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Republicans banish ‘civil rights’ and ‘civil liberties’ from House subcommittee

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Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) blasted Republicans for planning to change the name of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties to the “Constitution Subcommittee.”

“Once again, the new Republican majority has shown that it isn’t quite as committed to the Constitution as its recent lofty rhetoric would indicate,” Rep. Nadler, who has served as the Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties since 2007, said.

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“It has yet again shown its contempt for key portions of the document – the areas of civil rights and civil liberties – by banishing those words from the title of the Constitution Subcommittee.”

The Subcommittee on the Constitution is one of five subcommittees of the US House Committee on the Judiciary. The subcommittee has jurisdiction over constitutional amendments, constitutional rights, federal civil rights, ethics in government, and related matters.

“Republicans have made a great deal of noise in recent days about standing up for the Constitution,” Rep. Nadler continued. “But, in less than 48 hours, they have already revealed their true intentions. In addition to reading selectively from the Constitution on the House floor in a much-exalted ceremony on Thursday, Republicans also blatantly violated the Constitution by allowing two of their Members to vote without having been sworn-in, and introduced unconstitutional legislation aimed at bypassing the 14th Amendment’s citizenship clause.”

Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) and Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA) cast votes as members of the 112th Congress before being officially sworn-in, a violation of the United States Constitution.

Under the Constitution, which was read on the House floor by Rep. Fitzpatrick and other Republicans last week, members of Congress must be sworn-in before conducting official business.

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It was estimated that reciting the Constitution on the House floor cost taxpayers nearly $1.1 million.

Both Republican congressmen failed to attend the swearing-in at the House chamber Wednesday because they were at the Capitol Visitors Center.

Congressman Steve King (R-IA) also introduced a bill to the US House last week that would restrict birth right citizenship to children of US citizens, children of permanent residents and children of non-citizens in active-duty military service.

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Ever since its ratification in 1868, the 14th Amendment of the Constitution has been interpreted as guaranteeing birth right citizenship to everyone born in the US, with the exception of children of foreign diplomats.

“How ironic it is that this unconstitutional bill, designed to subvert the 14th Amendment citizenship clause, would be introduced at the same time that members of Congress are on the House floor reciting the text of the Constitution and affirming their commitment to defend and uphold it,” Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office, said.

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“With the Subcommittee name change, they are again telling Americans that only some parts of the Constitution matter,” Rep. Nadler added. “Fundamental rights and liberties appear to have been dropped from the Constitution by far-right ideologues.”


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