Sharron Angle: RINO
The political right is bringing back to life an issue that was settled more than a century ago—the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
After the Civil War, Democrats, including President Andrew Johnson, undid the results of the war. Terror and the Black Codes turned the life of southern African-Americans into a horror many black leaders considered worse than slavery. The 14th Amendment was written by Congress and approved by the state legislatures to deal with those conditions, providing citizenship to former slaves and to all born in the United States. In addition, because state governments were running roughshod over the rights of blacks and whites, the Amendment guaranteed to all citizens the “privileges and immunities” of citizenship, due process of law and equal protection of the law, effectively making the Bill of Rights binding on states.
Republicans—including every member of the Nevada congressional delegation—voted for the amendment, and Nevada’s Republican legislature ratified it. Democrats opposed it.
As some anti-immigration activists recently learned of the existence of the Amendment and found it inconvenient because it guarantees citizenship at birth, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle—who apparently knew nothing about it—turned to a right wing California lawyer, John Eastman, to brief her on it, the latest instance of many in which Angle turns for information only to those likely to tell her what she wants to hear.
Then Angle made a public statement that “certainly someone who has not come here under the rule of law is not under our jurisdiction,” and “I think Congress needs to become involved.” It’s not clear what that means. Angle, who used to open her mouth about things without knowing their implications all the time (giving her critics a catalog of uninformed gaffes), has become more cautious of late, and this statement is one such. Nevertheless, it is apparent that she wants Congress to tamper in some way with the Amendment.
Born as a civil rights measure benefiting former slaves and hindering judicial sabotage and Klan terrorism, the Amendment has in the past 124 years become a bulwark of the protection of the rights of all citizens. As usual, Angle is poorly informed on the consequences of one of her proposals. Of the 435 words in the Amendment, Angle’s stand derives from the 28 guaranteeing citizenship.
But the rest of the Amendment has provided a remedy for segregated schools, police misconduct, and gender discrimination.. It has protected voting rights, political expression, gay rights, religious freedom, and property rights. Two 14th Amendment cases, Crandall vs. Nevada (1868) and Nevada Department of Human Resources vs. Hibbs (2003), dealt with our own state, in both cases curbing state government.
It can be argued that the rights of the people are stored in the 14th Amendment. It would be the height of foolishness to fiddle with its magnificent language.
Plainly, Angle’s Republican Party membership is a matter of convenience. She has shopped around for years for a political party that fits her agenda, from Republican to Democrat to American Independent to Republican again. For her, the GOP is merely a vehicle. But just because she is a Republican in name only, that does not excuse her effort to undo one of the party’s great achievements.