Montana Politics

James Knox, Constitutional Scholar, Like Roger Taney

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While I earlier wrote about the inconsistent application of conservative ideology by Montana Republicans in the Legislature, I have to hand it to James Knox for being consistent about one thing: he doesn’t believe that anyone should have any qualifications to do a job.

Today, the House voted down his idiotic bill that would have eliminated any educational background for the Superintendent of Public Instruction, perhaps the only bill in support of education that will pass the House this year. It was that bad.

Knox doesn’t only believe that the Superintendent shouldn’t be qualified (great news for Elaine Sollie Herman!); he thinks that entirely unqualified people should make rulings about the Constitution. Who should interpret it, you ask? Surely, not those pointy-headed elitists on the Supreme Court who rely on socialistic concepts like precedent! No, the Constitution should be interpreted by paranoid computer technicians with shady business practices who inexplicably managed to win a single election.

In this spirit, Knox has introduced HB 392: An Act Entitled One Incredibly Idiotic and Racist Idea, in which Knox hopes to redefine the 14th Amendment to exclude children born in the United States from Montana citizenship if they have a Spanish accent or have ever played soccer.

Knox’s racist, idiotic right wing pandering is an affront to civil rights, legal precedent, and the values our nation and state were founded on. His effort to “define” what a citizen is ignores what I know Montanans to be: the kind of people who would never demonize immigrants and punish children just to score cheap political points.

If anything, his crude crusade against qualifications has revealed one thing: maybe the voters ought to start considering them more thoroughly before sending people like Knox to the Legislature.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a seventeen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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