The Constitution meets Politics in Tennessee

LT. GOV. QUESTIONS OBAMA’S BIRTH STORY AS LEGISLATURE GEARS UP TO ENFORCE QUALIFICATIONS FOR OFFICE

by Sharon Rondeau

Tennessee Speaker and Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey

(Feb. 3, 2010) — According to timesnews.net via the AP, when Maclin Davis, a former Tennessee state representative, Legal Counsel for the Tennessee Republican Party and practicing attorney asked  State Speaker and Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey  whether or not he believed Barack Obama is a U.S. citizen, Ramsey responded:  ““I’ve got a table full of advisers sitting over there, and they’ll probably start cringing right about now when I start talking about some of this stuff…I don’t know whether President Obama is a citizen of the United States or not.  I don’t know what the whole deal is there.”

The question arose at a meeting of the Nashville Republicans’ First Tuesday Club held on February 2, 2010.  According to the Nashville Scene, Mr. Davis began the exchange by suggesting that a state law be passed requiring that “in all future elections no candidate for president can be put on the ballot in Tennessee unless they produce positive proof they are a native-born citizen.”

Mr. Davis is a partner at the Waller Lansden law firm in Nashville, where he practices in the areas of real estate, business, election law and “constitutional cases.”  He has been admitted to argue in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, according to the firm’s website.

Ramsey, who is running for governor of Tennessee, then said, “But I’m going to tell you something.  When you walk out on the street down here, people don’t really care about this issue.” He contended that state Republicans should concentrate on “jobs, education and fiscal conservatism,” but  then addressed Mr. Davis, “”I’m not saying you’re not right, Mac, I’m not saying you’re not right – but that’s not how you win elections.”

Also according to the Nashville Scene, Davis then commented, “It seems like it would be really good if somebody would file a suit against our present president to get back all the money he’s been paid as president on the grounds he’s not a legitimate president since he’s not a native-born citizen. The great preponderance of the evidence is he’s not a citizen…”

The Democrat response labeled Ramsey’s remarks “a ludicrous idea.”  Chip Forrester, the Democrat Party Chairman for the state of Tennessee, stated, ““Ron Ramsey would rather pander to a far-right wing group of conspiracy theorists than govern in a pragmatic approach that most Tennesseans expect from their political leaders.”

Brad Todd, an adviser to Ramsey, answered the Democrat charge by stating, “You can’t be serious.  That’s totally taking his answer out of context.  The state of Hawaii has already answered that in no uncertain terms and [Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey] made it clear in his remarks that conservatives need to focus our efforts only on POLICY differences with this administration…”

The Post & Email published a related story on the state of Hawaii’s refusal to verify the statements of its own Health Department Director regarding whether or not Obama is a “natural born citizen.”

EDITOR’S NOTE:  A native-born citizen, after the Supreme Court Ruling, Kim Wong Arc in 1898, is understood commonly to be anyone born on U.S. Soil who was by some statute a citizen of the United States at the moment of his birth.  But a “natural born citizen” according to the  Supreme Court is one born on U.S. soil and who has 2 parents who were citizens of the United States at the time of his birth.  The attempt to pass a law which would merely restrict offices to native-born citizens is probblematic: in regard to all offices other than the President and Vice-president of the United States it would probably be unconstitutional, since every U.S. citizen has the same rights to hold office as any other; but in regard to those 2 offices it would be constiutionally inadequate, since “natural born” is a subset of “native-born”, and requires more than the latter.

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12 Responses to "The Constitution meets Politics in Tennessee"

  1. Public Servant   Saturday, February 6, 2010 at 5:50 PM

    Wouldn’t we feel better if we knew the person who’s running the country into the ground w/ bailouts & deficit spending, saddling our children w/ staggering debt and giving foreign terrorists Miranda rights- was actually Constitutionally (legally) entitled to be President? Nixon was pushed out of office for a cover-up of a 2nd rate botched burglary- this cover-up (concealing birth documents) involves Obama directly- and how many others in his cabal?

  2. KJ   Friday, February 5, 2010 at 11:46 PM

    I think that Berg has already tried that route.

  3. Joe The Blogger   Thursday, February 4, 2010 at 10:25 PM

    I agree TexomaEd. Whichever one got it wrong, I wondered if the motivation was to ‘muddy the waters’ to try to undermine the importance of the real ‘natural born Citizen’ requirement. Don’t forget many GOP hacks are trying to cover-up for the fact that John McCain is not a ‘natural born Citizen’ either.

  4. RJJohnson   Thursday, February 4, 2010 at 3:52 PM

    Do the Democrats really think this strategy is going to work? Paint all Republican candidates for office as “birthers” by asking them questions about Obama’s eligibility, then have the liberal press report the exchange and ridicule them. Is this how they intend to win elections? Give me a break.

  5. Bob Porrazzo   Thursday, February 4, 2010 at 12:45 PM

    You should see the comments section of the Times News article…OBOTS EVERYWHERE! And I was thinking of moving to Tennessee to escape the progressiveness of CT.

  6. TexomaEd   Wednesday, February 3, 2010 at 10:50 PM

    If they misquoted him, it was definitely for a reason. Webster’s dictionary defines native-born as “of a specified place by birth”. This term is all about where you are born and nothing about who your parents were. If being born in the US was all that mattered to our Founding Fathers, then they would have used the term “native-born”. But they did not because it also mattered that the parents be US citizens.

  7. John Charlton   Wednesday, February 3, 2010 at 9:46 PM

    Perhaps this is a legal avenue, which has not yet been tried. Is there a precedent?

  8. P. Barnett   Wednesday, February 3, 2010 at 7:39 PM

    Oh, and the one guy who wants to try to do the right thing doesn’t know the difference between a native born and natural born citizen and he is supposed to be a Constitutional attorney.. Maybe the person who quoted him got it wrong in translation.

  9. P. Barnett   Wednesday, February 3, 2010 at 7:37 PM

    Infuriating that these scumball politicians are aware that Obama is or potentially is breaking the law, but they are more than willing to commit misprision of fraud.

  10. Joe The Blogger   Wednesday, February 3, 2010 at 7:05 PM

    “According to the Nashville Scene, Mr. Davis began the exchange by suggesting that a state law be passed requiring that “in all future elections no candidate for president can be put on the ballot in Tennessee unless they produce positive proof they are a native-born citizen””.

    It would be interesting to know if Mr Davis actually incorrectly said “native-born
    citizen”, or if the Nashville Scene misquoted him, for one reason or another.

    The actual term written in the original Constitution document is ‘natural born Citizen’ – exactly as I’ve written it here. We need to constantly ram home this message. The crucial issue is the original understanding of this term by the Framers of The Constitution. ALL of the evidence supports the meaning ‘Born in The USA to parents who were both Citizens of The USA at the time of the child’s birth’. The ORIGINAL INTENT of The Framers of The Constitution was to minimize the risk of “foreign influence” in the “Command in Chief” of the armed forces of The USA.

  11. AttilasDaughter   Wednesday, February 3, 2010 at 6:13 PM

    Why is it “native born” all of a sudden?
    Just shows that the people who are talking don’t know the constitution.
    To demand that the president is constiturionally eligible is far-right conspiracy stuff now, well yeah, according to people like Chris “I forgot he was black for one hour” Matthews.

  12. DABIGRAGU   Wednesday, February 3, 2010 at 4:32 PM

    “It seems like it would be really good if somebody would file a suit against our present president to get back all the money he’s been paid as president on the grounds he’s not a legitimate president since he’s not a native-born citizen.”
    That would be “natural born” however, his comment is intriguing isn’t it.

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