Tuesday, November 20, 2018

If Trump Ended Birthright Citizenship by Executive Order, He’d Be Enforcing Existing Law

President Donald Trump’s critics have found something else to rend their garments over: his determination to end so-called “birthright citizenship.” Why, they thunder, it’s unconstitutional. And even if it could be changed, it can’t be by executive order.

They’re wrong on both counts.

That probably comes as a surprise to many Americans, including some who consider themselves Trump supporters. Haven’t we all been told for years that if you’re born here, you’re automatically a U.S. citizen? It’s all right there in the 14th Amendment. No matter who your parents are or what their status is, you’re an American. Simple as that.

Or is it? Consider the actual wording: “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.”

Seems pretty cut and dry, but check out that crucial clause: “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof.” It’s easy to mumble over it, but we shouldn’t. The Senate included it there for a reason when it passed the amendment in 1868: to make it clear that not everyone born here is automatically a citizen.

Being born here is only half the equation. You also must be “subject to the jurisdiction thereof.” The original proposed wording of the amendment did not include that phrase. It was inserted specifically to make it clear that the law did not, in fact, confer citizenship on everyone born here.

Sen. Jacob Howard of Michigan, a member of the Joint Committee on Reconstruction and a strong supporter of the Citizenship Clause, noted that Congress intended to exclude “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.” Supreme Court cases decided in the years soon after the amendment’s passage confirm this view.

Moreover, says constitutional scholar Edward Erler: “It is hard to conclude that the framers of the 14th Amendment intended to confer citizenship on the children of aliens illegally present when they explicitly denied that boon to Native Americans legally present but subject to a foreign jurisdiction.”

Notes Hillsdale College’s Matthew Spalding: “Few developed nations practice the rule of jus soli, or ‘right of the soil.’ More common is jus sanguinis, ‘right of blood,’ by which a child’s citizenship is determined by parental citizenship, not place of birth.”

In short, it was wise of Congress to limit the scope of the amendment. And those who misinterpret it are wrong. Trump should be commended for trying to bring current understanding back in line with the original intent of the framers.

That leaves us with the question of whether he would be right to set this issue straight via an executive order. Some people who agree with him on birthright citizenship, such as National Review’s Andrew C. McCarthy, believe that he shouldn’t. They argue that it should be done by the same body that issued the amendment in the first place: Congress.

In other words, this is a job for Congress, the branch of government that creates our laws, not the executive, which enforces them.

According to McCarthy, a president cannot “unilaterally change an understanding of the law that has been in effect for decades under a duly enacted federal law.”

Granted, but as constitutional scholar Hans von Spakovsky points out, “that assumes the ‘understanding’ is the correct one. If that understanding actually violates the plain text and intent of the law, the president as the chief law-enforcement officer can, and indeed has an obligation, to direct the federal government to begin applying and enforcing it correctly.”

To put it another way, the president here would not be attempting to make a new law, but to enforce the correct view of an existing law.

Sure, his order would be immediately challenged. Perhaps we’d even wind up with Congress clarifying the original intent of the law. All the more reason to do it. Fairness demands that we get this issue settled—and soon.



The kosher-industrial complex

When there's a need, a free market will answer it

by Jeff Jacoby

IN THE 1960s and 1970s, when my four siblings and I were kids, we weren't allowed to eat Oreo or Pepperidge Farm cookies. Tootsie Rolls were off-limits, too. So were Bazooka bubble gum and Jelly Bellies. And though we often heard the commercial jingle proclaiming "Nobody doesn't like Sara Lee," that was a claim the Jacoby youngsters could never verify empirically.

Our parents weren't opposed to sweets. But we grew up in an Orthodox Jewish home where kashrut — the kosher dietary laws — were observed. And none of those yummy treats was kosher.

Now, however, all of them are kosher, along with scores of thousands of other products available in American supermarkets — everything from salsa and spring rolls to salmon and scotch. And thereby hangs a tale: a tale of age-old religious commitment combining with capitalist innovation and in the process transforming a major US industry.

With kosher food as with so many other things, where there is a need, a free market will satisfy it.

