September 7th, 2010
11:25 AM ET
12 years ago

Does Tea Party want to defend or change Constitution?

Salt Lake City, Utah (CNN) - Utah's Republican U.S. Senate candidate, Mike Lee, is a vocal defender of what's become the bible of the Tea Party revolution: the U.S. Constitution.

"I hereby pledge to you that I will not vote for a single bill that I can't justify by the text and original understanding of the Constitution," he promised voters at a Tea Party rally this year.

But Lee, an attorney and former clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, has advocated some breathtaking changes to the Constitution.

During his Tea Party-backed Senate campaign, Lee said he would support legislation aimed at altering the 14th Amendment's guarantee of automatic citizenship for people born in the United States. Advocates for tougher measures against illegal immigration say such a change would discourage undocumented workers from having children in the United States.'

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Filed under: Tea Party movement
soundoff (89 Responses)
  1. Zeb from PA

    Jeff from Alabama writes: I only have one really important question today
    concerning American politics. " Why are female conservative candidates smarter and prettier than female liberal candidates? "

    The answer is that you righties think with your **cks and so would be unable to understand a woman who does more than flaunt her looks, and need to be surrounded by pretty empty heads to boost your so-called maleness.

    September 7, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  2. diridi

    I told you, these Tea Party thugs will do any thing...bad...bad....bad...okay..they do not have brain...fundamentally....ok...they change gun control laws...NRA watch them....

    September 7, 2010 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  3. Zeb from PA

    Rick McDaniel writes: One thing we need to keep in perspective, is that the 14th amendment was an amendment, and NOT part of the original document. Second, the conditions have dramatically changed, and abuse of that amendment is occurring, and that abuse needs to be stopped.

    Of course, by that argument, the conditions regarding the 2nd Amendment have also changed dramatically, so that abuse needs to be stopped as well.

    September 7, 2010 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  4. Julia- Idaho Native American

    Well, amendments were necessary or we would not have a democracy, Slavery was in existence at the time the constitution was written and many of the signers of the constitution had slaves, (maybe a better word would be Hypocrits, rather than signers._)

    September 7, 2010 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  5. BeverlyNC

    They have been screaming about protecting our Constitution like it was under threat from some unnamed danger. When you asked them what needed defending, not one could name a single part of the Constitution under attack.

    In fact it is the extremist tea baggers and the Republican Party who are the real enemies of our Constitution. They want to rip it apart so they can use it as a hate tool to target ethnic groups and religions they don't like. It is disgusting and pure treason against the principles upon which our nation was founded – Freedom of Religion, Rights of Citizenship, ALL men are created EQUAL. Not to the baggers and the Republicans,

    They are spreading hate, racism, and intolerance to target Hispanics, Muslims, and any non-white who disagrees with their narrow-minded, NON-CHRISTIAN views.

    Our Constitution is best protected by the one who took the oath of office to protect it – our brilliant Consitutional lawyer and scholar President Obama. He stands for ALL PEOPLE and believes in the principles laid out by our founding fathers. Republicans want to play multiple choice not only with our Constitution but with the Ten Commandments they claim as so-called Christians. They commit adultery like nothing was wrong with it. They bear false witness against our President trying to spread lies about his birth and faith. They covet and live for greed. They dishonor the very teachings of Jesus about caring for the poor, caring for and loving each other, and every other tenet of human decency, truth, honor, and integrity.

    These tea baggers are dangerous extremists who are false Christians, promote hate, intolerance, and racism, want to undermine the Presidency, and call for violence. We must protect our government from them and not vote for a single tea bagger candidate nor their supportive Republican Party who have betrayed the People with such disdain for our values and the freedoms our nation was founded upon.

    September 7, 2010 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  6. bj

    What are they talking about? I always thought the 14th Amendment was for ensuring enslaved Africans the right to citizenship. If that is true, then the 14th Amendment has been interpreted incorrectly since the late 1800's. Just let the Supreme Court figure it out.

