White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders claimed on “Fox and Friends” that unidentified “legal scholars” had given President Donald Trump permission to end birthright citizenship, which is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution:
I’m not at all surprised that the media and Democrats, which sometimes can be one in the same, would overplay their hand in the way that they’re doing.
The reason we’re in this predicament is because Democrats in Congress have failed to do their job. And the president is going to look at any way possible that he can find legally and constitutionally to make sure that we’re doing everything we can.
There are a number of legal scholars who certainly think he can. Again, the president is going to take whatever powers he has to protect our borders and to protect our country.
Mother Jones notes that two controversial scholars, who Sanders may be referring to, have been refuted by many legal experts:
One of those scholars is Lino Graglia of the University of Texas, a longtime opponent of affirmative action whose 1997 assertion that black and Hispanic students “are not academically competitive with whites” earned him the moniker “the most controversial law professor in America.”
The other is John Eastman, a professor at Chapman University School of Law in California and chairman of the National Organization for Marriage, which works to oppose same-sex marriage. Eastman once equated homosexuality with “barbarism.”
As Mother Jones reported in 2015, Eastman and Graglia argue that the 14th Amendment has been misinterpreted for the last 150 years. The post-Civil War amendment states, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States.”
The condition “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” is widely understood as a narrow carve-out for the children of foreign diplomats, enemy combatants on US soil, and American Indian tribes.
But according to Eastman, “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” actually means that in addition to being born in the United States, a child must have at least one parent who owes allegiance to the US government by being a permanent legal resident.
(Source: Fox News, Mother Jones)