Due to length this was not published — August 27, 2013
Note: Voltaire said “Opinions have caused more ills than the plague or earthquakes on this little globe of ours” and I’d like to add mine to the tremors. I’d like to get in on the debate here regarding “citizenship” and “natural born” and all the other definitions and misconceptions and perversions that are bandied about as if reasonable let alone factual. Just because something is widely accepted or even ruled upon one way or the other by the SCOTUS does not — in matter of fact make it true. As we know, a lie or a falsehood can make many revolutions around the block before truth even has a chance to tie up its laces and get into the race. Men are not God and neither is the SCOTUS. This issue may never be fully resolved — because of the desires of men to be wise in their own eyes — but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to make things right. One reason I’m convinced that the “Birther” movement was such a failure over the last 5 years is that it got kicked to the curb and labeled as “crazy” by those on the right and republicans in general (we knew the left and the media wouldn’t give it any credibility) who seem all to willing to go along with the program rather than seriously look at this important precedent setting issue. Not only from an accurate reading of history but from the perspective of simple rational, logical, common sense thinking. The issue of Obama’s citizenship has always been about his Birth Certificate — as it relates to his fathers citizenship — and not the fact of whether or not he was born in Hawaii or not. Hawaii is irrelevant. Yet the vast majority of those who here the story believe that Hawaii is the crux of the issue.
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It is a complete fallacy to contend that the Constitution allows a non-citizen to give birth to a citizen and even more far fetched to say it authorizes a non-citizen to give birth to a future President of the United States! This is absolute absurdity!
The U.S. Constitution, Article 2, Clause 5, says, “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;…”
So on this point of qualification we need to know who is a “natural born” citizen? What we do know is that all persons at the time of the adoption of the Constitution (the Founding Fathers and those former British subjects; slaves and other non-citizen inhabitants excluded) were considered “citizens”. So future citizens are those born to parents who are citizens, and thus recognized by the term “natural born” citizens, who like an heir to a throne shall be eligible to the office of President.
The 14th Amendment does not apply to citizens or foreigners, but even if it did, it would change nothing regarding the qualifications for the President having to be a “natural born” citizen.
Think of it this way, it’s a blood inheritance to be eligible to hold the office of Presidency. A child of a foreigner can never be considered eligible to the office of President.
Let’s look at how absurd this has all become. No one would claim that a child born in your home to guests or even to a criminal invader would be declared your child — simply because of the location, the geography of the birth. The location has nothing to do with paternity — or for purposes of this illustration, citizenship. That would be absurd. No one would claim that a Cuckoo bird leaving her egg in the nest of a Warbler, even after the Warbler raises it, protects it and feeds it, is no longer a Cuckoo bird, that would be, well, cuckoo.
The idea that a non-citizen, a citizen of a foreign nation, a visitor, legal alien resident (or for criminy sake the illegal type) who gives birth in the United States or in a US territory has produced a US citizens by virtue of birth geography is done by complete ignorance or fiat or both, it is anything but Constitutional.
Now let’s think about this, the Constitution does not say “native born,” or even suggest it, but only a “natural born” citizen shall be eligible to the office of President. Native and natural are not one in the same, they are not interchangeable terms.
So why didn’t the Founders simply say that “natural born” meant born of two parents who were both themselves citizens? Because that was the exact understanding of the term “natural born.” When something is common sense or has a common understanding we don’t tend to define it. Beyond that not all inhabitants were then citizens. Many were still “subjects” of the British Crown or slaves or simply inhabitants, such as the American Indian. Again native isn’t natural and a citizen is not a subject. So there was no compelling need to define that which was common knowledge. It would have been repetitious, boring and of no real value to the contemporaries who wrote and voted on it.
So who is a “citizen?” Anyone born to citizen parents or who goes through the process of naturalization and becomes a citizen. In both cases their children would be considered “natural born” citizens. In order to be President of the United States (the Founders generation excluded) a person’s parents must have been citizens themselves by birth or naturalization before their child born, if they were to be given the distinction of being a “natural born” citizen.
At our beginnings — up to the revolution — we were subjects of the British Crown. With the revolution, the War for Independence, we threw off that Crown discarding the idea of “subjects” and became what we now call “citizens.” Citizens are those free people in a republican form of government who are the creators and rulers of their government — not subjects or subordinates of it.
There are several ways in which to find true definitions of these terms, their real meanings (yet left undefined) in the Constitution, Bill of Rights and Amendments. For example in the Second Amendment, “regulate” at the time of it’s writing meant precise or accurate — it now is interpreted, by enemies of freedom, to mean regulation by lawful restriction. The later is absolutely false.
