Discussing Discrimination and National Security – LE CHEVALIER GANNON
Since I’m going to law school in the fall, I thought it would be helpful to take a law-related course, since I’ve only taken one at Gannon so far. So, I signed up for a constitutional law course this semester.
In this course, we talk about – you guessed it – constitutional law and the cases that involve it. This type of law deals with the interpretation and implementation of the Constitution, including the 27 amendments of the document.
Recently, we discussed the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, a Reconstruction Amendment that helped solidify the 13th Amendment after the Civil War.
Part of this amendment is the Equal Protection Clause, which requires that all state laws must govern impartially and not draw distinctions based on individual differences that are irrelevant to the law in question.
However, there can be exceptions to this, and that’s where the 14th Amendment standards come in.
These standards fall into three levels and basically state that the government can discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, gender, sexuality, etc., if it helps some form of public interest. State. The language is important here, because the stricter standard requires that the discriminatory practice or legislation be necessary to achieve a compelling state interest.
After learning this, I’m torn on what to make of it. The social justice advocate in me means that the government should have no exceptions when it comes to discrimination based on race, gender, national origin, sexuality, etc.
The other part of me thinks that in extreme circumstances where national security is at stake, it may be necessary to enact discriminatory laws and practices.
However, the reality is that these can be detrimental to the lives of countless people living in this country. Take, for example, Executive Order 9066. President Franklin Roosevelt issued it in 1942 and demanded that anyone deemed a “threat” to national security on the West Coast be moved to internment camps.
These “threats” to national security were Japanese Americans, some of whom were immigrants and some of whom were American citizens. Regardless of their citizenship status, 120,000 people were forced to relocate to internment camps surrounded by barbed wire with communal barracks and dining halls, very different from the homes they had made for themselves.
For me, national security is important, but the livelihood of the people is even more so.
Yes, national security has an impact on people’s livelihoods. However, discriminatory legislation like Executive Order 9066 can arguably have a more detrimental impact on people’s livelihoods.
For me, discrimination based on race, national origin, gender, sexuality or any other difference is never acceptable. There is no exception for the unequal and unfair treatment of citizens and residents of a country.
The people are and should be the priority of every nation. Everything else should be secondary.