Skip to comments.The Constitutional Meaning Of "Natural Born Citizen"
Posted on 01/31/2012 4:03:01 PM PST by sourcery
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From an attention to the facts which have been adduced, and from a consideration of the principles established by the revolution, the conclusion I have drawn is, that Mr. Smith, was on the declaration of independence a citizen of the United-States, and unless it appears that he has forfeited his right, by some neglect or overt act, he had continued a citizen until the day of his election to a seat in this house.
Mr. Smith being then, at the declaration of independence, a minor, but being a member of that particular society, he became, in my opinion, bound by the decision of the society with respect to the question of independence and change of government; and if afterward he had taken part with the enemies of his country, he would have been guilty of treason against that government to which he owed allegiance, and would have been liable to be prosecuted as a traitor.
Those who left their country to take part with Britain were of two descriptions, minors, or persons of mature age. With respect to the latter nothing can be inferred with respect to them from the decision on the present case; because they had the power of making an option between the contending parties: whether this was a matter of right or not is a question which need not be agitated in order to settle the case before us. Then, with respect to those natives who were minors at the revolution, and whose case is analogous to Mr. Smith's, if we are bound by the precedent of such a decision as we are about to make, and it is declared, that they owe a primary allegiance to this country, I still think we are not likely to be inundated with such characters; so far as any of them took part against us they violated their allegiance and opposed our laws; so then there can be only a few characters, such as were minors at the revolution, and who have never violated their allegiance by a foreign connection, who can be affected by the decision of the present question. The number I admit is large who might be acknowledged citizens on my principles; but there will very few be found daring enough to face the laws of the country they have violated, and against which they have committed high treason.
Congressman's Smith's parents are not relevant. His father died before the revolution. What mattered was a) that he was a citizen of South Carolina when South Carolina became a State of the United States, and b) did not reject or betray his birth-allegiance to South Carolina or his acquired allegiance to the United States.
I still disagree with the decision. Not necessarily with the natural law aspects, but rather that I agree with Mr. Jackson's comment about "sheltering under the shade of the British king". Smith reached the age of 18 years in 1776, yet did not return to America until 1783, after the war had ended. I guess that didn't qualify as "some neglect or overt act" as Madison put it.
I have to wonder if my hardscrabble Scots-Irish ancestors of South Carolina, who stood and faced those British bayonets, would have agreed with Mr. Madison.
All we have is the testimony of the members of Congress at the time. And Dr. Ramsay's argument against Smith was theoretical, as far as I can tell, and not based on any specific reasons to doubt Smith's allegiance to the US.
But that's all beating a dead horse. What matters now is the way the Founders conceptualized the issues of citizenship, not whether they may have been mistaken in their application of them to a particular case.
As I understood it, Mittens great grandfather escaped to Mexico because he had 4 wives at the time. Mittens father was born in Mexico but was his mother one of the American wives or a Mexican wife...would’t the answer to that question shed more light on his status assuming that if his mother was one of the American wives then Mittens would be an American citizen since I gather he was born here when his father returned to the US. And did his father have dual status or what? I wonder why this is not a topic in the news or is Bammy saving this if Mittens ends up the nominee?
In order to buy land or own land in Mexico one must be a citizen. That first Romney bought a huge ranch in Mexico. He was a Mexican citizen.
I once asked if our Founding Fathers wanted the King of England to have the right to sire a bastard who is born in the US, be informally known as the Prince of America [spinoff of the Prince of Wales], and then be raised and groomed to one day be eligible as President of the US. For some reason, no one ever answered that question, maybe because that was one thing they wanted to prevent?
Barry wouldn't touch it, but some of his PACs might. If Barry brought up NBC it would backfire - bad - on him. My point has always been: If birthers and NBC'ers are consistent, they HAVE to expose Mitten's dubious heritage. There are those here who feel he is "good to go", while others are taking a sober breath and looking into it. If, like Barry, Mitten's dad was not a citizen at the time of Mitten's birth, then we may see TWO candidates running for office who are ineligible. Where is the objective consistency?
It’s the Constitution that matters. Act like it!
