Natural-born citizen – what that means

The Constitution, which sets forth the principle of rule of law, defines what is unconstitutional, and guarantees freedom of speech and other liberties of a Constitutional republic, and also describes the impeachment power. (How many know of the Jewish roots of this document?) Hypocrisy threatens Constitutional government. Could Israel use a constitution like this? More to the point: would a Convention of States save it, or destroy it? (Example: civil asset forfeiture violates the Constitution.) Quick fixes like Regulation Freedom Amendments weaken it. Furthermore: the Constitution provides for removing, and punishing, a judge who commits treason in his rulings. Furthermore, opponents who engage in lawfare against an elected President risk breaking the Constitution.
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The phrase natural-born citizen has created confusion and controversy. But President Barack H. Obama and his friends know what it means. And after trying to make being a natural-born citizen no longer necessary for a candidate for President, those same friends now want to hide both the meaning and their concern.

What is a natural-born citizen?

Vattel's Law of Nations, that defines natural-born citizen

Emmerich de Vattel's Law of Nations. This work defined what a natural-born citizen is.

Emmerich de Vattel, in The Law of Nations, defined a natural-born citizen in this way (Book I, Chapter XIX, Section 212):

The natives, or natural-born citizens, are those born in the country, of parents who are citizens.

Vattel went on to say why: No country can last other than by the children of citizens. So the only inherently automatic citizenship is through one’s father. In addition, a natural-born citizen must be born in-country.

This definition has United States Supreme Court precedent:

  • The Venus, 12 U.S. 8 Cranch 253 253 (1814), a War-of-1812 case defining natural-born citizenship.
  • Barry v. Mercein (1847), 46 U.S. 103, 46 U.S. 103 (How.)(Footnote 4). Cited here.
  • Perkins v. Elg, 307 U.S. 325 (1939), a case that defines dual citizenship, renunciation, and expatriation.

The Barry case is the clearest. A British man and an American woman had a child. The birth took place in the USA. The father went back to England, then wanted his son with him. The mother refused, so the father sued. The US Supreme Court said that the child was his, and he could take the child back to England. Why? That child was not an American citizen.

The plaintiff in error being of legeance to the crown of England, his child, though born in the United States during its father’s temporary residence therein,-twenty-two months and twenty days,-notwithstanding its mother be an American citizen, is not a citizen of the United States. It is incapacitated by its infancy from making any present election, follows the legeance of its father, partus sequitur patrem, and is a British subject. The father being domiciled and resident within the dominions of her Britannic Majesty [Queen Victoria], such is also the proper and rightful domicil of his wife and child, and he has a legal right to remove them thither. The child being detained from the father, its natural guardian and protector, without authority of law, the writ of habeas corpus ad subjiciendum is his appropriate legal remedy for its restoration to him from its present illegal detention and restraint; Constitution United States, art. 3, 2; Judiciary Act, 1789, 11; Inglis v. Trustees Sail. Snug Harb., 3 Pet., 99; 7 Anne, cap. 5; 4 Geo. 3, cap. 21; Warrender v. Warrender, 2 Cl. & F., 523; Story Confl. L., 30, 36, 43, 74, 160; Shelf. Marriage, Ferg., 397, 398.

(See also Novel eligibility challenge in NJ anti-HCR suit and Obama renounced citizenship and eligibility, say NJ anti-HCR plaintiffs.)

Has that definition been in dispute?

Yes. First, President Chester A. Arthur got elected (as Vice-President) without being a natural-born citizen. He was born in-country (in Vermont), but his father was a British subject, not an American citizen. Arthur lied to the press about this. No one challenged him on this in court. (See Hinman AP, How a British Subject Became President of the United States. See also here.)

Second, many Congress members have tried to revoke the need to be a natural-born citizen from the Constitution. Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 reads:

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.

In addition, Amendment 12 says that no person, who may not run for President, may run for Vice-President either.

J. B. Williams, on June 8, 2011, listed all the attempts to amend the Constitution to remove the need to be a natural-born citizen for Presidential election:

In 1975, Rep. Jonathon B. Bingham (D-NY) introduced HJR 33, to say that a non-natural-born citizen could still be President. Bingham tried again in 1977 with HJR 38.

Then, beginning in 2003, several Members of the House and Senate (of both major parties) tried seven times in twenty-two months to remove or change the natural-born citizen rule. (Pastor Carl Gallups described these also, in a nine-minute video documentary. See below and also here.) Among these tries: Senator Don Nickles (R-OK) introduced S-2128 in 2004. In it he defined natural-born citizen merely as one born in-country. This measure ignored the need to have a citizen father. Other measures tried to change the Constitution to say only that a Presidential candidate had to be a citizen for 35 years, or even as little time as 20 years.

The Herlihy essay

Then in 2006, Sarah P. Herlihy, an editor of the Kent Law School Law Review and now an associate in the Chicago offices of Kirkland and Ellis, wrote a scathing critique of the natural-born citizen rule. (See also here.) Her 26-page essay (see below) begins:

The natural born citizen requirement in Article II of the United States Constitution has been called the “stupidest provision” in the Constitution, “undecidedly un-American,” “blatantly discriminatory,” and the “Constitution’s worst provision.”

And:

Limiting presidential eligibility to natural born citizens discriminates against naturalized citizens, is outdated and undemocratic, and incorrectly assumes that birthplace is a proxy for loyalty.

That last could be a subtle try to make people forget the citizen father part of the rule.

The Kent Law Review removed the article from their site. But someone uploaded it to Scribd.com. (Your editor by now has a copy, and will certainly re-upload it if someone takes this copy down.)

Herlihy mentioned now-former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA). He could never satisfy the natural-born citizen rule. But Kirkland and Ellis have some interesting associations, according to Mitchell Langbert. Maybe she was really making a case for then-Senator Barack H. Obama (D-IL).

