Dear Birthers: Obama may as well have been born on the moon.

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

It seems the that long hot days of summer bring out the conspiracy theorists. Or maybe they're always there, and this is just the political equivalent of Shark Week.

In any case, the bored traditional media is all atwitter (and a-Twitter) about the ongoing "questions" about the birthplace of President Barack Obama. It seems that there's a whole movement calling themselves "birthers" that think he was born in Kenya, rather than Hawaii.

As usual, no one does a better job summarizing the debunking than Jon Stewart. (The whole clip is great, but the best part starts at 3:40.)

But, let's actually indulge the birthers a bit and read the rules. From Article II of the U.S. Constitution:

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

Now, what the heck does "natural born" mean?

Well, if you're a citizen of the United States, you've accomplished that through one of two means. Either you're "natural born" or you're "naturalized".

To be "naturalized" means that you've gone through the citizenship process (the test, the oath, etc.)

To be "natural born", that means that you were born a U.S. citizen. To be born a U.S. citizen, one of two things has to happen - either you're born in the United States (the 50 states, DC, or the territories), or you're born to at least one U.S. parent.

John McCain, for example, was born in Panama - a sovereign nation (though one that was once a U.S. territory.) He earned his citizenship at birth because both of his parents were U.S. citizens.

Another example: I was born in Helsinki, Finland. My father is a citizen, therefore I was born a U.S. citizen - and I've got the State Department paperwork to prove it. Cute little footprint and everything. (For the record, I'm not planning to run for president.)

So, it doesn't actually matter whether Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, Kenya, or on the surface of the moon. (Or even, as Obama has denied, on the planet Krypton.)

His mother was a U.S. citizen. Therefore, he's a natural-born U.S. citizen. No matter where he was born.

Comments

  • cw (unverified)
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    That's a good point. Why isn't that being raised in the media reports?

    Maybe that's a rhetorical question...

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    Exactly. The conspiracy has to include the part where his mother goes to Kenya and acquires him from an orphanage, a relative of his father's, whatever, and THEN plants the birth announcements in Hawaii, gets a Hawaiian birth certificate and, well, the rest is history.

  • Ed Bickford (unverified)
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    My question when the righties brew up another tempest in a teapot like this one is: From what are they trying to distract us this time?

  • mp97303 (unverified)
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    Have the birthers ever refuted the birth announcement in the newspaper? Even for their feeble minds, that makes for one hell of a conspiracy.

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    The online copy of Obama’s certification of live birth can be seen here.

  • (Show?)

    The "birthers" are racists, plain and simple. They just can't stand having someone who isn't white as President. So they go from invented lie to invented lie, which are all just substitutes for the racist profanity laced tirade they really want to scream, but can't in polite company.

    Will it work? Who knows? The public kind of barely had its head screwed on right last election, but with the cleanup of the GOP's economic mess taking longer than Obama expected (but exactly where Krugman said it would), I sometimes worry that they'll all fall back into voting to be screwed by the elephant again. Racism and tribalism is a primeval response embedded deeply in our genes, and humans tend to turn to it during periods of prolonged suffering.

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    His mother was a U.S. citizen. Therefore, he's a natural-born U.S. citizen. No matter where he was born.

    One possible interpretation. Nowhere near established as a matter of law, however.

    Either you're "natural born" or you're "naturalized". To be "naturalized" means that you've gone through the citizenship process (the test, the oath, etc.)

    Maybe. The question boils down to whether that's the way the Founding Fathers understood it. It's in the Constitution -- modern statutory law is not controlling, and may not even be relevant.

  • (Show?)

    Ahh, if only it were that easy. Actually, the birthers have done their homework here, but as usual, they didn't check their work.

    The reason they say that he isn't a natural born citizen, despite having an American mother, is that the statute which was in effect on August 4, 1961 would have precluded the situation you just described. The statute, PL 82-414, § 301(a)(7) (1952) says that a natural born citizen is:

    a person born outside ... the United States ... of parents one of whom is an alien, and the other a citizen of the United States who, prior to the birth of such person, was physically present in the United States ... for a period or periods totalling not less than ten years, at least five of which were after attaining the age of fourteen years ... .

    The rationale goes, that, since she gave birth to Barack before age 19 (short only a few months), she could not satisfy the requirement that she be present in the U.S. for five years after she turned 14. And indeed, if Barack was born in Kenya, rather than Hawaii, he would not have been a natural born American citizen.

