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Jul 11, 2007 • Karen

I still can't believe this, but apparently the Constitution had/has a Thirteenth Amendment. No, not the one banning slavery. Thirteenth Amendment v1.0 said that any American who accepted a foreign title of nobility would lose their citizenship and be unable to hold public office. It got lost in the shuffle of the Civil War, but you can still find it in old copies of the Constitution and, as it was never repealed, it's still the law of the land. (Sir Rudy Giuliani, I'm looking at you.) It's too much to get into the evidence, but you can read all about it here.

One of the intents of the amendment, it is believed, was to bar lawyers from public office. At the time, (licensed) American lawyers got their qualifications from the British-based IBA, not the ABA, which conferred the title of Esquire. Which qualified as a "title of nobility or honor." Now that we have the ABA, a strict constructionist interpretation would make this implication irrelevant, but gosh! Can you imagine a Capitol Hill without lawyers? Or a Supreme Court?

Clearly, this is why quality government classes in public schools are key. Otherwise we might forget about other amendments! Rights violations are bad enough. Rights deletions would be even worse!