  • Partner Bruce I. Ettelson served on the finance committees of both Senator Obama and his then-senior colleague, Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL).
  • Partner Jack S. Levin, in 2002, received an honor from the Illinois Venture Capital Association. The presenter: Senator Barack H. Obama.

The last try

The last time anyone tried to change the natural-born citizen rule was in 2008, when Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) tried to attach a rider saying that the phrase natural-born citizen would include anyone born to a member of the active or reserve armed services while on active duty. The obvious winner from this measure was John McCain, the son of an admiral. He was born in the Panama Canal Zone, not in the USA proper. Vattel never mentioned in his treatise whether a territory subject to the jurisdiction of a country could be the same as “on that country’s soil” even if the territory did not fall within the country’s boundaries.

What does this mean?

Senator Nickles’ SB 2128 (2004) is the best clue thus far that everyone who cares to know, knows that being born in-country is not enough to make a natural-born citizen. One has to have a citizen father, too. It also means that Members of Congress, of both parties, have tried to water down or remove the natural-born citizen rule for more than thirty-five years.

We also have an attempt at a learned treatise saying that:

  1. Being a natural-born citizen means simply being born in-country, and
  2. Even that rule is unfair, and just anybody ought to be eligible to the office of President of the United States.

Incredibly, the Herlihy essay cites globalization as a good reason to “open up” Presidential eligibility to more people. (But your editor will confidently predict that Herlihy and Obama would exclude one group of prospective candidates: Jewish candidates born outside the United States, and especially any born in Israel.)

This also explains why Obama stalled on releasing a long-form birth certificate. And when he did finally release one on request, expert after expert has stepped forward saying that it is not only a fraud but an amateurish one. It is as if Obama wants people to concentrate on the site of his birth and forget that his father was a British subject.

Contrary to Herlihy’s complaint, birthplace is only one “proxy for loyalty.” The other is parentage. And the natural-born citizen rule is a good rule. It will help stop the United States from dissolving into fifty (fifty-seven?) provinces of a planned United Federation of Man.

Featured image: the Constitution of the United States. Photo: National Archives.

Editor-in-chief at | + posts

Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

52 Responses to Natural-born citizen – what that means

  1. Camille says:

    Please look up United States v. Wong Kim Ark and forget about this matter entirely. It’s an embarrassment to your movement that you’re all still obsessing over this.

    • Jefferson says:

      United States v. Wong Kim Ark affirms that he is a native-born citizen, not a natural-born citizen. Do you not understand the difference?

      • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

        Exactly. The only thing at isssue in Wong was whether Mr. Wong would be entitled to vote. He was, or so the court held, because his parents were lawfully resident, if temporarily, in this country. But: he was not a natural-born citizen of the United States. He was not a natural-born citizen of China, either. He was not a natural-born citizen of anywhere. To be that, you have to be born in-country of citizen parents.

        • Camille says:

          I see. Then perhaps we should not hold ourselves to this harsh definition? It seems unfair that our destinies are shaped by our birth, and not our choices.

          Enjoy your Fourth of July!

        • Patrick says:

          Ugh. Will you birthers PLEASE stop making up B.S.? Would it absolutely kill you guys to LOOK UP THE INFORMATION instead of just making it up as you go along?

          U.S. vs. Wong Kim Ark was NOT about his right to vote. Wong Kim Ark was born in San Francisco to Chinese citizens who maintained a residence in the U.S. When he made a visit to China, U.S. customs weren’t letting him back in the country because of the Chinese Exclusion Act which prohibited people of the “Chinese race” from being allowed in the country. Those already in the country before the Act were allowed to stay. However, they could NOT be naturalized, and if they left the country, they couldn’t return without approval.

          He was being held by customs who wouldn’t let him in the country! This had NOTHING to do with his right to vote! Where did you hear this ridiculous load of B.S.?

      • Patrick says:

        Wrong. Try READING Wong Kim Ark, and see for yourself. (And by the way, even if you’re weren’t wrong, which you are, “native born” is a subset of “natural born.” You cannot be native born without being natural born, however you can be natural born without being native born. John McCain is such an example.)

        Here’s an excerpt from the ruling, and do me a favor: READ THE WHOLE EXCERPT. It explains how children born in England to alien parents were considered NATURAL-BORN subjects, and that the U.S. observes the SAME RULE. I get so sick of idiots who get halfway through it, stop reading and come up with some moronic rejoinder like, “Gee, I thought we gained our independence from England.” It explains English common law on the subject, then goes on to say we do the same thing. Ergo, Wong Kim Ark was a NATURAL BORN CITIZEN.

        The U.S. vs. Wong Kim Ark, 1898.

        http://supreme.justia.com/us/169/649/case.html

        Scroll down, approximately 1/8 of the webpage until you reach:

        Page 169 U. S. 658

        It thus clearly appears that, by the law of England for the last three centuries, beginning before the settlement of this country and continuing to the present day, aliens, while residing in the dominions possessed by the Crown of England, were within the allegiance, the obedience, the faith or loyalty, the protection, the power, the jurisdiction of the English Sovereign, and therefore EVERY CHILD BORN IN ENGLAND OF ALIEN PARENTS WAS A NATURAL-BORN subject unless the child of an ambassador or other diplomatic agent of a foreign State or of an alien enemy in hostile occupation of the place where the child was born.
        III. THE SAME RULE WAS IN FORCE in all the English Colonies upon this continent down to the time of the Declaration of Independence, and IN THE UNITED STATES AFTERWARDS, AND CONTINUED TO PREVAIL UNDER THE CONSTITUTION AS ORIGINALLY ESTABLISHED.

        • Camille says:

          Yes, I’ve looked a little closer into the matter, and it seems Patrick is correct. Of course, I’m not a lawyer, but this following line seems fairly explicit.

          “The constitution nowhere defines the meaning of these words [citizen and natural born citizen], either by way of inclusion or of exclusion, except in so far as this is done by the affirmative declaration that ‘all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States.”

