 or section 13 shall not be reviewable in any court and shall be effective upon publication in the Federal Register.

(c) The phrase “test or device” shall mean any requirement that a person as a prerequisite for voting or registration for voting (1) demonstrate the ability to read, write, understand, or interpret any matter, (2) demonstrate any educational achievement or his knowledge of any particular subject, (3) possess good moral character, or (4) prove his qualifications by the voucher of registered voters or members of any other class.

(d) For purposes of this section no State or political subdivision shall be determined to have engaged in the use of tests or devices for the purpose or with the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race or color if (1) incidents of such use have been few in number and have been promptly and effectively corrected by State or local action, (2) the continuing effect of such incidents has been eliminated, and (3) there is no reasonable probability of their recurrence in the future.

Section 5:  Whenever a State or political subdivision with respect to which the prohibitions set forth in section 4(a) are in effect shall enact or seek to administer any voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure with respect to voting different from that in force or effect on November 1, 1964, such State or subdivision may institute an action in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia for a declaratory judgment that such qualification, prerequisite, standard, practice, or procedure does not have the purpose and will not have the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race or color, and unless and until the court enters such judgment no person shall be denied the right to vote for failure to comply with such qualification, prerequisite, standard, practice, or procedure: Provided, That such qualification, prerequisite, standard, practice, or procedure may be enforced without such proceeding if the qualification, prerequisite, standard, practice, or procedure has been submitted by the chief legal officer or other appropriate official of such State or subdivision to the Attorney General and the Attorney General has not interposed an objection within sixty days after such submission, except that neither the Attorney General’s failure to object nor a declaratory judgment entered under this section shall bar a subsequent action to enjoin enforcement of such qualification, prerequisite, standard, practice, or procedure. Any action under this section shall be heard and determined by a court of three judges in accordance with the provisions of section 2284 of title 28 of the United States Code and any appeal shall lie to the Supreme Court.


The Voting Rights Act of 1965 has no bearing on NC Voter ID laws since June 2013, when, in the case of Shelby County v. Holder, the Supreme Court struck down the operative section that used to require the federal government to review changes to any state’s voting laws, provided that state had a history of discrimination against African-Americans.

Section 5 is known as the Pre-Clearance Section, which provides that any state or political subdivision thereof meeting the criteria set forth in Sections 4(a)-(b), must have any changes to its voting laws reviewed by a federal court to make sure that such changes do not discriminate outright on account of race or have the effect of doing so. Section 5 was not invalidated, but Section 4 was. Section 4 is the section which establishes the “Pre-Clearance Formula” to determine which state or subdivision thereof comes under the jurisdiction of Section 5. In other words, Section 4 contained the legislative formula to determine which jurisdictions must get “preclearance” from the federal government to change their voting laws—a procedure mandated by Section 5 of the Act. Without Section 4, Section 5 has no effect, since no states or jurisdictions are subject to the preclearance mandate. (The formula hadn’t been updated by Congress since 1975 and so a majority of the Court struck down Section 4 because the formula was far too outdated to pass constitutional muster.)

Note, however, that the Court in Shelby decided to exempt Section 5 from scrutiny, thereby leaving an opening for Congress to enact a new formula that “identifies those jurisdictions to be singled out on a basis that makes sense in light of the current conditions.”

I should go into the Shelby decision a little further since the 2016 4th Circuit opinion striking down the 2013 NC Voter ID law touches on it and also because Rev. Spearman is under the impression that the 15th Amendment and Voting Rights Act go hand-in-hand as perpetual law. He believes that the constraints imposed by the Voting Rights Act extend, and should rightly so, into perpetuity. He is under the impression that there is a continual struggle between whites and blacks and that whites will always find ways to disenfranchise blacks to minimize their standing in society. But that just isn’t so.

The following is taken right from the Opinion:  ( )

FACTS & HISTORY:  The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was enacted to address entrenched racial discrimination in voting, “an insidious and pervasive evil which had been perpetuated in certain parts of our country through unremitting and ingenious defiance of the Constitution.” South Carolina v. Katzenbach (1966).  Section 2 of the Act, which bans any “standard, practice, or procedure” that “results in a denial or abridgement of the right of any citizen . . . to vote on account of race or color,” 42 U. S. C. §1973(a), applies nationwide, is permanent, and is not at issue in this case. Other sections apply only to some parts of the country. Section 4 of the Act provides the “coverage formula,” defining the “covered jurisdictions” as States or political subdivisions that maintained tests or devices as prerequisites to voting, and had low voter registration or turnout, in the 1960s and early 1970s. §1973b(b). In those covered jurisdictions, §5 of the Act provides that no change in voting procedures can take effect until approved by specified federal authorities in Washington, D. C. §1973c(a). Such approval is known as “preclearance.”

The coverage formula and preclearance requirement were initially set to expire after five years, but the Act has been reauthorized several times. In 2006, the Act was reauthorized for an additional 25 years, but the coverage formula was not changed. Coverage still turned on whether a jurisdiction had a voting test in the 1960s or 1970s, and had low voter registration or turnout at that time. Shortly after the 2006 reauthorization, a Texas utility district sought to bail out from the Act’s coverage and, in the alternative, challenged the Act’s constitutionality. This Court resolved the challenge on statutory grounds, but expressed serious doubts about the Act’s continued constitutionality. See Northwest Austin Municipal Util. Dist. No. One v. Holder (2009).

Petitioner Shelby County, in the covered jurisdiction of Alabama, sued the Attorney General in Federal District Court in Washington, D. C., seeking a declaratory judgment that sections 4(b) and 5 are facially unconstitutional, as well as a permanent injunction against their enforcement. The District Court upheld the Act, finding that the evidence before Congress in 2006 was sufficient to justify reauthorizing §5 and continuing §4(b)’s coverage formula. The D. C. Circuit affirmed. After surveying the evidence in the record, that court accepted Congress’s conclusion that §2 litigation remained inadequate in the covered jurisdictions to protect the rights of minority voters, that §5 was therefore still necessary, and that the coverage formula continued to pass constitutional muster.

OPINION & REASONING:  The majority opinion was delivered by Chief Justice John Roberts joined by Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito.  The Court held that Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act is unconstitutional, that its formula can no longer be used as a basis for subjecting states and political subdivisions to preclearance. The majority concluded that Section 4(b) exceeded Congress’s power to enforce the 14th and 15th Amendments, reasoning that the coverage formula conflicts with the constitutional principles of federalism and “equal sovereignty of the states” because the disparate treatment of the states is “based on 40 year-old facts having no logical relationship to the present day” and thus is not responsive to current needs. The Court expressed that Congress cannot subject a state to preclearance based simply on past discrimination. The opinion reads:

In Northwest Austin, this Court noted that the Voting Rights Act “imposes current burdens and must be justified by current needs” and concluded that “a departure from the fundamental principle of equal sovereignty requires a showing that a statute’s disparate geographic coverage is sufficiently related to the problem that it targets.” It is this basic principle of sovereignty and also this principle of “burden v. necessity” that guide the Court in addressing the issue presented – in reviewing the constitutionality of Sections 4 and 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

(1)  State legislation may not contravene federal law. States retain broad autonomy, however, in structuring their governments and pursuing legislative objectives. Indeed, the Tenth Amendment reserves to the States all powers not specifically granted to the Federal Government, including “the power to regulate elections.” Gregory v. Ashcroft (1991). There is also a “fundamental principle of equal sovereignty” among the States, which is highly pertinent in assessing disparate treatment of States. See Northwest Austin. The Voting Rights Act sharply departs from these basic principles. It requires States to beseech the Federal Government for permission to implement laws that they would otherwise have the right to enact and execute on their own. And despite the tradition of equal sovereignty, the Act applies to only nine States (and additional counties). That is why, in 1966 (in Katzenbach), this Court described the Act as “stringent” and “potent.” The Court nonetheless upheld the Act, concluding that such an “uncommon exercise of congressional power” could be justified by “exceptional conditions.”

(2)  In 1966, these departures were justified by the “blight of racial discrimination in voting” that had “infected the electoral process in parts of our country for nearly a century” [Katzenbach]. At the time, the coverage formula – the means of linking the exercise of the unprecedented authority with the problem that warranted it – made sense. The Act was limited to areas where Congress found “evidence of actual voting discrimination,” and the covered jurisdictions shared two characteristics: “the use of tests and devices for voter registration, and a voting rate in the 1964 presidential election at least 12 points below the national average.” The Court explained that “tests and devices are relevant to voting discrimination because of their long history as a tool for perpetrating the evil; a low voting rate is pertinent for the obvious reason that widespread disenfranchisement must inevitably affect the number of actual voters.” [Ibid]  The Court therefore concluded that “the coverage formula was rational in both practice and theory.” [Ibid]

(3)  Nearly 50 years later, things have changed dramatically. While any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to current conditions. Largely because of the Voting Rights Act, “voter turnout and registration rates” in covered jurisdictions “now approach parity. Blatantly discriminatory evasions of federal decrees are rare. And minority candidates hold office at unprecedented levels.”  See Northwest Austin. The tests and devices that blocked ballot access have been forbidden nationwide for over 40 years. Yet the Act has not eased §5’s restrictions or narrowed the scope of §4’s coverage formula along the way. Instead those extraordinary and unprecedented features have been reauthorized as if nothing has changed, and they have grown even stronger. Because §5 applies only to those jurisdictions singled out by §4, the Court turns to consider that provision.

Later in the opinion, Chief Justice Roberts wrote:

A statute’s “current burdens” must be justified by “current needs,” and any “disparate geographic coverage” must be “sufficiently related to the problem that it targets.” The coverage formula met that test in 1965, but no longer does so.

Coverage today is based on decades-old data and eradicated practices. The formula captures States by reference to literacy tests and low voter registration and turnout in the 1960s and early 1970s. But such tests have been banned nationwide for over 40 years. And voter registration and turnout numbers in the covered States have risen dramatically in the years since. Racial disparity in those numbers was compelling evidence justifying the preclearance remedy and the coverage formula. There is no longer such a disparity…..  The nation is no longer divided along racial lines, yet the Voting Rights Act continues to treat it as if it were.

…..  the Fifteenth Amendment commands that the right to vote shall not be denied or abridged on account of race or color, and it gives Congress the power to enforce that command. The Amendment is not designed to punish for the past; its purpose is to ensure a better future.

In light of the outdated formula, in light of the fact that at one time (1966), the formula was “rational in both practice and theory” (preclearance was a “tailored remedy” under the circumstances) but that times have dramatically changed, and in light of the undue burden it placed on certain states in violation of the Tenth Amendment, the Supreme Court concluded that Section 4’s formula is unconstitutional in light of current conditions.

Taking to heart the opinion’s explanation that times have “changed dramatically,” ask yourself a question: Referring to the black women I wrote about much earlier, who had attempted to vote at least three times on a single day in North Carolina, with the poll officials purposely not saying anything about it or turning her in – Does anyone think that such a thing could have ever happened in pre-Civil Rights era America? Does anyone even think such a thing could have happened in 1965?  Absolutely not. That instance shows just how much times have changed and how far behind us we’ve put racial discrimination at the ballot box.

Again, note that Justice Roberts opted to strike down only the formula in Section 4 that determined which jurisdictions would be subject to the preclearance requirements. The Court declined to address the constitutionality of Section 5 (invoking the doctrine of “constitutional avoidance,” which says that a federal court should refuse to rule on a constitutional issue if the case can be resolved on a non-constitutional basis), although it also was challenged by Shelby County, Alabama, thus leaving it in place for Congress, should it ever wish to enact an updated “formula.”  (Giving Congress the chance to address or update Section 5 was the “chance to resolve the issue on a non-constitutional basis”).

As Justice Antonin Scalia said during oral arguments: “Congress reauthorized Section 5 (in 2006) not because the legislation was necessary, but because it constituted a ‘racial entitlement’ that Congress was unlikely to end.”

The important thing to know is that as it stands now, Section 5 has been rendered useless by the decision in Shelby because the provision that gives it force (Section 4) has been struck down as unconstitutional. And because Section 5 is rendered useless, the Voting Rights Act no longer demands and requires federal court review and approval of any changes to North Carolina’s voting laws. (Same for any other southern state previously identified by the law’s “preclearance” provision)

D.  Latest Draft of a NC Photo-Voter ID bill (S.824):


SECTION 1.1(a)  Article 17 of Chapter 163A of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:

“§ 163A-869.1.  Voter Photo Identification Cards.

(a) The county board of elections shall, in accordance with this section, issue without charge voter photo identification cards upon request to registered voters. The voter photo identification cards shall contain a photograph of the voter and the registration number for that voter. The voter photo identification card shall be used for voting purposes only, and shall expire ten years from the date of issuance.

(b) The State Board shall make available to county board of elections the equipment necessary to print voter photo identification cards. The county board of elections shall operate and maintain the equipment necessary to print voter photo identification cards.

(c)  County boards of elections shall maintain a secure database containing the photographs of registered voters taken for the purpose of issuing voter photo identification cards.

(d)  The State Board shall adopt rules to ensure at a minimum, but not limited to, the following:

(1) A registered voter seeking to obtain a voter photo identification card shall provide the voter’s date of birth and the last four digits of the voter’s social security number.

(2) Voter photo identification cards shall be issued at any time, except during the time period between the end of the voter registration deadline for a primary or election as provided in G.S. 163A-865 and election day for each primary and election.

(3) If the registered voter loses or defaces the voter’s photo identification card, the voter may obtain a duplicate card without charge from his or her county board of registration upon request in person, or by telephone, or mail.

(e) Ninety days prior to expiration, the county board of elections shall notify any voter issued a voter photographic identification card under this section of the impending expiration of the voter photographic identification card.”

SECTION 1.2(a)  Article 20 of Chapter 163A of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:

“§ 163A-1145.1.  Requirement for Photo Identification to Vote in Person.

(a).  Photo Identification Required to Vote. – When a voter presents to vote in person, the voter shall produce any of the following forms of identification that contain a photograph of the voter:

(1)  Any of the following that is valid and unexpired, or has been expired for one year or less::

  1. A North Carolina drivers license.
  2. A special identification card for nonoperators issued under G.S. 20-37.7 or other form of non-temporary identification issued by the Division of Motor Vehicles of the Department of Transportation.
  3. A United States passport.
  4. A North Carolina voter photo identification card of the voter issued pursuant to G.S. 163A-869.1.
  5. A valid and current tribal enrollment card issued by a federally recognized tribe.
  6. A valid and current tribal enrollment card issued by a tribe recognized by this State under Chapter 71A of the General Statutes, provided that card meets all of the following criteria:

(i). Is issued in accordance with a process approved by the State Board that requires an application and proof of identity equivalent to the requirements for issuance of a special identification card by the Division of Motor Vehicles of the Department of Transportation.

(ii). Is signed by an elected official of the tribe.

  1. A student identification card issued by a constituent institution of the University of North Carolina, a community college, as defined in G.S. 115D-2(2), or eligible private postsecondary institution as defined in G.S. 116-280(3), provided that card is issued in accordance with G.S. 163A-1145.2.
  2. An employee identification card issued by a state or local government entity, including a charter school, provided that card is issued in accordance with G.S. 163A-1145.3.
  3. A drivers license or special identification card for nonoperators issued by another state, the District of Columbia, or a territory or commonwealth of the United States, but only if the voter’s voter registration was within 90 days of the election.

(2)  Any of the following, regardless of whether the identification contains a printed expiration or issuance date:

  1. A military identification card issued by the United States government.
  2. A Veterans Identification Card issued by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs for use at Veterans Administration medical facilities.

(3)  Any expired form of identification allowed in this subsection presented by a voter having attained the age of 65 years at the time of presentation at the voting place, provided that the identification was unexpired on the voter’s sixty-fifth birthday.

(b). Verification of Photo Identification. – After presentation of the required identification described in subsection (a) of this section, the precinct officials assigned to check registration shall compare the photograph contained on the required identification with the person presenting to vote. The precinct official shall verify that the photograph is that of the person seeking to vote. If the precinct official disputes that the photograph contained on the required identification is the person presenting to vote, a challenge shall be conducted in accordance with the procedures of G.S. 163A-914.

(c)  Provisional Ballot Required Without Photo Identification. – If the registered voter cannot produce the identification as required in subsection (a) of this section, the voter may cast a provisional ballot that is counted only if the voter brings a valid and current photo identification to the county board of elections no later than the end of business on the business day prior to the canvass by the county board of elections as provided in G.S. 163A-1172.

(d)  Exceptions. – The following exceptions are provided for a voter who does not produce a valid and current photograph identification as required above:

(1) Religious Objection. – If a voter does not produce a valid and current photograph identification due to a religious objection to being photographed, the voter may complete an affidavit under penalty of perjury at the voting place and affirm that the voter: (i) is the same individual who personally appears at the voting place; (ii) will cast the provisional ballot while voting in person; and (iii) has a religious objection to being photographed. Upon completion of the affidavit, the voter may cast a provisional ballot.

(2) Reasonable Impediment. – If a voter does not produce a valid and current photograph identification because the voter suffers from a reasonable impediment that prevents the voter from obtaining photograph identification,

the voter may complete an affidavit under the penalty of perjury at the voting place and affirm that the voter: (i) is the same individual who personally appears at the voting place; (ii) will cast the provisional ballot while voting in person; and (iii) suffers from a reasonable impediment that prevents the voter from presenting photograph identification. The voter also shall complete a reasonable impediment declaration form provided in subsection (d1) of this section, unless otherwise prohibited by state or federal law. Upon completion of the affidavit, the voter may cast a provisional ballot.

(3) Natural Disaster. – If a voter does not produce an acceptable form of photograph identification due to being a victim of a natural disaster occurring within 100 days before election day that resulted in a disaster declaration by the President of the United States and the Governor of this State, the voter may complete an affidavit under penalty of perjury at the voting place and affirm that the voter: (i) is the same individual who personally appears at the voting place; (ii) will cast the provisional ballot while voting in person; and (iii) was a victim of a natural disaster occurring within 100 days before election day that resulted in a disaster declaration by the President of the United States and the Governor of this State. Upon completion of the affidavit, the voter may cast a provisional ballot.

(d1) Reasonable Impediment Declaration Form. – The State Board shall adopt a Reasonable Impediment Declaration form that, at a minimum, includes the following as separate boxes that a voter may check to identify the voter’s reasonable impediment:

(1)  Inability to obtain photo identification due to:

  1. Lack of transportation.
  2. Disability or illness.
  3. Lack of birth certificate or other underlying documents required.
  4. Work schedule.
  5. Family responsibilities.

(2)  Lost or stolen photo identification

(3)  Photo identification applied for but not yet received by the voter voting in person.

(4)  Other reasonable impediment. If the voter checks the “other reasonable impediment” box, a further brief written identification of the reasonable impediment shall be required, including the option to indicate that State or federal law prohibits listing the impediment.

(e)  County Board Review of Exceptions. – If the county board of elections determines that the voter voted a provisional ballot only due to the inability to provide proof of identification and the required affidavit required in subsection (d) of this section is submitted, the county board of elections shall find that the provisional ballot is valid unless the county board has grounds to believe the affidavit is false.

(f)  Purpose. The purpose of the identification required is to confirm the person presenting to vote is the voter on the voter registration records. Any address listed on the identification is not determinative of a voter’s residence for the purpose of voting. A voter’s residence for the purpose of voting is determined pursuant to G.S. 163A-842.

SECTION 1.2(b)  Article 20 of Chapter 163A of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:

“§ 163A-1145.2.  Approval of Student Identification Cards for Voting Identification.

(a) The State Board shall approve the use of student identification cards issued by a constituent institution of The University of North Carolina, a community college, as defined in G.S. 115D-2(2), or eligible private postsecondary institution as defined in G.S. 116-280(3) for voting identification under G.S. 163A-1145.1 if the following criteria are met:

(1) The chancellor, president, or registrar of the university or college submits a signed letter to the Executive Director of the State Board under penalty of perjury that the following are true:

  1. The identification cards that are issued by the university or college contain photographs of students taken by the university or college or its agents or contractors.
  2. The identification cards are issued after an enrollment process that includes methods of confirming the identity of the student that include, but are not limited to, the social security number, citizenship status, and birthdate of the student.
  3. The equipment for producing the identification cards is kept in a secure location.
  4. Misuse of the equipment for producing the identification cards would be grounds for student discipline or termination of an employee.
  5. University or college officials would report any misuse of student identification card equipment to law enforcement if G.S. 163A-1389(19) was potentially violated.
  6. The cards issued by the university or college contain a date of expiration, effective January 1, 2021.
  7. The university or college provides copies of standard identification cards to the State Board to assist with training purposes.

(2) The university or college complies with any other reasonable security measures determined by the State Board to be necessary for the protection and security of the student identification process.

(b) The State Board shall approve the use of student identification cards issued by a constituent institution of The University of North Carolina, a community college, as defined in G.S. 115D-2(2), or eligible private postsecondary institution as defined in G.S. 116-280(3) every four years.

(c) The State Board shall produce a list of participating universities and colleges every four years. The list shall be published on the State Board’s Web site and distributed to every county board of elections.”

SECTION 1.2(c)  Article 20 of Chapter 163A of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:

“§ 163A-1145.3.  Approval of Employee Identification Cards for Voting Identification.

(a) The State Board shall approve the use of employee identification card issued by a state or local government entity, including a charter school, for voting identification under G.S. 163A-1145.1 if the following criteria are met:

(1) The head elected official or lead human resources employee of the state or local government entity or charter school submits a signed letter to the Executive Director of the State Board under penalty of perjury that the following are true:

  1. The identification cards that are issued by the state or local government entity contain photographs of the employees taken by the employing entity or its agents or contractors.
  2. The identification cards are issued after an employment application process that includes methods of confirming the identity of the employee that include, but are not limited to, the social security number, citizenship status, and birthdate of the employee.
  3. The equipment for producing the identification cards is kept in a secure location.
  4. Misuse of the equipment for producing the identification cards would be grounds for termination of an employee.
  5. State or local officials would report any misuse of identification card equipment to law enforcement if G.S. 163A-1389(19) was potentially violated.
  6. The cards issued by the state or local government entity contain a date of expiration, effective January 1, 2021.
  7. The state or local government entity provides copies of standard identification cards to the State Board to assist with training purposes.

(2) The state or local government entity complies with any other reasonable security measures determined by the State Board to be necessary for the protection and security of the employee identification process.

(b) The State Board shall approve the use of employee identification cards issued by a state or local government entity, including a charter school, every four years.

(c) The State Board shall produce a list of participating employing entities every four years. The list shall be published on the State Board’s Web site and distributed to every county board of elections.