That is a good point, but is it possible that there is an explanation other than him being a Mexican citizen? For example, we know that it is currently Mexican law that one must be a Mexican citizen in order to buy land in Mexico.
*MY* recollection of Mexican history is that this policy was only implemented after the Mexican Revolution in 1910. Prior to that, non Mexicans could buy and own land in Mexico. It was one of the issues that led to the revolt by the Zapatas in the South, and Pancho Villa in the Northern part of Mexico. They objected to Americanos exploiting their land which they regarded as at the expense of the poor peasants.
When did Gaskell Romney buy this land in Mexico? I'm pretty durn sure it was prior to 1910. Wasn't George born in 1907? I would assume he had bought the land prior to or around that time.
Which "laws of citizenship in 1907," exactly?
Wouldn't that be a kick in the head?
The representatives of both major parties disqualified for failing to meet a Constitutional requirement?
Thanks very much for putting this up.
Looks like the regime got to yet another judge.
The ones in place at the time of George Romney's birth in Mexico. Look it up. The law was changed in 1940 but the ones in place in 1907 has a child born to an American citizen father taking the citizenship of his father. This means that George Romney was an American citizen at birth, not a natural born citizen , but a plain-jane "native" citizen.
I'm not a Romney fan and would love to have had him ineligible but his father was an American citizen. I'll try to find the link but the info is there about Mexican citizenship laws and how they were applied to foreigners living in Mexico who had children.
Absent a firm such as Landmark Legal with minds like Mark Levin or comparable who can actually anticipate what a judge will rule and why, this is becoming fruitless.
In your discussion of the Minor decision, you mention Ex Parte Lockwood. That decision was written by Chief Justice Fuller. He also wrote the dissenting opinion in Wong Kim Ark case. In his dissent, he discusses the English Common Law and its perceived influence on the definition of the term “natural born citizen”. At one point, he complains that it inconceivable that a child born to alien parents could be “eligible to the Presidency”.
Why doesn’t he cite Minor as having defined NBC?
There is no text or language in the majority opinion authored by the Court itself—which excludes the quotation from Rhodes—to the effect that either the 14th Amendment, or any of the Court's holdings in past cases, define either natural citizenship or natural born citizenship as synonymous with "born in the country and subject to the jurisdiction thereof."
Obviously, there are those, including Justice Fuller, who interpret it that way. But there are no Supreme Court decisions that make any such holding. None.
Nor does Justice Fuller state that his interpretation of the effect of the majority opinion is the same as the majority's interpretation. Based on his words, he could have been arguing that there were strong reasons why his interpretation of the majority opinion might eventually become the consensus interpretation, even if those who agreed with the majority opinion didn't (then) see it the same way.
The 14th Amendment defines native born citizenship. That's not disputed by anyone (and if it is, they're irrational.) Nor does anyone argue that all natural born citizens are also native born citizens. The dispute is about whether the reverse is true—whether all native born citizens are also natural born citizens.
But those born outside the US to parents who were US citizens are citizens from birth—by statute. So they are also "native born," because they are citizens from birth. So if Wong Kim Ark does hold that "native born" = "natural born," then even those born outside the US to US-citizen parents would be "natural born citizens." But if that's the case, then it's a violation of the Law of Non Contradiction, because it would force "natural" born to include those who are naturalized. "Natural" and "naturalized" are mutually exclusive terms.
The dispute is also about whether any and all who qualify as citizens per the 14th Amendment are natural citizens, or whether some are natural but others are naturalized.
Anyone who was alive but not a citizen when the 14th Amendment was ratified, but became a citizen at that moment, was not a citizen from birth. So that proves that not everyone made a citizen by the 14th Amendment was a native born citizen.