Words mean things and to understand the words of the Constitution we must go back to the definitions of their day to understand their original meaning and the writer’s original intent. Either the Constitution is dead and strict as conservatives believe or it is alive and evolving as liberals claim and the meanings and understanding can forever be interpreted differently by each new generation who takes an interest in reshaping it and re-interpreting it to anyway they please.
One such resource of the Founders era was Vattel’s Law of Nations. There are many other sources of corroboration, including the words of the Founders themselves, as well as the transcribed debates of Congress on this issue. Even the words of the authors of the texts themselves.
Let’s look at what Vattel’s says in defining the terms with regard to this subject:
§ 212: Natural-born citizens are those born in the country of parents who are citizens.
§ 213: Inhabitants, as distinguished from citizens, are foreigners who are permitted to stay in the country.
§ 214: A country may grant to a foreigner the quality of citizen – this is naturalization.
§§ 215, 216 & 217: Children born of citizens in a foreign country, at sea, or while overseas in the service of their country, are “citizens.”
Notice in particular in § 212 where it refers to “parents,” plural, not parent, singular, and citizenship follows from the father not the mother — as we historically follow family names and the bloodline of the father. In the cases of President Obama, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, they are not “natural born citizens” no matter how much you and I desire it to be different. They are not qualified to hold the office of the President of the United States.
So what is crystal clear is this; a non-citizen cannot give birth to a citizen! A non-American cannot give birth to an American. A foreigner can never give birth to the person who would later become the Commander in Chief of the armed forces of United States of America. It’s as unimaginable as a sheep giving birth to a goat. Yet today, in our arbitrary, subjective, ignorant politically correct, constitutionally uneducated society, all opinions are given equal weight and equal voice. This is destructive of liberty and self government!
Now let’s look at the 14th Amendment — Section 1 reads in part: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.”
This is where it gets really sticky for some. There are far too many Americans, including large numbers of conservatives and republicans that are ignorant on this issue. The belief that a non-citizen parent can give birth to a citizen child is simply preposterous. There is no justification for the view that a baby born on American soil — to foreign parents — is an American citizen. It makes no sense at all. A child cannot be subject to the jurisdiction of a different country, nation, power or authority than that of his/her parents.
“Subject To The Jurisdiction thereof” does not mean — as Bill O’Reilly incorrectly implied recently — that this issue was so silly and over blown because it’s obvious that everyone in the country is subject to the laws and regulations of the country, so it matters not from where you come, all children born on American soil are Americans. That is as Bill would say catawampus. It’s 180 degrees out of whack. That kind of reading or interpretation makes the entire point of the wording “Subject To The Jurisdiction thereof” — empty and unnecessary. The words “Subject To The Jurisdiction thereof” does have a meaning, and the key to it all is whether a person is qualified to be considered a citizen at birth if the parents themselves are not citizens. Children naturally take the citizenship of the parents (how can if be any other way)? So if your parents are not a citizen of the United States and under it’s jurisdiction then they are naturally — in no man’s land without a country or — under the jurisdiction of another nation.
Are you subject to the jurisdiction of Mexico or Canada? Can either nation call you to jury duty? No, of course not, that would be absurd. That could only be done if you were a citizen of that country. So if you’re a citizen of another country — you are subject to their jurisdiction — your children are also automatically citizens of that country by extension and also subject to their jurisdiction — it can be no other way. Children cannot be subject to a different jurisdiction than the parents. This is simple common sense.
Had the 14th Amendment said “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside” my point would be mute. But it doesn’t say that. And thank our lucky stars it doesn’t and we can have this discussion and hopefully change the coarse of history. Citizenship is not free for the taking. You must be part of the American family before you can give birth to their future leaders. We are our own unique nation, with our own history, culture, language and values — not some birth center or rest stop for the rest of the planet. We are the beacon of hope and the guiding light in a dark tumultuous world. To be treated with such disrespect by those who come here and for no other reason than to give birth for benefits is an outrage. Being an American is an honor, a privilege, a blessing. And in order to serve your fellow Americans as President you must have descended from the bloodline of other Americans, not the child of some third world squatter who jumped our border, broke our laws, and steals the hard earned taxpayer dollars used to pay for the birthing of a child in our emergency rooms.
Further evidence can be found in the lack of recognition of dual citizenship by US law: House Report No. 784, dated June 22, 1874, states, “The United States have not recognized a double allegiance. By our law a citizen is bound to be ‘true and faithful’ alone to our government.” There is no way in the world anyone can claim “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” affirms to the old common law doctrine of birth citizenship as found under the British Crown and apply it today to aliens and foreigners because such a doctrine clearly creates a “double allegiance” between two or more nations.
