Skip to comments.America’s Two Unconstitutional Presidents
Posted on 12/14/2009 7:02:03 AM PST by Danae
Students of history know that history repeats itself, and today we are reliving the past of 1880s. Some of the similarities between the 21st President and the 44th are startling, and the ramifications are huge.
During the campaign of 1880, questions were asked about Chesters birth place, but just as today, those doing the research were looking in the wrong direction. Arthurs father, William Arthur was a British citizen at the time of the future Presidents birth. Born in Ballymena, Ireland in 1796 he would not become a Naturalized citizen until August 31st, 1843. No one ever checked into his immigration status at the time of his sons birth. Chester Arthur, 14 at the time his father was naturalized, and would surely have known this. Sound somewhat familiar?
Today, a direct and startlingly similar situation exists between President Arthur and President Obama. The 44th President was also born to a British citizen, not a naturalized citizen of the United States. For the same reasons both Presidents were not eligible for the office, the only difference lay in Barack Obamas public admission of his fathers status:
(Excerpt) Read more at examiner.com ...
Another FReeper who can’t seem to grasp that this discussion isn’t about citizenship.
It’s about “natural born” status.
It is entirely possible to be a citizen of the United States, while not being a “natural born” citizen.
Example A: Arnold Schwarzenegger is a citizen. He became a citizen as a result of a process — naturalization — he is not a “natural born” citizen.
Example B: An anchor baby — becomes a citizen by virtue of being born in the United States of America — that baby is a “native born” citizen.
To be a “natural born” citizen, the citizen must have been born in the United States of America, the child of TWO US citizen parents.
Here is the law, its evolution and applicable caselaw:
Barack Obama, himself, signed a Senate resolution that affirms that “if you are born of American parents, you are naturally a natural-born American citizen.” Parents — two — more than one:
On Obama’s “Fight the Smears” website, Obama’s campaign correctly identifies Obama as a “native born” citizen:
And if you cursor down to the bottom of the page, it explains why.
Wong Kim Ark was not a candidate for
the US presidency, and that issue
was never under consideration in the
ruling of his case.
What mattered was what she had in the instant of her Birth. It is hereditary, or its not. Now if she VOLUNTARILY gave up U.S. citizenship to take Venezuelan, which she would have to do because the U.S. does not recognize dual citizenship with that Nation, then she would lose that natural born status. But she would have to choose to give it up. Chavez just offering up citizenship in and of itself is irrelevant.
The Constitution and the applicable Supreme Court decisions would seem to indicate that they are. But let's take a more likely scenario. Two foreign nationals move to the U.S. legally and have a child. That child is born in the U.S., raised and educated in the U.S., attends university in the U.S., never spends one minute living in the land of his birth parents but instead spends his entire adult life in the U.S. Why should that person's loyalty be questioned and he be denied the chance to run for president? What clause in the Constitution or U.S. law or Supreme Court decision supports their inability to be president?
He is a citizen, but not a natural born citizen and could not run for POTUS.
You didn’t read the decision; it discusses what it means to be a citizen and the history of how that is determined, specifically issues of parents who owe allegiance to foreign powers.
Where? Please quote where the decision very clearly states the difference between citizen by birth and natural-born citizen.
And what clause in the Constitution states that?
That's my point...you have a perfectly sound case...but, let's suppose in this day and age of multi-culturalism, the child picks up English as a second language with the foreign tongue being spoken at home. The child's parent's indoctrinate him as a foreigner living abroad in the U.S. (this happens regualrly in both Hispanic and Muslim Communities in the U.S.) with allegiances elsewhere. It may be in compliance with the letter of the Constitution as presently interpreted, but I would contend it's inconsistent with the spirit of it, and the NBC clause in particular. It's a dicey argument and I don't pretend to know the answer...I just think the case of our current President begs for clarification as much for the future as it does for the present.
“The British may extend citizenship to them, but if it is not accepted, does that citizenship still hold sway?”
Birthers would say it matters not at all whether they claimed British citzenship. The issue is that they were able to claim British citizenship, which they believe in itself means they were not “natural born citizens”. Because, I guess, at the time the Constitution was adopted the threshold for citizenship was two citizen-parents.
Does it matter to Birthers that the 14th amendment locked soil down as the standard? No, because they play silly games with the “under the jurisdiction thereof” clause.
“Otherwise simply being declared a ‘natural born citizen’ of another nation - remember, citizenship rules are not universal, each nation treats them differently - would rule you out from the highest office of the land. Chavez could pick our President, simply by virtue of granting citizenship to each and every person save the individual he wanted elected.”
You’re stretching. But in a sense, I guess it would be possible for him to say all children born eligible for U.S. citizenship are hereafter born citizens of Venezuela. Again, though, Birthers are concerned with long-standing traditions (namely, the tradition of citizxenship extending to the child from the parent), not with the wacky acts of crazy dictators. No one would listen to Chavez, and rightly so.