    Until 1994, that is. This is where the Birthers willful blindness comes in.

    In 1994, Congress retroactively changed that provision, now incorporated as 8 U.S.C. § 1401 (h). It provides that a natural born citizen is:

    a person born before noon (Eastern Standard Time) May 24, 1934, outside the limits and jurisdiction of the United States of a alien father and a mother who is a citizen of the United States who, prior to the birth of such person, had resided in the United States.

    Morons.

  • DSS (unverified)
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    Who cares! I hope that they carry on this bizarre conspiracy theory to the bitter end so that everyone can see what nuts Limbaugh, Dobbs, and these other guys really are.

    Flogging this issue beyond sanity is the best thing Republicans could have done for the Democratic Party.

    I honestly hope that the midterm elections become a referendum on whether Orly Taitz is batshit crazy.

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    This whole issue is as ridiculous as the wackos who were ranting that Sarah Palin wasn't really Trig's mother.

    (Jack Bog can't ban me from BlueOregon can he?)

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    Whoops. That's not the one that's applicable. Disregard the second part of my post. Lunch break is almost over, but will fix that later.

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    Correcting my previous post of 1:27 p.m. The provision applicable to Obama, enacted by Congress in 1986, and repealing the previous version which would have disqualified him from citizenship, is 8 U.S.C. § 1401(g):

    (g) a person born outside the geographical limits of the United States and its outlying possessions of parents one of whom is an alien, and the other a citizen of the United States who, prior to the birth of such person, was physically present in the United States or its outlying possessions for a period or periods totaling not less than five years, at least two of which were after attaining the age of fourteen years ...

    Congress shortened the requirement of presence in the U.S. after the parent's 14th birthday. Presumably, Ann Dunham spent at least 2 years stateside between her 14th birthday and giving birth to Barack.

    Essentially, the Birthers' rationale relies on a statute that is no longer valid.

  • Nick (unverified)
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    Forget the birth certificate. The real issue is that regardless of where he was born, Obama is ineligible simply because he possessed Kenyan/British citizenship at birth thru his father. Read what Vattel said in "The Law of Nations." Vattel was very influential in the early United States, and he makes clear that if someone's father is not a citizen then the child cannot be natural born. Also see the U.S. Supreme Court discussions in The Venus, 12 U.S. 8 Cranch 289 (1814) and also Minor v. Happersett, 88 U.S. 21 Wall. 167-168 (1874).

    This isn't a matter of conspiracy or speculation; it's simply a matter of historical legal fact.

    Attorneys Leo Donofrio and Mario Apuzzo are good sources on this particular argument.

  • Betty (unverified)
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    Nick,

    So does that also apply to presidents like Andrew Jackson (whose parents were Scottish immigrants) and all of the presidents whose parents were born before the American revolution (and thus were British subjects)?

  • Miles (unverified)
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    I haven't followed this closely, but I have a feeling the conspiracy theorists have addressed Kari's points and the others in the comments. Conspiracy theorists will always have more time on their hands than you or I, and this is what they spend their time on. No matter the evidence, you will never convince them differently. It's a pointless task.

    The pushback that I think is interesting goes like this: Accept everything they've put forward as fact. Assume someone brings a lawsuit to disqualify Obama as president based on these facts. The result: nothing. Even if they were right, the judiciary wouldn't touch this. Judges have a long history of avoiding "political" conflicts that involve one of the other branches of government. That's what makes Bush v. Gore such an anomaly in American jurisprudence. Can you imagine a judge ruling in favor of the plaintiff and overturning the election on a technicality? They could have pictures of Obama's birth to two Kenyans and the adoption papers that his mother signed to get him, and it still wouldn't result in the election being overturned. At best, the judges would rule that only Congress has the power to impeach and remove the president, not the judiciary. And Congress ain't gonna go there.

  • Jim (unverified)
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    Interesting this Vattel. I can't find his name among those who signed the Constitution. Although I am intrigued that since Nick has declared him influential, he thereby is the end all-be all on issues of the Constitution, reality not withstanding, of course.

  • Jonathan Radmacher (unverified)
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    Please let's keep this up. Did you see G. Gordon Liddy with Chris Matthews? If the birthers and Palin supporters keep it up, there should be a permanent 20% of the population who alienate every sane person from their viewpoint.

