Linda Chavez

Pearce believes that the language "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" provides a loophole. He's unequivocally wrong. The qualification originally applied to diplomats and to Indian tribes, who at various times and to varying degrees have been considered sovereign. Sadly, Pearce is not alone among Republicans attempting to gut the 14th Amendment. Similar legislation has been introduced in Congress, the latest version of which has more than 90 co-sponsors, all but two of whom are Republicans.

Pearce is a nasty piece of work. In the e-mail to supporters on citizenship, Pearce forwarded a supporter's view that the bill might be deemed sexist, but that "we need to target the mother. ... Men don't drop anchor babies, illegal alien mothers do." When asked by a reporter what he thought of the language, Pearce said he didn't see anything wrong with it.

And it wasn't the first time Pearce said or did something unsavory. When a photograph of Pearce with a local neo-Nazi surfaced in 2007, he claimed not to know the fellow's affiliation. He made the same defense in 2006 when he sent out an e-mail to supporters that included an attachment from a white supremacist organization.

The Republican Party cannot allow extremists to become its public face. The party's history in promoting civil rights is an honorable one, from the time of its founding as the anti-slavery party to the passage of the very civil rights law Paul criticized. If not for Republicans, there would be no Civil Rights Act of 1964. A larger percentage of Republicans than Democrats, 82 percent to 66 percent, supported the bill in the key Senate vote, which led to its final passage.

It's time the GOP got back to its roots and disavows these ugly sentiments.


Linda Chavez

Linda Chavez is chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity and author of Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics .

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