“So for those born to a foreign parent, its not about what claims their parents nation might have on them, but what fealty they volunteer to such a nation.”
Actually, it’s about the general rules set by the Constitution. Foreign-born children, for instance, could have more love of country for their adopted nation than most natural-born citizens. However, the Framers and subsequent generations have decided the best way to screen presidents is to exclude naturalized citizens.
Birthers think they also excluded people born with potentially divided loyalties. Bear in mind, to them it’s not about the conscious actions of the children. It’s about the “natural” process which gives the children a right to claim citizenship if they so choose. It doesn’t matter to them whether or not they ever go on to assert that right. Just like to the Constitution it could matter less that a Mexican child grows up to consciously desire U.S. citizenship.
“in light of this, I cannot see how either Arthur or Obama cannot be considered a natural born citizen (barring some other reason they should be disqualified).”
I cannot see how, but for another reason. That reason is that they are born citizens and I cannot see any way people who are born citizens aren’t natural born citizens. However, if the Birthers are right and being born on U.S. soil is not enough, then I can see it. Just so happens they’re wrong. But the argument is subtler than the credit you give it.
It may be inconsistent with you're interpretation but I'm not aware of any clause in the Constituiton that defines natural-born citizen, or any Supreme Court decision that does so either. In the unlikely scenarion you mentioned it'd be up to the voters to decide, and I'd be unlikely to vote for such a person regardless of their political party. In the scenario I described, you would deny Bobby Jindal a chance to run for president.
“If Obama is eligible to be President then so are the sons of Osama Bin Laden, Kim Jong Il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad if they impregnate an American woman who gives birth on US soil.”
Not necessarily. The child also has to pass the other 14th amendment test (the “under the jurisdiction thereof” one). Otherwise, duh, of course they are. But call me crazy, I’m not so sure they’d have an easy time being elected.
“Such a person might be a US citizen under current policy, but their citizenship is not natural born and they cannot be President and Commander In Chief of the US armed forces”
When he says the person “might be a US citizen under current policy,” he means a citizen from birth. If one who is born a citizen is not a natural born citizen, I’ll eat my hat. Birthers really hate that “under current policy” part, right? Even if by “natural born citizen” the Framers meant the children of U.S. citizens, they didn’t say so. As much as it may be true that way back when 14th amendment babies weren’t born American citizens, they are now. Should’ve been more specific if you wanted to exclude anchor babies, Framers. Too bad, so sad.
Indeed she is.
Did I miss something?
Yes. The birthers have created a fictional definition of Natural Born Citizen, one that requires both parents to have been U.S. Citizens. This definition was created specifically to be a standard of eligibility that Obama could not possibly meet. It is found nowhere in the U.S. Constitution or any established case law. The birthers like to pretend that this has been the Law of the Land since time immemorial though nobody outside of the birther circus is buying it. Not any of Obama's opponents in the primaries and general election, not anyone in the previous administration, not the Chief Justice of the Supreme court who swore Obama in and not any of the 62+ and counting eligibility cases against Obama that have all been denied or dismissed.
So, yes, according to the current law, your daughter is a natural born citizen. According to the birthers, she's not. The birthers are currently 0-62 in the courtroom.
The Wong case actually quotes and earlier case; Minor v. Happersett in 1875, which was the first constitutional test for the 14th Amendment. The decision in Happersett and quoted in Wong is this:
“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 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. “
Article 2 Section 2: “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.”
So, if another country can prove they claimed Sarah Palin had their citizenship at the moment of her birth, she would be disqualified?
You cannot be a natural born citizen if at the moment of your birth, you had any citizenship along with your American Citizenship.
Can you show me that, unequivocally, in the Constitution, or the Federalist Papers, or any Supreme Court decision? Otherwise it is your conjecture only...
You can only ever be of America, and with no other.
And did President Arthur ever claim to be of any nation OTHER than America? You are arguing my point; a man claims where he is from, and if it can be documented, so be it. The claims of others on his life are irrelevant.
Answer the Sarah Palin question; suppose that I can prove that Canada claimed Sarah Palin as a citizen at the moment of her birth (for argument's sake). Would she be disqualified in your eyes?
We are talking about the most powerful office in the world.
And we're talking about something even more fundamental - the rights of a man to be free of the chains of his father. What you are proposing - that a person's station in life is strictly limited by what another foreign nation may lay claim to - is not American. Do the sins of the father carry to the son?
Your contention is specious; it leads to complete control by foreign powers. For if your position is what you really want - that citizenship matters based upon what a foreign nation claims at the moment of your birth - Hugo Chavez could start laying claim to every baby born in America from this day forward, and in 35 years we have a problem because - according to your definition - we don't HAVE any natural born citizens left.