          Here is a link to the text of the ruling.
          http://supreme.justia.com/us/169/649/case.html
          There is no ambiguity. The writings of French philosophers are irrelevant. Barack Obama (assuming you accept his birth certificate…) is a natural born citizen of the United States.
          There are still plenty of valid points against him, though. They largely involve his policy and ideals. It’s best to focus on those.

  2. John says:

    One fact you conveniently do not present is the reasoning behind the natural born citizen requirement. This was to prevent the take over of our government by European Nobility who would have had the money to simply buy votes, and then could have gotten us involved in wars we had no part in through the power of commander-in-chief.

    It largely isn’t relevant today, nor could it change the fact that Barry is president, and sadly, will likely continue to be president.

    Listen, since I want you to succeed, I will offer a few pointers:

    1) If you’re going to claim to take the Constitution at its word, research your legal arguments.
    2) Stop arguing against science. It marginalizes everything else you do.
    3) Move away from what is being fed to you, and begin to make your own criticisms.
    4) William F. Buckley and P.J. O’Rourke are worth copying. No one else in the modern Conservative movement has their brilliance, apart from perhaps Gary Johnson and Ron Paul, and they’re politicians, so you can’t trust them.
    5) Keep your anti-establishment slant. Lambast all politicians, even the “good” ones. You cannot blaspheme against a politician, and all of them are like [expletive deleted]. If there’s [expletive deleted] going down, you can bet one of those [expletive deleted] politicians is behind it.
    6) If you’re going to go about “Renewing the Fourth Estate”, offer differing viewpoints (if only to tear them down) and invite healthy discussion. Given the people around this website, you could easily organize a debate or five and that could provide you with more hits than you know what to do with.

    Please take my words at least into consideration. You could easily build a community here, with all viewpoints represented. If that isn’t American, I don’t know what is.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Do you really think that the notion of foreigners having money to buy votes is any less relevant today than it was in the days of European aristocrats?

      Two words to make my point: George Soros.

      You surprise me when you use “Barry” (as in Barry Soetoro) as a nickname for Barack H. Obama. And by professing to be “sad” that he will continue in office. (Actually, I dispute the continuance, but not the sadness, if you mean that sincerely.)

      Now then:

      I stand on the research that I have done, and on my choice of sources.

      I am not arguing against science. I seek to reclaim science from the cult (anti-cult?) of ultra-modernists who presume that methodological naturalism will explain everything. (And that it can trump simple rules like “reject the null hypothesis when the odds against it are longer than nineteen to one.”)

      Nobody feeds me anything. I wonder who feeds you sometimes.

      After telling me not to let people feed me, you name two men whose trough you would have me feed at. Make up your mind. Though I respect both the men you named, I don’t pretend that either man had all the answers.

      I’m not likely to lose my disdain for the current establishment. I’d like to know what you would put in place of it, but we both (maybe) can agree that we need a replacement.

      “Conservative” must still be “conservative.” In order to have a debate, one must agree on fundamentals.

      Now about Messrs. Johnson and Paul: Either man would be of great value in a certain limited sphere of government. I’d like to see Mr. Paul stay on as head of the Banking Committee and hold his Federal Reserve audit hearings. Mr. Johnson should have a similar sphere.

      • John says:

        Most of the things George Soros throws money at politically have failed. He didn’t manage to defeat Bush in 2004 despite spending over twenty million dollars of his own cash to do it. He’s less of a threat than he’s made out to be. Also, he’s capable of buying said votes without running for president himself, so the natural citizen requirement still doesn’t “protect” us from Soros.

        I use the name “Barry” in the same sense I call Bill Clinton “Willy”, and George W. Bush either “Dubya” or “Junior”. It’s in part humorous, and in part to remind people that for the vast majority of the president’s life, people called him Barry, not Barack. It isn’t a stance on his citizenship (because I really don’t care about that), but a reminder to not take him so seriously. Barry still has to get out of bed every morning just like the rest of us.

        Obama is a terrible president, although he’s not nearly as bad as some people like to say he is. He’s not even close to being a “good” president, but he isn’t black Hitler either. The Republicans have yet to put up a candidate I feel is capable of winning the general election, and some are so frightening to me personally (Bachmann) that I’m not sure how I would vote on election day, if at all.

        As for your research, it just seems like people in the comments section often point out things you’ve left out, and many of these things invalidate parts of the argument you’ve written. Granted, that’s also one of the things that makes this website an interesting read, both article and comments section alike, and you usually say some thought provoking things when you take up the argument.

        While I won’t claim that methodological naturalism will ever have ALL the answers, methodological naturalism is still a keystone to the scientific method. I’m glad science doesn’t take any real stance on the existence of God, it allows me to keep my faith. Statistics is also more complex than just rejecting the null hypothesis with 95% certainty, and both Type 1 and Type 2 errors occur with some frequency, that’s why scientists replicate experiments over and over again.

        I feed myself. I try to look at both sides, and read everything I can. I fully agree that nobody knows enough history, but I can’t say that either side has all the answers. Critical thought requires more thinking than just declaring one side always right and the other side always wrong.

        To clarify, I meant that both of those men are worth copying stylistically. Both argue(d) from their own outlook, not simply to tow the party line. One of the things I’ve noticed, this article being an example, is that you will trumpet lost causes seemingly because of other people in the conservative establishment will also toot the horn on these subjects. It’s totally up to you to write about what you want to write about, but echoing the rest of the conservative media, even when their wrong, doesn’t do you credit, and since so many other people are writing about the same thing, it takes a lot to make another article on the subject stand out. At a certain point, I find that I just read the pervasive Republican talking point, and grow bored. The argument may have been refuted a thousand, and yet it keeps getting brought up. This meaningfully advances the agenda of no one.

        As another example of this, liberals started screaming “Impeach Bush!” well before he had done anything impeachable. As a result, this cry to have him removed from office was repeated so often, and argued so poorly, that it eventually just became white noise. Even the liberals who wanted Bush out of office grew bored with it, and eventually just had to drop it. This citizenship thing is similar, although Barry is way more conniving than Junior ever was and has started selling t-shirts for twenty-five dollars that show a picture of his face on them, “Made in America”, and a copy of his birth certificate. He has actually turned this “birther” thing into a fundraiser. If that isn’t a good reason to just drop this whole thing, I don’t know what is.

        I’d like to see a return toward actual run-of-the-mill citizens being involved in politics, as opposed to professional politicians running our country into the ground in order to make a buck. I would support congressional term limits, campaign finance reform, a federal recall provision and other overtures toward direct democracy, a much more finely graduated income tax as the only tax anyone has to pay, but I cannot say that I could in good faith fully support any of the politicians in this country, democrat and republican alike. I don’t think we should blame the government, nor is government the problem, but I do think we should blame the people responsible for the government, because they clearly are the problem. What I’m saying is, you should take swings at everyone. In example: as much as I like Ron Paul, he’s too old, and some of his ideas are kind of crazy. As for Gary Johnson, he’s marginalized himself because the only thing he ever talks about is smoking weed. Taking drugs is not the world’s greatest political strategy.

        How do you define conservative? Do libertarians count? What are the fundamentals as you see them? Why not let liberals debate? You could beat them.

        Or are the fundamentals some sort of ground rules for debate like no obscenities, civil tone, must cite evidence when asked for it?

        Thank you, a thousand times over, for actually listening to what I had to say. It’s this sort of healthy, civil discussion that has made our country great, and when people of differing viewpoints can start to come together, we can end the divisive politics that have been used to turn this country against itself.

  3. Jose Rodriguez says:

    The 1847 Supreme Court case occurred before the 14th Amendment therefore it is completely irrelevant today. The 14th Amendment makes all those who are born in the US, regardless of the citizenship of their parents, citizens. Honestly, the case cited is as irrelevant as citing Dredd Scott v. Sandford and proclaiming that case makes Barack Obama not a citizen because he’s of African descent; both were overturned with the same amendment.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Not quite accurate. Amendment XIV makes them native-born citizens. A natural-born citizen is a much stricter concept. You are a native-born citizen (or subject) of whatever country you were born in (so long as you were born in the actual country, not any of its dependencies, embassies, or bases). But you’re not a natural-born citizen unless you are born in-country of citizen parents. Amendment XIV did not change that; it merely recognized a part of natural law that has existed as long as nation-states have existed.

      Amendment XIV did supersede Scott v. Sandford. It did not and could not have superseded the Barry case—not as regards what a natural-born citizen is.

      In fact, though Barack H. Obama is entitled to vote, he is not a natural-born citizen of anywhere. Neither is anyone else born in one country of parents who were citizens or subjects of another. And that’s assuming that we can accept that a real birth certificate exists on him, and that said birth certificate genuinely attests that he was born in Hawaii. That amateur-hour PDF—layered, yet!—does not qualify.

      • Jose Rodriguez says:

        Barry didn’t rule on natural-born citizenship. It ruled on citizenship. Thus, since the case came before the 14th amendment, it is entirely irrelevant.

        Unfortunately, the definition of natural-born citizen you’re getting is not from any US law or legal code of any form. It’s from a Swiss political philosopher, so it has no legal basis in US courts.

      • 1Lishell says:

        Terry,
        Please show me were the Constitution says that there are three categories of American citizens.

  4. Rob Herbert says:

    Are you STILL banging on about this? Terry, you lost. You lost the election and you’ve lost this debate. Move on. Going on and on and on about this issue really only serves to make you look stupid, and it’s pretty clear from your other writing that you aren’t – even if I disagree with almost everything you say.

    This requirement that your parents are also citizens is something that wingnuts have invented in a desperate attempt to remove a president they don’t like. It’s fascinating to see them now trying to tweak the exact meaning to allow Rubio to stand while still denying Obama.

    Obama is president, and will win a second term next year, partly because the credibility of the Republican party has been eroded by people talking nonsense about his birth.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      We did not “invent” anything. We did not build a time machine and go back into time to install a forgery bearing the name “Emmerich de Vattel” that said that a natural-born citizen is one born in-country to citizen parents. You just didn’t learn your history. (Neither did I, until I started looking things up. That’s the trouble in this country—no teacher knows enough history.)

      • Camille says:

        I repeat myself: look up United States v. Wong Kim Ark

        You aren’t doing yourself any credit.

        You’ll have much better luck attacking just his policies.

        • Rob Herbert says:

          Since Terry has evidently decided to ignore the Wong Kim Ark case, let’s quote the Supreme Court’s majority ruling:

          “It thus clearly appears that by the law of England for the last three centuries, beginning before the settlement of this country, and continuing to the present day, aliens, while residing in the dominions possessed by the crown of England, were within the allegiance, the obedience, the faith or loyalty, the protection, the power, and the jurisdiction of the English sovereign; and therefore every child born in England of alien parents was a natural-born subject, unless the child of an ambassador or other diplomatic agent of a foreign state, or of an alien enemy in hostile occupation of the place where the child was born. III. The same rule was in force in all the English colonies upon this continent down to the time of the Declaration of Independence, and in the United States afterwards, and continued to prevail under the constitution as originally established.”

        • Donald R Laster Jr says:

          The Ark case recognized that children born to actual immigrants were a citizen under Amendment 14. Illegal aliens, visitors and diplomats do not create citizen. They are not subject to the jurisdiction – citizenship allegiance not criminal. This is what is referred to as Positive Law versus Natural Law. It did not say that Wong Kim Ark was a natural born citizen – just that he was a citizen because his parents were immigrants and not here as diplomats or representatives of China.

          You should also look at the Elk case which also discusses the fact that just because a person is born inside the US one is not always a citizen.

  5. MichGuts says:

    Vattel’s definition of what constitutes a natural born citizen will not stand up in contemporary times. There is no modern rationale as to why natural born citizenship comes from the father and not the mother. Women are legally equal with men and no court can or will be able to rationalize the father’s citizenship taking precedence over the mother’s.

