Thursday, August 2, 2012

No, It Doesn't

Charlotte Sun editors over at the weekly tab continue to print articles that they don't fact check -- but that's not news.  The news is that local lawyer Paul Bennet Seusy is rewriting the U.S. Constitution.  Seusy, who claims to have graduated from an actual law school, places quotation marks around language that he attributes directly to the14th Amendment.  His advice to grandparents seeking visitation and custody is that the the U.S. Constitution bars states from passing laws that interfere with the fundamental right of individuals to "establish a home and bring up their children."

 Arcadian editors apparently have not bothered to read any of the 14th Amendment's seven sentences (about 425 words). The words "home," and the phrase 'bring up their children" do not appear.

Here's a digest: The 14th amendment's first section explains who is a citizen (anyone born in the United States, with a couple of exceptions), and  includes the due-process clause, which says that persons cannot be deprived "life, liberty or property" without it.  Section 2 explains who is counted when deciding how many representatives a state can send to Congress (whole persons, not 3/5ths of anyone).  Section 3 bars persons who give "aid or comfort" to the nation's enemies from being elected a to the Senate or House of Representatives (although it says Congress can "remove such disability" with an appropriate vote).  Section 4 says it's OK to pay and pension persons who put down rebellions, but adds that states are not obligated to pay for "any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave."  And finally, section 5 simply says that the Congress shall enforce the provisions in this amendment.

Grandparents?  No mention.
Establishing a home? No mention.
Bringing up baby? No mention.


  1. It's not the 14th Amendment which states the quoted text, it's the Supreme Court ruling referred to in the previous sentence. Hence, the statement "the rationale for that ruling . . .", i.e., the Supreme Court Opinion, which prefaced the text.

  2. And hence the point about the need for editors. If a writer's idea is unclear (as is this lawyer's reference to an unnamed document or writer) or misleading(as are this lawyer's syntax and punctuation)then an editor should step in. Editors at better newspapers don't merely fill the white space between ads. They read copy and are awake enough to detect nonsense -- or at least poorly expressed sense.