SECTION 1.2(d)  Notwithstanding G.S. 163A-1145.1, 163A-1145.2, and 163A-1145.3, the State Board shall approve (i) tribal enrollment cards issued by a tribe recognized by this State under Chapter 71A of the General Statutes; (ii) student identification cards issued by a constituent institution of The University of North Carolina, a community college, as defined in G.S. 115D-2(2), or eligible private postsecondary institution as defined in G.S. 116-280(3); and (iii) employee identification cards issued by a state or local government entity, including a charter school, for use as voting identification under G.S. 163A-1145.1 no later than March 15, 2019, for use in primaries and elections held in 2019 and 2020, and again no later than May 15, 2021, for elections held on or after that date. The State Board shall adopt temporary rules on reasonable security measures for use of student or employee identification cards for voting identification in G.S. 163A-1145.2 and G.S. 163A-1145.3 no later than February 1, 2019. The State Board shall adopt permanent rules on reasonable security measures for use of student or employee identification cards for voting identification in G.S. 163A-1145.2 and G.S. 163A-1145.3 no later than May 15, 2021. The State Board shall produce the initial list of participating institutions and employing entities no later than April 1, 2019.

SECTION 1.2(e)  Notwithstanding G.S. 163A-1145.1, 163A-1145.2, and 163A-1145.3, a student identification card issued by a constituent institution of The University of North Carolina, a community college, as defined in G.S. 115D-2(2), or eligible private postsecondary institution as defined in G.S. 116-280(3) or an employee identification card issued by state or local government entity that does not contain an expiration date shall be eligible for use in any election held before January 1, 2021. 9

SECTION 1.2(f)  Notwithstanding G.S. 163A-1145.1(d)(2), for elections held in 2019, any voter who does not present a photograph identification listed as acceptable in G.S. 163A-1145.1(a) when presenting to vote in person shall be allowed to complete a reasonable impediment affidavit and cast a provisional ballot, listing as the impediment not being aware of the requirement to present photograph identification when voting in person or failing to bring photograph identification to the voting place.

***  Language and sections highlighted in bold are the revisions to the original draft proposed by lawmakers just prior to the start of the special lame-duck session of the NC General Assembly.

[Source:  The draft bill (S.824) –

The changes made to the original draft Voter ID bill (v. 09) which gave rise to S.824 are listed in more plain terms below:

(a) SECTION 1.1(a) adds a new section to § 163A-869: Voter Photo Identification Cards – requiring county boards of election to maintain a secure database containing the photographs of registered voters taken for the purpose of issuing voter photo identification cards.

(b) SECTION 1.2(a) broadens the section in § 163A-1145.1: Requirement for Photo Identification to Vote in Person which lists Student ID cards as an acceptable form of photo identification. In the prior version of the bill, the only acceptable student ID cards were those issued by any of the 17 schools belonging to the UNC University system.

(c) SECTION 1.1(b) adds a new section to § 163A-869: Voter Photo Identification Cards – adding Employment Identification cards as an acceptable form of photo identification.

(d) SECTION 1.1(b) adds additional language to the section (“Exceptions – Reasonable Impediment”) in § 163A-869: Voter Photo Identification Cards. It further includes Section (dl) which requires that a voter claiming a Reasonable Impediment to fill out a Reasonable Impediment Declaration Form.

(e) SECTION 1.1(b) adds a new subsection to § 163A-869: Voter Photo Identification Cards – to section “Exceptions.” The new exception is “Natural Disaster.”

(f) All the sections after that – Sections 1.2 (c) – 1.2 (f) – are newly-added; that is, they are new to S.824.

E.  The Opinion of the Supreme Court, Crawford v. Marion County Board of Elections (2008) – upholding the constitutionality of a strict photo ID type voter ID law

In 2005, Indiana passed a strict Voter ID law.  It was the most restrictive voter law at the time. The Indiana statute required citizens voting in person on election day, or casting a ballot in person at the office of the circuit court clerk prior to election day, to present photo identification issued by the government.

Under the law, voters MUST have a specific form of ID in order to vote. The ID must be issued by the state of Indiana or the U.S. government and must show the following:

  • Name of individual to whom it was issued, which must conform to the individual’s registration record
  • Photo of the person to whom it was issued
  • Expiration date (if it is expired, it must have an expiration date after the most recent general election; military IDs are exempted from the requirement that ID bear an expiration date)

Voters in Indiana who are unable to or decline to produce such an identification may vote a provisional ballot. The ballot is counted only if: (1) the voter returns to the election board by noon on the Monday after the election and: (A) produces proof of identification; or (B) executes an affidavit stating that the voter cannot obtain proof of identification, because the voter: (i) is indigent; or (ii) has a religious objection to being photographed; and (2) the voter has not been challenged or required to vote a provisional ballot for any other reason.  [Indiana statute §3-5-2-40.5, 3-10-1-7.2 and 3-11-8-25.1]

The strict photo identification requirement was challenged as being an unreasonable burden on the right to vote and that challenge made its way to the Supreme Court in 2008.  [Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, (2008)].  Civil rights groups (including ACORN), the Women’s League of Voters, and other groups filed amici briefs challenging the constitutionality of the ID requirement.  After concluding that no voter would conceivably be precluded from voting under the law, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the photo ID requirement, finding it closely related to Indiana’s legitimate state interest in preventing voter fraud, modernizing elections, and safeguarding voter confidence.

Justice John Paul Stevens, who wrote the majority opinion, stated that the burdens placed on voters are limited to a small percentage of the population and were offset by the state’s interest in reducing fraud. He opined: “Because Indiana’s cards are free, the inconvenience of going to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, gathering required documents, and posing for a photograph does not qualify as a substantial burden on most voters’ right to vote, or represent a significant increase over the usual burdens of voting. The severity of the somewhat heavier burden that may be placed on a limited number of persons—e.g., elderly persons born out-of-state, who may have difficulty obtaining a birth certificate—is mitigated by the fact that eligible voters without photo identification may cast provisional ballots that will be counted if they execute the required affidavit at the circuit court clerk’s office. Even assuming that the burden may not be justified as to a few voters, that conclusion is by no means sufficient to establish petitioners’ right to the relief they seek.”

He concluded:

      “In sum, on the basis of the record that has been made in this litigation, we cannot conclude that the statute imposes “excessively burdensome requirements” on any class of voters. A facial challenge must fail where the statute has a ‘plainly legitimate sweep.’ When we consider only the statute’s broad application to all Indiana voters we conclude that it imposes only a limited burden on voters’ rights. The precise interests advanced by the State are therefore sufficient to defeat petitioners’ facial challenge.

      Finally we note that petitioners have not demonstrated that the proper remedy – even assuming an unjustified burden on some voters – would be to invalidate the entire statute. When evaluating a neutral, nondiscriminatory regulation of voting procedure, we must keep in mind that a ruling of unconstitutionality frustrates the intent of the elected representatives of the people.”

Justice Scalia wrote separately in a concurring opinion: “The law should be upheld because the overall burden is minimal and justified.”  He went on to state that the Supreme Court should defer to state and local legislators and that the Supreme Court should not get involved in local election law cases, which would do nothing but encourage more litigation. “It is for state legislatures to weigh the costs and benefits of possible changes to their election codes, and their judgment must prevail unless it imposes a severe and unjustified overall burden upon the right to vote, or is intended to disadvantage a particular class,” he wrote.

Finally, he concluded: “The universally applicable requirements of Indiana’s voter-identification law are eminently reasonable. The burden of acquiring, possessing, and showing a free photo identification is simply not severe, because it does not “even represent a significant increase over the usual burdens of voting.”  And the State’s interests are sufficient to sustain that minimal burden. That should end the matter.”

In addition to the challenge that the strict ID requirement was an unreasonable burden on the right to vote, civil rights groups alleged that the requirement benefitted Republicans and harmed Democrats at the ballot box (because Democrats include more poor people and minorities).  Justice Stevens, joined by Justices Scalia and Kennedy, disregarded that argument and wrote: “The justifications for the law should not be disregarded simply because partisan interests may have provided one motivation for the votes of individual legislators.”

What exactly does the Indiana Voter ID law require of each voter when he or she shows up to vote?  This is important because according to the Supreme Court, the ID requirement is NOT an unreasonable limitation on the right to vote.  The Supreme Court did not say it was not an unreasonable limitation on the right to vote for a WHITE person.  The Court held that the limitation was not an unreasonable limitation on any person’s right to vote.

F.  The Opinion of the 4th Circuit, North Carolina NAACP v. Pat McCrory (2016) – striking down the 2013 NC Voter ID Law

Reverend Spearman points to the opinion of the leftist 4th Circuit as proof that North Carolina’s 2013 Voter ID law was intentionally racist and racially-motivated, that the NC General Assembly is a racist government body, and that any law enacted in North Carolina to regulate voting (particularly to address potential fraud and integrity concerns) is nothing more than an intentional scheme to continue the historical repression of black votes. He points to the language of the opinion, which just happens to sing his favorite tune. The language also happens to be horribly offensive and I submit, legally dishonest.

But first let’s look at the judicial history:  The day the NC Voter ID law was passed (SL 2013-381).

On August 12, 2013, the NC General Assembly, with the signature of Governor Pat McCrory, enacted the first NC Voter ID law [Carolina Session Law 2013-381, or “SL 2013-381”], which made a number of changes to North Carolina’s voting laws.  All the changes were to take effect immediately except for the voter photo ID requirement, which would not be effective until January 1, 2016.  That same day, the NC NAACP joined several groups in suing to overturn several provisions – provisions they alleged as being racially motivated: the photo-ID requirement, elimination of same-day registration (“SDR”), elimination of the first week of early voting (shortening the total early voting period from seventeen to ten days), elimination of one of the two “souls-to-the-polls” Sunday voting days (which allow churches to provide transportation to voters), prohibition on counting out-of-precinct (“OOP”) provisional ballots, elimination of mandatory pre-registration of sixteen-year-olds (when they attend mandatory high school driver’s education or go to the DMV to obtain a drivers license), and expansion of poll observers and ballot challenges.

Trial was set for July 13, 2015.  On June 18, 2015, the NC General Assembly passed House Bill 836, and on June 22, 2015, the Governor signed it into law as North Carolina Session Law 2015-103 (“SL 2015-103”). The law relaxed the photo-ID requirement created by SL 2013-381 by providing an additional exception that permits individuals to vote without a photo ID so long as they sign a “reasonable impediment” affidavit. Beginning July 13, 2015, the district court held a trial on the merits of all claims except those challenging the merits of the photo-ID provision, but then the NC NAACP and other plaintiffs sought to also ask the court for an injunction preventing the implementation of the “watered-down” photo ID requirement (as amended, or “watered down” by the “reasonable impediment” provision). In all, the NC NAACP sought a preliminary injunction against the challenged changes to existing voting laws and a preliminary injunction only as to the “soft roll-out” of the photo ID requirement.”  The district court denied the injunctions, concluding that the plaintiffs did not make a strong enough showing that they would succeed on the merits of their case. The court held that the NC General Assembly did not act with discriminatory intent in enacting its Voter ID omnibus bill and deferred to its wisdom and intent in drafting and passing the law.

The case was then appealed to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, which reversed the opinion of the District Court. The opinion was written by Judge Motz.

The 4th Circuit 3-judge panel noted that all of the voting tools restricted or eliminated by the bill were ones that African-Americans disproportionately used. Furthermore, according to the court, the photo ID requirement imposed a hardship on African-American as they disproportionately lacked them.  [Note again that the legislature had amended the bill, in 2015 (version SL 2013-103) before its trial date to include other forms of identification that African-Americans would likely possess, as well as to include a provision providing that if a person could not produce a photo ID, a one free of charge would be provided by the county, but the 4th Circuit ignored that]. Essentially, the 4th Circuit concluded that the NC state legislature acted with discriminatory intent in enacting the 2013 Voter ID bill because it restricted voting mechanisms and procedures that most heavily affect blacks.

The opinion began:

“During the period in which North Carolina jurisdictions were covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (preclearance of any voting laws with the US Justice Department), African-American electoral participation dramatically improved.  In particular, between 2000 and 2012, when the law provided for the voting mechanisms at issue here (ie, early voting, Sunday voting, same-day voting, provisional voting) and did not require photo ID, African-American voter registration swelled by 51.1% – as compared to an increase of only 15.8% for white voters.  African-American turnout similarly surged, from 41.9% in 2000 to 71.5% in 2008 and 68.5% in 2012.”

[The 4th Circuit incorrectly credited North Carolina’s very relaxed voting laws with the African-American voter turn-out when the truth is that the turn out was exceptionally high, in relation to white voter turn-out,] because for the first time in our country’s history, an African-American was running for president. The African-American community couldn’t be more energized!]

The opinion continued:

“After years of preclearance and expansion of voting access, by 2013 African-American registration and turnout rates had finally reached near-parity with white registration and turnout rates. African-Americans were poised to act as a major electoral force.”

The judges concluded that the sole purpose of the Voter ID law was to prevent that from happening.

In late June 2013, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Shelby County v. Holder, a case that held enormous implications for North Carolina.  In it, the Court invalidated Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act, which provided the preclearance coverage formula to be used by the federal government when assessing a change to a state voting law under Section 5.  The government reviews changes to state voting laws under the Voting Rights Act one of two ways: either in an administrative review by the Attorney General, or in court, in the US District Court for the District of Columbia. The Supreme Court in Shelby found that Section 4 was unconstitutional as an undue burden on the States’ inherent sovereign powers under the Tenth Amendment because it continued to rely on greatly outdated data which had no place in our current times. finding it based on outdated data. [The Shelby v. Holder case was addressed in detail earlier). Consequently, as of that date (late June 2013), North Carolina no longer needed to preclear changes to its election laws. It was no longer under the historic presumption that any changes to election laws would be an intentional scheme to  disenfranchise African-American voters. North Carolina was free from the taint of its discriminatory past.

Up until that decision, the NC legislature had been working on a Voter ID bill. Voters were getting very impatient, but the legislators assured their constituents that a good, legally-sound bill would take time; it needed to be reviewed and re-reviewed by lawyers in order to make sure it would be “challenge-proof. When the Shelby decision came out, the legislature decided to enlarge the Voter ID bill into an omnibus bill, seeking several changes to what was without a doubt, an extensive early voting period. That bill would become Session Law (“SL”) 2013-381, which we all knew as the 2013 NC Voter ID bill.

Noting that the Shelby opinion came out just as blacks had become energized to vote and as the NC legislature was putting its Voter ID in final form, the 4th Circuit concluded that is when the so-called “racist” republicans (the court’s view) hatched their diabolical discriminatory scheme to disenfranchise black voters.

The opinion read:

“But, on the day after the Supreme Court issued Shelby County v. Holder, eliminating preclearance obligations, a leader of the party that newly dominated the legislature (and the party that rarely enjoyed African American support) announced an intention to enact what he characterized as an “omnibus” election law.  Before enacting that law, the legislature requested data on the use, by race, of a number of voting practices used in North Carolina.  Upon receipt of the race data, the General Assembly enacted legislation that restricted voting and registration in five different ways, all of which disproportionately affected African Americans.”

The court continued: “In response to claims that intentional racial discrimination animated its action, the State offered only meager justifications.”  I bring this particular statement up because of several reasons:

(1)  The justifications were sufficient for the district court. As a court is supposed to do, it defers judgement and wisdom to the legislative branch when reviewing a law, being careful not to substitute its judgement.

(2)  The court mocked the “justifications” offered by the NC legislature, namely voter fraud and potential for voter fraud, claiming the law was passed to “impose cures for problems that did not exist.”

(3)  Evidence of voter fraud was not allowed at the trial court (the District Court). I asked Jay Delancy of the Voter Integrity Project, the most reputable group addressing NC voter fraud, the group which has investigated and uncovered verified cases of actual voter fraud, voter fraud schemes, evidence of possible organized criminality in voter and election fraud, and serious potential opportunities for fraud, if he had been asked to give testimony, he told me that he was not allowed to.  It is important to note that the Circuit Courts are appeals courts and so it does not hear any testimony. It just reviews the record sent up from the District Court. If the District Court has no evidence (or allowed no evidence) of voter or election fraud, then the Circuit Court cannot assess the credibility of the issue and hence its justification for the Voter ID omnibus bill.

(4)  Consequently, the court lacks the foundation and knowledge to state that “the asserted justifications cannot and do not conceal the State’s true motivation…..  which is intentional discrimination.”

“The new provisions target African Americans with almost surgical precision….  And this bears the mark of intentional discrimination,” wrote the court.

In reaching its conclusion that the NC General Assembly “enacted the challenged provisions of the law with discriminatory intent,” the 4th Circuit pointed to what it called a “smoking gun.” As mentioned earlier, prior to the enactment of SL 2013-381, the legislature requested and received data as to the racial breakdown of usage of each of the early voting tools and practices that it was seeking to amend. The data was requested and collected in order to help enlighten and guide the General Assembly in its task to amend the state’s voting laws. The goal, as it had always been, was to address actual and potential voter fraud (and election fraud), and to remove and minimize such opportunities. The district court concluded as such but the 4th Circuit could only think in terms of race.

That “smoking gun,” by the way, had nothing to do with any requirement to show a photo ID to vote since that provision was a brand new provision and had not yet been in effect for any election; hence, it could not be evaluated. The “photo ID” requirement was actually a voter initiative. Voters were demanding it of their candidates and then when elected, of their representatives. Since only conservatives believe in voter integrity, it made sense that it became a priority when Republicans finally took control of the state government.

The 4th Circuit looked at the data the legislature collected and the changes it made to the state’s voting laws and concluded that according to the data, every change made was one that disproportionately affected African-Americans. Each of the voting tools and practices eliminated or restricted were ones that African-Americans disproportionately took advantage of.  They apparently take advantage of the first 7 days of early voting, their churches use the souls-to-the-polls Sundays, they take advantage of same-day voting and same-day registration, they, for some reason, are responsible for a disproportionate amount of the out-of-precinct voting (“of those registered voters who happened to vote provisional ballots outside their resident precinct, a disproportionately high percentage were African American”), and apparently, they disproportionately benefit from pre-registration (I don’t know how there can be any racial preference here at all). As the opinion read:

“In response to claims that intentional racial discrimination animated its action, the State offered only meager justifications. Although the new provisions target African-Americans with almost surgical precision, they constitute inapt remedies for the problems assertedly justifying them and, in fact, impose cures for problems that did not exist. Thus the asserted justifications cannot and do not conceal the State’s true motivation. ‘In essence,’ as in League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry (2006), ‘the State took away minority voters’ opportunity because they were about to exercise it.’ This bears the mark of intentional discrimination.  Faced with this record, we can only conclude that the North Carolina General Assembly enacted the challenged provisions of the law with discriminatory intent.”

Furthermore, it read: “The record makes obvious that the ‘problem’ the majority in the General Assembly sought to remedy was emerging support for the minority party.  Identifying and restricting the ways African-Americans vote was an easy and effective way to do so.  We therefore must conclude that race constituted a but-for cause of SL 2013-381, in violation of the Constitutional and statutory prohibitions on intentional discrimination.”

What I don’t understand is how the court concluded that a photo ID constituted intentional discrimination against African-Americans when many states already require photo ID’s to vote, including strict photo ID laws, and the law itself provides one free of charge to anyone who doesn’t have one or cannot afford one.  Furthermore, the Supreme Court held in Crawford v. Marion County (2008) that a strict photo ID requirement to vote, to prove the identity of the person seeking to cast a vote, does not constitute an undue burden at all on anyone in their exercise of the right to vote. It addressed a challenge to Indiana’s strict photo ID law and upheld it. (North Carolina’s Voter ID law was modeled after it).  There are black people in Indiana, there are poor black people in Indiana, there are elderly people there, and there are poor elderly there; yet the Supreme Court, after reviewing all the evidence and testimony given at the district court level, still concluded that requiring a photo ID as a condition to vote in person is not discriminatory and does not impose an undue burden.

The court, in its analysis,  I believe, committed several serious errors. First, it converted a privilege (a long early voting period, two Sunday voting days, same-day registration, etc) into an entitlement. Instead of looking into whether the changes would absolutely prevent any voter who really wished to vote from doing so, the court should have looked into whether blacks would likely be able to conform with the stream-lining of the voting laws. What are voters actually entitled to when it comes to early voting and opportunities to register? And what are African-Americans specifically entitled to, above and beyond what are offered to persons of other races?

Up until the end of 1990’s, voters in North Carolina were only “entitled to” one day to vote – Election Day, a Tuesday. If a voter couldn’t vote at that time, he or she could either submit an absentee ballot or forfeit the opportunity. At what point must we submit to making election increasingly more convenient, especially when apparently, only one group of voters benefits?  Remember, there are significant costs associated with early voting.

Second, despite the Supreme Court’s holding in Shelby that the DOJ and courts should no longer rely on or consider historical discrimination, the 4th Circuit did exactly that. In its opinion, it continually reminded the reader of North Carolina’s “shameful” history of “past discrimination.” In its introduction, the opinion noted: “Unquestionably, North Carolina has a long history of race discrimination generally and race-based vote suppression in particular.  Although we recognize its limited weight, see Shelby, North Carolina’s pre-1965 history of pernicious discrimination informs our inquiry. It was in the South that slavery was upheld by law until uprooted by the Civil War, that the reign of Jim Crow denied blacks the most basic freedoms, and that state and local governments worked tirelessly to disenfranchise citizens on the basis of race.”

Third, in forming it’s opinion, the 4th Circuit did something that a court is never supposed to do (under the Separation of Powers doctrine) and that was to substitute its judgment for that of the legislature. To the court, the justifications in enacting the law may not have seemed good enough. Maybe the court felt that the excessive voting tools and voting mechanisms to benefit predominantly black voters were more important than addressing voter fraud, election fraud, ensuring voter confidence in NC elections, costs, etc. But that is exactly what a court must not do – substitute its judgement for that of the legislative body responsible to its particular constituency, its taxpayers. Here are some justifications that the 4th Circuit should have considered rather than dismiss:

(a)  Early voting imposes a tremendous cost. It is a rightful exercise of the legislative body to try to keep state costs at a minimum.

(b)  Maybe the General Assembly asked for the data, broken down by race, etc, in order to streamline early voting and to streamline the voting laws in such a way that when extra days, extra procedures benefit only one race instead of everyone, then that would seem a common sense way to look at making changes.

(c)  Maybe the General Assembly had access to information related to voter fraud in the state, when it is committed, by which group of people, etc and the changes made to the voting laws were intended to minimize the potential for voter fraud and election fraud. What I do know is that certain of the voting tools and procedures originally permitted in North Carolina have been great sources of problems. Pre-registration, same-day registration, same-day voting pose great potential for abuse and voter fraud. And what I also know is that decent people of good intentions have watched for years as the democrat-controlled State Board of Election did absolutely nothing when faced with hard evidence of actual voter fraud. It refused to prosecute any of the criminals.

(d)  Perhaps the streamlining of voter laws, its voting mechanisms and voting tools, was strictly political rather than racial. Since one cannot separate race from political party in North Carolina (blacks make up 22% of North Carolina’s electorate, and 83% identify with the Democrat Party), so every law affecting a political party in general also affects blacks particularly. In fact, having black skin is a better predictor for voting Democratic than party registration here in North Carolina. Maybe the General Assembly, with Republicans in the majority and wanting to continue enjoying political power, thought that it made sense to amend the voting laws by eliminating or paring back those tools and mechanisms that Democrats particularly take advantage of. The justification would be political (as political parties are prone to do) rather than racial. Here is something else to consider:

(e)  Perhaps the General Assembly had some data and facts and figures to support their photo ID requirement, such as:

(i)  Black voter turnout was higher than white voter turnout in 2012, including in states that had implemented voter ID laws. (This is according to U.S. Census Bureau data, and even the leftist PolitiFact)

(ii)  A recent study of the 2010 and 2012 primaries and general elections shows that voter ID laws did not disproportionately decrease minority turnout. (In fact, the study showed that turnout declined for people of all races from 43 to 31 percent, as ID requirements became stricter).  Contrary to what the left claims, photo ID requirements don not discriminate disproportionately according to race.