America has undergone a kosher revolution. It wasn't all that long ago that demand for kosher food was restricted to a tiny niche of the public — Jews amount to less than 2 percent of the US population, and only a minority of Jews keep kosher. When my mother, who was raised in a non-observant Jewish home in Ohio, began keeping the dietary laws in the early 1950s, she at first had so much trouble finding kosher food that in three months she had lost 20 pounds.

Today, kosher is everywhere. More than 40 percent of packaged foods and beverages now sold in the United States are kosher, their labels bearing the logo of a trusted kashrut-certifying agency, such as the Orthodox Union (OU) or Star-K. Mainstream supermarkets routinely stock large kosher sections. Some grocery chains have become a kosher foodie paradise. American consumers spend an estimated $13 billion annually on kosher food, with sales growing by double digits each year. In her 2010 book Kosher Nation, a deep dive into kashrut in contemporary America, journalist Sue Fishkoff explained that the desire for food certified as kosher goes far beyond the relatively tiny demographic of observant Jews.

"More than 11.2 million Americans regularly buy kosher food, 13 percent of the adult consumer population," Fishkoff writes. "These are people who buy the products because they are kosher, not shoppers who pick up Heinz ketchup, Miller beer, or Cheerios because they like the taste or the price." But only about 1.5 million of those customers are Jews committed to keeping kosher, she points out, which means that "at least 86 percent of the nation's 11.2 million kosher consumers are not religious Jews." Eighty-six percent!

The rules of kashrut, which originated in biblical times, govern both the permissibility and the preparation of food. Some foods are explicitly banned, such as shellfish or pork. Others, such as beef and poultry, are allowed — but only if the animal was properly slaughtered and the meat drained of blood. Moreover, dairy and meat products may never be combined. As with most codes of law, the general principles are only the starting point. The devil is in the details, which multiply exponentially when food is processed and packaged in industrial facilities, with ingredients that often include additives, emulsifiers, colorings, or enzymes sourced from manufacturers worldwide.

With the rise of 20th-century food technology, determining whether a product was kosher increasingly required expertise far beyond the ken of a typical Jewish homemaker. That led to the birth of professional, nonprofit kashrut agencies. "In the early 1920s, the OU came up with a plan to offer food manufacturers a kosher supervision and certification process that would be recognized by Jewish consumers nationwide," Fishkoff recounts. The first company to take up the offer was Heinz, whose canned vegetarian beans began carrying kosher certification in 1923 — a distinction the company played up in advertising targeted to Jews.

But other companies were slow — very slow — to follow suit. In 1945, the OU's kosher symbol appeared on just 184 products made by 37 companies; by 1961, that had grown to 1,830 products from 359 companies — still a mere drop in the food-industry bucket.

Gradually, though, market demand for kosher food was spreading beyond observant Jews. Vegetarians began to see kosher certification on a dairy product as a guarantee that it contained no animal byproducts whatsoever. Muslims, for whom pigs are anathema, learned that the kosher symbol on a package meant there was no pork or lard inside. Other consumers came to associate kashrut with a higher level of purity than US law mandates — an association encouraged by the tagline of a famous Hebrew National hot dog commercial: "We're kosher, and have to answer to an even higher authority."

Critical mass was reached in the late 1980s. "Applications for kosher certification have been pouring in at a rate of 25 to 30 a month, double that of five years ago," observed The New York Times in 1989. Food companies had discovered that the costs of going kosher — replacing ingredients, upgrading equipment, paying for on-site supervision — were more than repaid with increased sales. Jelly Belly, for example, had to spend $650,000 to replace the non-kosher starch it had always used in its candy. Yet within a year of becoming kosher, the company's chief operating officer exulted: "Our product is flying off the shelf."

Big Food's stampede to kashrut has turned kosher certification into a global operation. According to OU officials, the agency now certifies 800,000 products produced in more than 8,500 plants in nearly half the world's countries. And OU is only one (albeit the largest) of the kashrut agencies.

Some foods, of course, can never be kosher. Unlike the forbidden Oreos of my youth, McDonald's Double Cheeseburgers and New England clam chowder will never be brought under the tent. But kosher has undeniably gone mainstream. In the rise of the kosher-industrial complex, all parties have come out ahead. It has generated a vast array of formerly inaccessible options for a small religious minority. It has enabled a key industry to meet a growing market demand and reap billions of dollars in revenue. It has enriched contemporary American culture with one of the most ancient food traditions of all. And it has done it all not through top-down coercion, but through voluntary private cooperation.

