The Constitutional requirement for President is “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; …”
Note the Constitutional distinction of “natural born Citizen” and “Citizen.” The paramount question is “why would the founders make the distinction of ‘natural born Citizen’ and ‘Citizen’ if it was not meaningfully important”?
The Constitutional framers understood “natural born Citizen” and “Citizen” to be uniquely different and unequal; and deliberately established this unique presidential qualification while specifically excluding ‘naturalization’ as a qualification.
Applying the Principles of Constitutional Construction, a term more often used by the Founders, in the original, unamended Constitution, any phrase that is different from another phrase cannot have the same meaning, via the axiom “There are no redundancies within the original unamended Constitution.”
Chief Justice John Marshall, in delivering the opinion of the Court in Marbury v. Madison (1803) stated “It cannot be presumed that any clause in the constitution is intended to be without effect; and therefore such construction is inadmissible, unless the words require it.” “Citizen,” “naturalization” and “natural born Citizen” are ALL in the Original, unamended Constitution; therefore, none can mean the same thing.
In the case, Minor v. Happersett (1874), Minor, a woman, wanted to register to vote in the federal Presidential election and was denied registration because of her gender.
Deliberating this case, the Supreme Court recognized that the Constitutional framers did not define ‘natural born Citizen’ but that they did know its meaning and that it was different from ‘Citizen’ as stated in our Constitution. It was the framers who made this distinction, and the Court rendered unanimously the definition that children born of parents (note the plural) who are citizens are natural born citizens eligible for the Presidency.
The courts decision states: “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.”
In Minor v. Happersett the Supreme Court fully understood and applied the Principles of Constitutional Construction in their decision.
The first seven Presidents were ‘Citizens’ of the United States and not ‘natural born Citizens’, yet they qualified for the office (Washington through Jackson); because they were citizens “at the time of the adoption of [the] Constitution!” These Presidents had lived through the Revolutionary War, they were patriots, loved our country at the exclusion of Great Britain, and held allegiance to our country as patriots. The founders recognized that a ‘natural born Citizen’, being born to ‘Citizen’ parents (plural) would have the same regard and love of country as these founders; at least that was their hope, prayer and intention.
The founders recognized that congress may define at any time who can become a citizen and how they become a citizen; one only need to begin reading the naturalization acts passed by congress, and include the 14th Amendment. These enactments define citizenship and naturalization of citizens but never define the eligibility requirement for President of the United States because it is already constitutionally established.
Though constitutionally distinct and separate there are those who argue that Mr. Obama is both a citizen and natural-born citizen, and thus eligible for the office of President because this fits their prejudices.
The Constitutional citizenship clause does not apply to Obama, as it did to George Washington, because he was not alive and “a citizen of the United States” at the time of the adoption of the Constitution (1785).
Obama is subject to the “No Person except a natural born Citizen” clause; so how does he fare under it?
Obama has documented that his father was a British subject at the time of his birth and The British Nationality Act of 1772 declares unequivocally that children born of British Subjects regardless of their birth location are themselves British Subjects:
“That all Persons born, or who hereafter shall be born, … are hereby declared and enacted to be, natural-born Subjects of the Crown of Great Britain, to all Intents, Constructions, and Purposes whatsoever, as if he and they had been and were born in this Kingdom:”
As political bodies are prone to do they revisit prior acts and act upon them again, always with the purpose of increased clarity. This being true The British Nationality Act of 1948 re-confirmed the Nationality Act of 1772 and governed the status of Obama, (Part II, Section 5) with a special gift:
“Subject to the provisions of this section, a person born after the commencement of this Act shall be a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies by descent if his father is a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies at the time of the birth…”
One should note the established birthright inheritance Obama received from his father.
Now the issue and question is not where Obama was born, rather “Were both of his parents U.S. citizens when he was born?”
By Obama’s own admission, and demonstrated on the questionable documents he has provided the public, the answer is “No”. On his birth certificate and in both of his books Obama reports that his father was Kenyan, thus at the time of his birth also a British subject, and today, Kenya is a member of the British Commonwealth of nations.