(iii)  Despite what the left argues and the mainstream media reports, voter fraud does exist. In 2012, the Pew Research Center found the following:

  • There were almost “24 million active voter registrations in the US which were either invalid or inaccurate
  • There were almost two million dead Americans were still on the active voting lists.
  • 12 million voter records were riddled with “incorrect addresses or other errors.”
  • Almost 2.75 million voters were registered in over one state.
  • 6.4% of all noncitizens voted illegally in the 2008 presidential election, and 2.2% voted in the 2010 midterms. (80% of illegals vote Democratic)

(iv)  In a close election, voter fraud could play a significant role. There is evidence that Al Franken, in fact, won his election due to voter fraud, with illegals playing a part.

(v)  Polls show that the vast majority of Americans support voter ID laws, including Democrats and blacks. Poll after poll confirms this, including the Rasmussen Poll, the FOX News Poll, and the Washington Post Poll.

Again, a court’s role is simple and must never presume to impart a different intention to, or to substitute its judgement for that of the legislative body.  That is why, under the Separation of Powers doctrine, each branch of government has its own separate role.


So let’s look at the NC Photo-Voter ID Bill and assess it in light of the requirements of the 15th and 14th Amendments, as guided by the Supreme Court’s opinions in Shelby v. Holder and Crawford v. Marion County.

First of all, recall that the 14th and 15th Amendments, together with the 13th, are the Reconstruction amendments abolishing slavery and then granting blacks rights of citizenship (constitutional and civil. The amendments were intended to serve a specific purpose, necessitated by the political situation created by an unconstitutional war and in part, motivated by a desire to punish the southern states for seceding.

All three amendments, for the particular purposes they served, were morally justified – the 13th to abolish the vile and unconscionable institution of slavery, the 14th to grant citizenship to the free blacks and newly-freed slaves (and in fact, to define citizenship since nowhere in the Constitution is it defined), to ensure they were recognized with the same rights as every other citizen, to make sure they would not be denied due process should their liberty rights or property rights be violated, and to make sure they would be assured equal protection under the law, and the 15th to make sure that blacks would not be denied the right to vote.

The 15th Amendment was indeed striking in what it accomplished. On March 30, 1870, the amendment immediately made voters out of 4,000,000 people who had only 13 years earlier, been declared by the highest tribunal in the land (the Supreme Court, in the 1857 Dred Scott decision), as not being capable of becoming citizens of the United States because the black man who never intended to be part of the country so created, that “black men had no rights which the white man was bound to respect” (conclusions articulated by Justice Roger Taney, who wrote the opinion in Dred Scott). But let’s not read anything more into the language or intent of the 15th Amendment than was intended.

The 15th Amendment simply states that the right to vote cannot be denied or abridged to a person on account of race (ie, blacks cannot be denied the right to vote).  We know what the word “denied” means and we know what the word “abridged” means (to curtail). The NC Photo-Voter ID Bill does nothing to deny or abridge the right. It puts reasonable procedures in place to guarantee the right to vote for everyone Every instance of voter fraud cancels someone’s rightful vote. Obtaining an identification with a photograph is not unduly burdensome and is, in fact, is something that 99.99% of the people already do once they come of age and what they need to carry out many of life’s functions – such as get medication, pick up a check, cash a check, use a check or credit card, enter a school building, enter a courthouse, fly, etc. The Supreme Court has already ruled (in 2008, in the case of Crawford v. Marion County Board of Elections) that a voter ID law requiring persons who show up at the polls to vote to present a government-issued form of photo identification (strict photo ID requirement) presents no meaningful burden to a person’s right to vote.  It’s 2018, for crying out loud !!!

The second section of the 15th Amendment which provides that “Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation,” does NOT imply that the Voter Rights Act is a permanent law to be used on the South.  That section simply means that when states or political subdivisions thereof employ verifiable schemes of black voter suppression or actual disenfranchisement of the black vote, the federal government has the authority to step in to correct the situation in order to give meaning to the guarantee in Section 1. The Supreme Court, in Shelby County v. Holder (2013) made the constitutional determination that the Voting Rights Act has outlived its usefulness against the south because those invidious schemes no longer exist.

To repeat, Shelby removes North Carolina from the preclearance requirement with the federal government (NC can now do its own thing !) and Crawford stands for the constitutional bright-line rule that a strict photo ID is not inherently racist or discriminatory and does not pose any meaningful burden on a person’s right or ability to vote.

Furthermore, according to the Supreme Court, all rights can be abridged. We already know the first amendment rights to speech and religion, the rights to be free from searches, and the right to obtain and possess guns are already abridged.

The 14th Amendment provides that all laws should be equally applied to everyone (“Equal Protection;” everyone is protected or served equally by our laws).  The 14th Amendment requires “equal” protection and not “special” protection. The NC Photo-Voter ID Bill is neutral on its face and is written to ensure that every single voter can meet its requirements, including the poor and the elderly. A photo ID will be provided, free of charge, to anyone who cannot afford one and it will be provided at all county board of elections (which is more convenient than waiting in line at DMV locations).  Everyone knows someone that drives. To make any argument that certain people are too poor or too isolated to be able to find someone to give them a ride would be to assume we never modernized or entered the industrial era. A country, and a court system, so intent on moving forward with such sweeping social change like same-sex marriage and transgender acceptance can’t at the same time, assume people can’t get access to a car or a phone or a computer or a DMV or other county office.

Just because changing a law makes it easier or more convenient for only one group to vote doesn’t mean that the 15th or 14th Amendment requires that change. Heck, extending the election season for a whole month and including 4 “souls-to-the-polls” Sundays would be really convenient, right?  Taking votes over the phone would be convenient, yes?  Allowing one family member to vote for everyone in the family, and extended family, would be perfect, for sure!  Just because the legislative body or the voting public doesn’t want to make the changes (and sacrifice voter integrity) doesn’t mean the bill is racist or the voting public is racist, or the state legislature is racist. Groups like the North Carolina NAACP have to stop that nonsensical rhetoric.

NOTHING in the VOTER ID law of 2013 or in the current draft Photo-Voter ID law integrally impairs ANYONE’s right to vote. There is the single entitlement – the right to vote on Election Day (as was the law in NC up until the end of the 21st century (late 1990’s) and the right to submit an Absentee ballot if a person can’t make it to the polling location in person. All the other voting tools and mechanisms are privileges, or “indulgences” (as Justice Scalia termed them). The state interest (in honest, fraud-free elections that comports with the constitutional principle of “one citizen, one vote”) clearly outweighs any claims that a strict photo ID requirement may burden one group of voters. Again, the expectation is that EVERYONE’S vote is important, and the legislature has an obligation to protect the integrity of each person’s vote. Every instance of voter fraud, which we know has become a serious problem here in North Carolina, diminishes the weight of honest citizens. Every instance of voter fraud cancels the vote of someone who has voted legally.

Recently, I watched a YouTube video by journalist Ami Horowitz to examine just what people think of the NC photo ID law and the argument that blacks in North Carolina don’t all have a photo ID and that some simply can’t get one. It was rather enlightening. Ami went to the campus of UC-Berkeley to find out what college students think of voter ID laws and whether they believe they suppress the black vote. Their responses are classic liberal rhetoric. It is clear that white liberal college students have been indoctrinated by the rhetoric of Democrats and by such racist groups as the NAACP which alleges and alleges and repeats and repeats the same accusation – that voter ID laws are racist, they target blacks in their ability to vote, and that blacks are a particularly disadvantaged, incapable, uninformed, unskilled group of people.

Horowitz then took his “On the Street” segment to east Harlem, New York City to find out what black people there thought of the answers that the UC-Berkeley students gave. Their responses were clear – the answers given by the white UC-Berkeley students was offensive, and yes, racist.  Each person questioned had a photo ID on them, they said to be without one would be irresponsible, and not a single one thought it would be impossible to get one. To them, it appeared that blacks in the South have been stereotyped, to the detriment of their race in general. They could not understand the notion that fellow blacks couldn’t get a photo ID, something that everyone in modern society must have.

The point I am clumsily making is that groups like the NC NAACP and other groups that pursue policy (including challenging common-sense Voter ID and Photo ID laws) by promoting the inability of blacks, by alleging that whites use government to scheme in order to disenfranchise blacks, and by claiming that blacks are still the target of intentional discrimination are indirectly perpetuating the old stereotype that blacks are victims, that blacks are a disadvantaged race, that they are somehow less capable than every other race to conform with neutral laws. How offensive is it to allow the same stereotypes to be perpetuated as the one cited by Justice Taney in the Dred Scott decision? That was 160 years ago.  By constantly using arguments like blacks are too poor to be expected to get an ID, that they don’t have cars to drive to a DMV to get a free county-issued ID, that they are too uneducated to understand laws, that they can’t get to a computer (all libraries have them for people to use), that they don’t have cell phones (even though Obama gave every Democrat a phone), and that even if they could get to a computer, they lack the skills to use one or the ability to learn how to use one, they are teaching and indirectly recreating the segregated society that we left behind long ago, where there exists two general races – blacks who are generally inferior and unable to do for themselves and all others, who have no problem complying with laws.

We’ve worked too hard as a society – passing laws, enacting policies, federalizing traditional state sovereign functions, remedying past wrongs, whites teaching their children that skin color is irrelevant, and hopefully blacks teaching their children the same, and reinforcing in all school children, and in fact, every single person, of the plight of blacks in this country (Black History Month) – to put the wrongs of the past behind us and to move forward in a colorblind society, judging one another not by the color of our skin (which we can’t change) but by the content of our character (which is something each of us controls). It serves no purpose whatsoever to keep rehashing the past and reminding folks of how bad our country used to be. We can’t move forward until the restraints of the past are removed, or ignored. Black activist groups such as the NC NAACP certainly aren’t empowering blacks by poisoning them with the notion that they continue to need special protections in order to take an equal place in American society.


There is a reason the NC NAACP fights so hard to oppose a Voter ID. It truly can’t be that the NAACP and the Democratic Party believe that blacks are unable to obtain a photo ID (something every other race has no problem obtaining). No, the real reason is that the Democratic Party NEEDS the ability and opportunity to perpetrate fraud in the election process to order to win elections. It’s been that way since the illegal election of John F. Kennedy, a Democrat, as president, and even the election of Roy Cooper, a Democrat, as North Carolina’s governor. The NC NAACP and Democratic Party need elections in North Carolina to be loosely-controlled. NC is a potential swing state and because both groups stand on the same side of the political fence, they have more than a vested interest in how politics plays out.

The NC NAACP and Democratic Party in North Carolina continue to imply that blacks are disadvantaged in many many respects [poor, uneducated, uniformed, more likely to move around (you need a car for that!!), have more health problems, less access to technology, have less ability to comprehend laws, etc etc], are inferiorly-situated (because of the aforementioned issues), and inferior in general (by their claims of being less educated, less knowledgeable, generally un-informed and less capable) in order to make the case that a photo ID is inherently discriminatory. We see clearly which party is the real racist party.  What I don’t understand  is why blacks tolerate it. Their opposition to voting laws that take away excessive mechanisms and voting opportunities and tools, their support for Affirmative Action programs, and their constant demands for “special protection” rather than “equal protection” are all tacit ways they accept their inferior status in our society. Where is their dignity? Where are the black activist groups to stand up to oppose these positions on the grounds that they are racist and perpetuate horrible stereotypes?

Again, the real reason the NC NAACP and the Democratic Party fight so hard to oppose a strict photo voter ID law is because requiring a photo ID at the polls will frustrate their schemes to perpetrate voter fraud and blacks, as always, are the perfect group to manipulate and use to challenge common-sense laws. In 2018 (53 years after the Civil Rights Act passed and 63 years after the forced integration of public schools) we should NOT be having this conversation and blacks should NOT allow themselves to still be characterized as inferior or somehow behind all other races (including Hispanics).  Let’s be clear — both parties can benefit from voter fraud, but only one party is dishonest enough to want to do so.  And also, let’s be clear…  Enforcing a strict Photo ID has been challenged as discriminatory and as an undue burden on blacks and on the very elderly. Again, the Supreme Court entertained that challenge in Crawford v. Marion County (2008), against Indiana’s strict photo ID Voter ID law. It held that a STRICT photo ID requirement to vote does NOT amount to an unnecessary burden on anyone’s right to vote. Both a liberal justice and a conservative justice wrote opinions to that effect (yes there were two majority opinions!). In North Carolina, the challenge to our Voter ID law back in 2015-2016 was that it was discriminatory against blacks. The challenge was not that it burdened the elderly or that it burdened all minorities. (the review by the 4th Circuit was that it was intentionally discriminatory against blacks).  We have to stop falling for the NC NAACP and Democratic Party bullshit. We should all be horribly offended at Spearman’s words, just as a liberal college student is offended at hearing Ann Coulter or Ben Shapiro.

Reverend Spearman and the NC NAACP like to point to President Grant and his “clear signature” on the 15th Amendment and his message to Congress as to the historic nature of the amendment, but they cherry-pick with his message. In that special message to Congress delivered by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 30, 1870 in honoring the passage of the 15th Amendment, he offered this encouragement:

“I call attention of the newly enfranchised race to the importance of their striving in every honorable manner to make themselves worthy of their new privilege. To the race more favored heretofore by our laws I would say, withhold no legal privilege of advancement to the new citizen. The framers of our Constitution firmly believed that a republican government could not endure without intelligence and education generally diffused among the people. The Father of his Country, in his Farewell Address, uses this language: ‘Promote, then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.’”

Most people would hope that groups like the NC NAACP would put politics of race aside, stop inferring that the racism of the Reconstruction era still lingers in the hearts of white people and that every act of government is intentionally designed to somehow disenfranchise or otherwise discrimination against blacks, and instead take their cue from President Grant – to empower blacks not to cling to a history of victimhood but rather to project empowerment and equality through education and intelligence.



The NC NAACP Addresses the Voter ID Law, November 26, 2018 at the NC State Capital in Raleigh –

NAACP Outlines of Voter ID Protest –

Opinion, US District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, North Carolina NAACP v. Pat McCrory, 2016 (upholding the 2013 NC Voter ID law) –

Opinion, 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, North Carolina NAACP v. Pat McCrory, 2016 (reversing the District Court opinion and striking down the 2013 NC Voter ID law) –

Opinion, US Supreme Court, Crawford v. Marion County Board of Elections, 553 U.S. 181 (2008) –  Opinion by Justice Stevens –

Opinion by Justice Scalia –

VIDEO:  Ami Horowitz “How White Liberals Really View Black Voters”  –

Ulysses S. Grant’s Special Message to Congress, March 30, 1870 (after the passage of the 15th Amendment)  –

Shelby County v. Holder, 570 U.S. __ (2013) –

Jay Delancy, “The Voter Fraud Too Many Deny,” US News & Observer, February 18, 2016. Referenced at:

Jay Delancy, “The Voter Integrity Project (VIP) Issues Response to Draft NC Voter ID Bill (v 0.9),” November 27, 2018.  Referenced at: (or

Aaron Bandler, “5 Statistics That Show Voter ID is Not Racist,” Dailywire, August 2, 2016.  Referenced at:

NC’s draft Voter – Photo ID Law (S.824), “Implementation of the Constitutional Amendment Requiring a Photographic Identification to Vote” –

Voting Rights Act of 1965 –

Government Relations, Regulatory Affairs and Contracting Group, “Supreme Court Strikes down Voting Rights Act’s ‘Preclearance’ Formula,” Ballard Spahr, June 27, 2013.  Referenced at:

Thomas J. Espenshade, Chang Y. Chung, and Joan L. Walling, (December 2004), “Admission Preferences for Minority Students, Athletes, and Legacies at Elite Universities,” Social Science Quarterly, December 2004. Referenced at:    [OR accessible from Wiley Online Library, 85 (5): 1422–46].


A President’s Legacy


by Diane Rufino, November 18, 2018

A week ago, I visited Dealey Plaza in Dallas, the place where John F. Kennedy as assassinated so brutally on November 22, 1963. We will celebrate the 55th anniversary in 4 days. At the end of the tour of the Texas Book Depository Building, where Oswald supposedly shot from the 6th floor window, there was a memorial plaque dedicated to Kennedy asking “What Might Have Been.” He brought out the best in young Americans, he energized them, called them to serve the country, he dared them to dream, he inspired them to be the best versions of themselves in order to inspire the rest of the world to be like America. This is what the assassination has galvanized in our collective memory, at least according to the Museum at Dealey Plaza.

Author Walter Lippman observed that “the final test of a leader is that he leaves behind in other men the conviction and the will to carry on.”  I thought that was a powerful statement.

Kennedy’s assassination certain made him a legend in the people’s mind. In American history. After his death, his widow Jackie Kennedy was heartbroken that his dreams would likely be forgotten. And to a great extent, with the Vietnam War (a conflict Kennedy was determined to avoid), the political turmoil of the 60’s, the race riots, the continued assassinations of popular figures (like Martin Luther King Jr and Robert Kennedy), his ideals became obscured and forgotten.

To her credit, Jackie created an image of Jack Kennedy’s presidency to help people, to help the country, remember – and that was CAMELOT.  She did this within days of her husband’s assassination. In interviews, she compared Jack’s 3 years in office to Camelot – King Arthur’s kingdom.

Camelot, the musical about King Arthur and Guinevere, created by Lerner and Loewe in 1961, was Jackie’s favorite. She loved the music and loved the story.  What prompted Jackie to make the analogy to “Camelot” was that the story hit so close to home. Like King Arthur’s kingdom, she wanted the country to remember Jack’s presidency as one built on lofty principles, hoping to build an idyllic America. And yet, like story plot, it all came undone by the forces set out to destroy Camelot.

Ronald Reagan was a leader like Jack Kennedy, in that he continues to inspire others to carry out his convictions for smaller, less intrusive government and the ability of the people to make their own decisions over their lives, their property, and their businesses. Rather than youthful age, it was Reagan’s gentle nature and good-hearted humor that endeared him to the American people. And yet he was strong and forceful when he needed to be – when the country needed him to be.

Barack Obama at first embraced an almost Kennedy-like persona – youthful, energetic, connecting to the people. But he was flash over substance. His promises were empty and instead of inspiring Americans to be their best and do their best, he inspired groups to retreat into their racial identity and to hate one another.

Enter Donald Trump.  He brought energy, common sense, expertise, vision, and a sense of purpose when he ran. Brass, often crass, arrogant and perhaps narcissistic, he brought to the public forum everything that was on the forgotten man and woman’s mind. He spoke their language and connected with the people like no candidate had done before. His rallies were a testament to the absolute gratitude of the people to finally have a candidate they could rally around, someone who might actually address their concerns and do what he promised.

And in an almost “Dewey Wins” moment (that is, defying all the polls and all the predictions), Trump won the presidential election in 2016.  The question, of course, would be whether he would keep his promises and be the president the people hoped he would be.

In taking the oath of office that gloriously warm January day (my husband and I were in attendance), Donald Trump spoke words reminiscent of Thomas Jefferson and Ronald Reagan, and set the tone for what his vision of government would be:

“This moment is your moment: it belongs to you. It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across America. This is your day and your celebration. This is your country. What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people. January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.

The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.

This is a historic movement, the likes of which the world has never seen before. At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction: that a nation exists to serve its citizens. Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families, and good jobs for themselves. These are the just and reasonable demands of a righteous public. But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists. Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system that’s flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of knowledge; and the crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.

This American carnage stops right here and stops right now. The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans.

For many decades, we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry; We’ve subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military;

We’ve defended other nation’s borders while refusing to defend our own;  and spent trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay.

We’ve made other countries rich while the wealth, strength, and confidence of our country has disappeared over the horizon.

One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores, with not even a thought about the millions upon millions of American workers left behind.

The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed across the entire world.

But that is the past. We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power.  From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land.  From this moment on, it’s going to be AMERICA FIRST.

I will fight for you with every breath in my body – and I will never, ever let you down.”

I want us all to remember his words and use them, like food and water, to nourish our political souls and remind us why we do what we do, why we should try to do more, and why we must not let our president down.  To let President Trump down is to abandon our own movement.

And so, I think when we reflect on that final test of a leader, of which author Lippman spoke, Donald Trump will be remembered and thought of as one of our greatest presidents ever. His conviction to make America Great Again is already contagious and inspiring others to serve with that same mindset. And I have a feeling that his ideals, his dreams will not only leave a conviction in others to carry them on, but I think they will re-define the conservative movement and maybe even the Republican Party.


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HATE COMEDY: Another Form of Political Expression Exercised by the Left

DEMOCRATS - SNL and Dan Crenshaw

by Diane Rufino, November 10, 2018

What is Hate Comedy?  Basically, it is the only form of comedy that one is subjected to these days – from the hate-mongering late night talk show hosts, to all the rabid liberal faux comedians touting themselves as stand-up comedians, to the no-longer-funny Comedy Central Roasts, and even to the White House Correspondents Association Dinner.

Hate Comedy is cruelty and humiliation disguised as humor, confusing no sane person of its motivation, which is visceral hatred of the target of the so-called humor and an unbounding anger that their party did not win the White House or take control of Congress. It is pure, unadulterated hate thinly-masked as satire.

Hate Comedy is, in fact, not comedy at all.

Comedians, the overwhelming majority who are mentally feeble and rabid leftists, hate Donald Trump and all those who in any way, shape, or form, support him or embrace his views, so much that they aren’t funny anymore. They have become so sickening and despicable that people listening to them react to their routines as they would a dog suffering from signs of rabies or liberal millennials act deranged and who scream unintelligible and rantings. First they are repulsed, but then they look on with curiosity, diagnosing them as suffering from a compulsive sickness and noting how advanced their condition is.  Only like-minded looney leftist haters get the “humor.” It’s only because they identify with the underlying hate.

They also share the same vile vocabulary, the same lack of a sense of decency, and the same level of disrespect.

Pete Davidson, a cast member of the once-funny Saturday Night Live, is one such so-called comedian… another liberal piece of dog poop who deals in hate comedy. At 25, he seems pretty impressed with himself. He supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, and on December 5, 2017, he stated on his Instagram account that he got a tattoo on his leg of Clinton, whom he called his “hero,” a “badass”, and “one of the strongest people in the universe.”  The parents and families of US Ambassador Chris Stevens, Information Officer Sean Smith, and CIA operatives Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty who died in 2012 Benghazi under Clinton’s watch, as well as the millions still waiting for answers in regard to that fateful attack, would hardly use those words to describe Mrs. Clinton.  Davidson, who says he “cannot function without marijuana” apparently feels he is qualified to know what is best for the country.

