Springtime for Hitler and Germany,
Deutschland is happy and gay,
We’re moving to a faster pace,
Lookout, here comes the Master Race.
— Mel Brooks, The Producers
In the many years this column has appeared, it is rare that it has weighed in on constitutional issues. Occasionally, however, an issue is so significant as to demand comment, even from the likes of me. And this is such a time. It is brought to mind because of a constitutional pronouncement made by a person in a very prominent and powerful position in the United States. In order to preserve his privacy, he will, for purposes of this piece, simply be called “Adolph.” (Although the name is without any particular significance, it is appropriate since the people from whom Adolph is descended were, in fact, German immigrants.) Adolph’s pronouncement was remarkable because it not only addresses an immediate problem that Adolph believes is confronting the United States, the country in which he happens to live and over which he proudly rules, but suggests a solution to that problem that is remarkable for its great simplicity. It pertains to immigrants.
Adolph is very much opposed to those seeking to enter the United States in large numbers from other countries, for reasons well known to him, and to many of his supporters, if not to all citizens. In part, their opposition to immigrants is their belief that admitting too many immigrants dilutes the blue-eyed, blonde haired, Aryan race in the United States. Adolph and his supporters believe it is the Aryans who made America great, and they want to maintain what they have created. without having it diluted by the presence of a bunch of immigrants. That is, of course, not quite how they put it. They say that they want to keep out both legal and illegal immigrants because those people commit more crimes than the Aryans, even though statistics show that the reverse is true. Like his ardent followers, Adolph has assumed a stridently anti-immigrant tone that gives comfort to those who have an intense hatred of foreigners seeking to enter the country, even though in many cases the haters were themselves recently foreigners.
As this is written, there is what is described as an enormous caravan of people heading towards the Mexican-U.S. border, many of whose members hope to become immigrants in the United States. That caravan, says Adolph, has been infiltrated by terrorists from the Middle East who are intent on inflicting violence on the United States, once they arrive in this country. The kind of violence he almost certainly fears, is the sort of violence we have seen in places like Pittsburgh, Florida, and Kentucky in just the last two weeks. Those acts were committed by citizens rather than foreigners. That is not, however, the focus of Adolph that this column addresses.
There are, in the caravan, pregnant women who, like many foreign pregnant women before them, hope to get into the United States so that their children can be born in the United States, become United States citizens, and vote when they get older. The travelers thought that would happen because of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution. That Amendment says: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States. . . .”
Adolph does not think the United States of America was created so that foreigners could come here and have citizen babies. Although he is not a constitutional scholar (nor a scholar of any other kind), he knows that he did not get to be the wealthy magnate that he sees himself to be, as well as a successful politician, by lacking what might be called “constitutional creativity,” and he demonstrated that creativity in an extensive interview with Axios on HBO that is to be aired on November 4, 2018. In that interview, Adolph let it be known that, as in all things, he has it right, and, in this particular context, constitutional scholars have it wrong. Their wisdom has for years held that the United States Constitution can only be amended in one of two ways. Those two ways are provided in Article V of that document, both of which require the involvement of Congress and state legislatures. What Adolph has advised us, is that there is yet another way the Constitution can be amended, and a much simpler one at that. The president of the United States can simply sign an executive order and get rid of the 14th Amendment, thus removing the provision that gives people born in this country, citizenship.
Adolph’s solution to the baby-born-here problem, opens the door to countless other improvements to the United States Constitution. I am confident that now that Adolph has identified a simple way to amend that pesky document, he and his adoring fans will, in short order, identify countless other provisions that they believe can be eliminated. That may prove to be another way in which Adolph’s tenure will not only be remembered, but will be proven to have been a disaster for the country of which we were proud to be a part, before his advent.