Remember, the Supreme Court (1874) in the Minor case unanimously defined children born of parents (note the plural) who are citizens are ‘natural born Citizens’; and it is these children who are eligible to hold the office of President of the United States.
Because Mr. Obama’s father, at the time of his birth was a British Subject, and the Constitutional definition requires citizen Parents (note the plural), he is not a ‘natural born Citizen’ as required for the office; he is for ever excluded from ever meeting the natural-born Citizen QUALIFICATION for President; thus Mr. Obama is ineligible to be President of the United States.
Obama’s supporters confuse and argue that citizen and natural born citizen are equivalent; and if that were true the Constitutional qualification would not have listed and differentiated citizen and natural born citizen. Obama’s supporters raise the case of U.S. v Wong Kim Ark to defend their citizen/natural-born citizen prejudice.
Wong was born in California and his parents were Chinese subjects. In 1890 at age 17 Wong left to visit China. Upon his return he passed through the collector of customs and was permitted to land as ‘a native-born citizen of the United States.’ Wong again left to visit China in 1894, and returning to his homeland (U.S.) “applied to the collector of customs to be permitted to land; and that such application was denied upon the sole ground that said Wong Kim Ark was not a citizen of the United States.”
In the Wong case (1898) the court addressed the issue of Wong’s citizenship under the provisions of the 14th Amendment. The United States Supreme court rendered a divided decision on the case where the majority found that Wong was a citizen and limited its holding strictly to the issue of the 14th Amendment citizenship, making no new determination to the Article 2 Section 1 eligibility requirements for President. The court does not and did not address if Wong is a ‘natural-born Citizen’ qualified to be President of the United States; they left intact the Minor (1874) definition.
The definition of natural born citizen in Minor v. Happersett is binding precedent; Ex Parte Lockwood (1894) acknowledged Minor (1874) as precedent for the definition of federal citizenship; and the statements in Minor fit the description of precedent established by the Court in Ogilvie Et Al., Minors v. United States.
Unlike popular culture, in law there is precedent setting from Stare Decisis (to stand by that which is decided earlier by a superior court). This is a hierarchy of law in that when a judgment is given by the court it is considered superior to future judgments and should be adhered to; the Rule of Law. Should stare decisis be ignored because the outcome does not fit our prejudices?
Minor v Happersett (1874) defined a child born of parents who are ‘Citizens’ are a ‘natural born Citizen’ eligible to hold the office of President, compared to the Wong case of 1898 which addressed Wong’s citizenship, not his qualifications to be President.
In each case the court addressed different issues, and the Wong case did not strike down nor re-define Presidential eligibility. Re-defining Presidential eligibility would take an act of congress with a two-thirds approval vote of both houses and a three-fourths approval vote of the 50 states; this is an amendment process to the constitution. The courts are not allowed to amend our constitution though some in congress prefer the courts to be a legislative body in order to avoid their responsibilities as elected representatives.
Our nation does not constitutionally recognize dual citizenship and when our naturalized citizens take their oath of allegiance to the United States they renounce any and all allegiance to any foreign land or person. As weak as some would want The British Nationality Act to be, the Supreme Court’s unanimous definition of Natural Born Citizen remains unchanged.
Our congress and courts have refused to confront this issue and it is a Constitutional crisis for our nation and troops. The media and candidates refuse to ask the right questions, insisting on affirming Obama was born in the USA while disregarding the Constitutional requirements.
Where Obama says he was born is irrelevant. What is relevant is the Constitutional requirement for the Presidency; and the Oath many of us have taken especially those in public office to “… support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God”
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“An act to establish an uniform rule of Naturalization; and to repeal the act heretofore passed on that subject”, United States Congress (January 29, 1795).; Indiana University, available at http://www.indiana.edu/~kdhist/H105-documents-web/week08/naturalization1790.html, (last visited 26 October 2011)
British Nationality Act, 1772; Anno Regni decimo tertio G E O R G I I III. 1772 (13 Geo. 3) C A P. XXI.; available at http://www.uniset.ca/naty/BNA1772.htm, (last visited 26 October 2011)
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