    I agree with several of the other posters stick to criticising policy.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Why not? Don’t words mean things just the same today as they meant before?

      This is why I don’t reply to every “suggestion” that everyone makes. If we can’t even agree on the sum of two plus two, debate is impossible.

      • Camille says:

        You can, though, look up ‘United States v. Wong Kim Ark.’

        That’ll clear the matter of natural born citizenship right up, I’m sure.

        I realize you’re plagued with the suggestions and criticisms of others and that you scarcely have the time to deal with them all, but this court case is irrefutably relevant to you article and may just cause you to change your mind.

        If I believed that cars ran on water and you showed me how a combustion engine works, it wouldn’t be illogical to change my mind, would it? You can’t be right all the time.

        Thank you for looking in to this. Hopefully it won’t interfere with you 4th of July celebrations.

        • Donald R Laster Jr says:

          The Ark case did not declare Wong Kim Ark a natural born citizen – it declared him a citizen under Amendment 14. A natural born citizen is a person born in the country of parents who are citizens. The French work that defines natural born citizen is

          Les Naturels, ou Indigènes font ceux qui font nés dans le pays, de Paren Citoyens.

          In the 1760 English translation of this work this sentence is translated as

          Its natives are those who are born in the country parents who are citizens.

          The later translations translate this sentence as

          The natives, or natural-born citizens, are those born in the country, of parents who are citizens.

          Besides the information here look at

          http://www.thepostemail.com/2011/06/30/health-care-lawsuit-and-natural-born-citizen-a-nexus/

          http://www.thepostemail.com/2011/06/28/why-barack-h-obama-jr-is-not-eligible-to-be-president/

          and

          http://theobamafile.com/ObamaNaturalBorn.htm

          Citizenship from nature (i.e. natural born) and citizenship from positive law is not the same.

          • Patrick says:

            Laster writes: “Amendment 14 only grants soil based citizenship if you are subject to the jurisdiction. This excludes children born to illegal aliens, visitors and diplomats.”

            Stop lying please. The 1982 decision of Plyler v. Doe determined that illegal aliens, and their children, while in the U.S. are indeed “under the jurisdiction” of the U.S.

            From Plyler vs. Doe: “Appellants argue at the outset that undocumented aliens, because of their immigration status, are not “persons within the jurisdiction” of the State of Texas, and that they therefore have no right to the equal protection of Texas law. WE REJECT THIS ARGUMENT. Whatever his status under the immigration laws, an alien is surely a ‘person’ in any ordinary sense of that term. ALIENS, EVEN ALIENS WHOSE PRESENCE IN THIS COUNTRY IS UNLAWFUL, HAVE LONG BEEN RECOGNIZED AS ‘PERSONS’ GUARANTEED DUE PROCESS OF THE LAW by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. Shaughnessv v. Mezei, 345 U.S. 206, 212 (1953); Wong Wing v. United States, 163 U.S. 228, 238 (1896); Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356, 369 (1886). Indeed, we have clearly held that the Fifth Amendment protects aliens whose presence in this country is unlawful from invidious discrimination by the Federal Government. Mathews v. Diaz, 426 U.S. 67, 77 (1976). [n9] [p211]”

            Must birthers lie about EVERYTHING?

    • Jedi Pauly says:

      In fact, males and females historically were not “legally” equal although they are created to have equal natural political rights by nature. The positive laws of every nation recognizes that it is not possible to treat both males and females equally when it comes to SECURING the inheritance of natural political rights. First, no female (mother) has the right to deny to her children the political right to follow their father. Furthermore, males are the one’s who secure the natural political rights due to nature making them physically stronger which gives them a natural advantage and creates a natural political inequity with females (See Declaration of Independence that governments are instituted among “Men”meaning MALES.) We inherit our last names from our fathers, not our mothers, proving that males and females are not legally politically equal under Natural Law even to this day. Finally, if females and males are treated equally, then it would be impossible for the children to determine with whom their natural political loyalties follow and it would be impossible for nation states to determine which country the children naturally belong to if both parents are not of the same citizenship when the offspring are born to the parents. The legal convention to solve this dilemma was and still is that the children naturally follow the father, regardless of who the mother is. Nothing has changed in the law that refutes this and the modern legal system must still recognize the natural order as well as international law. There is no conflict with “modern” times or “modern” legal practices. The Constitution must be understood in the proper Context of when it was written, not reinterpreted to mean something new just because women have asserted their natural political rights in “modern” times. Woman’s liberation changes nothing and cannot rob the father of his natural political rights to pass on the inheritance of his country and the political rights that go along to his offspring.

    • Donald R Laster Jr says:

      “natural born Citizenship” requires both father and mother be citizens and the person born in the country. And take a look at Article 1, Section 8, Paragraph 10 of the U.S. Constitution. A person can acquire citizenship a variety of way. Being natural born, being naturalized or having one parent be a citizen or be born in a country with soil based citizenship.

      • 1Lishell says:

        “To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;”

        And what does Blackbeard have to do with citizenship?

        • Donald R Laster Jr says:

          When you understand that “and Offenses against the Law of Nations;” is direct reference to Vattel’s Law of Nations you understand the reference. History shows that the writers of the U.S. Constitution specifically referenced “Law of Nations”. It is the common law of the United States.

  6. Patrick says:

    By the way, guys, I looked into something else that this site, claims, and it’s absolutely appalling.

    The Barry vs. Mercein case cited above, and proclaimed as “the clearest.” I have one thing to say to the author of this page: How dare you? How DARE YOU?

    Okay, this first, for those that are still reading. 1) The child in dispute was not the couple’s son, but the couple’s DAUGHTER.

    Second of all, the Taney SCOTUS DISMISSED the case for lack of jurisdiction. There was no ruling by SCOTUS. They did NOT give the father permission to take his daughter back to England, they dismissed the case.