Like so many other liberal comedians, Pete Davidson tries to disguise his hatred of conservatives with humor. But here’s a news flash: Politics and humor don’t mix anymore, not in this political climate, not with Donald Trump as president. What oozes from the mouths of so many liberal self-proclaimed comedians is indistinguishable from the stuff that exits their asses. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich refers to their choice of expression as a pathology “So they exhibit their anger as almost a pathology on late-night television and you’re supposed to laugh because, after all, they’re comedians,” he said.

Two weeks ago, Pete Davidson used a skit on SNL to take a cheap shot at former Navy SEAL Dan Crenshaw – in particular, to make fun of his eyepatch, which he wears to cover the loss of his eye (lost in service to his country):

(Laughing like a moronic high school kid trying to act cool in front of his classmates)  “There are some really gross people running for office this year, so here are my first impressions…..   Dan Crenshaw (laughing even harder when a picture of Mr. Crenshaw was shown on the screen)….. You might be surprised to hear that he’s a Republican Congressional candidate from Texas and not a hitman in a porno movie. (Unable to contain his laughter; apparently he thinks he’s the next Rodney Dangerfield). I’m sorry (still laughing), I know he lost his eye in a war – or whatever……  “

Crenshaw lost his eye when an IED blew up in his face during his third combat tour in Afghanistan. Unlike Davidson, he is kind and respectful and full of humility, as well as intelligent and informed.

There was a time, years ago, when both sides at least were somewhat respectful and yes, funny. Who can forget the time when Saturday Night Live (SNL) was actually funny and ran skits mocking President Gerald Ford for his clumsiness, teasing President Bill Clinton about his Oval Office shenanigans, making fun of George W. Bush for his clumsy use of the English language, and depicting President Barack Obama as egotistical and narcissistic. Good times. We all laughed and no one was offended by these skits. There never seemed to be any outright hatred underlying the comedy skits.

During the 2016 presidential election season, President Obama appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live to help stump for Hillary Clinton. He read a tweet from Donald Trump in which the Republican nominee wrote “President Obama will go down as the worst President in American history.” To that Obama responded, in perfect comedic form, “At least I will go down as a President.”

It was funny. I got a good laugh out of it. The truth is that Obama was good with the jokes and I enjoyed his sense of humor.

But then Donald Trump, against all odds (the Democratic odds, that is), won the election. And everything changed. Sure, he egged folks on with his Trumpian brand of crassness and confrontation, and sure, it instigated the left, but he has backed off on such tactics and has been acting more “presidential” since taking office.

On his late night show, Stephen Colbert had the audacity to articulate this message to President Trump: “The only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s c–k holster.” (hinting at Trump engaging on oral sex with the Russian leader).

Never-funny Samantha Bee commented on her show, Full Frontal: “We are living in a Golden Age of journalism.  Unfortunately, that’s partly due to a golden president who’s rumored to enjoy golden showers.”  During another show, she called Sen. Ted Cruz a “fish-faced horses*** salesman.”

Michelle Wolf shocked the entire nation with her cruel insults of White House Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders at the 2018 annual White House Correspondents dinner. Sarah was sitting right near Wolf and had to endure the harsh insults, including comments on her appearance, while the live and viewing audiences watched. She managed to hide her humiliation with composure and grace.

Chelsea Handler was so over-the-top hateful and so aggressive with her attacks on the president that her Netflix comedy show was cancelled.

The Democratic Party is the home of these whack-a-doo, liberal haters. They are in comedy, in entertainment, in reporting, in our university faculty, and are hosts of talk shows. It is said that the Democratic Party used to be the Party of bad ideas but now it’s the party of bad people.  The rhetoric from these individuals proves the point.

Hopefully, Full Frontal will be next to be cancelled. Bee can always don a pink vagina hat and speak at a Woman’s March if she wants to rail against Trump and use the vile gutter language that joins her with the likes of Madonna and Ashley Judd. And maybe someone will convince Lorne Michaels, the producer of Saturday Night Live to finally put the show out of its misery. The show is clearly suffering from a lack of comedic material.

Davidson’s skit was universally condemned as being vile and despicable, and totally uncalled for. He crossed a line. It was offensive and repugnant, and not the least bit funny. Without making any point at all, he disrespected a man who wore the uniform of the United States and made as near the ultimate sacrifice for his country as possible. Crenshaw, taking note, took to Twitter with a perfect, and classy, response: “Good rule in life: I try not to offend. I try harder not to be offended. That being said, I hope that @nbcsnl [Saturday Night Live] recognizes that vets don’t deserve to see their wounds used as punchlines for bad jokes.”

Dan Crenshaw served his country in probably one of the most demanding of ways – as a Navy SEAL. We are indebted to men like him who can withstand the physical challenges that SEALS must endure.  Pete Davidson can’t even serve his country by treating them to some decent comedy.



VIDEO: Pete Davidson on SNL, mocking Dan Crenshaw –

VIDEO: Obama on Jimmy Kimmel (Oct. 25, 2016) –

Michelle Wolf eviscerates White House Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner (2018) –

Christian Toto, “Donald Trump and the Rise of Hate Comedy,” Acculturated, May 4, 2017.  Referenced at:

Rachel Alexander, “Late Night Comedy Has Become Hate Speech,” Townhall, Nov. 6, 2017.  Referenced at:

Why the Caravan? Why Now?

IMMIGRATION - migrant caravan arrives at US

(Photo Credit:  Fox News)

by Diane Rufino, November 14, 2018

The caravan is here and some folks are saying that the migrants are already entering the country illegally. We’ll soon find out when we hear the news (the honest news sources, that is).

One month ago, 1,000 people started walking from Northern Honduras,, beginning a journey that they planned would end with them entering the United States. Along the way, passing through Guatemala and then Mexico, the numbers grew. At one point, just before election season, some estimated their growing numbers to be as high as 14, 000.

You have to ask yourself:  Why this mass caravan of Hispanics?  Why was it organized to coincide with our mid-term election?  Why this very public display highlighting the core of our immigration policy controversy? And most importantly, who helped organize it?

Getting closer to the US border, the caravan appears to have split up, with the majority taking a break to consider their options in light of President Trump’s position and others splintering off to continue pressing forward. We also seems likely that subsequent caravans have organized, days and weeks behind the lead caravan. We are told that approximately 6,500 of those mostly Central American migrants will arrive at our border in the coming days. According to a reporter embedded with the caravan, as of yesterday, they are about halfway to Tijuana, Mexico, where many will apply for asylum or pay a smuggler to get them over the border to Houston or San Jose or Omaha, Nebraska. The lead caravan is presently resting in the Benito Juarez Auditorium in Guadalajara, Mexico’s second largest city and more than 1,000 miles away from Tijuana. They are awaiting instructions on where they will go tomorrow. It’s part of an almost-daily routine of walking, hitchhiking, arriving at a town and then waiting for the “open-borders” group Pueblo Sin Fronteras to tell them where they will go the next day. But in the meantime, the Mexican government issued more than 2,000 more than temporary visas to stay in the country while they await the legal asylum process in the United States.

But roughly 350 migrants have already reached the border. They were part of smaller splinter groups who grew impatient with the caravan’s progress, preferring to forego the security of traveling in numbers to more quickly file their asylum claims in the United States, which local authorities have claimed they’ve done.

The plan, of course, was to create a confrontation and perhaps even a crisis at our border just in time for the mid-term election. The timing was impeccable and should strongly suggest that the whole caravan thing was contrived and planned by high-ranking Democrats and George Soros. The plan was – and still is – to have a humanitarian crisis at the border, involving children and perhaps even some weary and sick from the long trip, where the all-too-willing liberal news can eat it up and broadcast it 24/7 on their stations and through their puppets in the entertainment industry to somehow undermine President Trump’s stance on immigration and affect our country’s immigration policy for the worse.

Filmmaker Ami Horowitz went to Mexico to find the caravan and report on it. This is what he had to say:

“Despite the framing of the caravan as being full of woman and children, the reality on the ground is quite different. Approximately 90-95% of the migrants are male. The major narrative being pushed by the press is that the migrants are fleeing Honduras because they are escaping extreme violence and that their lives are under a constant threat of it, setting up the strategy that they will be able to enter the US by asking for asylum.  So I began by asking the men a simple question:  ‘Why are you coming to America?’

Answers (all in Spanish):  Man #1:  ‘For a better life. Economic.’

Man #2:  “For a job, because in Honduras there are no jobs.’

There is a massive logistical effort underway (Ami shows footage of several large carrier trucks), akin to moving an army, that is clearly costing someone millions of dollars for the transportation, food, water, medicine, supplies, and services that are being provided for the members of the caravan. The Mexican government also seems to be involved. It is sending police to escort the dozens of buses and trucks that are ferrying the migrants and supplies along the route to the next destination.

Ever present among the thousands of migrants are workers from Pueblo Sin Fronteras, clad in black tee shirts and colored vests. ‘Pueblo Sin Fronteras’ means ‘People without borders.’ They are the ones who seem to be most involved in organizing and mobilizing this caravan. The organization, as the name implies, is looking to create a world without borders, which seems to be one of the reasons why they organized this caravan in the first place. It’s looking to challenge American sovereignty. While it does seem that the majority of the migrants are friendly and simply want a better life for themselves and their families, there’s an undeniable element among the migrants that is violent and dangerous. The migrants know this and some have even experienced their violence firsthand.

It seems to me that there are leftist organizations that are using these migrants as a tool to push a certain political agenda, which includes the weakening of American sovereignty and our border security, and unfortunately, these migrants are going to be caught in the crossfire.

One of the lies that the fake news, the mainstream media, is trying to propagate is that this is somehow an organic movement… that all the food and supplies are magically falling from the skies, like manna from heaven. The fact is that it’s all highly organized and paid for by a number of leftist organizations. We don’t know exactly where the money is coming from but we do know that Pueblo Sin Fronteras has a couple of front organizations in the US and the money is flowing in from them. We can’t say for sure that George Soros is behind this movement, funding it, but we do know that he has funded these same organizations in the past. We are absolutely sure, though, that the money isn’t coming from Honduras.”

Again, you have to ask yourself:  Why was this caravan organized?  Who is behind it and for what purpose?

Ami Horowitz is probably correct that the Pueblo Sin Fronteras (“People Without Borders”) group has organized it, but the question is who funded it and who is the real push behind the movement?

The question can be answered by looking at how this movement is playing out. First, and most obvious, is the question; Can’t we help these people out in the countries where they live? Isn’t it better for them to help them in their own countries?  It’s certainly better for the United States. We can send aid, economic advisors, etc. That’s what we’ve done with other countries. It’s what we do. Yet those in power are not interested in that solution. On the contrary, and secondly, Democrats have consistently called for open borders, encouraged uncontrolled immigration (especially from our southern neighbors), and they have sent lawyers down to Mexico in the past to provide legal advice and services on “what to say” and ‘how to say it” in order to gain entrance into this country. Third, Democrats are facing trouble with their political future

So it’s safe to assume that the movement is not about the well-being of the migrants but rather about what’s best for the future of the Democratic Party. Having no message to run on, other than hate, division, and obstruction to President Trump, and no plans to move the country forward, to invest in the growth of our citizens, or to create wealth, it is beginning to hemorrhage voters. The #Walkaway movement is evidence of that. To counter this loss of political power, it needs a stream of new voters – those who it can count on to be loyal on account for their absolute need for government services and hand-outs.  Hispanic immigrants. And lots of them.

If the #Walkaway movement is truly what it appears to be, Democrats are going to need as many Hispanic immigrants flooding over here as possible. The #Walkaway movement and the Blexit (“Black exit” from the Democratic Party) have powerful messages. Consider what Candace Owens of TurningPoint USA had to say: “For decades, the black community has been in an emotionally abusive relationship with the Democrat Party. Our fidelity to leftist politicians coupled with our false belief that a larger government might facilitate solutions, has led to the overall collapse of our families, neighborhoods, and incidentally, our futures. BLEXIT is a national movement of minorities that have awakened to the truth. It is for those who have taken an objective look at our decades-long allegiance to the left and asked ourselves “what do we have to show for it?”

Other minority groups, including the LGBT community, have similar messages.

What we are seeing, with the caravan as well as the everyday illegal crossings into our country (and the “magnets” Democrats have put in place to attract them, like welfare and other social programs, free education, free healthcare, sanctuary cities, etc), is the active program to grow the Democrat Party. It is no coincidence that twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said: “We want open borders and unlimited immigration to ensure democrats are the only party that remains in power.”

But Democrats better be careful of what they wish for. And the rest of the country needs to be aware of the dangers that the Party’s immigration position pose here.

Looking at the videos and looking at the thousands and thousands in this caravan, it can’t be over-stated that almost the entire migrant population is comprised of males. They leave a huge mess wherever they stay and in many cases, you see them carrying the flag of their countries. You also see them burning the American flag and shouting insults and obscenities at our president.  People seeking asylum don’t come here with flags from their country; invaders do. People who want to become Americans don’t show hatred for us.

The Hispanics in California are now happily supporting a Calexit movement – to secede from the United States and to establish a new country for themselves and their people. As Marcus Ruis Evans, one of the co-founders of the movement, admitted at a conference in Dallas on Saturday, Nov 10, it is a movement “for brown-skinned people.”  Is that what we want to happen all over the southwest ??

Let us never forget this one critical point: The government belongs to the People, and NOT — absolutely NOT — to a political party. It belongs to the PEOPLE in order to serve them and their interests, and to keep them safe; under no understanding of our founding and of our government system does government exist to serve its own political interests. If that’s where we are, then government is illegitimate and we have the right, and probably the duty as free human beings, to alter or abolish it. We certainly MUST drain the swamp, destroy the Deep State, divest the government of all unconstitutional power and spending, and allow people once again to control their destiny and the destiny of the country they love. They do NOT deserve to have continuous uncontrolled immigration forced on them, diluting the ethnicities of their communities, burdening their school systems, burdening their medical services, bringing crime, often bringing filth, and most of all burden our social services, of which WE pay for. America is not a life support system for the rest of the world.

People can’t keep coming here for a better life when that “better life” ends up being that they suck money from taxpayers. We the taxpayers will never reach that happy place where we pay only a reasonable amount in taxes for the proper running of our country when we end up also having to take care of more than half of our country’s population and then all the immigrants as well. What the Heck? No person on welfare or accepting government assistance for essentials should have the right to vote, or if they do, their vote should only carry a fraction of the weight of a taxpayer. Otherwise, the truth of the matter is that we have, in this country, “Taxation without Fair Representation.” We have too many people voting to tax, otherwise burden, or take away, funds and property belonging to others. A socialist is a person who gladly votes to give away that which doesn’t belong to him.

WAKE UP FOLKS. If you are a Democrat… WALK AWAY. Walk away for the sake of your country. If you are on the fence, vote for common sense and for the longevity of this land we love. The right to vote is a powerful right, but it should not be abused. With the right to vote, comes the duty to do so responsibly, to preserve the country we were handed to the future generations of Americans. Vote to restore common sense – for your families and for your children and grandchildren one day.

One final thought:  How do you make America great again??  You have a country full of those who love her and want to contribute to her success, who reflect her values in the way they conduct themselves and live their lives, who support the president and government when they take measures to improve her situation, reputation, and standing, and who are patriotic. You do NOT make America great by allowing unchecked immigration of those who fly the flag of other countries, who burn our flag or otherwise desecrate it, who carry signs “America is evil” or “America is the great Satan” or “F*** Trump,” who are criminals or have criminal tendencies, who are engaged in the South American drug rings or Mexican drug cartels, who seek to drive trucks into crowds of innocent people, plant bombs at a marathon, blow up community centers, nightclubs, or other buildings, or shoot up our citizens or members of our military at their bases.

In order to Keep America Great, the federal government (in concert with the states) need to fix our broken immigration system, set limits on immigration, set limits on the numbers coming from various parts of the world (as we have done throughout our entire history), and refuse – absolutely refuse – to give in whenever shenanigans like this caravan threaten to cross our border. After all, it is an express Constitutional responsibility of government and was a condition of our joining into this union known as the United States. If the government doesn’t have to exercise its responsibilities, then we shouldn’t have to as citizens. That’s the nature of a Constitution.


Reference:     FOX News (Tucker Carlson), “The Caravan is a Myth” –[tznx]1-g

BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP: Does the 14th Amendment Really Recognize It for Illegal Aliens?

ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION - Birthright Citizenship

by Diane Rufino, November 16, 2018

The term “birthright citizenship” refers to the idea that you can become a citizen of a country simply by being born there. The fancy legal term is jus soli, “right of the soil” (as opposed to the policy termed jus sangunis (“right of blood”) by which nationality or citizenship is not determined by place of birth, but by having an ancestor who is a national or citizen of the state.

In this country, citizenship is defined not in the Constitution per se, but in the first section of the 14th Amendment. It is referred to as the Citizenship Clause” and reads: “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…… “

It is currently the object of great contention right now after President Trump announced he was planning on eliminating “birthright citizenship” as it pertains to those entering our country illegally.

The purpose of this article is to explain why the “Citizenship Clause” cannot be understood, or should be interpreted, to include birthright citizenship to babies born to illegal aliens.

The 14th Amendment is one of the three post-Civil War Reconstruction era amendments to the Constitution – the 13th (abolishing slavery and indentured servitude), 14th (giving freed blacks citizenship and civil rights), and 15th (giving blacks the right to vote). It passed in the US House, after several proposals were considered, in May 1866 (House Resolution 127, 39th Congress), sent to the Senate where amendments were added, and sent back to the House which eventually agreed to the Senate amendments on June 18, 1868. On June 18, a concurrent resolution requesting the President to transmit the proposal to the executives of the several states was passed by both houses of Congress.

It’s general intent, at least that of the first section, was to vest newly-freed slaves, and other African-Americans with the rights of citizenship in light of the 13th Amendment which had abolished slavery and in light of the Dred Scott decision of 1857 which held that any person descended from Africa (Africans), whether slave or free, is not a citizen of the United States, according to the US Constitution.


In 1857, the US Supreme Court handed down arguably the most offensive opinion issued by the high court, or any court – the Dred Scott v. Sandford opinion (commonly just referred to as the Dred Scott opinion).

The case had been in the court system for more than a decade. Scott had been born into slavery in 1795. In subsequent years, he lived in two parts of the United States that didn’t allow slavery, Illinois and Wisconsin, along with his master. When his current master died in 1846, Scott filed suit on behalf of himself and his wife, also a slave, to gain their freedom. The case was heard by three other courts as it made its way to Washington.
The Court ruled, in a 7-2 opinion, against Scott. Judge Roger Taney wrote the opinion of the Court, which highlighted, include the following:

4. A free negro of the African race, whose ancestors were brought to this country and sold as slaves, is not a “citizen” within the meaning of the Constitution of the United States. The words “people of the United States” and “citizens” are synonymous terms, and mean the same thing. They both describe the political body who, according to our republican institutions, form the sovereignty and who hold the power and conduct the Government through their representatives. They are what we familiarly call the “sovereign people,” and every citizen is one of this people, and a constituent member of this sovereignty. The question before us is whether the class of persons described in the plea in abatement compose a portion of this people, and are constituent members of this sovereignty? We think they are not, and that they are not included, and were not intended to be included, under the word “citizens” in the Constitution, and can therefore claim none of the rights and privileges which that instrument provides for and secures to citizens of the United States. On the contrary, they were at that time considered as a subordinate and inferior class of beings who had been subjugated by the dominant race, and, whether emancipated or not, yet remained subject to their authority, and had no rights or privileges but such as those who held the power and the Government might choose to grant them.

5. When the Constitution was adopted, they were not regarded in any of the States as members of the community which constituted the State, and were not numbered among its “people or citizens.” Consequently, the special rights and immunities guaranteed to citizens do not apply to them. And not being “citizens” within the meaning of the Constitution, they are not entitled to sue in that character in a court of the United States, and the Circuit Court has not jurisdiction in such a suit.

6. The only two clauses in the Constitution which point to this race treat them as persons whom it was morally lawfully to deal in as articles of property and to hold as slaves.

7. Since the adoption of the Constitution of the United States, no State can by any subsequent law make a foreigner or any other description of persons citizens of the United States, nor entitle them to the rights and privileges secured to citizens by that instrument.

8. A State, by its laws passed since the adoption of the Constitution, may put a foreigner or any other description of persons upon a footing with its own citizens as to all the rights and privileges enjoyed by them within its dominion and by its laws. But that will not make him a citizen of the United States, nor entitle him to sue in its courts, nor to any of the privileges and immunities of a citizen in another State.

9. The change in public opinion and feeling in relation to the African race which has taken place since the adoption of the Constitution cannot change its construction and meaning, and it must be construed and administered now according to its true meaning and intention when it was formed and adopted.

[Taken from the Opinion – Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. 393. Go to the Appendix for more information on the case]

In a poor exercise of reasoning, Judge Taney argued: “There are two clauses in the Constitution which point directly and specifically to the negro race as a separate class of persons, and show clearly that they were not regarded as a portion of the people or citizens of the Government then formed.”

The Dred Scott decision (“opinion’) came just two days after President James Buchanan took office, and it set the tone for his controversial term that led to the Civil War. The decision was celebrated in the South but the Abolitionists in the North were outraged. The court also declared the Missouri Compromise of 1820 to be unconstitutional. And it said that Congress did not have the authority to prohibit slavery in the territories, which would seem to prohibit Lincoln from his campaign promise to prohibit the spread of slavery into the western territories.

With the Dred Scott decision and its voiding of the Missouri Compromise, thus making slavery legal in all U.S. territories, and the promise by candidate Abraham Lincoln that he would enforce the Morrill tariff (the highest tariff yet, up to 47% by 1863) passed by Congress in May 1860 and signed by President Buchanan), the election of 1860 was a completely sectional election – pitting the North against the South.

In November 6, 1860, Lincoln was elected the 16th president of the United States, without an actual majority (less than 40%) and without a single vote from any of the Southern states that would later form the Confederacy (except Virginia, where he got 1%). On December 20, the South Carolina state legislature voted to secede from the Union (issuing its “Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina” on December 24). Six other states followed suit before Lincoln was even inaugurated: Mississippi (on January 9, 1861), Florida (on January 10), Alabama (on January 11), Georgia (on January 19), Louisiana (on January 26), and Texas (on February 1). On February 8, the seceded states met and held a convention in Montgomery, Alabama and agreed to form a Union – the Confederate States of America. They adopted a constitution at that convention, which by many accounts was superior to the US Constitution.

Lincoln was inaugurated on March 4, 1861 and on April 12, shots were fired by South Carolina on Fort Sumter (held by Union Major Anderson), giving him the pretext to invade the South and begin the Civil War. Rejecting the natural right of secession, he characterized the actions of the Southern states as “rebellion,” and used the armed forces of the United States to “force them back into the Union” (which was confusing since Lincoln claimed they never left the Union since they didn’t have the right to do so).
Lincoln called the question about whether the Southern states were in or out of the Union a “pernicious abstraction.” “Obviously,” he explained, they were not “in their proper practical relation with the Union.

After General Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox on April 9, 1865 and Lincoln’s assassination on April 14 (he died the following morning), the country entered into a decade-long period, or process, known as “Reconstruction” – the “reconstructing” of the Union. Through this process of Reconstruction, the Northern-dominated federal government attempted to resolve the political and constitutional issues that led to the Civil War and in effect, through punishment of the South (those responsible for seceding and those in support of the Confederacy) and by changing the body politic of the former Confederate states. The priorities were: to guarantee that Confederate nationalism and slavery were ended, to ratify and enforce the 13th Amendment which outlawed slavery; the 14th Amendment which guaranteed dual U.S. and state citizenship to all native-born residents, regardless of race; and the 15th Amendment, which made it illegal to deny the right to vote because of race.