What could be more quintessentially American?



GOP House Scrambling To Pass Agenda Before Democrats Take Over

With the impending change in power in the House of Representatives following the midterm elections, the outgoing majority Republicans have a ticking clock to make headway on their agenda initiatives.

According to The Daily Caller News Foundation, Republican representatives are optimistic that they will be able to pass key legislation before the end of their term.

Ohio’s Republican Rep. Jim Jordan named a list of priority bills that he thinks Republicans should try to send to President Donald Trump’s desk before Republicans lose their majority.

“Republicans still have an opportunity to do what we said,” Jordan told The Daily Caller News Foundation on Tuesday.

“We should fund the border security wall, pass a farm bill that requires able-bodied adults to work if they receive welfare, and keep working to hold the FBI and (Department of Justice) accountable for their misconduct during and after the 2016 election,” he said.

Matt Schlapp, the chairman of the American Conservative Union, recommended that Trump find bipartisan issues that both parties will agree to push forward.

“The Democrats risk looking like a party having a temper tantrum if they continue to just resist and persecute,” Schlapp said to TheDCNF. They may dislike the president but he persists and they need to find a way to be constructive.”

“The administration should also try to work on issues they can work together on like infrastructure, 5G, increasing labor availability, limiting overseas military engagements and the Nat’l security issues around China,” he continued.

“The Democrats have a chance to look like they are ready for this moment and with big problems voters will be judging if this is a fling or a long-term commitment.”

Prior to the midterms, outgoing House Majority Leader Paul Ryan promised Trump a “big fight” to find funding for the border wall as soon as midterm elections had passed, The Associated Press reported.

“We intend on having a full-fledged discussion about how to complete this mission of securing our border and we will have a big fight about it,” Ryan said during a speech at the National Press Club.

Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady was positive as he spoke to reporters on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. Brady said Republicans will pass legislation before the end of the year if they’re not obstructed by Democrats.

Among the issues that Brady believes Republicans should address are the Family Savings Act and Tax Reform 2.0.

“So we’ve got a couple of priorities for the lame duck. Obviously, Tax Reform 2.0 passed out the House in July with 44 Democratic votes for the three bills, so we’re hopeful that we can find bipartisan support and common ground for some of that here in the lame duck,” Brady said, according to The Daily Caller.

“I think, especially the Family Savings Act, which is a big step forward on helping families and workers save more and earlier. I think we’ve done good bipartisan work there, with the Senate as well, so I’m hopeful,” he added.

Republican Gov. Rick Scott of Florida, who is slated to win the Senate seat following the end of the Florida recount, told TheDCNF that he plans to work with “everybody” on crucial legislation.

“I think everyone comes up here with an idea of what they’d like to accomplish for their citizens they represent,” Scott told TheDCNF on Wednesday.

“I’m in the same position. I’m going to work with everybody I can to get stuff done and I hope everybody else does the same thing.”



Trump Predicts Democrats Will ‘Come to Their Senses,’ Threatens Government Shutdown If They Don’t

President Donald Trump said Saturday the looming arrival of a caravan of migrants would make the coming weeks a time to take a stand for border security or risk a government shutdown.

Trump said he thinks Democrats will “come to their senses” and no shutdown will be necessary.

The president spoke to the media briefly Saturday as he was preparing to leave for California. “We’re talking about border wall, we’re talking about quite a big sum of money, about $5 billion,” Trump said.

The proposal has been a hard sell for many Republicans and is rejected by most Democrats. It is now coming to the fore as an issue because border wall funding is part of a bill that must be passed by Dec. 7 to keep the government fully operational.

“I think probably, if I was ever going to do a shutdown over border security, when you look at the caravans, when you look at the mess, when you look at the people coming in, this would be a very good time to do a shutdown,” Trump said.

Trump said he does expect that eventuality, the Washington Times reported.

“I don’t think it’s going to be necessary, because I think the Democrats will come to their senses, and if they don’t come to their senses, we will continue to win elections,” he said.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


No comments: