Skip to comments.4 Supreme Court Cases define "natural born citizen"
Posted on 04/25/2011 1:33:23 AM PDT by Veristhorne
(Oct. 18, 2009) The Post & Email has in several articles mentioned that the Supreme Court of the United States has given the definition of what a natural born citizen is. Since being a natural born citizen is an objective qualification and requirement of office for the U.S. President, it is important for all U.S. Citizens to undertsand what this term means.
Lets cut through all the opinion and speculation, all the he says, she says, fluff, and go right to the irrefutable, constitutional authority on all terms and phrases mentioned in the U.S. Constitution: the Supreme Court of the United States.
First, let me note that there are 4 such cases which speak of the notion of natural born citizenship.
Each of these cases will cite or apply the definition of this term, as given in a book entitled, The Law of Nations, written by Emmerich de Vattel, a Swiss-German philosopher of law. In that book, the following definition of a natural born citizen appears, in Book I, Chapter 19, § 212, of the English translation of 1797 (p. 110):
§ 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 French original of 1757, on that same passage read thus:
Les naturels, ou indigenes, sont ceux qui sont nes dans le pays de parents citoyens, .
(Excerpt) Read more at thepostemail.com ...
Here is the entire comment made by John Greschak as posted on puzo1.blogspot:
I would like to clarify some points regarding Vattel’s book “Le Droit des Gens”, which, in its translated form, was titled “The Law of Nations.”
In various places, I have seen statements that suggest that Vattel wrote the phrase “natural-born citizens” in Section 212 of a book titled “The Law of Nations” in 1758. And, since the Framers knew of Vattel’s work, it has been suggested that they were influenced by his use of this phrase.
From what I can see, that is incorrect. Here are the facts (as I understand them):
1. In 1758, Vattel wrote a book titled “Le Droit des Gens” in French. There he used the phrase “Naturels, or Indigenes” (with an accent grave on the first “e” of “Indigenes”).
2. Subsequently, in 1759, Vattel’s book was translated into English and published in London (and called “The Law of Nations”). I do not know who did this translation. Vattel’s phrase “Naturels, or Indigenes” was translated into “natives, or indigenes” (with no accent grave in “Indigenes”).
3. The first American edition of Vattel’s book was published in 1787 in New York. The text for Section 212 in this edition was identical to that of the first English-language edition from 1759; specifically, is used the phrase “natives, or indigenes.”
4. I have seen Dublin, London and New York English-language editions that were published in 1792, 1793 and 1796, respectively. There again, the phrase “natives, or indigenes” was used.
5. In 1797, an English-language edition of Vattel’s book was printed in London. There the phrase “natives, or natural-born citizens” was used instead of “natives, or indigenes.” In this edition, other changes were made to the English-language version of Section 212 as well. I do not know who was responsible for these changes. I believe this is the first time the phrase “natural-born citizen” was used in any edition of “The Law of Nations.”
Consequently, I do not believe Vattel wrote “natural-born citizens.” Also, since the Constitution was written in 1787 and had been ratified by all 13 original states by the end of 1790, I do not believe that the Framers were influenced by this use of the phrase “natural-born citizens” in “The Law of Nations” (which was not published until 1797).
By this, I do not mean to imply that this particular passage from the 1797 English edition of “Le Droit des Gens” is insignificant. I believe it tells us something about the meaning of the phrase “natural born Citizen”. I take the phrase “natives, or natural-born citizens” as an indication that “natives” and “natural-born citizens” are synonymous terms. The question then becomes: Of the many possible meanings for the word “native”, with which sense is the phrase “natural born Citizen” synonymous?
I have published an image of the version of Section 212 from “Le Droit des Gens” and images of various versions of this section from translations of that work. You can find these in the introductory paragraphs of my essay “What is a Natural Born Citizen of the United States?” at http://www.greschak.com/essays/natborn/index.htm.; John Greschak.
The point to understand is that “natural born Citizen” is associated with Vattel, even if he did not use those exact words himself but rather used “naturels, ou indigenes” (”natives or indigenes)” Vattel defined those French words to mean someone who was born in the country to citizen parents. Someone during the 1797 English translation substituted the phrase “natural born Citizen” for the words “natives” and “indigenes.” But the three words all meant the same thing, i.e., someone born in the county to citizen parents. Hence, the conclusion is that Vattel provided the definition of what a “natural born Citizen” is, for that phrase replaced the words “natives or indigenes” which he defined exactly the same way as “natural born Citizen” came to be defined.
Note he believes birthers are correct, but rejects the idea that there is a difference between the two 1787 editions. For my part, I apologize for not catching that there were two editions published in 1787...I don’t spend much time studying Vattel, since I think he is legally irrelevant to the discussion.
Still, if anyone claims the NY edition in 1787 uses “natural born citizen”, I think the burden of proof is on them to show John Greschak lied.
Also, “Dr. Conspiracy” publishes what is supposed to be a picture of the 1787 American edition, which he credits to John Greschak. Mario Apuzzo responds later in the discussion on that page, and does not challenge the accuracy of the picture. Both Mario Apuzzo and John Greschak seem content to argue that ‘indigenes’ is French for NBC, and that is, after all, the word the 1797 translation translates NBC.
Also note this comment by “Dr. Conspiracy”:
“I also thought it highly unfair to use the images that Greshak uncovered and not share the fact that he uses those images as part of an argument that does not agree with my conclusions. Greshak is not part of the hoax (those who simply say that de Vattel wrote natural born citizen (in English translation) and the Framers read it, or that the term is defined in The Law of Nations).”
The two websites both have discussions worth reading, with most of the discussion being honest and polite:
Those afraid to read ‘Dr. Conspiracy’ should notice that Mario Apuzzo posted there multiple times.
The chart you have shown is accurate. It does not support either side of our disagreement. A naturalized citizen, Such as Arnie S., former governor of CA, can hold all of those offices up to but not including president. The heart of the question is the legal definition of “natural born citizen” at the time of barrys birth. My position is that a b@stard child born to a woman who is unquestionably a non-naturalized US citizen (unmarried) is a natural born citizen no matter what country the child is birthed. You have not given me any proof to the contrary.
Side note: “anchor baby” by definition is a child born in the US where NEITHER of the parents are US citizens. They do not fit the definition of either naturalized or natural born...and in my opinion should NOT be considered a citizen. since this whole thing is about Obama, let’s concentrate on him. By the way, since it is being reported that he has disclosed his LFBC, this may bea moot point......MAY be!!!
Weeks ago? Try years ago.
Your contention, was that being born here is the criteria for one being a "natural born Citizen."
I merely pointed out...that that would include anchor babies.
Because of a bastardization of the intent of the 14th Amendment, anchor babies are now given citizenship.
I may not have done a good job in being precise on where you and I DON’T agree. We do agree on most all of the points. Let me try again. In my understanding, and based on what I have read, IF Barrack’s mom was married at the time of his birth AND he was born off of U.S. soil AND her age is what is was...you have a strong argument that BO could be ruled to be NOT a “natural born citizen”. However, his mom WAS NOT MARRIED to the father at the time of his birth. It’s my understanding that, at the time of his birth, the citizenship of the “baby daddy” did NOT come in to play when determining citizenship. Let me repeat just to make sure I’m clear; the unmarried parent’s citizenship is (I believe) NOT RELEVANT at the time of Barry’s birth when determining citizenship. The determining factor is the citizenship of the mother ONLY in that circumstance...remember, this is long before DNA testing, and determining parenthood was far from a perfect science. So, if Barracks’s only line of citizenship came from that of his mother, he could have been born anywhere and been considered a natural born citizen. All of the legal language contemporary to his birth mentioned HUSBAND and WIFE, not “parent”. Even if I am right (and I am by no means 100% positive) would Barry have been elected with that cloud over his head? I don’t think he’d have made it past Hillary in the primaries.
The case had nothing to do with someone born a citizen of the U.S., and never mentioned the phrase "natural born citizen." So why did the author lie and claim that it did?
Bruce, I’ll assume your point about “Natural Born Citizen” not being mentioned in the Venus case is well-intentioned. Perhaps you didn’t know that Emmerich de Vattel, being French,wrote in French. I suppose your argument could be expanded to claim that Vattel himself never mentioned “The Law of Nations.”
Justice Henry Livingstone (the Aide-de- Camp to General Benedict Arnold prior to his defection), writing the unanimous decision in “ The Venus, 12 U.S. 8 Cranch 253 253 (1814)” quoted the entire 212th paragraph of Vattel’s French edition, on page 12 of his ruling, using his own translation.
