There has been much debate over what constitutes a natural born citizen. Much of the debate has been misinformed calling the concept of natural born an obscure technicality or an overight by the writers of the Constitution. Neither of these characterizations are true.
Many times the true meaning of consitutional wording must be determined by looking at the era and the circumstances, and, in some cases, terminology in other sections of the constitution, the inclusion or exclusion of supporting verbage, and even writings other than the Constitution.
Article 2, section 1 of the Constitution 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 who shall not attained to the age of thirty-five years, and been fourteen years a resident within the United Satates.”
The addition of a grandfather clause in this paragraph says a lot as to the meaning of natural born. The first thing it says is that being born in the US is not enough to be natural born, otherwise the grandfather clause would not be necessary. The writers and delegates, having been born in the US, wanted to be eligible for the presidency, but most were the children of British subjects. Knowing that that eliminated them from being natural born and, thus, from eligibility, they included the grandfather clause which expired when the last person alive at the time of the ratification of the Constitution died. So, being a native born citizen is not the same as being natural born. If it were the framers would not have included the clause.
When asked to define natural born citizen, John Bingham, the author of the 14th ammendment which extended the bill of rights to former slaves, stated, “Any human born to parents who are US citizens and are under no other jurisdiction or authority.” The Naturalization Act of 1790, also passed by this congress, declared “And the children of citizens of the US shall be considered as natural born, provided that the right of citizenship shall not descend to persons whose fathers have never been a resident of the US.” Neither of these definitions, one from US law, mentions birthplace, only the parents’ citizenship.
This concept of citizenship by blood as opposed to citizenship by geography is a concept with a long history in British common law. A law passed in 1677 says that natural born citizens are those persons born to British citizens, including those born overseas. Alexander Porter wrote an article over 100 years ago in which he declares that the framers drew upon this difference in the law of heredity and territorial allegiance to define a third class of citizen applicable only to the eligibility to hold the office of president. According to Morse, “the framers thought it wise to provide that the president should at least be the child of citizens owing allegiance only to the US at the time of birth.” He goes on to say that the the eligibility of the president “was scarcely intended to bar the children of American citizens, whether born at sea or in foreign territory.”
The concept of citizenship by blood also precludes the equation of natural born with native born as the latter strictly demands geographical requirements.
Many argue that Barack Obama was eligible to be a state senator and a US senator and could not suddenly be ineligible to be president, but that is exactly the case. If this premise were true, Arnold Schwarzenegger, governor of California, would also be eligible to be president, and it is established that he is not.
Barack Obama has proudly and publicly stated that his father was a citizen of Kenya. We know his mother was eigteen years old when he was born. These two facts make Obama ineligible to be president. No birth certificate is needed as proof, and it doesn’t matter at all where Obama was born. His father’s non-citizenship is all the law requires. He is ineligible from the beginning, meaning he is NOT the president and can be removed from office without any impeachment or trial, it requires only a ruling by the SCOTUS. HE is, in fact, a usurper, a pretender or a fake.
So why has Obama been shepharded into our highest elected office regardless of the fact that he is, according to his own statements and the law of the land, ineligible for that office? It is because those whose responsibility it is to insure the eligibility of the president, the SCOTUS, has chosen, in violation of the law, not to override the voters that voted for Obama. They are are cowards who violate their sworn oath rather than make an unpopular ruling. We are no longer a republic ruled by law, but, instead have become a democracy with rules made up as we go along, never to be written as law
The grandfather clause in Article 2, Section 1 has nothing at all to do with the citizenship of the delegates’ parents. It has everything to do with the fact that when the delegates were born there was no United States - it didn’t come into existance in any form until 1776. Further it would not come into final form until after the Constitution was adopted. So, the grandfather clause was necesarry because virtually no citizen’s alive at the adoption of the Constitution would have been considered natural born without it. This whole attempt to redefine natural born citizenship to require that a child’s parents were both U.S. citizens is just silliness.
Excellent summary. As you no doubt know there are volumes and volumes consistant with what you have explained. The Grotian Society Papers - 1972, the Alexander Porter Morse Treatise on Citzenship, the Joseph Story Papers, writings of Grotius, Pufendorf, Chief Justices Marshall and Waite.
I will mention that the 1790 Naturalization Act was repealed by the 1795 Act, eliminating the extension of natural born citizenship to children of citizens born “across the seas”. Mario Apuzzo made a plausible conjecture that this act in 1790 was to extend the “grandfather clause” of Article II to the children of founders; quite a few of the founders spent much time in England and on the Continent. Their allegiance was recognized, but the authors knew the statute would not withstand a test of constitutionality. Today, it is what it was: “...born in the country of citizen parents”.
Excellent post! Thanks for such a clearly stated explanation! It is mystifying why he has been allowed to get away with it. I can hardly believe what is going on in America today. The only thing that brings me any comfort is believing that God is in control! BHO will eventually get what he deserves - in this world or the next!