07 August, 2008

The Candidates and the Nineteenth Amendment

This is the fourteenth post in an ongoing series regarding the major Presidential candidates and their views on civil liberties.

This post is about Senator John McCain's (R-AZ) and Senator Barack Obama's (D-IL) views pertaining to the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

I skipped a few amendments here, so I should explain why.

The Sixteenth Amendment deals with the federal government's ability to levy an income tax. I think many Libertarians might like to see this amendment repealed, but that's not going to happen unless it's replaced with something else, so discussion of the Sixteenth Amendment seems to be a waste of time. Certainly neither candidate has ever indicated any desire to repeal the Sixteenth Amendment. I will, however, discuss taxes in a separate post.

The Seventeenth Amendment should also be repealed according to many Libertarians, and I tend to agree. It allows for U.S. Senators to be elected by the general public rather than appointed by the state legislatures. On the surface, this seems like a good idea, but it's probably led to more growth of the size of the federal government than any other event. Why? Because the original intent was not for Senators to represent the people (there's a reason the House of Representatives is called the "People's House"), but the states. Since the states themselves no longer have any representation in the federal government, this has led to unchecked usurpation of powers that should be delegated to the states by the federal government. No one but crabby libertarians and talk show hosts talk about repealing the Seventeenth Amendment, however, and certainly two sitting Senators would not, so again, discussion of the Seventeenth Amendment seems to be a waste of time.

The Eighteenth Amendment established prohibition of "intoxicating liquors" and has already been repealed by the Twenty-First Amendment.

Now, with that preamble out of the way, we can look at the Nineteenth Amendment. It's another famous one, so you remember it, right?

Here's the text:

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Women's right to vote. Got it.

Another short one.

First, Obama.

There's nothing in Barack Obama's speeches or writings that leads me to believe he has any intention of limiting Nineteenth Amendment guarantees.

Now to McCain.

There is a limited movement to repeal the Nineteenth Amendment. Yes, I'm not making this up. I'm not going to link to any of their sites, but you can look it up in your favorite search engine.

Why do I bring this up in the McCain section? Does he belong to the movement? No, and I'm certain that he has no intention of limiting Nineteenth Amendment guarantees.

But, if you look at these "Repeal the Nineteenth Amendment" sites, you will see McCain's name mentioned. In general they appear to be McCain supporters. Take from that what you will.


Obama: B

McCain: B

Nineteenth Amendment: No Advantage

Results so far:

Obama McCain
First Amendment* F
Second Amendment D- C-
Third Amendment B B
Fourth Amendment D+ D+
Fifth Amendment D+ B-
Sixth Amendment B B
Seventh Amendment C C
Eighth Amendment C B
Eleventh Amendment B+ B-
Thirteenth Amendment D+ B+
Fourteenth Amendment D+ C+
Fifteenth Amendment B B
Nineteenth Amendment B B

* Obama's First Amendment grade lowered as documented in this post.

UPDATE: Obama's First Amendment grade lowered to F as documented in this post.

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