  • DSS (unverified)
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    So does that also apply to presidents like Andrew Jackson

    Actually, the Constitution provides for that by saying that the "natural born citizen" rules doesn't apply to those born prior to the adoption of the Constitution:

    "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..."

    Personally, I feel that the whole argument is busted based on the placement of the second comma. It sets off the "at the time of the adoption..." exemption as an independent clause, thereby (grammar-wise) making the "or a Citizen of the United States" clause applicable in any event.

    But then, the Founders' intentions were pretty clear. And if one reads it that way, then the "natural born" clause becomes irrelevant.

    But when there's a discrepancy between the intent of those who drafted the Constitution and the grammar with which it was transcribed... which takes precedence?

    Even though the clause intends to be read:

    "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..."

    ... it can also be read:

    "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..."

    Of course then there's a whole mess of what to do with the now-independent "time of adoption" clause... does it mean that these qualifications apply only to the Presidency at the time of adoption... or does it mean that no one born after 1787 is ever eligible?

    ... and THAT is why grammar is important!!!

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    Russ, are you saying there's a current statute somewhere that says you're only a citizen if your MOTHER is a citizen, but your father doesn't matter? Or is that statute in addition to previous statutes that said otherwise?

    Regardless, my father is an American citizen, my mother was not (at the time of my birth). And I've got, right here, a certificate from the U.S. State Department attesting to the birth of a U.S. Citizen overseas. I was born in 1973.

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    Jack Bog: Are you saying that there's a third kind of U.S. Citizen? Because the only kind I've ever heard of is naturalized and natural-born. Either you're born a citizen, or you're made a citizen after you're born. Those are the only two options, right?

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    I always thought the natural born clause was meant to exclude anyone brought into the world via Cesarean.

  • Betty (unverified)
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    DSS--

    Andrew Johnson's father was a British subject when he was born. Chester Arthur's father was an Irishman.

    Both presidents were born after the Constitution was adopted.

  • BOHICA (unverified)
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    He couldn't have been born on the Moon since all the Moon landings were fake.

    Just saying

  • DSS (unverified)
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    Andrew Johnson's father was a British subject when he was born.

    My mistake; I read that as Andrew Jackson.

    Well, I'm not really sure what the rules on citizenship were before the 14th amendment. Anyone want to partake in that curious academic exercise?

  • loyalty (unverified)
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    Underlying the 'birthers' question is whether or not Obama is loyal to the United States. Apolgizing to the Muslim world (Cairo speech) and bowing to the Saudi royalty are sort of actions where this point gets further re-inforced.

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    Mr. "Loyalty" --

    If they're calling him a traitor, then they should just come right out and say that. It was good enough for Bill Clinton... (remember how he supposedly burned an American flag in Moscow? Yeah.)

  • mp97303 (unverified)
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    Has anyone even bothered to ask the birthers if they can PROVE to their standard that they are indeed citizens.

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    Underlying my doubts about the nutjob birthers is whether they are loyal to the United States of America, its laws and constitution, when a qualified person whose skin color they object to is lawfully elected and by a large margin by the citizens of this same United States of America. Frankly I think they are all traitors to our country and its best democratic traditions.

  • loyalty (unverified)
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    Kari - Just stating there's a swath of the citizenry that is suspicious of Obama's true intentions and the birthing issue is a front. Non progressives are not going to marginalize their position by throwing around the traitor term.

  • Ms Mel Harmon (unverified)
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    I hate summer reruns.....saw the "Obama is NOT a citizen" show the first time, didn't like it then, think it's even more stupid now.

  • loyalty (unverified)
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    Bill R - you're making assumptions that birthers object to Obama's skin color. I don't think that's the issue. I think the issue is the real or percieved acceleration in progressive ideas and actions. There's a fear Obama is pushing the envelope too far and too fast. The birthing issue is just a tool to discredit him.

  • George Anonymuncule Seldes (unverified)
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    What this silly flap does point out is that we've got a weird two-class system going on for men and women; US-citizen women who give birth to a child have an express route to citizenship for the child. US-citizen men who father a child -- like the many fathered in Vietnam -- learn to their dismay that they have a lot of hoops to go through (expensive hoops), despite the ability to establish with stratospherically high confidence the paternity.

  • rw (unverified)
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    Birthers: I keep wondering when you will whinge against that moron in charge of Kelleephornya (s'how he pronounces it). Was he born in the US? Why did you elect HIM to run one of our largest states? You cannot have it both ways, kids.