The text of the 14th Amendment proves the same point: The 14th Amendment's citizenship clause defines both a) those born in the US and subject to its jurisdiction, and b) those naturalized in the US and subject to its jurisdiction, to be citizens of the US, and does so using a single sentence with a single phrase that is the subject of the sentence and a single phrase that is its predicate. The subject phrase is of the form "<A> and <B>", and the predicate phrase is "are citizens of the United States." That single predicate phrase, "are citizens of the United States," must intend to apply that exact same meaning of the word citizens to both noun phrases in the conjunctive phrase that is the subject of the sentence, since it's but one predicate phrase applied to but the one conjunctival phrase that is the subject of the sentence. Therefore, the semantics of the word citizens in the 14th Amendment must encompass both those born in the US (and subject to its jurisdiction) and those naturalized in the US (and subject to its jurisdiction.) That is flat-out impossible unless the intended semantics of the term citizen in the 14th Amendment is that of general citizenship, and is not intended to signify any other, more specialized meaning.
As to why Justice Fuller misinterpreted the majority opinion, only he could authoritatively answer that question. However, there are clues in the text of his opinion:
Whether it was also the rule at common law that the children of British subjects born abroad were themselves British subjects -- nationality being attributed to parentage, instead of locality -- has been variously determined. If this were so, of course, the statute of Edw. III was declaratory, as was the subsequent legislation. But if not, then such children were aliens, and the statute of 7 Anne and subsequent statutes must be regarded as, in some sort, acts of naturalization. On the other hand, it seems to me that the rule partus sequitur patrem has always applied to children of our citizens born abroad, and that the acts of Congress on this subject are clearly declaratory, passed out of abundant caution to obviate misunderstandings which might arise from the prevalence of the contrary rule elsewhere.
He (wrongly) believed that those born abroad to US parents were also "natural born citizens." He further states:
In my judgment, the children of our citizens born abroad were always natural-born citizens from the standpoint of this Government. If not, and if the correct view is that they were aliens but collectively naturalized under the act of Congress which recognized them as natural-born, then those born since the Fourteenth Amendment are not citizens at all, [p715] unless they have become such by individual compliance with the general laws for the naturalization of aliens, because they are not naturalized "in the United States."
He was interpreting the majority opinion to be a complete definition of citizenship, so that anyone who did not meet its rules of citizenship was not only not a citizen, but was Constitutionally prohibited from being one, unless they reside "in the United States" when they become citizens—whether by nature or by naturalization.
Soon after presenting that line of argument, he then makes the statement you referenced:
Considering the circumstances surrounding the framing of the Constitution, I submit that it is unreasonable to conclude that "natural-born citizen" applied to everybody born within the geographical tract known as the United States, irrespective of circumstances, and that the children of foreigners, happening to be born to them while passing through the country, whether of royal parentage or not, or whether of the Mongolian, Malay or other race, were eligible to the Presidency, while children of our citizens, born abroad, were not.
That reasoning is invalid on its face. Neither the 14th Amendment, nor the decision in Wong Kim Ark, nor any subsequent holding of any Federal Court has ever enforced or asserted any rule that one must be resident in the US at the moment that one becomes a US citizen of any sort, whether "naturalized," "native born" or even "natural born citizen."
Of course, Minor vs. Happrsett does assert that one must be resident in the US at the moment one becomes a citizen in order to be a natural born citizen, but that case predates Wong Kim Ark.
But that leaves the question regarding why Fuller didn't argue that the decision in WKA was at variance with Minor, especially since he did argue that the decision was a contradiction of holdings in the Slaughterhouse Cases and Elk v. Wilkins.
However, he does mention Minor vs. Happerset, and does so as part of his argument with respect to the Slaughterhouse Cases and Elk v. Wilkins:
I do not insist that, although what was said was deemed essential to the argument and a necessary part of it, the point was definitively disposed of in the Slaughterhouse Cases, particularly as Chief Justice Waite in Minor v. Happersett, 21 Wall. 162, 167, remarked that there were doubts which, for the purposes of the case then in hand, it was not necessary to solve. But that solution is furnished in Elk v. Wilkins, 112 U.S. 94, 101, where the subject received great consideration...
My reading is that Justice Fuller decided that, especially since he was writing a minority opinion, it was sufficient to make the stare decisis argument based on the Slaughterhouse Cases and Elk v. Wilkins, because the issue before the court (as stated in the opinion) was not whether Wong Kim Ark was a natural born citizen, but whether he was a citizen at all.