So, answer the Sarah Palin question. If she was claimed by another nation at the moment of her birth - would she be, in your eyes, a natural born citizen?
“Your loyalty is not dependent upon another person’s statements or loyalties!”
Actually, it does, and not just in the sense that parents have a big impact on their kids. Under U.S. law and the law of most countries children born not on soil under their jurisdiction yet still born to citizens themselves have the right to be citizens. And the further you go back in time, the more importance is given to the child/parent relationship in determining the child’s legal status. This is one of those principles that’s slowly fading away but still possesses some import. It’s not all about the freely-chosen actions of self-contained individuals. If it were, naturalized citizens would be eligible.
“Essentially what those folks pressing the point would be saying that a man has no control over his loyalty; it is set for him before he is even born, by the acts of the parents.”
There is no way around the acts of your parents impacting your citizenship status at birth. That will never change. For everything you’re saying, the exact same thing could be said of naturalized citizens, I hope you realize. Blood is not destiny, but the law cannot sift through all candidates, reading their minds as to whether they’re loyal or not. So we set standards, just like we do with the drinking age.
As it is, the threshold is set at people who are citizens from birth. Birthers think it is (and should be) set at people who have two citizen parents. If you think there ought to be no threshold at all, that’s fine. Let the electorate sort it out. But so long as we’re going to make sweeping judgements as to who should be president based on how they were born, it is inevitable that the parents’ status will affect the child’s.
Wrong Drew. What you are describing and confusing is native born (born in the U.S.), and Natural Born (born in the U.S. to two parents who are citizens). The two are not the same thing.
Obama himself signed a Senate declaration stating that Natural Born was that of a person born on U.S. soil to TWO parents who are citizens of the U.S. He also states on his own website that he is NATIVE born, not Natural born, and if you think the semantics of the issue to be irrelevant, then consider for a moment that Barack DOES NOT consider the semantics of the issue as being irrelevant, or he would not have chosen the word NATIVE born instead of NATURAL born. He is 100% cognizant of the difference between the two.
But what you conveniently ignore is the fact that Minor v. Happersett doesn’t define natural-born citizenship either. And that if Justice Waite says that there may be some question whether children born in the U.S. of parents who are not citizens are citzens themselves, Justice Gray clears that up in the Ark decision. Such children are citizens. Not only citizens, but citizens by birth with is synonymous with natural-born citizen.
And yet in the Happersett decision that you quoted from in reply 65, Justice Waite seems to think that the two are the same thing. He noted, "...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...."
“United States vs. Wong Kim Ark decided that very issue. The child is a citizen, but not a natural born citizen. The decision states that very clearly”
People are always saying that, and it reminds me of how JFK conspiracy nuts consistently insist that they can see his brains on the back of the limo in the Zapruder film. The evidence is plainly not there, so either they’re lying or are delusional. The Wong Kim Ark decision does not speak to presidential eligibility. Birthers hang on to the fact that they keep speaking to “native born” status, as if “native born” was a conscious alternative to “natural born”.
Oh, but if that were so. Then we’d have three categories: native born (jus soli), natural born (jus sanguinis), and naturalized. But we don’t, and there are still only two types of citizens.
That's zero birther wins, 62 courtroom losses. And counting.
And where does it define natural-born citizen the way you do?
But *not* considering Wong Kim Ark as
a potential US president/commander in chief
or even a US presidential candidate, which
any reasonable person would agree would cast
a whole different light on the court’s deliberations.
“Another FReeper who cant seem to grasp that this discussion isnt about citizenship.
Its about ‘natural born’ status.”
Natural born status has to do with citizenship, or am I missing something?
“It is entirely possible to be a citizen of the United States, while not being a ‘natural born’ citizen.”
Duh, you can be a naturalized citizen. Either you’re born a citizen or made a citizen; those are the two choices.
“To be a ‘natural born’ citizen, the citizen must have been born in the United States of America, the child of TWO US citizen parents”
Says you. But as it so happens, there is no division between 14th amendment babies, which you call “native born,” and two-citizen babies, which you call “natural born”. There is no difference between native born and natural born citizen. That distinction lies entirely inside your own head.
“Now if she VOLUNTARILY gave up U.S. citizenship to take Venezuelan, which she would have to do because the U.S. does not recognize dual citizenship with that Nation, then she would lose that natural born status.”
I’ve always wondered about that. She would lose her citizenship, yes, but how can you say she’d lose her natural born status? That status is her birthright, and birthrights cannot be foresworn. They are just there.