The US House passed the 13th Amendment in January of 1865, without any representation from the Southern states (their representatives were not allowed to be seated), and then sent to the states for ratification. As for the former Confederate states, the amendment was submitted to “reconstruction governments,” devoid of anyone that had “supported the Confederacy.” The question as to whether these were in fact legitimate legislatures is a valid one. Nevertheless, the 13th Amendment was ratified by 3/4 of the states, and hence certified as valid, on December 18, 1865.

Next would come the 14th Amendment.

It would play an important role in Reconstruction (in the North’s reconstruction of the South back into the Union).

When it looked as if the North would defeat the South, even before Sherman’s march, Republicans had began to make plans for the reconstruction of the war-torn and still greatly divided country. Their most important concerns were for the formal adoption of the 14th Amendment (which they intended would elevate newly-freed slaves and free black persons to full citizenship), elimination from power anyone who supported the Confederacy, and the adoption of black male suffrage provisions (to dilute the South Democrats) as conditions for re-admission.

The 14th Amendment was intended to memorialize the guarantees of the 1965 Civil Rights Act in the US Constitution. In 1865, Congress passed what would become the Civil Rights Act of 1866, guaranteeing citizenship without regard to race, color, or previous condition of slavery or involuntary servitude. The bill also guaranteed equal benefits and access to the law, a direct assault on the Black Codes passed by many post-war states. The Black Codes attempted to return ex-slaves to something like their former condition by, among other things, restricting their movement, forcing them to enter into year-long labor contracts, prohibiting them from owning firearms, and preventing them from suing or testifying in court.

Although strongly urged by moderates in Congress to sign the bill, President Andrew Johnson vetoed it on March 27, 1866. In his veto message, he objected to the measure because it conferred citizenship on the freedmen at a time when 11 out of 36 states were unrepresented in the Congress, and that it discriminated in favor of African-Americans and against whites. Three weeks later, Johnson’s veto was overridden and on April 9, the measure became law. Despite this victory, even some Republicans who had supported the goals of the Civil Rights Act began to doubt that Congress really possessed constitutional power to turn those goals into laws. The experience also encouraged both radical and moderate Republicans to seek Constitutional guarantees for black rights, rather than relying on temporary political majorities.

While the Civil Rights Act of 1866 addressed many of Congress’s concerns about citizenship and civil rights, several members of Congress worried about the Act’s constitutionality and permanence. Two months after the Act became law, Congress would approve H.R. Res. 127, which when ratified by the states would become the 14th Amendment. Addressing citizenship in words almost identical to those of the 14th Amendment, the Civil Rights Act declared: “That all persons born in the United States and not subject to any foreign power, excluding Indians not taxed, are hereby declared to be citizens of the United States . . . .”

The Act then addressed certain specified civil rights by saying:

“Such citizens, of every race and color, without regard to any previous condition of slavery or involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall have the same right, in every State and Territory in the United States, to make and enforce contracts, to sue, be parties, and give evidence, to inherit purchase, lease, sell, hold, and convey real and personal property, and to full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of person and property, as is enjoyed by white citizens, and shall be subject to like punishment, pains, and penalties, and to none other, any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, to the contrary notwithstanding.”

In late 1865, Rep. John A. Bingham of Ohio, who was a member of the Joint Committee of Fifteen on Reconstruction, proposed a constitutional amendment which would enable Congress to safeguard “equal protection of life, liberty, and property” of all citizens; this proposal failed to pass the House. In April 1866, the Joint Committee forwarded a third proposal to Congress, a carefully negotiated compromise that combined elements of the first and second proposals as well as addressing the issues of Confederate debt and voting by ex-Confederates. The House of Representatives (39th Congress) passed House Resolution 127 several weeks later and sent to the Senate for action. The resolution was debated and several amendments to it were proposed. Amendments to Sections 2, 3, and 4 were adopted on June 8, 1866, and the modified resolution passed by a 33 to 11 vote (5 absent, not voting). The House agreed to the Senate amendments on June 13 by a 138–36 vote (10 not voting). The “Citizenship Clause” was added by Senator Jacob Howard of Michigan.

That is the very simplified history of the 14th Amendment.

As most of you know, either through your reading, your learning of Supreme Court or other federal court opinions regarding civil rights or discrimination (the 14th Amendment being the #1 basis for lawsuits), your history courses, your study of law, or even just listening to the heated debates by legal experts and pundits on TV, the absolute meaning of the 14th Amendment is not known; it means different things to different people. It meant one thing to the Supreme Court at the end of the 20th century (Slaughterhouse cases, 1873) and early 21st century, but meant something else in later cases.

So I think it’s important to take a closer look at the proposal of the amendment and its adoption by the US House and Senate.

Congress had two important concerns about civil rights in 1866. One was that the Bill of Rights by itself did not limit the actions of state governments and the other was the Congress lacked any express power to enforce the Bill of Rights against the states. Congress ultimately addressed these concerns in Sections 1 and 5 of the 14th Amendment. But before Congress approved H.R. Res. 127, the House considered another provision, H.R. Res. 63, which had similar objectives. H.R. Res. 63 arose in the Joint Committee. On January 12, the Joint Committee formed a subcommittee on the powers of Congress.209 On January 27, 1866, Representative Bingham reported to the full committee that the subcommittee had approved a proposed amendment. The subcommittee’s proposal said:

“Congress shall have power to make laws which shall be necessary and proper to secure to all persons in every state full protection in the enjoyment of life, liberty and property; and to all citizens of the United States in any State the same immunities and equal political rights and privileges.”

Although the Journal of the Joint Committee does not report the debates of the full committee, it does show that the full committee made minor amendments to the proposal on both January 27 and February 3. On February 10, the Committee then voted to send the proposed amendment to both Houses of Congress as a proposed constitutional amendment.

On February 26, Representative Bingham introduced the proposed constitutional amendment to the House as a joint resolution, H.R. Res. 63. The proposal, as it had been revised by the full committee, said:

“The Congress shall have power to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper to secure to the citizens of each State all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States (Art. 4, Sec. 2), and to all persons in the several States equal protection in the rights of life, liberty, and property (5th Amendment).”

After quoting the Privileges and Immunities Clause in Article V and the last clause of the Fifth Amendment, Representative Bingham said:

“Sir, it has been the want of the Republic that there was not an express grant of power in the Constitution to enable the whole people of every State, by congressional enactment, to enforce obedience to these requirements of the Constitution. Nothing can be plainer to thoughtful men than that if the grant of power had been originally conferred upon the Congress of the nation, and legislation had been upon your statute-books to enforce these requirements of the Constitution in every State, that rebellion, which has scarred and blasted the land, would have been an impossibility.”

Representative Bingham explained that the proposed amendment would solve these problems. He said: “The proposition pending before the House is simply a proposition to arm the Congress of the United States, by the consent of the people of the United States, with the power to enforce the bill of rights as it stands in the Constitution today.”‘

The House of Representatives debated H.R. Res. 63 on February 26-28. Despite Representative Bingham’s arguments, opponents of the proposal strongly objected that it went too far. The Supreme Court summarized the opposition to H.R. Res. 63 in City of Boerne v. Flores (1997):

“Some argued that the] proposed Amendment gave Congress too much legislative power at the expense of the existing constitutional structure. Democrats and conservative Republicans argued that the proposed Amendment would give Congress a power to intrude into traditional areas of state responsibility, a power inconsistent with the federal design central to the Constitution. Typifying these views, Republican Representative Robert Hale of New York labeled the Amendment “an utter departure from every principle ever dreamed of by the men who framed our Constitution,” and warned that under it “all State legislation, in its codes of civil and criminal jurisprudence and procedure . . . may be overridden, may be repealed or abolished, and the law of Congress established instead.” Senator William Stewart of Nevada likewise stated the Amendment would permit “Congress to legislate fully upon all subjects affecting life, liberty, and property,” such that “there would not be much left for the State Legislatures,” and would thereby “work an entire change in our form of government.” Some radicals, like their brethren “unwilling that Congress shall have any such power . . . to establish uniform laws throughout the United States upon . . . the protection of life, liberty, and property,” also objected that giving Congress primary responsibility for enforcing legal equality would place power in the hands of changing congressional majorities.”

On February 28, 1866, when it appeared that the proposal would not gain approval, the House voted to postpone consideration until “the second Tuesday in April” (i.e., April 10, 1866).

After these unsuccessful initial attempts to approve the previously discussed joint resolutions proposing amendments to the Constitution, Congress finally succeeded with H.R. Res. 127, the provision that became the 14th Amendment. H.R. Res. 127 was broader in scope than the prior proposals. It addressed all of the subjects of H.R. Res. 9, H.R. Res. 51, and H.R. Res. 63. It also included a provision on the eligibility of former Confederate officials to hold government office.

On April 21, 1866, Representative Stevens introduced into the Joint Committee “a plan of reconstruction, one not of his own framing, but [one] which he should support.” This proposal contained five sections. Section 1 of the April 21 proposal in the Committee said: “No discrimination shall be made by any state, nor by the United States, as to the civil rights of persons because of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”‘ The Committee revised this sentence substantially before submitting it to Congress. As introduced in Congress, the proposal said:

“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.”

Two features of the revision in the Committee deserve mention. First, as the text shows, the Committee decided to drop all mention of race. The revised version sounds very much like H.R. Res. 63, but does not say anything about the powers of Congress.

Section 2 of the April 21 proposal would have banned racial discrimination with respect to the right to vote. The proposal said: “From and after the fourth day of July, in the year one thousand eight hundred and seventy-six, no discrimination shall be made by any state, nor by the United States, as to the enjoyment by classes of persons of the right of suffrage, because of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”

The Committee, however, deleted the original Section 2. Because the Journal does not record committee discussions, the reasons for deleting this provision are lost to history. Voting discrimination became a subject that ultimately would be addressed by the 15th Amendment (ratified in 1870).

The Joint Committee debated the proposal of April 21 and, as explained above, made various revisions before approving it for submission to Congress on April 28, 1866. Representative Stevens introduced the proposal into the House on April 30, 1866, as H.R. Res. 127, but the House voted to postpone discussing the proposal until May 8.

On May 8, Representative Stevens gave a long speech in which he explained the meaning and purpose of each section. The House debated H.R. Res. 127 on May 8, 9, and 10. On May 10, the House voted to approve H.R. Res. 127, without amendment, by a two-thirds majority (128 yeas, 37 nays, and 19 not voting). [NOTE: The House never reopened H.R. Res. 63. On June 6, 1866, Representative Bingham moved that it “be indefinitely postponed, for reason that the constitutional amendment [H.R. Res. 127] already passed by the House covers the whole subject matter.” The House approved the motion. The Senate never considered H.R. Res. 63].

H.R. Res. 127 was introduced into the Senate on May 10, but no discussion occurred on that day.” On May 23, Senator Howard initiated the Senate’s consideration of H.R. Res. 127 by analyzing each of its five sections. The Senate discussed H.R. Res. 127 as a committee of the whole on May 23, 24, and 29, and during at time, the made various amendments to it. Discussions continued in both committee and in regular sessions until June 8. [Regular sessions on May 30 and 31, and as a committee of the whole from June 4 to June 8].

On May 23, 1866, Senator Benjamin Wade, Republican of Ohio, suggested that, given the importance in Section 1 of a guarantee of privileges or immunities to United States citizens, it was imperative that a “strong and clear” definition of citizenship be added to the proposed 14th Amendment – a “Citizenship clause.” He suggested “persons born in the United States or naturalized by the laws thereof.” Senator Howard, Republican of Michigan, responded on May 30, 1866, with a proposal that was drafted in the Joint Committee on Reconstruction which eventually became the first sentence of the 14th Amendment as it was finally adopted. It read: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the States wherein they reside.” Both Howard and the Joint Committee evidently placed some importance on the addition of the jurisdiction clause, which meant, at a minimum, that not all persons born in the United States were automatically citizens, but also had to be subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

This is how we got the “Citizenship Clause” of the 14th Amendment.

Senator Howard and others discussed the purpose, meaning, and limitations of this amendment to the proposal on May 30. He explained that the purpose of the first sentence was to eliminate doubt caused by the Dred Scott decision on the issue of citizenship. He said: “It settles the great question of citizenship and removes all doubt as to what persons are or are not citizens of the United States.” In that statement, Senator Howard was not explaining the meaning of the first sentence of Section 1, but instead the purpose that the first sentence serves. The sentence had the effect of overruling the Supreme Court’s decision in Dred Scott that persons of African descent could never be citizens. Senator Revardy Johnson, who as an attorney had represented John Sanford against petitioner Dred Scott before the Supreme Court, supported the amendment. Without discussing his former role in the matter, he subtly mentioned that “serious questions have arisen, and some of them have given rise to embarrassments, as to who are citizens of the United States, and what are the rights which belong to them as such; and the object of this amendment is to settle that question.”‘ When the matter came before the House, Representative Stevens merely commented: “This is an excellent amendment, long needed to settle conflicting decisions between the several States and the United States.”

His remarks introducing the new language in the Senate have attracted much attention — and much controversy.

Senator Howard said:

“I do not propose to say anything on that subject except that the question of citizenship has been so fully discussed in this body as not to need any further elucidation, in my opinion. This amendment which I have offered is simply declaratory of what I regard as the law of the land already, that every person born within the limits of the of the United States, and subject to their jurisdiction, is by virtue of natural law and national law a citizen of the United States. This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons. It settles the great question of citizenship and removes all doubt as to what persons are or are not citizens of the United States. This has long been a great desideratum in the jurisprudence and legislation of this country.”

On June 8, 1866, the Senate approved the amended version of H.R. Res. 127 by a two-thirds vote (33 yeas, 11 nays). Because the Senate had approved an amended version, the joint resolution had to go back to the House to see if the House would concur in the Senate’s amendments. The amended version of H.R. Res. 127 was introduced in the House on June 9. The House debated the amended version on June 13. Rep. Thaddeus Stevens, the Committee Chair, briefly described the Senate’s amendments, some of which he approved and some of which he disfavored. In the end, the House concurred in the Senate’s version by a two-thirds vote (120 yeas, 32 nays, and 32 not voting) and the 14th Amendment was passed by Congress.

On June 16, Congress sent the approved version of joint resolution H.R. Res. 127 to the Secretary of State William Seward for delivery to President Andrew Johnson. President Johnson opposed the 14th Amendment, but Article V assigns no role to the President in the Amendment process. Accordingly, President Andrew Johnson’s only duty was to send the proposed 14th Amendment to the states, which he instructed Seward to do on June 22, 1866.

Initially, none of the ex-Confederate states ratified the 14th Amendment in 1866, except Tennessee. Accordingly, Tennessee was quickly re-admitted to the Union – reclaiming full status as a state and having its representatives allowed once again to sit in Congress.
In response, the Northern-dominated Congress passed a series of punishing laws aimed at making sure the South came back into the Union on the terms it required – the Reconstruction Acts. It passed four of them (three in 1867 and one in 1868)

The essential provisions can be summed up as follows:

• The Reconstruction Acts of 1867 created five military districts in the seceded states (again, with the exception of Tennessee, which ratified the 14th Amendment and was thus re-admitted to the Union). The five districts were (1) Virginia; (2) North and South Carolina; (3) Georgia, Alabama, and Florida; (4) Mississippi and Arkansas; and (5) Texas and Louisiana. Around 200,000 troops were placed in the South to enforce military rule.
• Each district in the Union was now headed by a military official empowered to remove and subsequently anoint state leaders/officials. All states were required to employ a military leader from the North (Marshall Law).
• The Reconstruction Acts of 1867 required each state had to draft a new state constitution, which would have to be approved by Congress before that state could be re-admitted to the Union.
• The Reconstruction Acts of 1867 implemented regulations regarding voter registration; all freed individuals were allowed to vote along with white persons who took extended oaths.
• The Reconstruction Acts of 1867 required each state to ratify the 14th Amendment prior to readmission into the Union.
• State constitutional conventions were required to draft new governing documents that included laws on black male suffrage and the elimination of their black codes.
• The Reconstruction Acts of 1867 disabled confederate leaders and any individual who did not pledge their allegiance to the United States from voting. (Thirty-five percent to forty-five percent of potential white voters were either excluded from voting because of the Reconstruction Acts, or failed to register or were prevented from registering).

One thing all military commanders did – because they were told to do so by Congress – was to place former slaves in positions in government. These former slaves knew nothing about government or money. They were not trained for their jobs. But they were loyal to the Republican Party. And nearly all were puppets under the control of army officials.

[It should be noted that President Andrew Johnson, who had taken over as President of the United States after Lincoln was assassinated, vetoed the Reconstruction Acts, asserting that they were unconstitutional. But Johnson’s veto was overruled by Congress. Military rule in the South would last for 10 years, until 1877, when the Republican party agreed to return Southern states to home rule in exchange for their support of the Republican candidate for president, Rutherford B. Hayes. That was the end of reconstruction].

By early 1868, the former Confederate States began to draft and submit to Congress new state constitutions. By June 9, all had new “acceptable” constitutions and thus Secretary Seward announced that all had formed republican governments and would be entitled to representation in Congress (have its representation restored) once they ratified the 14th Amendment. On these terms, Florida ratified the amendment on June 9, North Carolina on July 2, Louisiana and South Carolina on July 9, and Alabama on July 16.
These Southern ratifications seemed to give Secretary of State William Seward the required twenty-eight states necessary for the 14th Amendment to become law.

Secretary Seward had twenty-nine ratifications on file, but prior to receiving the twenty-eighth, New Jersey and Ohio had rescinded their ratification. Nevertheless, on July 20, 1868, Secretary Seward issued a proclamation declaring the 14th Amendment ratified. Congress reacted quickly to Seward’s proclamation, and on July 21, 1868, declared all twenty-nine ratifications to be valid and that the 14th Amendment was “part of the Constitution of the United States, and it shall be duly promulgated as such by the Secretary of State.” On July 28, Seward, issued a second proclamation, declaring the 14th Amendment had “become valid to all intents and purposes as a part of the Constitution of the United States.”

As is explained in detail in the Appendix, there were serious irregularities in the ratification of the 14th Amendment, thereby making it most likely that it was never legally passed in Congress or ratified by the States. Nevertheless, on July 28, 1868, Secretary of State William Seward proclaimed that three-fourths of the states had ratified it.

The Radical Republicans were satisfied that they had secured civil rights for blacks, but were disappointed that the amendment did not include the right to vote. That would come with the 15th Amendment, which was ratified on February 3, 1870.


Again, the purpose of this article is to discuss birthright citizenship, which is addressed immediately in Section 1 of the 14th Amendment —

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.”

Although the Constitution of 1787 mentioned citizens, it did not define citizenship. It was not until the 14th Amendment was added that a definition of citizenship entered the Constitution. “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.” Thus there are two components to American citizenship: birth or naturalization in the US and being subject to the jurisdiction of the US. Today, we somehow have come to believe that anyone born within the geographical limits of the US. is automatically subject to its jurisdiction; but this renders the jurisdiction clause utterly superfluous. If this had been the intention of the framers of the 14th Amendment, presumably they would have said simply that all persons born or naturalized in the U.S. are thereby citizens.

During debate over the amendment, Senator Jacob Howard attempted to assure skeptical colleagues that the language was not intended to make Indians citizens of the United States. Indians, Howard conceded, were born within the nation’s geographical limits, but he steadfastly maintained that they were not subject to its jurisdiction because they owed allegiance to their tribes and not to the Senator Lyman Trumbull, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, supported this view, arguing that “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” meant “not owing allegiance to anybody else and being subject to the complete jurisdiction of the United States.”

Jurisdiction understood in terms of “allegiance,” Senator Howard explained, excludes not only Indians but “persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers.” Thus, “subject to the jurisdiction” does not simply mean, as is commonly thought today, subject to American laws or courts. It means owing exclusive political allegiance to the United States.
Furthermore, there has never been an explicit holding by the Supreme Court that the children of illegal aliens are automatically accorded birthright citizenship. In the case of Elk v. Wilkins (1884), the Court held that children born to Native Indian parents could not be citizens under the 14th Amendment’s citizenship clause because at the time of the birth, the allegiance of the parents belonged to the tribal nation. In the case of United States v. Wong Kim Ark (1898) the Court ruled that a child born in the U.S. of legal aliens was entitled to “birthright citizenship” under the 14th Amendment. [A more in-depth analysis of Elk and Wong is provided in the Appendix].

In a third Supreme Court case, Plyler v. Doe (1982), the Court addressed the treatment of children of illegal aliens, in the context of public education. Texas had a statue allowing the state to withhold funds to public school districts for illegal children. The provision at issue was not the Citizenship Clause but the Equal Protection Clause, but supporters of birthright citizenship for illegals will point to a footnote that the liberal judges included in the opinion. It read, in part:

“As one early commentator noted, given the historical emphasis on geographic territoriality, bounded only, if at all, by principles of sovereignty and allegiance, no plausible distinction with respect to 14th Amendment “jurisdiction” can be drawn between resident aliens whose entry into the United States was lawful, and resident aliens whose entry was unlawful.”

This footnote, however has little or no persuasive power. It provides no precedence power. It merely recited the views of a commentator and was irrelevant to the matter under decision.