He explicitly mentioned the "doubts" expressed by Justice Waite in Minor about the citizenship of those born in the US to even one parent who was not a US citizen. Those doubts definitely applied to Wong Kim Ark, since neither of his parents were US citizens. And that's why he decided not to directly claim that Minor was binding precedent regarding whether or not Wong Kim Ark was a US citizen.
Well-written, tour-de-force, which provides the first counterargument I have seen to James Taranto’s argument that President Obama is a natural born citizen because his mother was, regardless of where he was born.
However, the logical connection between the definition of a foreigner and the necessity of two citizen parents to be a natural born citizen seems a little weak. The fact a person can be considered a foreigner due to having one parent as a foreigner does not seem to abrogate the fact they are also born of a citizen which seems sufficient to confer the natural law natural born state. Your essay implies this citizenship is actually a naturalized citizen state, that it may be conferred or removed by statue.
What I find lacking is clear proof that the condition of one parent as a citizen and one parent as a foreigner is either a natural born citizen or a naturalized citizen.
Your research is much appreciated and certainly the natural law usage juxtaposed against the foreigner definitions implies it requires two citizen parents; but I remain unconvinced.
Thanks for the constructive criticism. I’ll research that point.
“The last one to be presented, by Alexander Hamilton, is known as the British Plan (because it was modeled closely after the British governmental architecture.) Although that proposal was totally rejected, it also happens to have been the only one whose text included any eligibility requirements for the Chief Executive. That plan required that that person be “born a citizen.” “
This is historically inaccurate. Hamilton’s “British Plan” was presented on June 18th, 1787. It did not have a Presidential eligiblity clause because it did not have a President. The Executive branch was headed by a “Governour”.
“IV. The supreme Executive authority of the United States to be vested in a Governour to be elected to serve during good behaviour-the election to be made by Electors chosen by the people in the Election Districts” James Madison, Notes on the Debates in the Federal Convention
This Governour served a life term.
Hamilton’s draft Constitution with the Presidential eligiblity clause was submitted to James Madison at the end of the Convention.
A copy of Hamilton’s draft constitution is in Madison’s papers with a note in Madison’s handwriting that says,
“Copy of a Paper communicated to James Madison by Col. Hamilton, about the close of the Convention in Philadelphia, 1787, which, he said, delineated the Constitution which he would have wished to be proposed by the Convention. He had stated the principles of it in the course of the deliberations.
This draft with Madison’s note can be found in Appendix 5 of Elliot’s “Debates on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution”.
That’s why I didn’t say “President,” but instead used the general term “chief executive.” A governor is a chief executive.
However, you are correct that there is no evidence that Hamilton’s plan contained any eligibility requirements until the final version presented to Madison at the end of the Convention. Since it isn’t clear whether Hamilton presented the entirety of his proposed Constitution in June, or only a summary of it, we have no way of knowing whether it contained the “born a citizen” requirement at that time, or whether it was added later.
But either way, the “born a citizen” rule was rejected, even though Hamilton’s plan was rejected for other, more important reasons. The fact that Hamilton kept the “born a citizen” language even in September shows his preference, and indicates how he may have argued on the matter at the Convention.
“You can be a US Citizen and not be a Natural born citizen and you must be a US Citizen to be a Natural born citizen.”
You just distilled all the sturm and drang on this issue into one concise sentence.
Put another way, all beagles are dogs but not all dogs are beagles. A pure-bred beagle with all his/her reproductive organs intact, and satisfying all of the other AKC conditions, can participate in AKC dog shows, while Muttley the `Peakapoo’ cannot.
Hey, I didn’t write the rules—blame the AKC and framers!
But it does help explain why the White Hut occupant is such a mutt, doesn’t it?
Seems pretty simple (you need to re-read the last sentence or two of what you posted).
“No person has a right to be classified as a Statutory citizen, Naturalized citizen, Native born or Natural born citizen. See 22 U.S. (9 Wheat.) at 827-28, [The naturalized citizen] is distinguishable in nothing from a native citizen, except so far as the constitution makes the distinction. The law makes none.”
The constitution makes the distinction and there is ample evidence as to its consequence.