” Vattel, who, though not very full to this point, is more explicit and more satisfactory on it than any other whose work has fallen into my hands, says:
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 indigenes are those born in the country of parents who are citizens. Society not being able to subsist and to perpetuate itself but by the children of the citizens, those children naturally follow the condition of their fathers, and succeed to all their rights.”
As mentioned in earlier posts, Ben Franklin stated that Vattel was referenced frequently during the Constitutional Convention.
You may find it useful to read the informative posts above to see if you think Livingston’s “natives” and “indigenes” are the equivalent of “Natural Born Citizen.”
If you read farther,
United States v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649 (1898), and
Minor v. Happersett , 88 U.S. 162 (1875) being later cases, specifically do use the term “Natural Born Citizen”.
In the Venus case, the court waded through areas of law undefined by Congress or Constitution, finding that it was reasonable to treat differently a citizen born in America with another who was FOREIGN-BORN and naturalized, and who maintained business ties with a nation we were at war with, and in fact, the reliance on Vattel, to whom Natural Law and natural-born clearly indicates that the court did NOT establish the original intent of the phrase, “natural born” meant. The reference to Vattel is to establish that it is reasonable to distinguish between foreign-born and native-born, not to assume all of Vattel’s interests in making that distinction, nor establish Vattel as a controlling authority.
Again, Shanks v DuPont merely asserts that moving oversees is NOT inherently a renunciation of citizenship, even when it is to form a marriage with a foreign natural. This actually boosts Obama’s claim, because it suggests that neither Obama nor Dunham lost citizenship when they moved to Indonesia; Even if Obama was underage, he doesn’t renounce his citizenship if his parent does. Nothing in Shanks suggests that the national character of an un-naturalized immigrant in America is legally or incidentally that of his homeland; it is, in fact, quite reasonable to suppose the opposite: that the legal, permanent-resident alien has adopted the natural character of America, even before his naturalization has taken place.
In Minor v. Harperset, the court finds that a person born in America of citizens is constitutionally a natural-born citizen. But the Chief Justice purposely ventures into areas not applicable in the case to prevent later case law reading him as creating a narrow definition of natural-born citizens, specifically declining to settle whether any children born in America, whether their parents are citizens or not, are inherently natural-born.
In US v Wong Kim Ark, the Supreme Court plainly rules contrary to your assertion, saying that any child born under US jurisdiction is natural born. This ruling is controlling authority. In error or not, the notion that the Supreme Court would nullify an election which was conducted in accordance with its own precedent is absolutely unthinkable, and would create an unrecoverable constitutional crisis. Stare Decisis is a much abused notion, but this is absolutely the reason why it exists.
No, I'm quite familiar with that. I'm also very familiar with writing and reading legal briefs, and know that you deserve to lose your credibility if you misrespresent what a case said. Teh case itself was written in English, and whomever wrote that article specifically stated that all four of the cited cases contained his preferred definition of the term "natural born citizen". And that is simply false. The case does not use that phrase, nor is the meaning of that phrase even relevant in that case.
Moreover, even if the case did say that, it would be incredibly weak dicta given that the "natural born citizen" question was not even at issue. The issue in that case concerned people who were naturalized as citizens after birth. The distinction between someone who was born a citizen because they were born in the U.S., and whether or not such a person qualified as a "natural born citizen" was not at issue, and so the Court's decision cannot fairly be read as decided an issue that was not before it.
Now, whether the overall argument about "natural born citizens" is correct is a different issue that has been debated to death. I jumped into this thread only because of the specific clam that four Supreme Court cases cited that definition, which is simply false.
Everyone’s done a great job with research, and thanks to all for their contributions to this thread.
The quote cited doesn’t contain the phrase “natural born citizen”:
“TITLE 8 > CHAPTER 12 > SUBCHAPTER III > Part I > § 1401
Prev | Next
§ 1401. Nationals and citizens of United States at birth
How Current is This?
The following shall be nationals and citizens of the United States at birth:
(a) a person born in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof; ...”
It seems the issue is, if a person is born in the USA, are they a “natural born citizen?” The SC mentions the class of “native born” citizen, to distinguish it from “natural born citizen.” I haven’t seen anything equating NBC with “born in the USA”
To be an NBC requires 100% Jus Sanquinis and U.S.Jus soli. One must be 100% American to be President. BOTH Parents must be citizens at the time of birth of the child IN the US. No exceptions.
The case I refer to is Minor v Happersett, US Supreme Court (1875). An NBC is one born IN the US to parents who are both citizens themselves.
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