Ideological liberals have recently invented a novel and wholly fabulous interpretation of this passage, maintaining that when Howard mentions that “foreigners, aliens” are not “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States he means to include only “families of ambassadors or foreign ministers.” If so, this would be an extraordinarily loose way of speaking: Ambassadors and foreign ministers are foreigners and aliens and their designation as such would be superfluous. If we give full weight to the commas after “foreigners” and after “aliens,” this would indicate a series which might be read in this way: “foreigners, aliens, families of ambassadors, foreign ministers,” all separate classes of persons who are excluded from jurisdiction. Or it could be read in this way: “foreigners, aliens, [that is, those who belong to the] families of ambassadors or foreign ministers.” I suggest that the natural reading of the passage is the former, i.e., that the commas suggest a discrete listing of separate classes of persons excluded from jurisdiction. Of course, the debate was taken by shorthand reporters and not always checked by the speakers, so the issue cannot be settled simply on the basis of the placement of commas. In addition, Howard seemed to make a glaring omission — he failed to mention Indians. He was forced to clarify his omission when challenged by Senator James R. Doolittle of Wisconsin who queried whether the “Senator from Michigan does not intend by this amendment to include the Indians”; he thereupon proposed to add the language of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 “excluding Indians not taxed.” Howard vigorously opposed the amendment, remarking that “Indians born within the limits of the United States and who maintain their tribal relations, are not in the sense of this amendment, born subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. They are regarded, and always have been in our legislation and jurisprudence, as being quasi foreign nations.” In other words, the omission of Indians from the exceptions to the jurisdiction clause was intentional. Howard clearly regarded Indians as “foreigners, aliens.” This conclusion is supported by Senator Lyman Trumbull who, as we will discuss shortly, also opposed Doolittle’s amendment. This is clear evidence, against the claims of ideological liberals who have become the proponents of open borders and are intent to replace citizens with “universal persons,” that Howard meant that foreigners and aliens included only the families of ambassadors and foreign ministers. Based on the evidence we have proffered so far, this has been exposed as an utterly preposterous idea. But there is more to come. There is no evidence anywhere in the debates to support the assertions of ideological liberals. [Edward J. Erler, “Trump’s Critics Are Wrong About the 14th Amendment and Birthright Citizenship”]

Howard had said earlier in his statement that “[t]his amendment which I have offered is simply declaratory of what I regard as the law of the land already.” The “law of the land” to which Howard referred was undoubtedly the Civil Rights Act of 1866, passed over the veto of President Andrew Johnson by a two-thirds majority in both houses less than two months prior to the May 30 debate in the Senate. The Civil Rights Act provided the first definition of citizenship after the ratification of the 13th Amendment, specifying “[t]hat all persons born in the United States and not subject to any foreign power, excluding Indians not taxed, are hereby declared to be citizens of the United States.” Thus an overwhelming majority of Congress on the eve of the debate over the meaning of the citizenship clause of section 1 of the 14th Amendment were committed to the view that foreigners — and presumably aliens — were not subject to birthright citizenship. Most of those who voted in favor of the act were still serving in Congress when the 14th Amendment was under consideration. In fact, Senator Lyman Trumbull, the author of the Civil Rights Act and chairman of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, was an ardent supporter of Howard’s version of the citizenship clause. “The provision is, that ‘all persons born in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens.’ That means ‘subject to the complete jurisdiction thereof.’ . . . What do we mean by ‘subject to the jurisdiction of the United States?’ Not owing allegiance to anybody else.” Not owing allegiance to anybody else, subject to the complete jurisdiction of the United States, and not subject to a foreign power. During debate over the Civil Rights Act, Senator Trumbull remarked that purpose of its citizenship clause was “to make citizens of everybody born in the United States who owe allegiance to the United States.” Read in the light of the Civil Rights Act and the authoritative statements by Senator Trumbull in the May 30 debate, can there be any real dispute that “foreigners, aliens” in Senator Howard’s opening statement does not refer to “families of ambassadors or foreign ministers” but to “foreigners, aliens” as a separate class of persons? Thus, is it not fair — and accurate — to read Howard’s statement introducing the citizenship clause to the Senate in this way:

“This amendment which I have offered is simply declaratory of what I regard as the law of the land already, that every person born within the limits of the United States, and subject to their jurisdiction, is by virtue of natural law and national law a citizen of the United States. This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens [or] who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons.” [Erler, cont’d]

This use of the bracketed “[or]” is fully justified when this statement is read in the light of the Civil Rights Act, which explicitly excludes foreigners (and aliens) from birth-right citizenship, an exclusion that was authorized by an overwhelming majority of the same Congress that approved the citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment. The many statements in the debate by supporters of the citizenship clause support this conclusion. [Erler, cont’d]


Citizenship must be considered in the context of some absolutes, as articulated in the Constitution:

(1) A sovereign nation has the authority to control immigration and to determine and to ascertain who is entering the country, as well as to establish guidelines and laws as to WHO can enter the country. Article I, Section 8 articulates this as one of the core and primary functions of the general, or federal, government. The Immigration & Naturalization Act outlines the law related to the function of immigration and naturalization, and it also outlines where authority is delegated to the President.

(2) Government power is shared or divided, whichever way you choose to look at it, between the States and the federal government. The government was created to serve the States and to aid them in their ability to work together in the form of a Union; the government power delegated to it is clear and can be summed up in general terms: to regulate commerce, to regulate immigration and naturalization, to establish a uniform system of currency, to act as a common agent for the states on the international stage and with Indian tribes, and to establish a common army and navy to keep the states safe and secure and to make sure essential federal laws are enforced. The functions of the federal government were intended to affect the states, to assist them in their sovereign responsibilities; they were not intended to reach inside the states to regulate their people. It was to be the States themselves who would be responsibility to legislate for the benefit and service for their people. All government power not expressly delegated to the federal government by the Constitution is reserved to the States, or to the people. This is the division of power, the basis for our “federal” system, restated by the Tenth Amendment. (“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”) Legally and historically speaking, certain functions have been reserved to the States, and these have been summed up by the term “state police powers.” A state’s police powers includes the right to legislate (regulate) “for the health, safety, welfare, and morality” of its people. Typical state functions include legislation related to education, voting, health, law enforcement, property and zoning/land use, marriage, professional certifications.
Keeping that explanation in mind, people live or reside in states, except for the District of Columbia, of course and other US territories. No one can be a United States citizen who is not first a citizen of a state and therefore a responsibility of such state. Because the federal government serves the interests of the States, if the States understand Section 1 of the 14th Amendment to require individuals to be “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States” (ie, the special protections of citizenship offered by the US Constitution), then that is what the 14th Amendment MUST mean. If States do NOT want the magnet of automatic citizenship (and hence, chain migration) for those who come here illegally (as well as the burden on the state associated with it), then that is the lens through which the 14th Amendment must be viewed and interpreted.

(3) It is important to recognize and understand the significance of a constitution, and particularly of our Constitution. As Thomas Paine explained: “A constitution is not the act of a government, but of a people constituting a government; and government without a constitution is power without a right. All power exercised over a nation, must have some beginning. It must be either delegated, or assumed. There are not other sources. All delegated power is trust, and all assumed power is usurpation. Time does not alter the nature and quality of either.” (Rights of Man, 1791-1792) The key point is that the Constitution is the People’s document – the rightful and legal members of the society we call the United States of America. It embodies the People’s and the States’ intent and NOT government’s intent.

(4). Section 1 of the 14th Amendment reads: “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.” Most people understand, and even the Supreme Court has agreed in prior opinions, that non-citizens are not entitled to the protections provided by our Constitution. (They are entitled to be have their inalienable rights respected, of course, but the rights of citizenship are only available to those who can rightfully and legally be citizens).

(5) The cases regarding the citizenship of those born on US soil (ie, “birthright citizenship”) have only involved those parents who were here in the country legally. The Supreme Court has never addressed the question of birthright citizenship to the child of someone who has intentionally entered the US illegally. Some advocates for birthright citizenship for those of illegal immigrants point to the 1898 case of United States v. Wong Kim Ark, but that case merely held that a child born on US soil to parents who were lawfully, permanent (legally, “domiciled”) residents was a citizen. The parents who gave birth had a legal reason for being in the United States; they had “permission.” Because the United States has laws governing the entrance of foreigners and aliens into our country, for the purposes of the Citizenship Clause and birthright citizenship, it should be assumed that birthright citizenship applies when the mother has arrived here legally. As Mark Levin would say: “A person can’t self-emigrate.” There are laws – immigration laws.

(6) When the 14th Amendment was introduced and ratified, the country didn’t have an illegal immigration problem

(7) In no sane, rational world can an element of the Rule of Law (here the “Citizenship Clause”) be taken to reward, and even encourage, the breaking of the needful and essential laws of the United States.

(8) In two cases, the US Supreme Court has decided that the Citizenship Clause’s term “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” (ie, the jurisdiction of the United States – ie, subject to the full extend of its laws) means subject to the English common law doctrine of “allegiance.” In the more crucial case, United States v. Wong Kim Ark, the “allegiance” rationale was central to the holding.

The best way to determine what “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” was intended to mean would be to uncover evidence that state legislatures ratifying the 14th Amendment understood “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” to exclude illegal aliens (“invaders”) and their children. It is the understanding of, or meaning to, the ratifiers, moreso than the intent of the drafters, that carries most weight in constitutional questions. Commentary from the Congressional debates is certainly helpful evidence of meaning, but relying on it entirely would be foolish. It’s only half the puzzle. Commentary from the debates in the state ratifying conventions carry far more weight because that evidenced the “meeting of the minds” – the understanding – by those who agree to be bound by the amendment. In some cases, the meaning as evidenced by the Congressional record is the same as the understanding of the states; yet, sometimes the states read the amendment differently or foresee how it can be enlarged or abused and seek to limit its application in their conventions. The question is whether illegal aliens are a group of people that the US is willing to concede are entitled to any benefits or protections under our Constitution and our laws (subject to our jurisdiction”). We know illegals go through great lengths to evade our jurisdiction. We know illegals are treated differently by our laws than ordinary legal citizens (they are allowed to continue breaking our laws, for one). We know sanctuary cities provide safe zones for illegal aliens to live without legal US status (no such “safe” zones exist for legal citizens to break laws).

(9) Why should the evaders of our laws be then able to claim the protections OF our law? Why should we interpret the 14th Amendment to reward those who intentionally break and evade our laws? It wouldn’t make sense. It would fly in the face of the very meaning and intent of “sovereignty” and of our “Rule of Law.”

(10) It is not a straightforward assumption that a child of illegal aliens, if born in the United States, is automatically, at the moment of birth, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. The criminality of the mother, or the parents, is imputed to the newborn. “But for” analysis supports this conclusion. “But for” the criminality of the parents, the baby would not have been born in the United States. Should the newborn child be considered independent of the parents? Certainly not. In no situation is a newborn considered anything other than a responsibility of the parents. It has no free will, no thought, no sense of independence.

(11) The 14th Amendment was never legally or legitimately passed. Refer to the Appendix. [See David Lawrence, “There Is No 14th Amendment!”, Sept. 27, 1957; and Douglas H. Bryant, “Unorthodox and Paradox: Revisiting the Fourteenth Amendment,” Alabama Law Review, Vol. 53, 2:555. Referenced at: Bryant’s article is included at the end of this article, in the Appendix]


Birthright citizenship is currently a policy whereby the children of illegal aliens born within the geographical limits of the U.S. have been automatically entitled to American citizenship. Trump, correctly, says it is a great magnet for illegal immigration. Today it is the magnet for illegal Hispanics. Tomorrow it may be the magnet for Islamic radicals.
Democrats, open-border activist groups, and others on the left, as well as other critics of Trump’s believe that this policy is an explicit command of the Constitution, embraced by the 14th Amendment and consistent with the British common-law system (see Appendix). As Edward Erler writes: “This is simply not true.”


- 2018 (Carolina Clinic) (2)

Mark Levin, “Birthright Citizenship,” Mark Levin Show (October 30, 2018) –

John Eastman, “Birthright Citizenship is Not Actually in the Constitution,” NY Times, December 22, 2015. Referenced at:

David Lawrence, “There Is No 14th Amendment!”, U.S. News & World Report, September 27, 1957; posted in The Constitution Society. Referenced at:

Epps, Garrett (2010) “The Citizenship Clause: A “Legislative History”, American University Law Review: Vol. 60: Iss. 2, Article 2. Referenced at: OR:

Rob Nateson, “An Objective Guide to Birthright Citizenship,” Tenth Amendment Center, August 31, 2015. Referenced at:

Maggs, Gregory E., “A Critical Guide to Using the Legislative History Of The Fourteenth Amendment to Determine The Amendment’s Original Meaning (2017). A Critical Guide to Using the Legislative History of the Fourteenth Amendment to Determine the Amendment’s Original Meaning,” 49 Conn. L. Rev. 1069 (2017); GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2017-77; GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2017-77. Referenced at:

Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. 393 (1857), Cornell Law Library –
Dred Scott, Wikipedia –

Douglas H. Bryant, “Unorthodox and Paradox: Revisiting the Fourteenth Amendment,” Alabama Law Review, Vol. 53, 2:555. Referenced at:

Congressional Globe, 39th Cong., 1st Sess. (1866), 2768-2769 (Sen. Wade).

Gregory E. Maggs, “A Critical Guide to Using the Legislative History Of The Fourteenth Amendment to Determine The Amendment’s Original Meaning,” 49 Conn. L. Rev. 1069 (2017). Referenced at:

Edward J. Erler, “Trump’s Critics Are Wrong About the 14th Amendment and Birthright Citizenship,” National Review, August 19, 2015 (but re-printed in 2018). Referenced at:



I. US CONSTITUTION, Article I, Section 8:

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;
To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;
To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;
To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;
To establish Post Offices and Post Roads;
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;
To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;
To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;
To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
To provide and maintain a Navy;
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

II. 14th AMENDMENT, 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.

III. DRED SCOTT case – Facts of the Case and Judicial History

Dred Scott was born into slavery circa 1799 in Southampton County, Virginia. It is not clear whether Dred was his given name or a shortened form of Etheldred. In 1818, Peter Blow and his family took their six slaves to Alabama, where the family ran an unsuccessful farm in a location near Huntsville that is now occupied by Oakwood University. The Blows gave up farming in 1830 and moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where they ran a boarding house. Dred Scott was sold to Dr. John Emerson, a surgeon serving in the United States Army. After Scott learned he would be sold to Dr. Emerson and relocated to Rock Island, Illinois, he attempted to run away. His decision to do so was spurred by a distaste he had previously developed for Dr. Emerson. Scott was temporarily successful in his escape as he, much like many other runaway slaves during this time period, “never tried to distance his pursuers, but dodged around among his fellow slaves as long as possible.”

Eventually, he was captured in the “Lucas Swamps” of Missouri and taken back. Blow died in 1832, and historians debate whether Scott was sold to Emerson before or after Blow’s death. Some believe that Scott was sold in 1831, while others point to a number of slaves in Blow’s estate who were sold to Emerson after Blow’s death, including one with a name given as Sam, who may be the same person as Scott.

As an army officer, Dr. Emerson moved frequently, taking Scott with him to each new army posting. In 1836, Emerson and Scott went to Fort Armstrong, in the free state of Illinois. In 1837, Emerson took Scott to Fort Snelling, in what is now the state of Minnesota and was then in the free territory of Wisconsin. There, Scott met and married Harriet Robinson, a slave owned by Lawrence Taliaferro. The marriage was formalized in a civil ceremony presided over by Taliaferro, who was a justice of the peace. Since slave marriages had no legal sanction, supporters of Scott would later point to this ceremony as evidence that Scott was being treated as a free man. Nevertheless, Taliaferro transferred Harriet to Emerson, who treated the Scotts as his slaves.

Emerson moved to Jefferson Barracks in 1837, leaving the Scott family behind and leasing them out to other officers. In February 1838, Emerson met and married Eliza Irene Sanford at Fort Jesup in Louisiana, whereupon he sent for the Scotts to join him. While on a steamboat on the Mississippi River, between the free state of Illinois and the Iowa district of Wisconsin Territory, Harriet Scott gave birth to their first child, whom they named Eliza after their mistress. They later had a daughter, Lizzie.

The Emersons and Scotts returned to Missouri in 1840. In 1842, Emerson left the Army. After he died in the Iowa Territory in 1843, his widow Irene inherited his estate, including the Scotts. For three years after Emerson’s death, she continued to lease out the Scotts as hired slaves. In 1846, Scott attempted to purchase his and his family’s freedom, offering $300, about $8,000 in current value. However, Irene Emerson refused, prompting Scott to resort to legal recourse.

The Dred Scott case of the U.S. Supreme Court, which denied Scott his freedom by ruling that negro-slave descendants were not U.S. citizens, was the end of years of legal cases during 1846-1857, in lower federal district court and Missouri courts which had granted Dred Scott freedom for about 2 years, until overturned upon appeal.

Back in 1846, having failed to purchase his freedom, Scott filed legal suit in St. Louis Circuit Court. Scott stood on solid legal ground, because Missouri precedent dating back to 1824 had held that slaves freed through prolonged residence in a free state would remain free when taken back to Missouri. The doctrine was known as “Once free, always free”. Scott and his wife had resided for two years in free states and free territories, and his eldest daughter had been born on the Mississippi River, between a free state and a free territory.

Dred Scott was listed as the only plaintiff in the case, but his wife, Harriet, played a critical role, pushing him to pursue freedom on behalf of their family. She was a frequent churchgoer, and in St. Louis, her church pastor (a well-known abolitionist) connected the Scotts to their first lawyer. The Scott children were around the age of ten at the time the case was originally filed, which was the age when younger slaves became more valuable assets for slave owners to sell. To avoid the family from breaking up, Harriet urged Dred to take action.

The Scott v. Emerson case was tried in 1847 in the federal-state courthouse in St. Louis. Dred Scott’s lawyer was originally Francis B. Murdoch and later Charles D. Drake. Because more than a year elapsed from the time of the initial petition filing until the trial, Drake moved away from St. Louis during that time. Samuel M. Bay tried the case in court. The verdict went against Scott, as testimony that established his ownership by Mrs. Emerson was ruled to be hearsay. However, the judge called for a retrial, which was finally held in January 1850. This time, direct evidence was introduced that Emerson owned Scott, and the jury ruled in favor of Scott’s freedom.

Irene Emerson appealed the verdict. In 1852, the Missouri Supreme Court struck down the lower court ruling, arguing that growing antislavery sentiment in the free states made it no longer necessary for Missouri to defer to the laws of free states. In doing so, the court had overturned 28 years of precedent in Missouri. Justice Hamilton R. Gamble, who was later appointed governor of Missouri, sharply disagreed with the majority decision and wrote a dissenting opinion.

In 1853, Scott again sued; this time under federal law. Irene Emerson had moved to Massachusetts, and Scott had been transferred to Irene Emerson’s brother, John F. A. Sanford. Because Sanford was a citizen of New York, while Scott would be a citizen of Missouri if he were free, the Federal courts had diversity jurisdiction over the case. After losing again in federal district court, they appealed to the United States Supreme Court in Dred Scott v. Sandford. (The name is spelled “Sandford” in the court decision due to a clerical error). And well, the rest is history. The Supreme Court handed down its opinion on March 6, 1857.


The framers of the Constitution were well-versed in the British common law, having learned its essential principles from William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England. As such, they knew that the very concept of citizenship was unknown in British common law. Blackstone speaks only of “birthright subjectship” or “birthright allegiance,” never using the terms “citizen” or “citizenship.” The idea of birthright subjectship, as Blackstone admitted, was derived from feudal law. It is the relation of master and servant: All who are born within the protection of the king owed perpetual allegiance as a “debt of gratitude.” According to Blackstone, this debt is “intrinsic” and “cannot be forfeited, cancelled, or altered.” Birthright subjectship under common law is the doctrine of perpetual allegiance.

America’s Founders rejected this doctrine. The Declaration of Independence, after all, solemnly proclaims that “the good People of these Colonies . . . are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved.” So, the common law — the feudal doctrine of perpetual allegiance — could not possibly serve as the ground of American citizenship. Indeed, the idea is too preposterous to entertain.

Consider as well that, in 1868, Congress passed the Expatriation Act. This permitted American citizens to renounce their allegiance and alienate their citizenship. This piece of legislation was supported by Senator Howard and other leading architects of the 14th Amendment, and characterized the right of expatriation as “a natural and inherent right of all people, indispensable to the enjoyment of the right of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Like the idea of citizenship, this right of expatriation is wholly incompatible with the common-law understanding of perpetual allegiance and subjectship. One member of the House expressed the general sense of Congress when he proclaimed: “The old feudal doctrine stated by Blackstone and adopted as part of the common law of England . . . is not only at war with the theory of our institutions, but is equally at war with every principle of justice and of sound public policy.” The notion of birthright citizenship was characterized by another member as an “indefensible doctrine of indefeasible allegiance,” a feudal doctrine wholly at odds with republican government.

Reference: Edward J. Erler, “Trump’s Critics Are Wrong About the 14th Amendment and Birthright Citizenship,” National Review, August 19, 2015 (but re-printed in 2018). Referenced at:

V. SUPREME COURT CASES (addressing the 1 Amendment’s “Citizenship Clause” – particularly the “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” clause)

The Supreme Court has addressed the Fourteenth Amendment’s “subject to the jurisdiction” language in two important cases. None of these cases definitively resolve our question. But they offer hints.

Elk v. Wilkins (1884) was decided before Congress extended citizenship to Indians who remained tribal members. In Elk, the Court ruled that an Indian born into a tribe was not a citizen unless naturalized under a statute or treaty. The Elk case is only weak evidence of the rule applied to foreigners. This is because the Constitution’s text and history suggest that the citizenship standards for tribal Indians and foreigners are different.

However, the Elk case does tell us that:

* “Subject to the jurisdiction” in the 14th Amendment has a specialized meaning, different from the common meaning of “within a given territory and therefore subject to a court’s order,” as, for example, appears in the 13th Amendment.
* This meaning is connected to the concept of “allegiance,” a legal term traditionally used to determine whether a person is a natural born citizen.
* For deciding whether a child born in the U.S. receives citizenship under the 14th Amendment, the relevant issue is the parents’ allegiance when the child was born. The parents’ or child’s later decisions are irrelevant, unless the United States accepts them by statute or naturalization ceremony.

Two justices dissented from the holding in Elk. They accepted the connection between “jurisdiction” and allegiance. But they argued that an Indian becomes a citizen if he changes his allegiance by abandoning his tribe and becoming a member of his state’s political community. Their version of allegiance thus depended partly on a person’s intent.

United States v. Wong Kim Ark (1898) ruled that the U.S.-born child of two legally-resident foreigners was a natural born citizen. Horace Gray, the same justice who wrote for the Court in Elk, also wrote for the Court in Wong. The result was different in Wong primarily because the Constitution implicitly made it easier for foreigners to get automatic citizenship than tribal Indians. But the underlying approach of Elk and Wong was similar in that citizenship by birth depended more on geography rather than subjective intent.

The most important lesson of Wong was this: The Constitution’s version of “allegiance” was the version we inherited from Great Britain in 1776—not versions prevailing in other countries or under international law.

As modified by Parliamentary statute, the British version of allegiance was as follows:

* Birth in a country (or on a country’s ships) normally creates a “natural allegiance” to that country.
* A child born abroad is in allegiance to a country, and is therefore natural born, only if his father is a citizen of that country and not engaged in treasonous or felonious activities. In Anglo-American law, a person’s status usually followed that of the mother, but for allegiance the rule was partus sequitur patrem.
* Foreign residents and visitors generally are in “local allegiance” to the host country, since they submit themselves to its laws and protection. Their children born in the host country are natural born citizens of that country.
* To this last rule, there are two exceptions: When the father is a foreign diplomat or a foreign invader, he has no allegiance to the host country, and his offspring are not citizens.

Two justices dissented in Wong. They argued that the British version of allegiance should not apply in America. They contended that parents in merely local allegiance should not bestow citizenship. For example, they stated that if a foreign power occupied U.S. territory, the natural allegiance of parents should pass U.S. citizenship to their children, even if those parents had a local duty to obey the conqueror.

In my view, the Wong majority was right to hold that the British version of allegiance applies to the original Constitution. But because of developments between 1789 and 1868, the dissent made a good argument that a newer, American version applied to the 14th Amendment.