There are certainly conceptual differences between a citizen and a subject. However on a practical level did the Founding generation worry about this difference?
The naturalization acts of Massachusetts provides a suggestion that they were not concerned.
In February, 1785, the Massachusetts legislature passed AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING NICHOLAS ROUSSELET AND GEORGE SMITH. in which it was declared that Nicholas Rousselet and George Smith shall be deemed, adjudged, and taken to be citizens of this Commonwealth, and entitled to all the liberties, rights and privileges of natural born citizens.
In July, 1785, the Massachusetts legislature passed AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING MICHAEL WALSH. in which it was declared that Michael Walsh shall be deemed, adjudged, and taken to be a citizen of this Commonwealth, and entitled to all the liberties, rights and privileges of a natural born citizen.
In July, 1786, the Massachusetts legislature passed AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING JONATHAN CURSON AND WILLIAM OLIVER in which it was declared that Jonathan Curson and William Oliver shall be deemed adjudged and taken to be free Citizens of this Commonwealth, and entitled to all the liberties, privileges and immunities of natural born citizens."
In March, 1787, the Massachusetts legislature passed AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING WILLIAM MARTIN AND OTHERS. in which it was declared that William Martin and Others,shall be deemed, adjudged and taken to be free Citizens of this Commonwealth, and entitled to all the liberties, privileges and immunities of natural born subjects.
In March, 1787, the Massachusetts legislature passed AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING EDWARD WYER AND OTHERS THEREIN NAMED. in which it was declared that William Martin and Others,shall be deemed, adjudged and taken, to be free Citizens of this Commonwealth, and entitled to all the liberties, privileges and immunities of natural born subjects.
In October, 1787, the Massachusetts legislature passed AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING BARTHOLOMY DE GREGOIRE, AND MARIA THERESA, HIS WIFE, AND THEIR CHILDREN. in which it was declared that Bartholomy de Gregoire, and Maria Theresa, his wife, their children,shall be deemed, adjudged and taken to be free Citizens of this Commonwealth, and entitled to all the liberties, rights and privileges of natural born citizens.
In November, 1787, the Massachusetts legislature passed AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING ALEXANDER MOORE, AND OTHERS, HEREIN NAMED. in which it was declared that Alexander Moore and others,shall be deemed, adjudged and taken to be free citizens of this Commonwealth, & entitled to all the privileges, liberties, and immunities of natural born subjects.
In June, 1788, the Massachusetts legislature passed, AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING WILLIAM MENZIES, AND OTHERS, THEREIN NAMED. in which it was declared that William Menzies and others shall be deemed, adjudged and taken to be free citizens of this Commonwealth, and intitled to all the liberties, privileges & immunities of natural born subjects.
In November, 1788, the Massachusetts legislature passed, AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING ELISHA BOURN, AND OTHERS, THEREIN NAMED. in which it was declared that Elisha Bourn and others shall be deemed, adjudged and taken to be free Citizens of this Commonwealth, & entitled to all the liberties, privileges & immunities of natural born Citizens.
In February, 1789, the Massachusetts legislature passed, AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING JAMES HUYMAN, AND OTHERS, THEREIN NAMED. in which it was declared that James Huyman and others shall be deemed, adjudged and taken to be free Citizens of this Commonwealth, and entitled to all the Liberties, Privileges and Immunities of natural born subjects.
In June, 1789, the Massachusetts legislature passed, AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING NATHANIEL SKINNER, AND OTHERS, THEREIN NAMED. in which it was declared that Nathaniel Skinner and others shall be deemed, adjudged and taken to be free citizens of this Commonwealth, and entitled to all the liberties, privileges and immunities of natural born subjects.
In March, 1790, the Massachusetts legislature passed AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING JOHN JARVIS, AND OTHERS, THEREIN NAMED in which it was declared that John Jarvis and others, shall be deemed adjudged and taken to be free citizens of this Commonwealth, and entitled to all the liberties, privileges and immunities of natural born subjects.