  • Jack (unverified)
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    Here’s Obama’s dilemma in a nutshell (READ VERY CAREFULLY AND DIGEST):

    If BHO shows his original long form birth certificate, indeed showing he was born in Hawaii, it will also show his father was American citizen, Frank Marshall Davis, not the Kenyan/British citizen, Barack Obama Sr. While that would allow Barack Jr. to be POTUS eligible as BOTH a “citizen”/“native born citizen” AND an Article 2 “natural born citizen” — that is, born to two American citizens on American soil — it would simultaneously show he is a fraud hiding his real father — an unacceptable political debacle.

    If, on the other hand, BHO keeps hiding his original long form birth certificate — while simply repeating, without showing, he was born in Hawaii — he can still CLAIM BOTH he was born in Hawaii AND his father was the Kenyan/British Barack Obama Sr. This would enable Barack Jr. to claim he’s a “citizen”/“native born citizen” but it would mean (if a federal court would ever get around to declaring and thus far no one has standing to bring the suit) that he’s NOT an Article 2 “natural born citizen” and thus not eligible to be POTUS — a legal/constitutional debacle since all acts under an illegal POTUS are void.

    So it seems, BHO has elected option one until forced to go option two because for now it looks like no federal court will ever find a plaintiff with standing. (Of course, there’s the additional issue of BHO losing American citizen status if/when he became an Indonesian citizen — that is, IF he returned and was naturalized he would be a legal citizen, but would lose both native and natural born status, and, IF he returned and was not naturalized, he would be an illegal immigrant unlawfully in this country — but we’ll leave that for another day.)

  • Ralph (unverified)
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    Jack, above, is absolutely correct. Additionally there are the issues of BO/Soetoro's SEALED college entrance records. How did he enter Occidental College? As a "foreign" student or as a resident citizen?

    If BO/Soetoro will not release any of his records he himself creates the doubts and suspicions.

    In any case, until this "Legal Matter" is resolved in a court of law, nobody who has commented above, including me, has the ability to judge this one way or the other.

    How will any of you know it alls look at Republican Louisiana Governor, Bobby Jindal if/when he runs for POTUS? Neither of his parents were US citizens when he was born. Jindal is a US citizen for sure but Natural Born?

    This issue is unsettled law!

    Read MINOR v. HAPPERSETT http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=88&invol=162

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    I don't know, I think the minute before Kari mentioned when he mocked Orly was the funniest part.

    Yes, an attorney, a dentist and a real estate agent. Well done Stewart!

  • BOHICA (unverified)
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    For the best explanation I've found, read this, EXPLOSIVE! The Birthers are right - here's how it happened.

  • Ron Morgan (unverified)
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    "If, on the other hand, BHO keeps hiding his original long form birth certificate —..."

    As an adoptee, I have personal experience with the vagaries of legal identity. My own birth certificate, both long and short form, from the state of California declares that my adoptive mother gave birth to me. There is nothing on this document, foundational to my legal identity, to indicate that it has been amended. My personal research has uncovered that I was actually born to a woman who was Canadian born, and who, although married at various times to US citizens, was unlikely to have become one herself. My father is unknown. It seems, according to Vatter, that I could not be considered a natural-born citizen (but then the laws of bastardy were much more strictly outlined in the 18th century). Such are the facts of the matter, but I could stand up fearlessly at any Tea Party and wave my birth certificate as "proof" that I am a "natural born citizen". Let's just say that I find the mental gymnastics and sophistry of the birthers amusing at best...

    Perhaps this is why I don't view Obama's speech in Cairo as disloyal so much as corrective, and felt that W's garden strolls hand in hand with Saudi princes more alarming than Obama's protocol-confused nod. In the parlance of Vatter, my mixed or uncertain bloodlines translates directly to mixed allegiance. This is an antiquarian argument, and along with Vatter's emphasis on primogeniture (the primacy of the father's line), deeply rooted in Roman law. It also reflects the archaic notion that "blood will out", which, along with a lot of other claptrap, the Framers no doubt believed, along with a lot of other nonsense long since disproven and jettisoned.