Reference: Rob Nateson, “An Objective Guide to Birthright Citizenship,” Tenth Amendment Center, August 31, 2015. Referenced at:

VI. The Validity of the 13th and 14th Amendments (from Douglas H. Bryant’s law review article “Unorthodox and Paradox: Revisiting the Fourteenth Amendment”)

When Southern senators and representatives began arriving in Washington to take their place in the Thirty-Ninth Congress, which convened on December 4, 1865, they were confronted with two opposing legal signals. The Secretary of State’s proclamation that the13th Amendment had been ratified seemed to suggest the recognition of the validity of the Southern government. Congress, however, had no intention of making such recognition. When the 39th Congress convened, Republicans refused to seat any Southern representative, and would later declare, “no legal State governments . . . exist in the rebel state.” The Southern states were refused representation in Congress throughout the entire period in which the 14th Amendment was proposed and ratified.

There can be little doubt that, were the Southern delegations admitted into the Congress, they would not have supported the 14th Amendment. Of course, this is the exact reason the Republicans excluded them. The Southern delegations, from the Republicans’ viewpoint, seemed to be the same group of rebels who had started this crisis in the first place. Southern voters elected “no fewer than nine Confederate congressmen, seven Confederate state officials, four generals, four colonels, and Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens.” Furthermore, the abolition of slavery would do away with the three-fifths method of determining population, which would actually give the South more power in Congress than it had before the Civil War.

Regardless of this, however, if the Southern states were still in the Union, and with legitimate governments, which the ratification of the 13th Amendment suggests, then they were entitled to sixty-one representatives and twenty-two senators. The final vote on the 14th Amendment in the House was 120-32, with 32 abstentions. The tally was far greater than the necessary two-thirds. If the excluded Southern representatives’ votes were added to the negative column, however, the two-thirds would not have been achieved. Similarly, if the twenty-two Southern senators’ votes had been added negatively to the Senate tally of 33-11, with 5 abstentions, then the vote would have ended in a tie.

It is here, then; where the first problem with the proposal of the 14th Amendment arises. If the Southern governments were legitimate enough to ratify the 13th Amendment, how is it they could be denied representation in Congress? The Constitution seems to give the Republican Congress an out. It provides in Article I, Section 5 that: “Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business.” Thus the Constitution contemplates a legitimate congress that excludes some of its members, and allows such an exclusionary power on a majority vote.

But there is still a problem in respect to how Congress exercised this exclusionary power. The Qualification Clause gives Congress the power to serve as a “Judge” of its members’ qualifications. In this case, however, Congress made no inquiry into the qualifications of any particular Southern senators or representatives. Instead of rejecting particular men, Congress excluded all the Southern delegates, regard- less of their qualifications.

However, even a loose reading of the Qualification Clause is limited by other Constitutional provisions. Article I states that “each State shall have at Least one Representative” and Article V asserts that “no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.” It appears, then, that the Constitution does not allow the Qualification Clause to serve as a textual warrant to defeat a state’s claim of representation. Congress would have to find some other way to deny Southern representation and still be a Constitutional “Congress” for the purpose of Article V.

The Republicans did have another justification for excluding the South from Congress. Article IV, Section 4, states that “the United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government.” The Southern constitutions of 1865 looked very similar to their antebellum constitutions, with the exception that the 1865 documents had provisions outlawing slavery. The South’s antebellum constitutions, which protected slavery, had never been found to be un- republican and, in fact, Congress had on several occasions rejected abolitionist arguments that the Guarantee Clause barred the admission of new slave states. It seems very odd, then, to promote the idea that the Southern governments had rendered themselves unrepublican by freeing the slaves.

This argument supports Secretary of State Seward’s proclamation that recognized the South as having legitimate state governments still in the Union with the ability to ratify or reject proposed amendments. But, at the same time, there was nothing to keep the Republicans from advancing a new and revolutionary interpretation of the Guarantee Clause. There had never been a case of a state swapping a republican form of government for an unrepublican version, and thus there had never been any prior reason for Congress to question the validity of a government under the Guarantee From a modern point of view, at least, there seems to be quite a good argument for declaring Southern governments “unrepublican.”

No Southern government had granted blacks the right to vote, and some radicals in Congress argued that “republican government required not merely that blacks be free but that they be enfranchised.” This argument was hard for many Republicans to accept. For one reason, only six Northern states had granted blacks the right to vote by 1865, and during the period where Southern states were excluded, seven Northern states defeated proposals for black suffrage in popular referenda. The best they could do was to point out that in the South one- half to one-third of the eligible male voters were disenfranchised, while in the North, only a minuscule portion of male voters were excluded.

Further, if black suffrage was required, did a republican government also require women’s suffrage? All this lead many Republicans to become uneasy over the possibility that the federal government might soon have some permanent role in structuring state governments. Therefore, in preparing the document justifying Congress’s power to exclude the Southern states and still propose the 14th Amendment, the Congress, while still using the Guarantee Clause as its legal basis, looked not at the substance of the Southern constitutions, but on the presidential process of setting up the state governments.

In determining whether the Guarantee Clause may properly serve as a basis for constitutionally excluding Southern representation, it must be noted that, with two exceptions, everything in the Constitution, including the Guarantee Clause, may be changed or eliminated through amendment. The first exception expired in 1808. The clause in Article V, however, which states that “no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate,” may not be altered and is forever a part of the Constitution. If this clause was so important to the framers of the Constitution that they declared it unamendable, can it really be trumped by the Guarantee Clause?

Even if one agrees with the reasonable argument that the South’s governments were so unrepublican that the Guarantee Clause could allow Congress to exclude Southern representation and still propose the 14th Amendment in accordance with Article V, there still remains one unavoidable problem. For while that argument potentially saves the proposition that the 14th Amendment was constitutionally proposed, it necessarily admits that the 13th Amendment was never ratified. How could an unrepublican and thus unrecognized government’s vote count towards the ratification of the 13th Amendment?

One other matter clouds the proposal of the 14th Amendment. Even with the Southern delegations excluded, an initial poll of support for the Amendment in the Senate showed that the Senate was still one vote shy of the required two-thirds. One outspoken opponent of the Amendment was John. P. Stockton of New Jersey. Stockton had taken the oath of office and was formally seated on December 5, 1865, when the 39th Congress convened. While it only takes a majority vote to refuse to seat a congressman, the Constitution requires a two-thirds vote to expel a member who has already been seated. A motion was passed by only a bare majority in the Senate to expel Stockton. Thus, Stockton was unconstitutionally expelled. Only through this bit of chicanery did the 14th Amendment gain its requisite two-thirds majority in the Senate.

While the proposal of the Fourteenth Amendment seems trouble- some, the ratification process is even more perplexing and irregular. Once the Amendment had been “proposed” in Congress it was sent to all existing state governments, North and South. Here lies an interesting inconsistency: If there were no legitimate republican governments in the South, why did Congress send these illegitimate governments the proposed 14th Amendment? It seems the very fact that Congress sent the 14th Amendment to the South for ratification serves as a tacit endorsement that the Southern states had legitimate governments, or at least that these states were “still full-fledged members of the Union.”

Yet these very governments had been denied representation in Congress, and, as we shall see, would be abolished and the South divided into military districts after their refusal to ratify. Against this dubious background, some states began to ratify the Amendment. Twenty-eight states were needed to ratify, and rejection by ten states would prevent ratification. The first wave of states to ratify included Connecticut, New Hampshire, Tennessee, New Jersey, and Oregon. The ratifications of Tennessee and Oregon, however, are troublesome. In Tennessee, opponents of the Amendment absented themselves from the House in order to prevent a quorum. This did not stop the supporters of the Amendment, who forcibly seized two absent members and held them in a committee room. The House ignored a court order to release the two and overruled the Speaker, who ruled there was no quorum present. Thus, the Tennessee House voted for ratification amid significant controversy.

Ratification in Oregon was also irregular. The Amendment supporters had a three vote majority in the House, but two of their seats were disputed. The Amendment was quickly put to a vote and ratified by three votes. The disputed seats were later awarded to Democrats on the grounds that the Republican supporters of the Amendment were illegally elected. Therefore, Oregon would later rescind, by one vote, its ratification of the 14th Amendment.

Regardless of these controversies, by February 1, 1867, only seventeen states had ratified the 14th Amendment and eleven had rejected it, one more than the ten required to prevent ratification. The 14th Amendment appeared defeated. Congress would have to formulate a new strategy to get the Amendment ratified. This new strategy would see Congress exercise power well beyond that contemplated by Article V, and the ratification of the 14th Amendment began a course of action that cannot be squared with the text of the Constitution.

Enter – The Reconstruction Acts.

Senator Doolittle of Wisconsin, in a statement before Congress, demonstrated quite clearly the new strategy Congress would pursue to ensure the ratification of the 14th Amendment: “The people of the South have rejected the constitutional amendment, and therefore we will march upon them and force them to adopt it at the point of bayonet, and establish military power over them until they do adopt it.”

This statement exemplified how many moderate Republicans were exasperated by the South’s refusal to accept the 14th Amendment. This refusal, coupled with rising violence against blacks in the South and President Johnson’s botched plan to promote Southern re-admission, resulted in a resounding victory for Republicans in the 1866 Congressional election. The Republicans viewed this one-sided victory as a mandate in favor of the 14th Amendment, and would not allow the initial rejection by the South to curb their efforts to seek its ratification.”

Indeed, on March 2, 1867, Congress passed the first Reconstruction Act over President Johnson’s veto. The Act stated that “no legal State governments . . . exist in the rebel States,” and divided the South, with the exception of Tennessee, into military districts. The Act served to enfranchise black males and to disenfranchise large numbers of white voters. Moreover, the Act required these voters in each state to form new constitutions, to be approved by Congress, and to ratify the 14th Amendment. Even then, however, before the “State shall be declared entitled to representation in Congress,” the 14th Amendment must have “become a part of the Constitution of the United States.” The Act further proclaimed that “until the people of said rebel States shall be by law admitted to representation in the Congress of the United States, any civil governments which may exist therein shall be deemed provisional only, and in all respects subject to the paramount authority of the United States at any time to abolish, modify, control, or supersede the same.”

Yale University scholar, Bruce Ackerman, noted that, “Up until now, it was possible to drape a legal fig leaf over each Congressional action. But at this point, we are in the presence of naked violations of Article Five.”‘ University of Alabama history professor, Forrest McDonald, has stated that, “the act flew in the face of the Constitution in a large variety of ways.” Thus, as these commentators note, there is simply no way to fit the Reconstruction Acts within the bounds of the Constitution, yet the 14th Amendment owes its existence in the Constitution to this troublesome legislation.

Additionally, the Reconstruction Act seemed to run afoul of a recent decision (1866) of the Supreme Court. In Ex parte Milligan,” the Court held that military trials of civilians in times of peace and outside of war zones were un-constitutional, and stated that “martial rule can never exist where the courts are open.” Since the Civil War had been over for almost two years prior to the passage of the Reconstruction Acts and because Southern governments and courts had been operating for some time, the Reconstruction Act seemed to run counter to the Court’s ruling in Milligan. Further, the Court spoke of martial law in strong terms:

“If the country is subdivided into military departments for mere convenience . . . republican government is a failure, and there is an end of liberty regulated by law, martial law, established on such a basis, destroys every guarantee of the Constitution, and effectually renders the ‘military independent of and superior to the civil power.”

The Republicans in Congress denounced the decision as a “piece of judicial impertinence which we are not bound to respect.” Others said that the War was not over until Congress said so, and in the meantime the South was a war zone in which martial law could be imposed. At any rate, Congress, as we shall further see, had no intention of letting the Supreme Court get in its way. The Reconstruction Act also deprived most white voters in the South of their political rights, without due process of law, on a whole-sale basis. President Johnson noted this in his lengthy veto message:

“Here is a bill of attainder against 9,000,000 people at once. It is based upon an accusation so vague as to be scarcely intelligible and found to be true upon no credible evidence. Not one of the 9,000,000 was heard in his own defense. The representatives of the doomed parties were excluded from all participation in the trial. The conviction is to be followed by the most ignominious punishment ever inflicted on large masses of men. It disfranchises them by hundreds of thousands and degrades them all, even those who are admitted to be guiltless, from the rank of freemen to the condition of slaves.”

Congress quickly brushed aside President Johnson’s stinging veto message.

More importantly, in holding that no legitimate republican state governments existed in the South, with the exception of Tennessee, Congress had trapped itself in an interesting inconsistency. These same governments had been called upon to ratify the 13th Amendment. Five Southern states had ratified the 13th Amendment and their votes had been counted towards the required two-thirds majority. How could these governments have been legitimate enough to ratify the 13th Amendment, but not legitimate when they rejected the 14th? Once again, then, we are faced with the “13th -14th Amendment paradox,”‘ which plagues the 14th Amendment from proposal to ratification. For, if Congress was right, and no legitimate state governments actually existed in the South, then Secretary of State Seward7s proclamation that the 13th Amendment was ratified is also illegitimate. Therefore the 13th Amendment has not really been ratified, and slavery has not constitutionally been abolished. But if Congress was wrong, and the Southern governments were legitimate, then the 14th Amendment is dead at this point. Therefore the Reconstruction Act is unconstitutional because the South’s legitimate governments had been denied representation in Congress during the Amendment’s proposal and had rejected the proposed amendment once submitted to them.

Placing aside this “13th-14th Amendment Paradox” for the moment, if possible, there are further problems and inconsistencies on the face of the Reconstruction Act. The coercive nature of the Act itself is well beyond anything contemplated by Article V. Article V gives Congress the power to propose amendments and allows them to determine whether ratification will be by state legislatures or state conventions. Through the Reconstruction Act, however, Congress is attempting to exert a power to override a veto by the states of a proposed amendment. The Southern governments must have been viewed as legitimate because they were allowed to ratify the 13th Amendment and were initially sent the 14th Amendment. But now, through the Reconstruction Act, Congress is saying that their refusal to accept the Amendment has deprived them of all political power in the councils of the nation. Further, Congress is also telling the South that if they ever want that power back, the 14th Amendment must become part of the Constitution, and until it does, the South will be governed by the Union army. This is entirely inconsistent with the limited power granted to Congress in Article V. Surely, the founding fathers never contemplated that an amendment to the Constitution could be lawfully compelled “at the point of the bayonet,” or that a state could be placed under the duress of continued and compelling military force to achieve the ratification of a desired amendment.

Even placing aside the coercive nature of the Reconstruction Act, there is a further unavoidable problem with the Act’s inconsistent internal logic. The Act stated that no legal republican state governments existed in the South. According to the Act, in order for Congress to legally recognize Southern governments, the 14th Amendment must have been ratified by the Southern states, and must have become part of the Constitution. The key inconsistency is that the Amendment must have been ratified by the provisional government of a Southern state before that government was legally recognized. Yet, what good is ratification by a government that is not legally recognized or entitled to representation in Congress? And if ratification by a congressionally unrecognized state government is allowed, why can’t an unrecognized state government reject an amendment?

With this problem duly noted, we may now further question the ratification of the 14th Amendment by Tennessee. Tennessee had initially ratified the 14th Amendment when other Southern governments had rejected it. Upon ratification of the 14th Amendment by Tennessee, Congress, on July 24, 1866, declared Tennessee restored to the Union. But Tennessee’s government had been set up under the direction of the Chief Executive, as had all the other Southern governments. Tennessee’s government was no different from the other Southern governments, with the exception that it had enough votes to ratify the 14th Amendment. So, if Tennessee’s government was legitimate enough to accept the 14th Amendment, why were the other Southern governments illegitimate when they refused? But as Congress’s proclamation points out, Tennessee was declared restored to the Union because it had ratified the 14th Amendment. Again, this raises the question, what good is a ratification from a state whose government is not legally recognized?
This, however, brings us back to a now familiar problem. If the Southern governments were legitimate enough to ratify the 13th Amendment, and Tennessee’s government was legitimate enough to ratify the 14th, then the Reconstruction Acts cannot be constitutional. For Congress had no more power in 1867 to abolish a valid state government, than it would today to put New England under military rule for refusing to ratify a proposed anti-abortion amendment.

Both North and South realized the Reconstruction Acts stood on unstable constitutional grounds, and that the Supreme Court would likely have the final say. In fact, after the Milligan decision, Congress had introduced a flurry of bills and constitutional amendments seeking to limit the power of the Supreme Court. The House passed a bill which would have required a two-thirds Court majority to overturn legislation deemed unconstitutional, but the bill did not make it out of the Senate. Some congressional Republicans even sought to have the Supreme Court abolished. These Republican attacks on the Supreme Court may have convinced some justices “that discretion was the better part of valor,”‘ because the Court would dismiss two suits by state officials in the South to enjoin the enforcement of the Reconstruction Acts.

In Mississippi v. Johnson (1866), the Supreme Court refused to issue an injunction against enforcement of the Reconstruction Acts by the President. The Court noted that if it did grant the injunction against the President on the grounds of unconstitutionality, the President might very well be impeached by the House for complying with the Court order and refusing to enforce the The Court cited this “collision . . . between the executive and legislative departments” in refusing to grant the injunction, and therefore dodged the question of the Reconstruction Acts’ constitutionality.

In Georgia v. Stanton (1867), the Supreme Court dismissed an action by the State of Georgia to restrain the Secretary of War and other executive officials from enforcing the Reconstruction The Court noted that the Acts’ execution would “annul, and totally abolish the existing State government of Georgia, and establish another and different one in its place; in other words, would overthrow and destroy the corporate existence of the State.” However, the Court held that this was a political question and was not justiciable. Again the Supreme Court had dodged the issue of the constitutionality of the Reconstruction Acts. The Court did hint, however, that if an action was brought relating to the rights of “persons or property,” it would hear the matter.

The Supreme Court’s language in Stanton left the door open for one more challenge to the Constitutionality of the Reconstruction Acts in Ex parte McCardle. McCardle, the editor of the Vicksburg Times, was arrested by military authorities in Mississippi for publishing an editorial denouncing the constitutionality of the Reconstruction Acts. He was charged with impeding reconstruction; inciting insurrection, disorder, and violence; libel; and disturbance of the peace, and was to be tried before a military court. McCardle filed for a writ of habeas corpus on the ground that the Reconstruction Act was unconstitutional. The district court refused to grant this petition for a writ of habeas corpus and McCardle appealed to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case and denied the government’s motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction.

After the Court denied the government’s motion to dismiss, word soon reached congressional leaders that the Supreme Court would be forced to declare the Reconstruction Acts unconstitutional. The Congressional response was quick. Republicans passed a bill that repealed the Habeas Corpus Act of 1867, the act under which McCardle had appealed, thereby removing the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction in the case. Congress noted that the purpose of this bill was to prevent the Supreme Court from passing on the validity of the Reconstruction Acts. The case had already been argued about two weeks before Congress passed its bill striping the Supreme Court of its jurisdiction, giving the Court time to issue a decision. The Court, however, backed down from congressional authority, fearing that if they ruled on the Reconstruction Acts, the Republicans in Congress might retaliate by inflicting even more damage upon the Court’s institutional independence.

Despite a strong dissent by Justice Grier, the Court decided to wait for the bill stripping its jurisdiction to become law. The Court dismissed McCardle’s case for want of jurisdiction and refused to find the jurisdiction stripping legislation unconstitutional. The Court had again, though just barely and for the last time, dodged the question of the Reconstruction Act’s constitutionality.

While the constitutionality of the Reconstruction Acts was being challenged in the Supreme Court, military officials, and twenty thousand federal troops, had begun registering voters in the South in order for new Southern governments to be organized. After the registration of voters was completed in September 1867, black voters made up a majority of voters in five of the ten unreconstructed states. Thirty-five percent to forty-five percent of potential white voters were either excluded from voting because of the Reconstruction Acts, or failed to register. Southerners still made some attempts to resist the forced creation of new governments. In Alabama, for example, most voters stayed away from the polls to prevent the new constitution from being approved by the required majority of registered voters. This tactic was tried in other Southern states as well, but Congress responded by repealing the “majority-of-the-voters” requirement, and allowed for a majority of the votes cast to enable the new constitutions. Thus, all the unreconstructed states “approved” new constitutions, and the new governments began ratifying the 14th Amendment.

Arkansas was the first of the unreconstructed Southern states to act. For the state’s new constitution to be legal, it required congressional approval, but it’s new legislature informally convened and approved the 14th Amendment on April 6, 1868. The Congress voted to admit Arkansas to representation in Congress on June 22, 1868. It should be pointed out, then, that Arkansas ratified the 14th Amendment, even though it still had “no legal state governments” until June.

Florida was the next of the unreconstructed states to act. Florida, in May of 1868, had approved its new constitution that had been drafted by a convention presided over by United States Army Colonel John Sprague in full military uniform. Florida ratified the 14th Amendment on June 9, 1868. While Congress debated the readmission of Florida, it was pointed out that the text of the Amendment ratified by the state contained numerous errors and variations. Some senators, therefore, argued that Florida had not properly adopted the Amendment. Yet, after the ratifications of New York, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan were examined and found to have similar errors, some of them substantive, Congress decided that ratification in any form would suffice. Florida was therefore readmitted as a legal government. However, like Arkansas, Florida had ratified the 14th Amendment before Congress declared it a legal government.

After Florida ratified the Amendment, Congress changed the rules slightly. It declared that all the Southern states had, by adopting new constitutions, formed republican governments, and would be entitled to representation once they ratified the 14th Amendment. Congress, then, would no longer have to consider representation of an unreconstructed state once it ratified the Amendment. A state would automatically have its representation restored once it ratified the 14th Amendment. On these terms, North Carolina ratified the Amendment on July 2, 1868, Louisiana and South Carolina on July 9, 1868, and Alabama on July 16, 1868. But again, regardless of the coercive factor that ratification was still a condition precedent to admission in Congress, the governments that ratified the Amendment still cannot be considered legal state governments if they were not entitled to representation in Congress until after they ratified it.

These Southern ratifications seemed to give Secretary of State William Seward the required twenty-eight states necessary for the 14th Amendment to become law.

Secretary Seward had twenty-nine ratifications on file, but prior to receiving the twenty-eighth, New Jersey and Ohio had rescinded their ratification. Nevertheless, on July 20, 1868, Secretary Seward issued a proclamation declaring the 14th Amendment ratified. However, as one commentator has pointed out, “it is hard to ignore the tell-tale signs of irregularity that peer out from the fifteenth volume of the Statutes at Large.” Seward’s proclamation shows he obviously had doubts as to the validity of all of the listed twenty-nine ratifications. Clearly, on Seward’s mind was the constitutionality of using military force to set up new Southern governments as a means securing ratification. Seward’s proclamation explained that the Amendment had “also been ratified by newly constituted and newly established bodies avowing themselves to be and acting as the legislatures, respectively, of the States of Arkansas, Florida, North Carolina, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Alabama.” As to the rescissions by Ohio and New Jersey, Seward noted that it was “a matter of doubt and uncertainty whether such resolutions” were valid. Seward further concluded his proclamation conditionally, stating, “if the resolutions of the legislatures of Ohio and New Jersey ratifying the aforesaid Amendment are to be deemed as remaining of full force and effect . . . then the aforesaid amendment has been ratified.”

Congress reacted quickly to Seward’s proclamation, and on July 21, 1868, declared all twenty-nine ratifications to be valid and that the 14th Amendment was “part of the Constitution of the United States, and it shall be duly promulgated as such by the Secretary of State.” On July 28, Seward, issued a second proclamation in conformance with the congressional resolution, and declared the 14th Amendment had “become valid to all intents and purposes as a part of the Constitution of the United States.”

