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Oct 16

Does the Fourteenth Amendment Require Birthright Citizenship?


The Fourteenth Amendment states that “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” Many believe that this means being born on U.S. soil is sufficient to confer citizenship. Some scholars, however, argue that the Constitution does not confer citizenship on children born in the United States to parents who are illegal aliens because they owe allegiance to another government. Others maintain that the drafters of the Fourteenth Amendment sought to restore the common law doctrine of jus soli—right of the soil—which had been abrogated by the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision and that subsequent Supreme Court decisions support this interpretation. Does the Citizenship Clause mandate birthright citizenship? Legal experts John Eastman and James Ho will explore this hotly debated question that has important legal and political consequences.

More About the Speakers

John Eastman
Henry Salvatori Professor of Law and Community Service, Chapman University School of Law

James Ho
Partner, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP and former Solicitor General of Texas

Hosted By

John Malcolm John Malcolm

Director, Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, and the Ed Gilbertson and Sherry Lindberg Gilbertson Senior Legal Fellow Read More