    In short, a birth certificate is at best a dubious document. Women may or may not surrender the name of the true father to be included in the BC. Under putative fatherhood laws in many states, it doesn't matter who the actual father is, if the woman who gave birth was married at the time then her husband's name is logged on the birth certificate, even if he was serving in a submarine under a polar ice cap during the conception. Women untethered to a husband may put a father's name up for inclusion on the birth certificate, or not.

    And then there is human error. My first child's original birth certificate states that she's a male, because of a clerical error. We had to amend it to reflect her true gender. The "birther" argument would be that this proves she's a transsexual and any argument to the contrary used to prove that she is shifty and potentially "disloyal".

    So, carry on, all you birther maniacs. Split hairs. Use close readings of the Laws of Hamurabi to parse a universal definition of "natural born citizenship". Chase your tails. Taint the Republican Party with your nonsense. have fun, because at the end of the day this is all you're going to have. This is an issue that will grace mock courts and debating club proceeding for decades, but will stand outside the real legal arena like a, well, a bastard child.

  • Mike (unverified)
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    "Birthers: I keep wondering when you will whinge against that moron in charge of Kelleephornya (s'how he pronounces it). Was he born in the US? Why did you elect HIM to run one of our largest states? You cannot have it both ways, kids."

    CA does not require you to be native-born or naturalized. Don't get me wrong I think the birthers are full of crap. But we are dealing with two diff sets of laws.

    Oh and Ahnold is a good aryan which I think is why the birthers don't have an issue with him.

  • Ed Bickford (unverified)
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    This tripe is just a distraction from the corporate submarining of real health-care reform. What a (purposeful) waste of time.

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    Kari-

    See my comment at 2:17 pm, which corrects my previous post. Yes, there is a statute like that, but it only applies to people born before noon on May 24, 1934.

    Nick (and Ralph)-

    You need to actually read the cases you cite before you rely on them.

    First, neither of these cases is on point. The Venus deals with the disposition of property belonging to naturalized American citizens living in Great Britain. The ship carrying the citizens' cargo was captured by an American privateer. At the time of the capture, August 6, 1812, the U.S. had just declared war against Great Britain. The question was whether restitution had to be paid to the owners of the property by the privateer, turning on whether or not, by remaining in Great Britain during wartime, they had lost their U.S. citizenship.

    So, as you can see, the similarities to Barack Obama's situation is obvious and striking. But whatever. I'll take the bait.

    As is typical of C.J. Marshall, the opinion is long, rambling, and repetitive. But, he does quote Vattel, and this seems as good an encapsulation of the general principle he espouses as any:

    The stranger merely residing in a country during peace, however long his stay, and whatever his employment, provided it be such as strangers may engage in cannot, on the principles of national law, be considered as incorporated into that society, so as, immediately on a declaration of war, to become the enemy of his own. ‘His property,’ says Vattel, ‘is still a part of the totality of the wealth of his nation.’ ‘The citizen or subject of a state, who absents himself for a time, without any intention to abandon the society of which he is a member, does not lose his privilege by his absence; he preserves his rights, and remains bound by the same obligations. Being received in a foreign country, in virtue of the natural society, the communication and commerce, which nations are obliged to cultivate with each other, he ought to be considered there as a member of his own nation, and treated as such.'

    The Venus, 12 U.S. (8 Cranch) 253, 291-92 (1814)

    So, please explain further how you believe this case is dispositive of the question as to whether Obama, being born of one American and one non-American citizen, is a natural-born citizen himself. Are you perhaps suggesting that by spending some time during his youth outside of the U.S., he forfeited his American citizenship? Since the U.S. has never declared war with Indonesia (where he lived for a time), how would The Venus rule apply?

    As to Minor, this is again a case which is not on point. Minor addresses the question of women's suffrage. And while considerable discussion in the opinion addresses whether women are or can be citizens (it determines they are or can be), the holding of the court is that voting is not a right guaranteed by the 14th Amendment to the citizens of the United States or citizens of the various states. In its holding, the logic of the court in Minor is entirely circular, and patently absurd by today's standards and in light of the 19th amendment.

    However, it does, at one point, ruminate on whether one can be a natural-born citizen if one's parents are not citizens. It does not resolve this question, as it is irrelevant to the case:

    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 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.

    Minor v. Happersett, 88 U.S. 162, 167-68 (1874)

    Two important points about that passage:

    1.) note that the court acknowledges that the constitution does not define what a "natural-born" citizen is.

    2.) note that, because of that, the court cites common law principles of citizenship.