    The excerpt cited by the owner of this site is not a ruling, or a footnote. It’s not even a dissenting opinion by a Justice on the Supreme Court.

    It’s the fourth of five points in a dissenting opinion by Mr. Barry, the PLAINTIFF! The man suing for permission to take his child is the one who wrote that opinion. It’s right here! How could you BE so dishonest?

    http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Barry_v._Mercein_%2846_U.S._103%29/Opinion_of_the_Court

    Here’s the five points in full, about halfway down the page, nothing follows:

    Mr. Barry, in opposition to the motion, made the following points, which he maintained at great length.

    1. The record in the above cause presents the case of a ‘final judgment’ by the Circuit Court for the Southern District of New York in a ‘suit,’ within the meaning of the twenty-second section of the judiciary act of 1789; and the plaintiff in error is therefore entitled to have such judgment reexamined in this court by writ of error, provided the court below had jurisdiction of the case, authority to issue the writ of habeas corpus ad subjiciendum, and the record presents a prima facie case for the award of such writ. United States Laws, Stat. at L., 81; Holmes v. Jennison, 14 Pet., 540; Weston et al. v. City Council of Charleston, 2 Id., 449; Kendall v. United States, 12 Id., 614; Sto. Com. Abr., 608; Columbian Ins. Co. v. Wheelwright and others, 7 Wheat., 534; Co. Litt., 288, b.

    2. The court below had jurisdiction of this case, and authority to issue the writ of habeas corpus under the Constitution, at the common law, by implication, and by statute; and consequently committed error in deciding that it had not such jurisdiction and authority. The petition on the record presents a prima facie case for the award of such writ, and the court below committed error in denying it to the plaintiff in error, to whom it belonged as a writ of right by the ‘law of the land’; his title resting, in debito justitioe,’ on probable cause shown by affidavit; 36 Edw. 3, cap. 9; 42 Edw. 3; 8 Henry 4; 8 Henry 6; 28 Edw. 1; 3 Car. 1; 16 Car. 1, cap. 10; 31 Car. 2; Bac. Abr. Title Hab. Corp.; Greenhill’s case, 4 Ad. & E., Eng. Com. L., 624; United States v. Green, 3 Mason, 482; Rex v. Winton, 5 T. R., 89; Rex v. Isley, 5 Ad. & E., 441; Constitution United States; Yates’s case, 6 Johns. (N. Y.), 422, 423; Bollman & Swartwout, 4 Cranch, 75; Ex parte Randolph, 2 Brock., 447; 3 Bl. Com., 132; 3 Bac. Abr., 421; Judiciary Act, 1789, § 14; United States Stat., 2 Mar., 1831, § 38; Kearney’s case, 7 Wheat., 38 Crosby’s case, 3 Wils., 172; 1 Kent Com., 301; Wood’s case, 3 Wils.; 3 Bac. Abr. (3); In re Pearson, 4 Moo., 366; Mag. Char., cap. 29; United States v. Bainbridge, 1 Mason, 71; 1 Kent Com., 220; United States Supreme Court, Ex parte Barry, 2 How., 65; 19 Wend. (N. Y.), 16, and cases cited; Vernon v. Vernon, MS. case, New York Chancery, 11th June, 1839; Ahrenfeldt’s case, Ch. New York, July, 1840; Commonwealth v. Briggs, 16 Pick. (Mass.), 204; In re Mitchell, Charlt., 489; State of South Carolina v. Nelson, MS. case, 1840; Prather’s case, 4 Dessau (S.C..), 33; 25 Wend. (N. Y.), 72, 73; Gov. Seward’s Mess. to Senate, Albany, 20th March, 1840; 5 East, 221; 12 Ves., 492; 2 Russ., 1; Review of D’Hauteville’s case, 30; 2 and 3 Victoria, cap. 54; 11 Ves., 531; People v. Mercein, 3 Hill (N. Y.), 399; Ex parte Burford, 3 Cranch, 449.

    3. The court below, if it had jurisdiction by implication, committed error in assuming that the court for the correction of errors, by its decisions on the case of the plaintiff on two former writs of habeas corpus, in 1840 and 1842, had either ‘supplied the rule of law,’ or given ‘evidence of the common law rule’ which was to be the rule of decision in the case on this record, two years after,-a case entirely de novo,-in 1844. And the court below committed further error in deciding, that by such assumed rule of law or evidence of the common law rule, the plaintiff in this cause was not entitled, on the case made by him, to the custody of his child,-the same being a prejudication on the merits,-no argument being had before the court in respect of either such assumed rule, or the evidence thereof, or on the merits. No such rule existed in point of fact, and consequently no evidence thereof could exist; decision Supreme Court New York, 1842, 3 Hill (N. Y.), 399; MS. Opinion, Chan. New York, April, 1844.

    4. The plaintiff in error being of legeance to the crown of England, his child, though born in the United States during its father’s temporary residence therein,-twenty-two months and twenty days,-notwithstanding its mother be an American citizen, is not a citizen of the United States. It is incapacitated by its infancy from making any present election, follows the legeance of its father, partus sequitur patrem, and is a British subject. The father being domiciled and resident within the dominions of her Britannic Majesty, such is also the proper and rightful domicil of his wife and child, and he has a legal right to remove them thither. The child being detained from the father, its natural guardian and protector, without authority of law, the writ of habeas corpus ad subjiciendum is his appropriate legal remedy for its restoration to him from its present illegal detention and restraint; Constitution United States, art. 3, § 2; Judiciary Act, 1789, § 11; Inglis v. Trustees Sail. Snug Harb., 3 Pet., 99; 7 Anne, cap. 5; 4 Geo. 3, cap. 21; Warrender v. Warrender, 2 Cl. & F., 523; Story Confl. L., 30, 36, 43, 74, 160; Shelf. Marriage, Ferg., 397, 398.