The 14th Amendment has been considered a part of the Constitution ever since. Yet, 130 years after Secretary of State Seward’s proclamation, no one has answered the question of how the original reconstruction Southern governments were to be counted when they said “yes” to the 13th Amendment, but when they said “no” to the 14th Amendment, Congress had a right to destroy these governments, and then keep the new governments in the cold until they said “yes”?

Should we just go ahead and assume the validity of the 14th Amendment?

It is possible that a person, after reading the story of the ratification of the 14th Amendment, might say something like: “This is very interesting, but the 14th Amendment has been accepted as a part of the Constitution for over 130 years and we must assume its validity.” While this seems like a reasonable enough statement, there are certain unfavorable consequences forced upon one who assumes it is valid. These consequences are set out in the following scenarios from which one is required to choose from if he assumes the constitutionality of the 14th Amendment.

Scenario A: The “Thirteenth-Fourteenth Amendment Paradox.” One possibility may be to assume that the Southern governments were so “unrepublican” that they could constitutionally be excluded from Congress and deprived of their right to participate in the proposal of the Amendment. It must further be assumed that the Reconstruction Acts were constitutional and that Congress had the power to set up, through military occupation, republican governments in the South and compel ratification by these new governments and that these ratifications were valid even before Congress had declared these new governments “legal.” These assumptions save the 14th Amendment, but in a way that necessarily invalidates the 13th Amendment. For if the Southern governments were unconstitutionally unrepublican, there is no way to justify counting their ratifications towards the 13th Amendment. One is thereby left with the unfortunate choice between the validity of the 14th Amendment or the abolition of slavery.

Scenario B: Constitutional Secession. Another possibility would be to assume that a state may somehow constitutionally leave, or be removed from, the Union through some method such as an ordinance of secession or by state suicide. With this assumption, one could conclude that the Southern states were not entitled to representation in Congress and were not to be counted in determining whether three-fourths of the states had ratified an amendment. Therefore, if one also assumes that the resolutions by New Jersey, Ohio, and Oregon rescinding their ratifications were invalid, then the 14th Amendment can be saved. One who chooses to follow this scenario must not only repudiate the principle of an indissoluble Union, but also several Supreme Court decisions holding that the South had never left the Union as well as actions by the legislative and executive branches that asserted the South had never left the Union. Even if one decides that recognizing some form of secession or method for dissolution of the Union is not so bad when compared to invalidation of the 14th Amendment, this scenario is still problematic simply because it was not the method followed by Congress.

Scenario C: Ratification Outside Article V. A final method which might potentially save the 14th Amendment would be to assume that the Constitution can legally be ratified outside of the method set out in Article V. For example, one might argue that the North had a right to force the Southern governments to accept the 14th Amendment because it had the South within “the grasp of war.” This “grasp of war” theory would save both the 13th and 14th Amendments without recognizing any form of secession by assuming that these amendments were not made part of our Constitution through Article V ratification, but by Gettysburg and Appomattox. While this would save the 14th Amendment, “grasp of war” is an extremely undesirable justification for the Amendment, because while all amendments other than the Reconstruction amendments were products of the constitutional will of the American people, the 14th Amendment would then find its justification solely by the guns of the Union Army. Equally troubling is that, if the “grasp of war” theory is assumed to be a constitutional method for ratification, what other extra-Article V amendment methods might be found to exist?

The most disturbing problem arising out of the 14th Amendment ratification story is the precedent for constitutional amendment it may have set. For one to assume the constitutionality of the Amendment, they must accept its method of proposal and ratification as constitutional. Therefore, one who accepts the constitutionality of the 14th Amendment must also accept the premise that, at least in certain circumstances, Congress may deny states their representation in Congress in order to compel ratification of a desired amendment. This cannot be right, but the dilemma is heightened by the recognition that the 14th Amendment is a cornerstone of federal jurisprudence.

There is simply no acceptable outcome if we are forced to choose between accepting a doctrine of congressional coercion or the 14th Amendment. The only answer, besides ignoring the question, is to re- propose the 14th Amendment.

It seems quite clear that the 14th Amendment was not ratified, if proposed, even loosely within the text of Article V of the Constitution. Article V does not give Congress the power to deny a state representation in Congress without its consent. In fact, it prohibits such conduct. Nor does Article V give Congress the power to abolish a state government when it refuses to ratify a proposed amendment. And certainly, Article V does not allow Congress to deny a state its representation until it ratifies a desired amendment.

Furthermore, Article V is the only way the Constitution can be amended. The Supreme Court in Hawke v. Smith (1920) has stated:

Article V is a grant of authority by the people to Congress. The determination of the method of ratification is the exercise of a national power specifically granted by the Constitution; that power is conferred upon Congress, and is limited to two methods, by action of the legislatures of three-fourths of the States, or conventions in a like number of States. The Framers of the Constitution might have adopted a different method. Ratification might have been left to a vote of the people, or to some authority of government other than that selected. The language of the article is plain, and admits of no doubt in its interpretation. It is not the function of courts or legislative bodies, national or state, to alter the method which the Constitution has fixed.

So, if the Constitution can only be amended through Article V, and the 14th Amendment was not ratified properly under that Article, what is its status? It seems as though this question can only be answered in one way. However, having the 14th Amendment suddenly declared invalid would be disastrous. There would be a long list of cases, including many landmark cases such as Brown v. Board of Education, Roe v. Wade, all the religion and prayer cases, and McDonald v. Chicago, which would be invalidated. The question is one for the Supreme Court. Yet, in Coleman v. Miller (1939), the Court discussed the ratification of the 14th Amendment for the first, and likely the last time.

The Court did not discuss whether the ratification had conformed to Article V. It said only that:

While there were special circumstances, because of the action of the Congress in relation to the governments of the rejecting States (North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia), these circumstances were not recited in proclaiming ratification and the previous action taken in these States was set forth in the proclamation as actual previous rejections by the respective legislatures. This decision by the political departments of the Government as to the validity of the adoption of the 14th Amendment has been accepted. We think that in accordance with this historic precedent the question of the efficacy of ratifications by state legislatures, in the light of previous rejection or attempted withdrawal, should be regarded as a political question pertaining to the political departments, with the ultimate authority in the Congress in the exercise of its control over the promulgation of the adoption of the Amendment.

So, while the Court seemed to recognize that there were problems with the 14th Amendment’s ratification, it decided that Article V questions are non-justiciable political questions. It seems that whenever the Congress and the Secretary of State proclaim an amendment to be ratified, that proclamation is binding on the Court and “would not be subject to review by the courts.” While the wisdom of applying this political question doctrine to declared amendments is questionable, the Court has been true to its word in Coleman, as it has not decided a single Article V case since. Still, the ratification process of the 14th Amendment has never been reviewed by the Supreme Court and, in light of Bush v. Gore (2000), the political question doctrine may have lost favor with the Court. So, while a federal court would likely be unreceptive to an argument claiming the 14th Amendment invalid, it would make for an interesting affirmative defense. The 14th Amendment will, undoubtedly, remain a part of the Constitution, but as one commentator has stated, “no one ever became rich by predicting what the Supreme Court would do from one generation to another.” We should at least be aware of its irregular adoption and guard against such constitutional disrespect in the future. Congress should also seriously consider re- proposing the Amendment if it is concerned with preserving Equal Protection and Due Process for future generations.

The ratification story of the 14th Amendment, which shows the irregular and likely unconstitutional process by which it has been declared part of our Constitution, demonstrates that a major cornerstone of constitutional law is placed on a shaky and uneasy foundation. Un- fortunately, although one may wish to remedy the constitutional wrongs committed during its ratification, it is apparent that this cornerstone amendment should be left in place, lest the entire house of higher law as we know it should come toppling down. It is not too late, however, to shore up the foundation of constitutional jurisprudence. Congress and the states should re-propose and ratify the 14th Amendment, and thereby ensure the principles of equal protection and due process which the Amendment guarantees.

Reference: Douglas H. Bryant, “Unorthodox and Paradox: Revisiting the Fourteenth Amendment,” Alabama Law Review, Vol. 53, 2:555. Referenced at:

Kanye West is No Political Party Slave

KANYE WEST - Twitter post (how bad he has been mistreated for supporting Trump)

by Diane Rufino, November 2, 2018

I’m not a fan of rap music, I must admit.   I love music; it’s a big part of my life and my personality. The music of the 80s has always made me happy and I’ve been a loyal fan of rock. Sappy 60’s love tunes and Motown hits feed my soul and classical feeds my mind. I have no need for rap music. It is nothing but noise and offensive words and themes to me. But I do admit that while I find many rappers obnoxious, disrespectful, and offensive, I’ve always thought differently of Kanye. He has always been his own man, seemingly cut from a different mold. His smile has always seemed sincere and infectious. And there certainly have been times when I asked myself: “What the hell is he talking about ?” But all that comes from observation and sound bites over the years. I don’t really know anything about him.

Recently, according to the news, Kanye has launched a new clothing range meant to promote a campaign he seems to be championing –  the “Blexit” campaign, which urges black Americans to leave the Democratic party. Taking its cue from the Brexit movement and the Calexit movement (Britain leaving the EU, and California leaving the US), “Blexit” is short for “black exit.” And while we all know that he is super enamored with Donald Trump and feels “empowered” when he puts on his MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN cap, he also made a donation of several thousand dollars to a Democratic candidate running for mayor of Chicago.

Again, I don’t really know much about Kanye.

But here is what I know: Kanye West loves his country deeply. He is very patriotic and for some reason, the ascendency of Trump in politics and to the White House has energized and encouraged him very much. He has an obvious bond of affection with the man.

I also know this:  Everyone has the freedom to think the way they want to think, to put into perspective those things which are most important, and to rely on those values (or not) that helped form one’s conscience. Every has the freedom to exercise free will and choice. While I have a choice over what music I want to listen to, he has a choice over which political party best speaks to his personal values and interests. He is a human being, and NOT a skin color. His mind does NOT belong to the Democratic Party just because his skin color is black. The mind, the one thing that makes us truly unique, must be free to follow the dictates of one’s conscience; otherwise blind allegiance to a party is nothing more than political bondage – political slavery. Like slavery, the efforts of those bound serve others. In this case, the efforts of African-Americans to support and further  the Democratic Party serve the interests of wealthy powerful white political elites. In return, they get affirmative action and welfare — policies designed to reinforce that they are inferior. Kanye is exercising his God-given free will and the dictates of his conscience. I applaud him for that. He is putting his faith in the potential of America as embodied by a man who believes the same and who is working endlessly and unapologetically to achieve it — for all Americans. Kanye doesn’t see people in terms of color. He doesn’t see politics in terms of color. And he doesn’t subscribe to the racial politics that persons of a certain color must think and act the same way and in the collective. In fact, he has criticized a certain political party of focusing too strongly on the race. How ironic it is that about 55 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. started a great movement in this country to urge Americans to stop looking at each other in terms of race but in terms of our shared humanity, yet now we focus on race more acutely than ever. We are a land of individuals — of free and unique individuals. The only source we should all be looking for strength and guidance is the Lord Almighty and not a political party and certainly not government.

The Politics of Character Assassination and Personal Destruction: Evidence that Evil Has Co-opted the Democratic Party

U.S. Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington

(credit:  Reuters photo)

by Diane Rufino, October 8, 2018

Judge Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed as the 114th associate justice to the Supreme Court on Saturday, October 6. It almost didn’t happen. And if everything went the way Democrats planned, it wouldn’t have.

According to Christine Blasey Ford (“Christina Ford”), thirty-six years ago, when she was only 15, she was assaulted by Brett Kavanaugh at a party. He was 17 at the time. She made a statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee explaining her account, but putting her theatrics aside, her naivete, her confusion and timidness and her frequent consults with her many attorneys, the truth is that she presented no evidence, no details, and no witnesses. She apparently only told one person – her husband, Russell Ford. She told him “He could become a justice of the Supreme Court someday.” She said her husband remembered that she said her attacker was Brett Kavanaugh, but she herself doesn’t remember telling him that. She never told her account to anyone else until May 2012, during a couples counseling session. Again, no details were given.

Until July 2018, Ford had never named Brett Kavanaugh as her attacker outside of therapy. In early July 2018, she saw press reports stating that he was on the “short list” of potential Supreme Court nominees and decided to tell her story.  She called her congresswoman, Anna Eshoo (D- Palo Alto) and left a message with her receptionist that someone on the president’s short list of judicial nominees had attacked her. On July 9, after Kavanaugh had become the nominee, Ford received a call from the office of Rep. Eshoo and she proceeded to meet on two occasions with her staff (July 11 and July 13). She mentioned sending a letter to ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Dianne Feinstein.  In fact, Rep. Eshoo’s office delivered a copy of my letter to Sen. Feinstein’s office on July 30, 2018. The letter included Ford’s name, but she requested that the letter be kept confidential until she had a chance to speak with her in person. Apparently, Senator Feinstein sent a letter in response confirming that she would keep it temporarily in confidence. [I included a copy of that letter at the end of this article]

The rest is history.

Christine Blasey Ford thought not to contact any authorities about her allegations but rather, her first instinct was to get it to Democratic politicians so they could use it to disgrace President Trump’s nomination to the Supreme Court, Judge Kavanaugh and to impugn his character. For thirty-six years, she essentially kept her accusations to herself until the 11th hour, when Kavanaugh made it through to be the president’s choice for the high court. Feinstein sat on that letter and that information until after Kavanaugh did far better in his confirmation hearings than Democrats hoped – when it looked like he would indeed be confirmed.

To be clear about the accusations made by Ford against Brett Kavanaugh:  The one person Ford said was at the party in question not only denied that she was there, but went on to sign a sworn statement, under penalty of perjury, that she: (i) never once met Kavanaugh; (ii) was not at the party; and (iii) the party Ford addressed in her accusations never happened. In fact, she said, Ford’s allegations came as a shock to her. On the other hand, Brett Kavanaugh brought to the Committee a journal that he meticulously kept to document his life (just as his father had done) which provided an air-tight alibi for his whereabouts on the possible evenings of the party.

Ignoring the evidence, Democrats concluded that just because Ms. Ford made accusations of possible sexual misconduct, she must be believed and Kavanaugh must be the attacker. And then when he passionately and forcefully defended his whereabouts, his reputation, and his good name, Democrats went after him again claiming he is an angry man who doesn’t possess the temperament necessary for an associate justice of the Supreme Court.  The made a mockery and a circus out of the Confirmation Hearings.

Let’s face it, no one expected the Democrats to make it easy for Trump to have Kavanaugh confirmed. Senator Chuck Schumer even said as much in a tweet he made moments after Trump announced him as his pick to replace Justice Kennedy, on July 9.  Schumer tweeted: “I will oppose Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination with everything I have, and I hope a bipartisan majority will do the same.”  Schumer, who apparently was spearheading the resistance against Kavanaugh, also was the one who sent out emails to fellow Democrats the night before the confirmation hearings began and who orchestrated to have all those annoying screaming protesters show up to disrupt the proceedings.

As bad as outright partisan delay and obstruction tactics are, which we have seen from the very first day Trump stepped into the White House, I and most Americans are far more concerned with something far more serious — which is the Democrats’ policy of PERSONAL DESTRUCTION and CHARACTER ASSASSINATION when it comes to Republican candidates and judicial nominees.  They spread lies and make up allegations of sexual harassment, without conscience and without impunity…. Why do they do it???  — Because it works.  It almost worked to keep Judge Kavanaugh off the bench. It already worked to make sure law schools won’t hire him. Harvard already announced that he is not welcome back. The politics of PERSONAL DESTRUCTION is something the Democrats have become good at. The politics of spreading lies and instilling fear (including a return to Jim Crow or a return to back alley abortions) is something Democrats are good at. Look what they did to Judge Roy Moore. (You don’t hear anything any more about his accuser). Look what happened to Mitt Romney in 2012 when he ran for president. During that election, Senator Harry Reid accused Mitt Romney, FALSELY, of not paying his taxes in over 10 years. He knew it wasn’t true. After the election, when confronted about his lie and whether he felt remorse for stooping so low, he said no. His response epitomized what the Democratic Party’s politics of personal destruction would become: “It worked didn’t it? He lost, didn’t he?”

The writer for the Stephen Colbert show, Ariel Dumas, tweeted during the Senate vote on Saturday: “Whatever happens, I’m just glad we ruined Brett Kavanaugh’s life.”

The writer’s name should forever be changed to Ariel Dumb-ass.

MSNBC host Mika Brzezkinski mocked Kavanaugh, saying he “raged” and “cried like a baby” while defending himself. This jubilation and mocking of a good and decent man, blemished by unverified accusations, humiliated before all of the country and the world, and fighting to save a reputation he spent an entire life building, is similar to the jihadists celebrating the deaths of thousands of innocent Americans in the wake of 9/11. It says more about who THEY are – the Democrats, the main-stream media, the Hollywood and entertainment industry – than who Brett Kavanaugh is.

These Democrats are not good people. They are not decent people. They are certainly not the kind of people that should be given any power over others. These are people co-opted by the devil; commissioned to do evil.

Remember what Judge Kavanaugh said in his remarks addressing Ford’s accusations?  He said: “I’m never going to get my reputation back. My life is totally and permanently altered.” Later, during that same hearing, an angry Sen. Lindsey Graham told his Democratic colleagues, “You don’t want to find out the truth.  What you want is to destroy this guy’s life.”

The sad thing is that those Democratic Senators, the ones so willing to condemn Kavanaugh merely because Ford made an unverified accusation against him, took an OATH to the US Constitution, which guarantees to each US citizen the right to be presumed innocent, the right to confront his or her accuser, the right to a fair trial by members of his peers. They ignored their oaths and betrayed their allegiance to the Constitution in denying Kavanaugh his fundamental liberty rights. These Democratic Senators are political terrorists and are unfit to serve in government. Their choice of terror is character assassination.

One of the tricks Democrats and other liberals love most is taking something that is as  universally despised as possible, like rape, racism, or police shooting innocent people, and then declaring that they are against it while Republicans are indifferent to it.

  • “You’re against disrespecting the flag?” Then you must want black men to be shot by the police!
  • “You’re not in favor of tearing down historical statues because the owners had slaves?” Then you must hate black people! You must believe slavery was OK.
  • “You don’t believe EVERY rape accusation made against a man?” Then you must be pro-rape or think that women are to be sexualized.

We have Congresswomen, like Mad Maxine Waters, who go around telling people to harass members of Trumps’ team and Trump supporters. “Tell them they aren’t welcome here.” What an unconscionable message to send. What an unconscionable tactic.

These people are taxpayers and citizens of this country; they are entitled to feel comfortable and welcome in their own country.

The actions of Maxine Waters and the obstructionist, duplicitous, actions in general of the Democratic members of government are deeply troubling and let me tell you why…

Government is supposed to be the governing body for the People. It is the creation of the Constitution, adopted by the People, organized in State Conventions. Government serves the States and the People. That’s its sole function. It is NOT to serve itself or a Political Party.

Years ago, before our Revolution, when people were dis-satisfied with their royal governor or with the King and Parliament, they protested; they petitioned, they engaged in peaceful acts of civil disobedience, designed to frustrate or scare those enforcing government policy. The point is that when government is not serving the people as legally authorized to do, it is the PEOPLE who organize and carry out the protests. That is how they put pressure on their government. In our present case, it is GOVERNMENT who is organizing and encouraging the protests – for government’s interests only.  Not for the people’s interests.  What we have now is a Political Party doing anything and everything it can to cause civil and national unrest because it believes it is entitled to the control of government. They absolutely can’t stand the fact that Donald Trump won. And they absolutely refuse to accept it.

If the people want the government to continue to be a GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE, and FOR THE PEOPLE, the People are going to have to fight for it and defend it. Otherwise, it will become a Government of the Democratic Party, by the Democratic Party (and its band of indoctrinated useless idiots), for the Democratic Party.

This is the state of our government in DC right now —  It’s no longer the seat of government. It is a battlefield. Democrats feel entitled to power in DC and the election of Donald Trump in 2016 threw them for a loop. That is why we have the insurance policy known as the Russian Collusion scandal; That is why we have talk of instability and impeachment; that is why Democrats have adopted the tactic of Personal Destruction…..

We cannot be fooled by these desperate acts of a desperate political party. We can’t give into their despicable tactics.  We can never, ever allow such vile, uncivil, unethical, morally bankrupt people to control government.  We need to keep their kind off our courts.  We need to talk to our friends and neighbors and family members. We need to get conservatives out to vote. We need to support the #WalkAway movement.  We also need to get those who ordinarily may not be conservative to get out and vote Republican –  to prevent to stop the advancement of the Democratic Party agenda of national destruction.

The tactics employed by the Democratic Party are evil. This conduct, this blackening of the heart, this outright hatred against fellow Americans, this campaign of character assassination, the silencing of speech, the gestapo tactics of fear and violence is not who we are as Americans. It sickens us. It tarnishes our good name and reputation as countrymen. It cheapens our republic. And it must be STOPPED.

As Charlie Kirk, founder of Turning Point USA tweeted: “The sooner conservatives realize that the left will do absolutely anything to win – they will lie, cheat, steal, slander, falsify, attack, demagogue, insult, protest, malign, fabricate, make false accusation, and organize – the sooner we will realized that they will not give us our country back. We must fight for it.”


APPENDIX:   Christine Blasey-Ford’s Letter to Senator Dianne Feinstein

July 30 2018


Senator Dianne Feinstein

Dear Senator Feinstein;

I am writing with information relevant in evaluating the current nominee to the Supreme Court.

As a constituent, I expect that you will maintain this as confidential until we have further opportunity to speak.

Brett Kavanaugh physically and sexually assaulted me during high school in the early 1980’s. He conducted these acts with the assistance of REDACTED.

Both were one to two years older than me and students at a local private school.

The assault occurred in a suburban Maryland area home at a gathering that included me and four others.

Kavanaugh physically pushed me into a bedroom as I was headed for a bathroom up a short stair well from the living room. They locked the door and played loud music precluding any successful attempt to yell for help.

Kavanaugh was on top of me while laughing with REDACTED, who periodically jumped onto Kavanaugh. They both laughed as Kavanaugh tried to disrobe me in their highly inebriated state. With Kavanaugh’s hand over my mouth I feared he may inadvertently kill me.

From across the room a very drunken REDACTED said mixed words to Kavanaugh ranging from “go for it” to “stop.”

At one point when REDACTED jumped onto the bed the weight on me was substantial. The pile toppled, and the two scrapped with each other. After a few attempts to get away, I was able to take this opportune moment to get up and run across to a hallway bathroom. I locked the bathroom door behind me. Both loudly stumbled down the stair well at which point other persons at the house were talking with them. I exited the bathroom, ran outside of the house and went home.

I have not knowingly seen Kavanaugh since the assault. I did see REDACTED once at the REDACTED where he was extremely uncomfortable seeing me.

I have received medical treatment regarding the assault. On July 6 I notified my local government representative to ask them how to proceed with sharing this information . It is upsetting to discuss sexual assault and its repercussions, yet I felt guilty and compelled as a citizen about the idea of not saying anything.

I am available to speak further should you wish to discuss. I am currently REDACTED and will be in REDACTED.

In confidence, REDACTED.