    Your attempt to justify your position based on the common law as it existed in 1874 is laughable. Why? Because common law is only a starting point, not a final authority. As you know, a legislature exercising proper authority can change common law at any time by enacting a statute.

    If it was the common law of the United States that only children born to citizen parents were natural-born citizens, Congress changed that when it enacted 8 U.S.C. § 1401. Statutory law, not common law, now is dispositive of who exactly is and is not a citizen.

    This may have been unsettled law in 1874, but it is perfectly well settled as of 1952.

    Finally, let's talk a very brief moment about Vattel. Vattel was a Swiss philosopher. While his treatise The Law of Nations, has been influential in the field of international law, it was written in 1758, and he died in 1767, 20 years before our Constitution was written. You are right that his opinion is that only children of citizens are themselves natural-born citizens.

    If you have to go all the way back to an obscure Swiss philosopher, and find a very short passage buried deep within an English translation of a work written in French, you are really stretching.

    Ignoring U.S. statutory law, citing obsolete and irrelevant court cases and obscure Swiss philosophers does not do your position a service. Please take off your tinfoil hat.

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    Thank you, Russ.

    It appears that we've attracted the attention of the birthers - in the guise of "Jack" and "Ralph" - at which point, I expect this discussion to go off the rails into tinfoil-hat land.

    Ah well.

  • Ralph (unverified)
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    Kari, You are relying on Russ's opinion of Minor. If neither of you are attorneys or judges I'd suggest that the words in Minor be heeded before you can be taken seriously..."The Constitution does not, in words, say who shall be natural-born citizens. Resort must be had elsewhere to ascertain that."

    What the hell are you afraid of in letting SCOTUS decide this issue once and for all?

    Before that happens, ya know what ya can do with your tin-foil, don't ya? (You are not any tougher than the rest of us nor gifted with the final say so on a Legal Issue)

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    How, in God's name, does this "dispute" ever get past summary judgment, assuming a lawsuit is actually filed? Speculation and wild questions are not proof, and since the Chief Justice of the United States has already sworn Barack Obama in as president (twice, as a matter of fact) how do the "birthers" ever prove that he is NOT a natural born citizen of the United States?

    The only reason this gets any play is that the Democrats and their media arm (I'm look at you, MSNBC) keep using it to make Republicans look like wackos. They are aided in this, of course, by my fellow Republicans who are wackos.

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    By the way, does this whole nonsense about remind anyone else of MacBeth, where it is prophesied that "no man that's born of woman" will be able to kill MacBeth, then it turns out that Malcolm, his killer, was born by caesarian?

  • Ron Morgan (unverified)
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    "What the hell are you afraid of in letting SCOTUS decide this issue once and for all?"

    Considering the Roberts Courts narrow interpretation of "standing" your question seems moot, unless Kari has some kind of magical SCOTUS powers he's been holding out on...

  • (Show?)

    Sue naively writes: Exactly. The conspiracy has to include the part where his mother goes to Kenya and acquires him from an orphanage, a relative of his father's, whatever, and THEN plants the birth announcements in Hawaii, gets a Hawaiian birth certificate and, well, the rest is history.

    Sue, Sue, were you born yesterday?

    You missed the part where they got the kid into Harvard Law, then onto the Law Review, then into a clerkship, then onto the U of C faculty, and strategized for him to meet Daniel Axelrod, and adroitly had him look foolish in his run against Bobby Rush, only to strategically engineer a retirement to open up a Senate seat, and maniacally mismanage a war in Iraq, thus opening up an opportunity for a fresh new outsider, while simultaneously planting seeds of dissent in the Clinton campaign ...

    ALL SO A KENYAN CAN BE PRESIDENT! IT'S GENIUS I TELL YOU!! SHEER UNMITIGATED EVIL GENIUS!

    (cue the evil laugh line).

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    Ralph-

    That Congress has the authority to determine the terms on which citizenship is conferred by birth or naturalization has been settled. The court addressed that issue in U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649 (1898), and reaffirmed it in Miller v. Albright, 523 U.S. 420 (1998).

    By the way, you and your Birther friends should read Miller. It will make your head explode.

    Also, I note that the rebuttal I offered earlier re: The Venus and Minor were only in the interest of addressing the very narrow parameters that "Nick" set up, mainly, that a person whose father is a non-citizen cannot himself be a citizen. The Venus, Minor, Wong, & Miller all either ignore the question or answer it affirmatively. If you have some other authority that contradicts that, lay it down.