    5. If the laws of the proper domicil of the plaintiff (and by necessary consequence that of his family), applicable to the case on the record, be not repugnant to the laws or policy of this country, and this be proved to the court, the case is one proper for the exercise of the comity of the American nation,-not of the court, but of the nation; and the court below will extend that comity to the plaintiff, not only by awarding him the writ of habeas corpus ad subjiciendum, the appropriate legal remedy sought, but also by deciding the case on its merits, at the hearing, agreeably to the law of his domicil; In re Wilkes, 1 Ken., 279; Dartmouth College v. Woodward, Con. Rep. United States, 577; Warrender v. Warrender, 2 C. & F., 529; 9 Bligh., N. S., 110; Bill for Protection of Minors, Senate of New York, 1840; Gov. Seward’s Message to Senate, 20th March, 1840.

  7. GP says:

    One thing I’ve never understood about all this Birther nonsense:

    All the time they’ve been screeching to see the birth certificate, they’ve known all along that Obama’s father was Kenyan. And yet, not once did we hear about him being a “natural born citizen.”

    Suddenly, when the certificate is released and everybody (except Jerome Corsi, who has a book to sell) says “Oh, that’s that then” only then does the issue of “natural born citizen” come to life.

    It’s clear, that the rabid right and the birthers are clutching at any straw in their frantic dislike of the President. The fact remains, Obama was born in the US to a US citizen and thus qualifies. End of story.

    All this constant raving by Terry and ilk does is prove to us that it was NEVER about the birth certificate in the first place and all about having a black man in the White House.

    Terry’s lying, so brilliantly exposed above, is a prime example of this.

    • Donald R Laster Jr says:

      The fact that Mr Obama is not a natural born citizen has been known from day one. The problem is that the people challenging it felt they needed the birth certificate to prove it in Court. Mr Obama’s own statements prove he is not a natural born Citizen. Remember, it was the Clinton Presidential Campaign that challenged Mr Obama eligibility. The definition of natural born Citizen is from Vattel’s Law of Nation and is specific – mother and father citizen and born in the country.

      The Barry vs. Mercein citation is about the citizenship of the children. Both children under rules of Citizenship were British Citizen – not US Citizens. Women did not come into “full” citizenship Privileges (not Rights) until the passage of Amendment 19. As I understand it Women in Switzerland did not get the privilege to vote until 1976. Over the years people have confused “Rights” with “Privileges”.

      The challenges to Mr Obama eligibility have been going on since he was illicitly nominated. The Press and his supporters have consistently misrepresented the issue. Mr Obama’s supporters have used the idea “tell a lie enough and people will believe it”. This is a standard technique from people such as Alenski and Cloward and Pevin. (and I suspect I misspelled the names).

      The simple fact is that Mr Obama is not President since he does not the meet the 1st eligibility requirement – natural born Citizen due to his father’s foreign citizenship. With all of the attacks on the “Birthers” I got curious back in Janurary of 2010 and did research into the issue to satisfy myself. The document I wrote was published recently at

      http://www.thepostemail.com/2011/06/28/why-barack-h-obama-jr-is-not-eligible-to-be-president/

      The other thing I would say people should notice is to look at how someone whose views are challenged reacts. An ideologue or someone who is indoctrinated typically reacts with violence and diatribes. That is generally because their position is not based in facts (or real facts) but emotions without foundations. The Man-Made Climate Change movement has this problem. It has been shown to be wrong and the data doctored but many of the proponents refuse to re-examine their positions. Money and Control is part of the reason – look at the facts.

      Attack a position of someone who has researched and based a position upon facts and evidence and they will point to their facts and evidence they base their position on. Prove their facts and evidence is flawed they will reexamine their position based upon the new information. They are open to adjusting their views and position if shown to be flawed. The Left of course then screams hypocrite or other insults as an attempt to discredit. That is the difference between someone who reasons and one who does not.

      • GP says:

        @Donald R Laster: All I ever hear is the rabid right carrying on about his father. Obama was born on US soil, to a US citizen (or did you conveniently forget his mother). The fact that is faher was not a US citizen doesn’t even enter into the equation – as much as you’d like it to.

        He is a US citizen – in fact, possibly more so than John McCain, who was born in the Panama Canal region.

        Do you seriously think that nobody, at any time prior to the election thought to actually check the small detail of his birth? The birthers have done more harm to the right, and the longer they carry on, the more chance of “4 more years!” You’d swear you didn’t have real issues to argue – or maybe those are too highbrow for the average birther?

        I put it to you bluntly – in your mind “Mr Obama is not President” not because of where and to whom he was born, but because he happens to be black.

        The fact that the the rabid right swallow the lies that people like Terry Hurlbut are spouting (and which has been refuted here) show that to be true. Either that, or they have lost the ability to think for themselves.

    • Donald R Laster Jr says:

      Mr Obama is not a Black-American. This is just another of his lies and deceptions. He is not a descendant of any former Slave or Free-Black that lived in this country prior to or after the Civil War which is a requirement to be a Black-American. His ethnicity is Kenyan-American or Kenyan-White-American. Nor is he African-American since he is not a descendant of any former Slave or Free-Black in this hemisphere.

      And for the record when he first came on the scene I considered voting for him based upon his rhetoric. I took the time to learn his politics. I do not vote for anti-American Socialist Marxists – which is what he is. Take the time to learn who and what he is.

      • Patrick says:

        Excuse me??? Are you suggesting that black Americans can only be descended from slaves, and that Obama cannot be considered a black American because he isn’t?

        That is…ridiculous to the point of offensiveness. Not everyone descended from black people from the pre-civil war era is descended from slaves. Hello…the north never practiced slavery!

        My God. I cannot believe you said that!

        • DinsdaleP says:

          Actually, slavery took places in about eight northern states at one time, although they prohibited the practice much earlier on. New Jersey didn’t legally ban it until 1804.

      • Camille says:

        But in reality, he’d face the same persecution as other African-Americans (were he not rich and famous).