The purpose of the Fourteenth Amendment upon it’s adoption in 1868 was to legalize as citizens of the United States freed black slaves and their posterity.
The 14th Amendment has a spirit and a context to it and to dismiss it and go with the simple reading may be understandable to some (the ignorant) but it is not accurate history. The purpose of the 14th Amendment has everything to do with correcting the problem of slavery after emancipation. The purpose was to fix the denial of rights denied under Article IV, Sec. II of the Constitution that defined citizenship. The 14th Amendment serves to make citizens of those who fit the criteria at the time — of being the citizens of no nation — of being without citizenship anywhere. Black slaves were not citizens of any nation. It recognizes those individuals inhabiting the nation for generations, born here, living here, that have or owe no allegiance to another country or government. Slaves fit that definition, they were both born here AND “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States where as foreigners and illegal aliens are not.
Our current misuse of the law is due to ignorance, avoidance and a lack of understanding. As it is currently applied it incentivizes such things as illegal immigration and births on our soil, taking with it our treasure and (as we see with Barack Obama) our leadership. It also incentivizes the enemies of the United States to birth their children here in a hopes of one day filling our elected offices and courts with those who might undermine our republic and someday extinguish our liberties without ever having fired one shot (Fort Hood notwithstanding).
If being born here, if geography was king, then why would the Founding Fathers have excluded themselves — having already been born here? So too with slaves who would have been citizens, having been born here, but they along with Native American Indians were not considered “natural born” because they were neither citizens nor naturalized nor grandfathered as were the former subjects of the British Crown.
The idea that a non-citizen visitor, foreigner, legal alien (or for criminy sake the illegal type) who gives birth in the United States or in one of its US territory — is a citizens by virtue of birth geography — it is allowed an injustice by sheer ignorance or fiat but not on any ground of Constitutional principle.
If it were all this simple, illegals and vacationers who come here and have anchor babies would be geniuses (perhaps they are) and those that complain about it would simply be annoying gongs. However, this is far from a mute issue as the words “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof” are still in play and must be understood and applied as originally defined. This debate is loud and the opinions are many but the truth I think can be found among all the noise.
The courts have repeatedly ruled incorrectly on this issue and set in motion precedent rooted in folly and fallacy which has built a bridge over, around and under the true meaning and purpose of these key words and phrases in the Constitution, completely avoiding the Founders original intentions. The idea, the necessity of citizenship being insolubly linked to citizenship parents is directly linked to the long term health and stability and security of a free nation. The farther we travel down this road where academia, government and the courts misguide the populace, and the citizen, who is ignorant of the text of their Constitution, the harder it will be to return to the truth and the easier they will be led away from it.
The truth does not have to be believed to be the truth. Just because the truth is not known or taught or believed or followed doesn’t make it any less the truth. If everyone believed pigs could fly, wouldn’t make it so. Everyone believing a falsehood about the Constitution does not make it so either. Are we seeking truth here or a simple comfort in the opinions of others?
Never in my life have I heard so much controversy about those running for president than over the past two election cycles. Mitt Romney and John McCain are without question citizens and never should have been the focus of news inquiry. Barack Obama is without question not a “natural born” citizen. (Since his father was not a US Citizen and was illegally married to his mother, having still been married in Kenya.) Having been born in Hawaii or Kenya is of no consequence and those that argue against Obama on birth geography are undermining the very Constitution they claim to be protecting. The fact that Obama is the current occupant of the White House and was elected President of the United States (twice) doesn’t change the fact that he is not qualified for the office.
Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz (as deflating and depressing as it might be to some) were not US citizens at birth, let alone “natural born” citizens. The US government might say they are, millions of Americans might believe they are, they may even be elected President of the United States some day, but that in fact would be in error and yet another violation of our precious and sacred Constitution. Those that “shall be eligible to the Office of President” are heirs of American citizens only. To deny that and allow others to hold that office — no matter how grand and virtuous that individual might be — is akin to giving away the country for which our Founders fought and bled and died.
David is a perpetual student of religion, politics and American history. He lives in Southern California with his wife and their three children. Writer, thinker, speaker, blogger, he is the author of many articles as well as the book, The Conservative Directory – The Little Black Book of the Cultural Counter Revolution (1994). The book was honored with praise from Charlton Heston, Bay Buchanan, Joseph Farah among many others. You can follow him on Twitter @cogitarus. He’s available for speaking engagements upon request.