Answers on Presidential Eligibility
WILL THE “NATURAL BORN CITIZEN”
REQUIREMENT BE ADDRESSED FOR 2016?
by Sharon Rondeau
January 14, 2015
|Article II, Section 1, clause 5 of the U.S. |
Constitution requires the president and
commander-in-chief to be a “natural born Citizen”
Ms. Kirsten Kukowski
Dear Ms. Kukowski:
I own and operate an electronic newspaper, The Post & Email, focusing on government corruption.
I have a question regarding whether or not the GOP intends to adopt any formal position on the meaning of Article II, Section 1, clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution, which states:
No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.
Since 2009, my publication has sought the meaning of the term “natural born Citizen” and found ample evidence that it means “born in the country to U.S.-citizen parents,” or “born on U.S. soil to parents who are citizens.”
With the speculation about who the 2016 Republican and Democrat primary contenders might be, is anyone asking whether or not the potential candidates are constitutionally eligible?
I asked this question several months ago of GOP.com in both email and voice mail formats and did not receive an answer. However, a person who said she was not authorized to speak to the media told me, paraphrased, “Sooner or later it’s going to have to be dealt with” and that she believed it would be “sooner.”
There is U.S. Supreme Court precedent affirming that a “natural born Citizen” is a person born within the United States to two citizen parents. In the case of Minor v. Happersett, which actually was about voting rights, the Court wrote:
Whoever, then, was one of the people of either of these States when the Constitution of the United States was adopted, became ipso facto a citizen — a member of the nation created by its adoption. He was one of the persons associating together to form the nation, and was, consequently, one of its original citizens. As to this there has never been a doubt. Disputes have arisen as to whether or not certain persons or certain classes of persons were part of the people at the time, but never as to their citizenship if they were.
Additions might always be made to the citizenship of the United States in two ways: first, by birth, and second, by naturalization. This is apparent from the Constitution itself, for it provides [n6] that “no person except a natural-born citizen, or a citizen of the United States at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President,” [n7] and that Congress shall have power “to establish a uniform rule of naturalization.” Thus new citizens may be born or they may be created by naturalization.
The Constitution does not, in words, say who shall be natural-born citizens. Resort must be had elsewhere to ascertain that. At common-law, with the nomenclature of which the framers of the Constitution were familiar, it was never doubted that all children born in a country of parents who were its citizens became themselves, upon their birth, citizens also. These were natives, or natural-born citizens, as distinguished from aliens or foreigners. Some authorities go further and include as citizens children born within the jurisdiction without reference to the citizenship of their [p168] parents. As to this class there have been doubts, but never as to the first. For the purposes of this case it is not necessary to solve these doubts. It is sufficient for everything we have now to consider that all children born of citizen parents within the jurisdiction are themselves citizens. The words “all children” are certainly as comprehensive, when used in this connection, as “all persons,” and if females are included in the last they must be in the first. That they are included in the last is not denied. In fact the whole argument of the plaintiffs proceeds upon that idea.
The Supreme Court, therefore, indicated that there were “doubts” as to whether or not a person born to foreign-citizen parents on U.S. soil qualified as “natural born.” An example is a couple who enters the U.S. with the intent to do harm and has a child on U.S. soil. Can you imagine that there is any American who would wish to see that child become president of the United States and commander-in-chief of the nation’s military?
A person’s birth on U.S. soil (jus soli) was not historically sufficient to make that person a “natural born Citizen.”
Children born in the U.S. to foreign diplomats are citizens of their parents’ country, not the United States.
A common misinterpretation of the 14th Amendment classifies all people born here as “natural born Citizens,” when, in fact, the amendment was added to the Constitution in 1868 so that slaves born within the borders of the U.S. would not be stateless. The phrase “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” would eliminate children whose parents owe allegiance to a foreign country, as is the case with illegal aliens, foreign tourists or students, or terrorists who cross the border.
In a letter which future U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Jay wrote to George Washington on July 25, 1787, Jay asked Washington and the other Framers to set a higher requirement for the presidency than simply “a Citizen,” as the Founders had first contemplated. In his treatise “The Law of Nations,” author Emmerich de Vattel, Section 212, wrote:
§ 212. Citizens and natives.
The citizens are the members of the civil society; bound to this society by certain duties, and subject to its authority, they equally participate in its advantages. The natives, or natural-born citizens, are those born in the country, of parents who are citizens. As the society cannot exist and perpetuate itself otherwise than by the children of the citizens, those children naturally follow the condition of their fathers, and succeed to all their rights. The society is supposed to desire this, in consequence of what it owes to its own preservation; and it is presumed, as matter of course, that each citizen, on entering into society, reserves to his children the right of becoming members of it. The country of the fathers is therefore that of the children; and these become true citizens merely by their tacit consent. We shall soon see whether, on their coming to the years of discretion, they may renounce their right, and what they owe to the society in which they were born. I say, that, in order to be of the country, it is necessary that a person be born of a father who is a citizen; for, if he is born there of a foreigner, it will be only the place of his birth, and not his country.