    • Patrick says:

      G. P., you are 100% correct. That is EXACTLY why the birthers are clutching at any straw.

      I’ve been following this from the inception. And as you point out in your example, birthers have inconsistently moved from point to point as each one gets shut down.

      When Obama produced the short form birth certificate, birthers first insisted that it was fake because it didn’t have a raised seal, date or signature stamp. Then truthout.org proved that it did. So birthers switched tactics, insisting that the short form doesn’t prove anything; and that they need the long form. Never mind that the short-form is, in fact, self-authenticating and prima facie proof of his birth in Hawai’i, and as such, it bears the exact same weight in a court of law as the original. First demanding to see a raised seal and other appropriate markers, then insisting that a short form doesn’t prove anything, is inconsistent. Why would you ask to see a raised seal or other appropriate identifiers on a document if that document could not satisfy the burden of proof in the first place?

      So, after three years, Hawai’i granted a special request to produce a long-form birth certificate.

      Now birthers claim that you have to have two citizen parents to be a natural born citizen. Uh, we’ve known all along that Obama’s father was never a citizen. In “Dreams From My Father,” Obama writes about how his father was deported when his visa expired. Now, why would someone be removed from the U.S. when their visa expires? Because they’re not citizens! Obama has admitted this, even before he began campaigning, that his father is not a citizen.

  8. Patrick says:

    It is amusing, but predictable that the birther who owns this site, like all birthers, finds it impossible to admit he’s wrong and make the appropriate changes to his position.

    He cites the Venus case, now aware that the argument used is from the DISSENTING opinion, therefore carries no legal weight. Nonetheless, he keeps it right up there and will undoubtedly continue to cite it as proof that you have to have two citizen parents to be considered natural born.

    And most embarrassing of all is the Barry vs. Mercein case.

    He writes: “The Barry case is the clearest. A British man and an American woman had a child. The birth took place in the USA. The father went back to England, then wanted his son with him. The mother refused, so the father sued…”

    The truth: It was the estranged couple’s DAUGHTER, not their son.

    He continues: “The US Supreme Court said that the child was his, and he could take the child back to England. Why? That child was not an American citizen.”

    They did no such thing. They dismissed the case for “lack of jurisdiction.” They did not give the father permission to do anything.

    Then he goes on to quote this, as evidence of it being “the clearest,” implying, obviously, that this is some SCOTUS ruling:

    “The plaintiff in error being of legeance to the crown of England, his child, though born in the United States during its father’s temporary residence therein,-twenty-two months and twenty days,-notwithstanding its mother be an American citizen, is not a citizen of the United States. It is incapacitated by its infancy from making any present election, follows the legeance of its father, partus sequitur patrem, and is a British subject. The father being domiciled and resident within the dominions of her Britannic Majesty [Queen Victoria], such is also the proper and rightful domicil of his wife and child, and he has a legal right to remove them thither. The child being detained from the father, its natural guardian and protector, without authority of law, the writ of habeas corpus ad subjiciendum is his appropriate legal remedy for its restoration to him from its present illegal detention and restraint; Constitution United States, art. 3, 2; Judiciary Act, 1789, 11; Inglis v. Trustees Sail. Snug Harb., 3 Pet., 99; 7 Anne, cap. 5; 4 Geo. 3, cap. 21; Warrender v. Warrender, 2 Cl. & F., 523; Story Confl. L., 30, 36, 43, 74, 160; Shelf. Marriage, Ferg., 397, 398.”

    This was not a SCOTUS ruling. It is the fourth of five points of an opinion made by the PLAINTIFF! The Plaintiff, Mr. Barry, who is a British subject, not an American citizen. And is most definitely NOT an objective source or disinterested party.

    Here is the ruling from Justia. You’ll notice that his quoted tripe doesn’t appear there, nor in any other site that would list SCOTUS rulings. Why? Because no Supreme Court Justice ever said this, either as a majority opinion or a dissenting opinion.

    Wikisource has this, and plainly states it’s the opinion of Mr. Barry, THE PLAINTIFF, whose opinions carry no legal weight, none. It’s of even less merit than the dissenting opinion.

    http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Barry_v._Mercein_%2846_U.S._103%29/Opinion_of_the_Court

    If you scroll down until you find a one-sentence paragraph that reads, “Mr. Barry, in opposition to the motion, made the following points, which he maintained at great length,” you’ll see that the excerpted material is the fourth of five points he made in objection.

    So, there you have it. The owner of this webpage has been caught red-handed lying about the specifics of a particular case to support his argument. He claimed that the SCOTUS allowed a child’s father to take him (actually, it’s a “her,” but he says “him”) back to England, on the grounds that he was not a citizen, when in fact, they didn’t give anyone permission to do anything, since they dismissed the case, and worse, citing a party opinion as if it were a SCOTUS ruling.

    But nonetheless, have you seen how this website owner, not only clings to his misinformation, but invented lies to fill in the obvious gaps.

    Another embarrassing mistake was his claim that the Wong Kim Ark decision had to do with his right to vote. Where did he get this ridiculous idea? Wong Kim Ark had nothing to do with his right to vote. It had to do with the fact that he was born to Chinese parents in the U.S. who could not become naturalized citizens due to the Chinese Exclusion Act. Those Chinese in the U.S. could remain, however they could not become citizens, and if they left, they could not return without permission. When Ark left the U.S. to visit China, then tried to return, he was detained by customs who claimed he was not an American.

    SCOTUS ruled he was a natural born citizen. They cited English common law (something they are wont to do when there is no precedent in place, nor Constitutional provision or law at the state or Federal level), and declared the children born to aliens in England were considered NATURAL BORN SUBJECTS, and that the SAME RULE is in force in the U.S.!

    It doesn’t get any clearer. A child born in the U.S. to aliens is not just a citizen, but a natural born citizen.

    But this has proven my contention. It’s axiomatic. BIRTHERS. ARE. LIARS. You cannot be a birther without being a liar.

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