    Jack-

    It's not about bringing this up in court. That's been tried and dismissed at least twice now since the election. I don't know about anyone else, but it's just entertaining to me to poke a stick into the conspiracy theorists' beehive and watch what happens.

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    "Ralph" -- I'm curious what your response is to Jack Roberts - the former Republican labor commissioner of Oregon, and former GOP candidate for Governor and candidate for the Supreme Court.

    He kinda makes a good point that the Chief Justice wouldn't likely actually participate in a swearing-in if he thought it might require future adjudication.

  • Ralph (unverified)
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    Russ, First off I merely suggested that this Legal matter has never been fully/specifically addressed in any court of law and with Bobby Jindal coming along WHY NOT try it? What are you afraid of?

    Don't call me a "Birther" of give me any of that tin-foil crap or I'll resort to what I think of those who seem to be afraid of producing all of the records. College, passports, etc.

    Are you afraid to fully disclose who Obama is? I'm not afraid to lose any candidate for POTUS if they are not Constitutionally qualified.

  • mike (unverified)
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    "Don't call me a "Birther" of give me any of that tin-foil crap or I'll resort to what I think of those who seem to be afraid of producing all of the records. College, passports, etc."

    And we care what you think because?

    Oops BO

    You made widdle walphie vewy vewy angwy

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    First off I merely suggested that this Legal matter has never been fully/specifically addressed in any court of law and with Bobby Jindal coming along WHY NOT try it? What are you afraid of?

    Certainly not Bobby Jindal. And besides, Bobby Jindal was born in Baton Rouge, Louisana! What's your problem with him?

    Did you raise this issue about John McCain? Or is this only about brown people?

  • rw (unverified)
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    Thanks, Mike. Good info I was not aware of. Does illuminate, however, the fact that Birthers have never made much of a peep about Swartzenegger (hey, wait: Swartze (sp) means "black" in German, does it not? And Austria is awfully close next door, just on the other side of the mountains...) taking up politics in Cali with the considerable money of his wife's family to bulwark him... unless there was thunderous peeping and I've forgotten...

  • Wes Lee (unverified)
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    Of course you relize that according to the Birthers criteria that at least that our first 3 President including George Washington weren't legitimate because none of them were "natural born" citizens of the U.S.. They were all originaly "natural born" citizens of the British Empire. So according to the Birther's so called logic George Washington was an illegitimate president.

  • Wrench Monkey (unverified)
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    Ed Bickford said, "My question when the righties brew up another tempest in a teapot like this one is: From what are they trying to distract us this time?"

    More to the point: This "issue" is a gift to the corporatists/militarists of both parties who want us to ignore the ongoing health care sellout as well as the continuing slaughter and torture in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.

  • genop (unverified)
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    I fear if the Birthers keep digging they will learn the truth - Obama was not "born" at all but instead was another product of immaculate conception. Doh.

  • Charles Eggen (unverified)
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    Certified copies of his Hawaiian birth certificate have been provided, but the "birthers" will not accept such, which they dismiss as a forgery. In fact they dismiss all such supporting documentation as forgeries. The point of this and all such anti-Obama subjects is to try and get as many people as possible to turn against Obama and ultimately defeat him in 2012, unless they can impeach him before then. Most are bigots of the first order. I propose that all the states, that want a new President, be allowed to succeed. However we should first allow the sane citizens of those states to move to the more enlightened states and visa versus. I have always wished that the civil war had not occurred and that Lincoln had just said "good riddance" and saved a lot of lives.

  • Bad Wolf (unverified)
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    This movement is almost identitical to the Chester A. Arthur presidency (some thought he was born in Canada, and his father was clearly an Irish Citizen). Much of this whole tempest in a teacup hinges on subtle readings of constitutional laws that are vague, with references to a Swiss legalist and what his writing means to the U.S. Constitution.

    Congress, the branch of government responsible for determining citizenship, voted 378-0 that Obama is a natural born citizen. Why is there any further discussion?

    If Obama's presidency goes well, or even semi-well who cares where he was born?

    If it does not go well, he will not be reelected (I might be wrong there considering the 8 years of idiocy that have nearly wrecked this country).

    <h2>Really, it is just sour grapes, and the Republican Leadership would like it to all go away.</h2>

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