    I also do not believe the children born to a person illegally here is an automatic citizen. Look at other countries and you will see it is not done. Why isn't there pressure on Mexico to take care of their own. They owe California big time and there is not a Democrat in the bunch (I am a Democrat for now) that has the courage to stand up.

    If you have the unfortuante opportunity to live in a sanctuary city, such as Los Angeles, where many Spanish speaking people have taken over local politics – look out! It is only then that you will fully understand the breakdown of the medical care, the expensive schools that have been built for non other than...... Just wait until this situation comes to your city. You have no idea.

    September 7, 2010 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  7. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    The suggested changes to the Constitution are by no means "breathtaking," they're simply sensible. The "birthright citizenship" clause of the Fourteenth was included to address a specific situation that no longer exists–there are no more slaves in the US–and the clause is being badly abused. Why not scrap it?

    The Seventeenth really is a perversion of what's been called "the Great Compromise," or "the Connecticut Compromise," that gave small states parity with larger states. While the pre-Seventeenth method of choosing Senators had its problems, the current method has greater problems–in particular, it deprives sovereign states of a voice in the federal government, leading to the unchecked growth of the federal government. (The Seventeenth was ratified in 1913–the size of the federal government–relatively flat until then–has risen by orders of magnitude since because there's basically nothing that can stop it.)

    Requiring a balanced budget is a no-brainer–politicians have been proving forever that they're always willing to steal from our kids to buy votes today.

    September 7, 2010 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  8. Henry Miller, Libertarian


    I like the "Statement of Enumerated Powers" idea.

    September 7, 2010 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  9. False and Biased brought to you by the GOP

    The Tea Party extremists talk and talk about how much they revere the Constitution, but when it comes right down to it they want to change everything they don't like. The Tea Party is simply hypocritical and too extreme for our diverse and wonderful country.

    September 7, 2010 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  10. Steve in Denver

    What a rediculous question. Like the neocons, they want to defend to the death the parts of the constitution they agree with, but change everything they don't agree with. Pretty clear: Freedom of religion means free to practice MY religion. Freedom of speech means I'm free to say whatever I want, if you disagree, you are a communist, socialist, nazi, or whatever, and, by the way, you can't speak anywhere but in a "free speech zone" conveniently set up miles from here. The second amendment says nothing about a well regulated militia, it only says anybody with a pulse can buy an AK-47.

    Between the neocons and the teabaggers, there are new definitions of hypocrisy daily.

    September 7, 2010 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  11. Henry Miller, Libertarian


    Yeah, all of your ideas are good ones, except that the tax cuts should apply to everyone–at least to the entire 53% who actually pay federal income tax–not just to the "rich."

    And, no it's not Republicans who ship jobs overseas, it's Democrats who are forever making it more expensive to keep jobs in the States and thereby driving jobs overseas.

    September 7, 2010 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  12. Steve in Denver

    @Jeff, alabama: Uh, palin might (might) be attractive in some people's eyes, but smart? A woman who took five years and four colleges to get a journalism degree? A woman who can't, despite a journnalism degree (and the English 101 class that would imply) put a coherent sentence together?

    If that is smarter, I'll take dumb!

    September 7, 2010 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  13. Dean

    The 14th Amendment was not part of the Constitution. It was an amendment that was written to accomplish a spercific purpose that was happening during the time. That condition no longer exists today and the amendment is being used for reasons other than what the amendment was written for.

    The purpose of an amendment is to address a problem that exists when the amendment is written. Today our problem is illegal aliens and anchor babies.

    I am sure all you liberals would welcome an amendment that would say that the government owes everyone free healthcare.

    September 7, 2010 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  14. Ron in Califonia

    Duh!!! CNN voting for a bill not founded in the constitution is vastly different than amending it. You may recall the Constitution has been amended 21 times. The founding fathers knew that over time society and the country would amendments are there for that. What they did not intend was regulations and laws that are not supported by the constitution. Often times the Bill and regulations thwrat the will of the majority of people. Does Healthcare reform come to mind? Any time the gov't dabbles in the free market it is longer a free market. We are already seeing the unintended consequences of this bill. Back to less government regulation please.

    September 7, 2010 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
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