Restoring the Union … for Real   Leave a comment

Surely, I’m not going to suggest repeal of the 14th Amendment? I’ve just said, in my analysis of the 13th Amendment that I am completely opposed to all forms of slavery. So I should be in support of the 14th Amendment, right? Actually … not so much.

Let me preface this by saying I am opposed to all forms of government discrimination and of private discrimination where it involves a public service. If you operate a bus company, for example, I think you have to offer transportation to all comers, because you are supplying a public service. Excepting that, a private business has a right to decide which customers to have or not, but the rest of us have a right to boycott that private business if we disagree with it. That’s market democracy and it works. Don’t want black people/gays/unmarried folks staying in your bed-n-breakfast — you have that right, but I also have the right not to stay at your B&B and to tell my friends you’re a bigot and suggest they not stay there too. The government should not be involved in that.

So what do I have against the 14th Amendment? Let’s start with the idea that the federal government did not have the authority to force the states to abolish slavery. Slavery is unchristian and at odds with the Declaration of Independence’s foundational statement that “all men are created equal”, but the Constitutional framers saw fit to allow states to retain slavery if they wanted. Extra Constitutional writings support the historical fact that the Constitution would not have been ratified had it attempted to abolish slavery. Delegates who opposed slavery felt that over time the South would let go of slavery as less efficient than wage labor and that future Constitutional amendments would eventually end the institution, but that is not what the Southern delegates felt they were agreeing to.

The Constitution did not give the federal government the authority to abolish slavery in the states or to wage war against its own citizens who were acting in accordance with the Declaration of Independence when they seceded from what they deemed to be a tyrannical union. In essence, the 14th Amendment was imposed unconstitutionally on the Southern states as an act of war. While I agree that slavery needed to end, I don’t agree with how it was accomplished. For that reason alone, I think it needs to be revisited.

It’s also important to realize that the Southern states never ratified this Amendment. They accepted it, shoved down their throats as it were, as a concession of occupation.

Moreover, the 14th Amendment has been used to justify a great deal of federal abuse of states rights. Abortion until labor begins is the law of the land even though more than 50% of American voters say they are uncomfortable with it. Roe v Wade was decided on the 14th Amendment. Religious freedom has been undermined based on the 14th Amendment (google U.S. v. MacIntosh 1931; Everson v. Board of Education 1947; McCollum v. Board of Education 1948; Torcaso v. Watkins 1961; Engel v. Vitale 1962; Abington School Dist. v. Schempp 1963; Walz v. Tax Commission of City of New York 1970; Lemon v. Kurtzman 1971; Stone v. Graham 1980; Wallace v. Jaffree 1985; Edwards v. Aguillard 1987; Allegheny County v. Greater Pittsburgh 1989; Lee v. Weisman 1992). State sovereignty is non-existent because of the 14th Amendment (google California Proposition 187; Saenz v. Roe 1999; North Carolina Board of Education v. Swann; Washington v. Seattle School District; U.S. v. Yonkers; Missouri v. Jenkins).

The 14th Amendment has been used to give the federal government authority over every law in every state that relates to life, liberty or property, completely nullifying the principle of enumerated powers and the 10th Amendment protection for state rights.

Yes, we need to look at it, decide if, as written, it is congruent with our national values and repeal it and replace it as necessary. Slavery is not coming back, folks, but states rights should.

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