Friday, March 23, 2012

Natural Born Citizen

Section 1 of Article 2 of the United States Constitution states:

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.

Over the last 4 years, some people have question whether Barack Obama was actually born in the United States and thus eligible to run. Now, with people speculating that Mitt Romney may select Marco Rubio as his running mate, some people are questioning whether he is eligible to be Vice-President.

The 12th Amendment of the Constitution places the same restrictions on the VP as President, i.e. he or she must be a "natural born citizen".

In the case of the President, claims were made that he was born in Kenya. We have all heard arguments about the authenticity of his long form birth certificate and so forth. In the case of Marco Rubio, the allegations are a little different. Marco Rubio was born in 1971 in Miami, Florida. His parents were Cuban citizens and became American citizens in 1975. The argument offered is that a person cannot be a "natural born citizen" unless his or her parents were U.S. citizens.

I do not intend to discuss the situation with President Obama because the basic facts are in dispute, i.e. was he born in Kenya or the United States. In the case of Senator Rubio, the facts are clear and undisputed.

The Constitution does not defined "natural born citizen". We must thus look to case law and commentary from the founders.

Interestingly enough, the prime case is from New York. In Lynch v. Clarke, which dealt with a New York law that only a U.S. citizen could inherit real estate, the plaintiff had been born in New York while her parents, both British, were briefly visiting the country. They were not American citizens.

The New York Chancery Court determined that, under common law and prevailing statutes, she was a citizen by birth notwithstanding her parents' foreign citizenship. The court actually cited the Constitutional provision opining, "Suppose a person should be elected president who was native born, but of alien parents; could there be any reasonable doubt that he was eligible under the Constitution? I think not. The position would be decisive in his favor, that by the rule of the common law, in force when the Constitution was adopted, he is a citizen.

The Court further wrote, "And further: Upon principle, therefore, I can entertain no doubt, but that by the law of the United States, every person born within the dominions and allegiance of the United States, whatever the situation of his parents, is a natural born citizen. It is surprising that there has been no judicial decision upon this question."

The Lynch case was also cited by the U.S. Supreme Court decision in United States v. Wong Kim Ark, which held that a child born in the United States of two Chinese parents was a citizen and actually used the phrase "natural born".

In 2009, the Congressional Research Service offered an opinion that the most logical inferences would indicate that the phrase "natural born Citizen" would mean a person who is entitled to U.S. citizenship by or at birth.

Based on this, it seems clear to me that the citizenship of a child's parents is not relevant if the child is born within the United States. A child so born is a natural born citizen. As such, Marco Rubio is a natural born citizen and is eligible to the the "Veep".

For those who may ask, I believe President Obama is a natural born citizen in light of his long form birth certificate showing his birth on Hawaii. I know some contend it is a forgery, but the burden of proving that is upon a challenger. The courts would almost certainly accept the birth certificate as legitimate unless provided with substantial evidence to the contrary.


Anonymous said...

Didn't Cahill watch Phoenix Joe Arpaio's press conference about Obama's sealed birth records? The burden of proof should be on Obama who hired lawyers to conceal all his records so that his "natural born" status could not be determined- NOT on the public which had to accept this blindly. ALL signs point to a birth in Kenya, inc. statements by prominent Kenyans like Cabinet Minister Orengo and Sarah Obama herself. Let's hope Sheriff Arpaio holds onto this like a bulldog; the mainstream media has protected Obama and refused to probe what will turn out to be the biggest scandal in US political history. Pay attention, folks- and watch Sheriff Arpaio on March 31st at his next press conference-- when we should know if Selective Service is going to turn over Obama's original registration form...or not.

Anonymous said...

Hi Rich, I thought if you were born here, no matter what your parents' status was, you were a natural born citizen. Isn't that the issue with "anchor babies"? If illegal immigrants come to this country and have children, isn't deporting the entire family an issue for this reason?

Richard T. Cahill Jr. said...


I am familiar with the investigation of Sheriff Arpaio.

My position is that President Obama has produced a long form birth certificate. It is presumptively valid, though proof could be produced to challenge that. It would then be up to a court of law to decide.

My belief is that the burden was initially on the President who has met the burden with the production of the long form certificate. The burden now shifts to anyone who seeks to challenge this status in court.

Richard T. Cahill Jr. said...


That is the entire crux of the debate. The case law and evidence in my opinion points as you have suggested.

Anonymous said...

Funny thing is, John McCain was born in Panama, not the US. So is he a "natural born" American?

Richard T. Cahill Jr. said...

Both his parents are U.S. citizens. The First Congress in 1790 established that children of U.S. citizens "born beyond the sea or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born citizens."

Secondly, was born in the Panama Canal Zone, a sovereign U.S. territory at the time of McCain's birth.

It is similar to Barry Goldwater. He was born in Arizone while it was a territory of the USA, but not yet a State.

Andrew Champ-Doran said...

Mr. Cahill,

You've forgotten Article XIV. Under 14, Rubio is born here, he's automatically a citizen, and eligible for all rights and priveleges afforded any natural-born citizen, including election as President or Vice President. And, he is a much better choice than New Jersey's current Governor, if you ask me.

Now, if you really want to discuss who's not eligible for the V.P. slot, I think Section 3 might prohibit Sarah Palin, as she was once a member of an Alaskan secessionist group.

Andrew Champ-Doran

Andrew Champ-Doran said...

(continued from previous comment)
Here's the text of Article 14:
Section 1. 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. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

Section 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Andrew Champ-Doran said...

(continued from previous post)
I am saddened by your support of the so-called "birthers" on President Obama's legal standing. Terms like "facts in dispute" and "presumptively valid" only illuminate your position. I can only assume that you have viewed the long form birth certificates of all Republican and Democrat Presidential primary candidates dating back to George Romney. In spite of his claim that "You won't believe what my investigators in Hawaii are finding.", not even all of the money of Donald Trump produced anything more than local Hawaiian newspaper birth announcements, and copies of the birth certificate, all confirming the birth of Barack Obama in Hawaii. Hawaii was a state at the time, not a protectorate, and not a territory.

Finally, an anonymous commenter cites Sheriff Joe Arpaio's press conference, and you say you are familiar with his investigation. As far as I can tell, Joseph Arpaio was elected and serves as the Sheriff of Maricopa County in the State of Arizona, which seems like a full-time job. His investigation and press conference, paid for by the citizens of Maricopa County, seems like an unconstitutional expansion of his his own governmental authority, and a real waste of taxpayer money. You would think that the Tea Party would have come out against this sort of thing by now.

Andrew Champ-Doran

Richard T. Cahill Jr. said...

Mr Champ-Dolan,

Palin was a valid candidate.

Second, at no time did I say anything suggesting that I concluded that President Obama is not a citizen. He produced a long form birth certificate which --by law-- is presumptively valid evidence. That is the legal term.

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