Natural-Born Citizen

by Anonymous

U.S. Constitution

U.S. Constitution

An anonymous reader wrote:

You say: "Unfortunately, that term (natural-born citizen) has never been defined in U.S. law"

The Constitution authorizes the Congress to create clarifying legislation in Section 5 of the 14th Amendment; the Constitution, in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 4, also allows the Congress to create law regarding naturalization, which includes citizenship.

Currently, Title 8 of the U.S. Code fills in the gaps left by the Constitution. Section 1401 defines the following as people who are 'citizens of the United States at birth:

  • Anyone born inside the United States *

  • Any Indian or Eskimo born in the United States, provided being a citizen of the U.S. does not impair the person's status as a citizen of the tribe

  • Any one born outside the United States, both of whose parents are citizens of the U.S., as long as one parent has lived in the U.S.

  • Any one born outside the United States, if one parent is a citizen and lived in the U.S. for at least one year and the other parent is a U.S. national

  • Any one born in a U.S. possession, if one parent is a citizen and lived in the U.S. for at least one year

  • Any one found in the U.S. under the age of five, whose parentage cannot be determined, as long as proof of non-citizenship is not provided by age 21

  • Any one born outside the United States, if one parent is an alien and as long as the other parent is a citizen of the U.S. who lived in the U.S. for at least five years (with military and diplomatic service included in this time)
    A final, historical condition: a person born before 5/24/1934 of an alien father and a U.S. citizen mother who has lived in the U.S.

* There is an exception in the law the person must be 'subject to the jurisdiction' of the United States. This would exempt the child of a diplomat, for example, from this provision.

Anyone falling into these categories is considered natural-born, and is eligible to run for President or Vice President.

These provisions allow the children of military families to be considered natural-born, for example.


Thank you for joining our conversation.

First, there have been numerous commentaries and legal analyses establishing that the term "natural-born citizen" has never been defined in U.S. law. Only the U.S. Supreme Court is authorized to interpret the Constitution, and it has never ruled on the definition of "natural born citizen" (despite being given the opportunity to do so). We stand by our statement.

Second, your interpretation is flawed, and the provisions you cite are not applicable to this issue.

It would be nice if this issue were as simple as you have tried to make it. Unfortunately, that's not the case.

Section 5 of the 14th Amendment gives Congress the power to enforce that amendment by appropriate legislation. It says nothing about "clarifying legislation." And it specifically restricts the grant of power to enforcement of "this article."

So it is not relevant to the discussion of Barack Obama's eligibility under Article II to serve as President. The 14th Amendment addresses rights, privileges and immunities of citizenship, but it does not discuss eligibility for the Office of President, which is established in Article II.

Section 8, Clause 4 of Article I, which establishes the powers of Congress, specifies that Congress has the power "to establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization . . . ." Naturalized citizens are not eligible to the Office of President, and this clause has no applicability to this issue. Citizenship includes naturalization, not the other way around.

Title 8 of the U.S. Code, Section 1401, specifies who shall be considered a citizen of the United States at birth. However, the provisions you cite are from the current version of that section, NOT the provisions that were in effect at the time Barack Obama was born, so again, they are irrelevant to the issue of his eligibility for the Office of President.

We discussed why Barack Obama does not meet the requirements of the law in effect at the time he was born, unless he
was born in the United States. There is no need to repeat it here.

Mr. Obama could lay at least that portion of the controversy to rest by producing the long form birth certificate showing where he was born and the name of the doctor or midwife who delivered him, which he has failed and refused to do. We believe (as do millions of other Americans) that the only logical explanation for why he hasn't produced it is that he can't - it doesn't exist, at least not in the United States.

Hawaii's new governor, Neil Abercrombie, who purportedly was a friend of Obama's parents, was planning to release the birth certificate held in his state's vital records department, in an effort to eliminate this controversy as an issue in the 2012 presidential election.

But it was just reported this week that he can't find one!

A former senior elections clerk in Honolulu during 2008, Tim Adams, claims that while he held that position, he attempted to confirm Obama's birth in Hawaii, and he discovered there is no long-form, hospital-generated birth certificate on file with the Hawaii Department of Health.

And neither of the two hospitals in Honolulu, one just blocks from Ann Dunham's parents' home, has any record of her admission to the hospital during the relevant time frame.

Adding to the mystery, just three weeks after Obama was allegedly born in Hawaii, he and his teen mother were living in Seattle, where she was attending classes at the University of Washington.

We agree that Barack Obama's mother was an unusual woman, but we seriously doubt that in 1961, an 18-year-old brand-new first-time mother would have whisked away a two-week-old (or younger) baby from Hawaii to Seattle, on an airplane, and set herself up in an apartment to attend school.

Then there's the interview with Susan Blake, one of Ann Dunham's friends from high school, who reports that Obama's mother brought her brand new baby to show off. The friend showed Obama's mother how to change his diaper.

Wouldn't you think that at some time between the time of the child's birth and his mother's appearance in Seattle a couple of weeks later (at a minimum during the transit), she would have learned how to change his diaper?

Or perhaps he was born in Washington or maybe even Canada, and his mother was fresh from the hospital with her newborn when she stopped to visit her friend and had to be shown how to change his diaper.

If he WAS born in Hawaii, that should be simple enough to establish, but it still doesn't solve the eligibility question, as we discussed.

If he WASN'T born in Hawaii, where was he born??

Even if Barack Obama WAS born in the US, he was a dual citizen at birth by virtue of his father's British citizenship. It is fairly well understood by legal scholars that the framers of the Constitution intended to exclude those with dual citizenship from eligibility to be President. Otherwise, there would have been no need to carve out an exception for those who were citizens at the time of adoption of the Constitution.

The United States has, at this point, had a person occupying the White House for two years who is likely ineligible to be there. If so, every action taken by this "President" is invalid and would be null and void ab initio. In other words, it has no legal authority and was never valid.

Americans are entitled to know the truth, and the arrogance of Barack Obama in thumbing his nose at our Constitution by refusing to prove that he is eligible to hold the office is unprecedented and unforgivable.

It is unbelievable that so many politicians, elected servants of the people, are complacent in this wholesale violation of the United States Constitution. Each member of Congress takes an oath to uphold, support and defend the Constitution.

All Americans should be demanding that the Constitution be followed, and that, if the person in the White House is ineligible to be there, he should be ousted and impeached immediately.

Barack Obama's presidency will always be clouded by this issue.

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