In March, 1791, the Massachusetts legislature passedAN ACT FOR NATURALIZING JOHN WHITE & OTHERS" in which it was declared that John White and others, shall be deemed adjudged and taken, to be free citizens of this Commonwealth, and intitled to all the liberties, privileges, and immunities of natural born subjects.
They used both terms in the same context, language and with the same effect.
So what would the understanding of the term natural born citizen be to the people of Massachusetts?
Great question. Important question.
I’ll be fully addressing it in the next version of may essay. I’ll ping you when I post it.
I’m curious why in the article you seem to separate the contested election of William Smith and the dissertation of Dr. David Ramsay.
Dr. Ramsay wrote the dissertation as part of his campaign to have Mr. Smith declared ineligible.
From his dissertation:
The following appear to be the only modes of acquiring this distinguishing privilege.
1st. By being parties to the original compact, the declaration of indcpendcnce.
2d, By taking an oath of fidelity to some one of the United States, agreeably to law.
3d, By tacit consent and acquiescence.
4th. By birth or inheritance,
5th. By adoption.
From his petition to Congress in the Smith case:
that citizenship with the United States is an adventiontitious character to every person possessing it, who is now thirty years of age; and that it can, in no case, have been acquired but in one of the following modes: 1st. By birth or inheritance. 2d. By having been a party to the late revolution. 3d. By taking an oath of fidelity to some of the States. 4th. By tacit consent. 5th. By adoption”
Dr. Ramsay also wrote a letter to James Madison asking Madison to support his petition in Congress. In the letter he makes some of the same arguments as in his petition and dissertation.
From the Dissertation:
From the whole it is plain, that no private individual, tho a native, who was absent from this country at the time independence was declared, could have acquired citizenship with the United States, prior to his returning and actually joining his countrymen subsequent to the recolution.”
From Dr. Ramsay’s letter to James Madison:
“You and I became citizens by being parties to the Declaration of Independence. By that act a new compact for a new government was form between the then residing and consenting inhabitants of the States. But an absent native neither lost his allegiance by the one nor acquired citizenship by the other. Such continued subjects while in Europe and under British protection and could become Citizens on their returning and by residence by an oath or by some other move manifesting their acquiescence in the revolution.”
BTW, Dr. Ramsay came in third in the election that William Smith won.
We know Congress voted down Dr. Ramsay’s petition. Along with Madison, four other signers of the Constitution voted against Dr. Ramsay.
If everyone agreed with everyone else on all points, we wouldn’t need a Constitution, a Congress or a website such as this one :-)
Yes, Madison and Ramsay disagreed on some points regarding citizenship. And most certainly on other issues as well. But from the evidence, the only major disagreement between them regarding citizenship was the effect of the fact the Mr. Smith was absent from the American Continent when the Declaration of Independence went into effect. And from his words, Madison might have reached a different conclusion had Mr. Smith not still been a minor at that moment.
It seems to me that that issue is too technical and too off-topic to be worth including in the essay.
“If everyone agreed with everyone else on all points, we wouldnt need a Constitution”
You hit the nail on the head. The disagreements in 1787 were as great then as they are today.
And it is why you can have William Rawle say,
“Therefore every person born within the United States, its territories or districts, whether the parents are citizens or aliens, is a natural born citizen in the sense of the Constitution, and entitled to all the rights and privileges appertaining to that capacity.”
Like Dr. Ramsay, William Rawle was also in a good position to know the minds of the Framers.
Even Charles Dumas, who published copies of Vattel's Law of Nations, with his own notes included specifically for the American Cause, in 1775, has a much better claim as an authority on such matters than does William Rawle. Dumas shared a home with both John Adams and his son John Quincy Adams. The odds are very good that Mr. Dumas had explicit conversations on the subject of Vattel and his writings with both John Adams and John Quincy Adams.
Rawle was a founding member of the “Society of Polical Inquiries”, a society formed to discuss the science of government. The Society was formed in February, 1787. Ben Franklin was the President and Thomas Paine wrote the by-laws. Rawle was a member of the committe of papers. The society met twice a month at Franklin’s house. Other members included Governour and Robert Morris, James Wilson, Benjamin Rush. Rawle presented a essay on immigration at the April 20th, 1787 meeting.