As for the other two requirements, the one about age and the one about residency, neither of them speak to being a citizen. So why couldn’t a non-citizen be president, so long as they were born a citizen and met the other requirements? This has never come up in court and runs against common sense, of course, but I’ve always wondered.
You are free to disagree, but you are incorrect. Your son was born in an American Military base, American territory, and because of that and his two Citizen parents he is a Natural Born Citizen. Being born on American soil does NOT automatically confer Natural Born Status and that was decided by Minor v Happersett in 1875 and by U.S. v Wong in 1895. Citizenship yes, but not Natural Born citizenship. The two are not the same.
You can give up a birth right. If she chose to come back and regain her citizenship she could, but can never regain that Natural Born Status based on the simple fact that another Nation had claim to her. You can give up Natural Born Status.
There's no compelling evidence that Obama's mother ever set foot in Kenya or that Obama was born anywhere besides Honolulu.
“It may be in compliance with the letter of the Constitution as presently interpreted, but I would contend it’s inconsistent with the spirit of it, and the NBC clause in particular.”
Yeah, but a natural born citizen becoming president who was indoctrinated into America-hating by his foreign born grandfather/grandmother, uncle/aunt, or adopted father/mother would be against the “spirit” of the clause, too. That’s the problem with laws. They aren’t perfect and don’t always do exactly what you’d have them do.
Have it your way...I’m outta here.
It didn’t have to. The Issue of POTUS was not in the case. No Issue regarding POTUS has come before the court. The court can ONLY decide what is brought before it. It isn’t arbitrary. They DID make the clear distinction that there exists a DIFFERENCE. That is why its relevant.
You are completely wrong.
The U.S. uses both Jus soli AND Jus Sanguinis to determine Natural Born Status.
There are most definitely three types of citizenship. Naturalized, Citizen, and Natural Born citizen.
Take the time to read and you will discover that this case is as close as the Supreme Court or any court has gotten to the subject. You will learn far more reading the decision than you get from this limited editorial, although the author is on the right track.
Can you tell me what part of that excerpt is supposed to determine anything whatsoever about the subject at hand? You probably mean to highlight the part that says: “These were natives or natural-born citizens, as distinguished from aliens or foreigners.” To you, this implies native born and natural born citizens are not the same. Except that the rest of the quote goes on to explicitly say they’re not going to inquire into whether native born citizens are also natural born citizens, which is the one thing in which we’re interested.
Any competent lawyer is going to site this case and if any court addresses the issue they will first look to find the closest relevant precedent, which is this case.
The entire issue of natural-born citizenship was not in the case. It was a voting rights matter.
They DID make the clear distinction that there exists a DIFFERENCE. That is why its relevant.
No, what they said was that there may or may not be a difference. The decision did not rule that there was a difference and what it was.
“So, if another country can prove they claimed Sarah Palin had their citizenship at the moment of her birth, she would be disqualified?”
It’s not just that they claimed her, it’s whether she had the right of citizenship based on her parentage, which is the older and therefore to Birthers more legitimate manner of determining natural born status. You seem to think it’s all about what the other countries can claim. It’s not. It’s about whether or not the Framers thought only the children of two-citizen parents were eligible to be president and said so through the weighted term “natural born”. What other countries claim is beside the point.
For my two cents, the original phrase may have been intended to exclude soil babies. So what? That changed with the 14th amendment.
“And we’re talking about something even more fundamental - the rights of a man to be free of the chains of his father.”
That’s a weird way to put it. Most would consider child as benefitting from the parent’s status in being able to claim various citizenships by birthright. Of course, not being president would be a hardship. But so is it a hardship to have been born outside the U.S., which is also determined by one’s parents. And we’re fine with denying the presidency to resident aliens and naturalized citizens. Throwing off the chains in that case would result in the entire world being free to be U.S. president.
What about when the opposite happens, and parents bring their children into the U.S. to be born on U.S. soil? In that case, the parents are still deciding your fate. Where you’re born is not a matter of accident. It is determined by your parents. Perhaps, for the children to be free, we shouldn’t allow the parents’ decision to birth them on U.S. have an impact on their citizenship. What, then, do we base citizenship on? Individual choice? Once again, we open the world to the U.S. presidency.
Like I said before, it is utterly impossible to remove parents from the equation in determining citizenship from birth. They birth you, after all.
“and if you think the semantics of the issue to be irrelevant, then consider for a moment that Barack DOES NOT consider the semantics of the issue as being irrelevant, or he would not have chosen the word NATIVE born instead of NATURAL born”
If he considered the semantics relevant, why would he choose “native,” since the entire point of choosing a word is to show he’s eligible? Why not say he’s natural and stop fueling the fire?
“The catch with obama is, his mother was a ‘minor’ and lived overseas for a period of time that made his birth in Kenya, to a British subject, natural born British.”
Who said Obama was born in Kenya?
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