It is well-known that the Founders consulted Vattel’s work heavily:
In Section 220, “Whether a person may quit his country,” Vattel wrote:
Many distinctions will be necessary, in order to give a complete solution to the celebrated question, whether a man may quit his country or the society of which he is a member.(60) — 1. The children are bound by natural ties to the society in which they were born; they are under an obligation to show themselves grateful for the protection it has afforded to their fathers, and are in a great measure indebted to it for their birth and education. They ought, therefore, to love it, as we have already shown (§ 122), to express a just gratitude to it, and requite its services as far as possible, by serving it in turn. We have observed above (§ 212), that they have a right to enter into the society of which their fathers were members. But every man is born free; and the son of a citizen, when come to the years of discretion, may examine whether it be convenient for him to join the society for which he was destined by his birth. If he does not find it advantageous to remain in it, he is at liberty to quit it, on making it a compensation for what it has done in his favour,1 and preserving, as far as his new engagements will allow him, the sentiments of love and gratitude he owes it. A man’s obligations to his natural country may, however, change, lessen, or entirely vanish, according as he shall have quitted it lawfully, and with good reason, in order to choose another, or has been banished from it deservedly or unjustly, in due form of law or by violence.
It is also well-known that many Americans questioned Barack Hussein Obama’s constitutional eligibility because of his yet-unproven, after six years, claimed birth in Hawaii and, perhaps more important, his foreign-citizen father. Using Vattel’s definition and that of constitutional attorney Herb Titus, former attorney Leo Donofrio, citizenship attorney Mario Apuzzo, and others, Obama does not qualify and is a usurper to the office.
Obama has also been accused of committing “criminal identity fraud” by constitutional attorney Stephen Pidgeon, whose eligibility lawsuit in Washington State was dismissed without explanation despite a state law which granting any registered voter “standing” to challenge the qualifications of any candidate for office.
In 1916, Democrat and former Ambassador to Italy Breckinridge Long published a lengthy essay as to why Charles Evans Hughes, who ran against Woodrow Wilson, was not a “natural born Citizen” because his father was not a naturalized U.S. citizen at the time of his birth in New York City:
Long’s essay might be said to hauntingly describe what is happening in America today under a man who appears to have foreign allegiances. Surely, you must be aware that Obama’s long-form birth certificate and Selective Service registration form have been deemed “computer-generated forgeries” by a law enforcement investigation in Maricopa County, AZ:
I know that my readers, and millions of other Americans, despair that the Republican Party failed to address the many questions about Obama’s background and constitutional eligibility, let alone his identity, in 2008. In 2012, Mitt Romney made one reference to his own birthplace and the “birth certificate” issue when he said, “No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place we were born and raised.“
Perhaps every American should ask to see every presidential candidate’s birth certificate and proof that he or she was born to two U.S.-citizen parents to avoid foreign influence and allegiances. Candidates for other offices should also have to prove that they are legal U.S. citizens and eligible for the offices they seek.
Potential presidential candidates such as Sen. Marco Rubio, Gov. Bobby Jindal, Gov. Nikki Haley, Sen. Ted Cruz, and several others do not meet the standard of “natural born Citizen” which the Framers wrote into the Constitution so that the highest government office would not fall into the hands of a person with divided loyalties.
Should the Republican Party continue to promote those who are ineligible to seek the presidency, why should voters align themselves with it?
I believe this detailed communication merits a response rather than continued silence on the matter. I look forward to hearing from you, as I know millions of Americans also will.
Sharon Rondeau, Editor
The Post & Email
P.O. Box 195
Stafford Springs, CT 06076
Editor’s Note: Following publication, an astute reader, quoting from Minor, contacted us to say, “Some authorities go further and include as citizens children born within the jurisdiction without reference to the citizenship of their parents” and correctly stated that “they were indicating that there was doubt as to whether these children were even mere citizens, so there is no doubt at all that such children are not and cannot be natural born Citizens. Note that they were contrasting this cohort of children to the cohort just mentioned (and defined) in the prior paragraph (the natives/ natural born Citizens).“
The reader is correct; the Supreme Court was not considering whether or not children born in the country to foreign-citizen parents were “natural born Citizens,” but only “citizens.” Because the letter above is now a matter of historical record, it will remain intact as written, but this writer gratefully acknowledges the correction.
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