So it is likely he had some knowledge about the Framers intentions.
So as you pointed out earlier if everyone agreed there would be no need for a Constitution.
At that time the citizenship of the wife followed that of the husband. The husband and wife were a single political entity.
This is no longer the case with regard to citizenship or suffrage.
At the time of the adoption of the Constitution, the parents had a unity of citizenship. In my opinion we should continue to abide by that standard.
People "born in the United States" are born to parents who are either citizens or aliens.
Which citizens "born in the United States" are "natural born citizens", the children of citizens or the children of aliens? Or both?
Article II explicitly requires a difference between "citizen" and "natural born citizen"
If the citizenship of the parents is not the determining factor between "citizen" and "natural born citizen", I want to know what that factor is.
Absent any other plausible claim as to what is the determining factor between "citizen" and "natural born citizen", the answer must be that "natural born citizen" means citizens born from citizen parents since it would be irrational to grant to the children of aliens, and deny to the children of citizens, the privilege of eligibility for the Office of President.
Until there is a plausible claim as to what factor other than the citizenship of the parents determines between "citizen" and "natural born citizen", the "US birth = natural born" position is absurd.
This from Merriam-Webster is also worth notice: Natural - begotten as distinguished from adopted; being a relation by actual consanguinity as distinguished from adoption (emphasis added)
Bump just so I can find it again
I may work that reasoning in the next version of the essay. Thanks.
Someone directed me to this essay as I needed some authoritative words on the meaning of NBC. I hope you don’t mind if I post it on another forum (freepmail me if you want to know where), attributed to you on FR, of course.
Another placemark so I don’t lose this thread!
It’s taking me forever to format it properly especially because I’m a techtard.
Reference: Obama's Real Father Exposed!
Unless something changes, that means that I may not be producing or publishing an updated version of this essay.
I think this may qualify as ‘spam’ at this stage in our FR evolution. And what a lengthy can of spam it is!
The requirements for the presidency are:
“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. “
natural born citizen
35 years of age
14 years a US resident.
The last requirement is irreconcilable with some definitions of natural born citizen.
It doesn’t specify which 14 years have to be resident and which 21 years can be non-resident.
A woman gives birth 1 second before her plane leaves US air space. She is a US citizen and her husband is a US citizen.
The Child lives his next 20 years 11 months in Iran training as a mullah.
He returns to the US and acquires 14 years and 1 month of residency.
On the other hand, a person could be born overseas of one US parent and immediately fly with his parents to the US and live an entire qualifying period of 35 years in the US.
And not be eligible according to some to the presidency. Weird.
All Natural Born Citizens must be born non-caesarian. Breech births are only considered NBC, if the doctor, wet nurse or other was shown to have moved the baby into that position prior to birth. Babies who survived the abortion process will not be considered NBC due to the intent of the parent. In-vitro fertilization will in no instance be considered as NBC. Afro-Americans due to their self proclaimed dual citizenship shall also be banned from NBC.
Your argument works just as well against any definition of ‘natural born citizen.’ Or even against any requirement for citizenship at all.
It does seem to me that the 14 years residency/35 years of age is a bit of a conundrum.
If citizenship by blood is assumed, that would sort of make sense of only 14 years residency. Born overseas, returns to the US by age 21 and lives 14 years in the USA.
If citizenship by place of birth is assumed, then birth in the USA followed by any combination of months and years out of 35 that total 14 would lead to eligibility for the presidency,
But one has to then realize that eligibility can be revoked for one born to 2 US citizens in the USA if too much of their time is spent overseas. However, the odd circumstance of the person born in the USA and one day later and for the next 21 years in Iran training to be a mullah, followed by 14 years residency has that person eligible for the presidency.
Was that residency rule more likely to have been enacted to bring an overseas birth home, or more likely to get qualifying years under the belt of a person born in the USA of 2 citizen parents?
Just me, but it makes more sense to me that it was intended to bring an overseas blood citizen home.
One would have to interpret the intent of the NBC requirement based on the realities of international travel (and especially ‘permanent’ relocation of domicile) in 1787.