The 13th Amendment to the Constitution prohibits slavery, but an earlier, unratified version of that Amendment had a much different intent. As Think Progress reports, the Iowa GOP’s platform calls for “the reintroduction and ratification of the original 13th Amendment” because of this clause:
“if any citizen of the United States shall accept, claim, receive or retain any title of nobility or honor” from a “foreign power, such person shall cease to be a citizen” and “shall be incapable of holding any office of trust.”
This wording was never adopted, but what’s really going in here is that the Iowa Republican Party believes that if they can get this approved, they can rescind the president’s job, and citizenship, on the basis of him having received the Nobel Peace Prize. Danielle Plogmann, spokesperson for the Iowa GOP, has admitted as much.
There are, of course, other implications of Thirteenthism, such as ensuring that the United States never again suffers the humiliation of having a president win the Nobel Peace Prize. That was just what the Iowa Republicans had in mind, according to Plogmann, who wrote in an e-mail that the plank “was meant to make a statement about the delegates’ opinion about Mr. Obama receiving the prize.” (Presumably they didn’t mind if, in the process, they were also making a statement about any American scientist or writer unlucky enough to win a Nobel.)