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Public Statements

Jackson Introduces Constitutional Amendments

Location: Washignton, DC


For Immediate Release
Wednesday, March 5, 2003

Congressman Jesse L. Jackson, Jr., late Tuesday introduced legislation to transform what he called "seven human rights and one rational right into constitutional amendments. I believe every American has a human right to vote, to a public education and health care of equal high quality, to affordable housing, to a clean, safe and sustainable environment, to employment, and equal rights for women. I also believe the American people have a rational right to be taxed in a fair or progressive manner.

"The 10th Amendment to the Constitution states: `The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the State, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.' For example, since the word `education' does not appear in the Constitution, education is a `state right.' The word `slavery' never appeared in the Constitution, so the peculiar institution was protected by a states' right to own slaves - i.e., the 10th Amendment. The Emancipation Proclamation was a propaganda tool used in the Civil War. The nation had to pass a 13th Amendment outlawing slavery in order to overcome the 10th Amendment's `states' right' to own slaves. Slavery is gone, but the 10th Amendment remains!

"As a result, a `states' rights' educational system is structured to be `separate and unequal' - 50 states, 3,067 counties, tens of thousands of cities, 15,000 school districts, and 85,000 schools - all `separate and unequal,' each with varying degrees of opportunity, funding and quality. There's ONLY ONE WAY to legally guarantee `a public education of equal high quality' to every American and that is to add an education amendment to the Constitution! Yesterday I introduced H.J. Res. 29 to achieve that goal.

"Most Americans believe the legal right to vote in our democracy is explicit (not just implicit) in our Constitution and laws. However, our Constitution only provides for nondiscrimination in voting on the basis of race, sex, and age in the 15th, 19th and 26th Amendments respectively. The U.S. Constitution contains no explicit right to vote! That's why I introduced H.J. Res. 28, a Voting Rights Amendment.

"Impossible to pass constitutional amendments? We've already amended the Constitution 27 times. One amendment did take 202 years, but another took just 10 months, and one only 100 days. It all depends on the education and political consciousness of the American people. We need to prioritize H.J. Res. 28-30 and work on them one at a time, with emphasis on the voting, education and health care amendments," Jackson concluded.

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