- Law Cases
by Sally Vendée
(May 5, 2010) — Following the publication of a previous editorial which explored the status of Obama’s citizenship and allegiance while he was aged 18 through 23, the argument was presented that only his status at birth is of consequence in the argument of Article II eligibility. Attorney Mario Apuzzo explains:
“Natural born Citizen” status requires not only birth on U.S. soil but also birth to parents who are both U.S. citizens by birth or naturalization. This unity of jus soli (soil) and jus sanguinis (descent) in the child at the time of birth assures that the child is born with sole allegiance…
US citizenship (not necessarily “natural born”) is required of Senators and Representatives under Article I, thus “naturalized” US citizens are eligible for these positions. Those officials who became naturalized at some point in their adult lives would have taken the Oath of Naturalization. This Oath requires the following declaration:
I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and ﬁdelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same…”
Mr. Apuzzo also makes this point regarding naturalization:
[N]aturalization takes an alien back to the moment of birth and by law changes that alien’s birth status. In other words, naturalization, which by legal definition requires sole allegiance to the United States, re-creates the individual as though he were a born Citizen but only does it by law and not by nature.
Sole allegiance is thus a requirement of US citizenship, and the method of attainment of this citizenship, whether at birth or later by law, is the key difference in eligibility qualifications for office. The Oath of allegiance is made as a deliberate act as an adult for a naturalized citizen but is assumed to have been made naturally by a natural born citizen, at birth.
If sole allegiance is required of Congressmen who are naturalized citizens, or any other citizen, for that matter, would not the founding fathers and framers of the 14th Amendment have expected the same of a natural born citizen and the President? Could they possibly have required this sole allegiance only at the time of birth, for Presidents, while requiring a more stringent lifetime allegiance for others?
An act in violation of this allegiance could feasibly be made at any time, after birth as a natural born citizen or “rebirth” as a naturalized citizen. Undoubtedly the founding fathers would have required not only this “unity of citizenship” at birth, but at every point in a Presidential candidate’s life, and especially the years after reaching the legal age of majority. Assertion or attainment of some other citizenship as an adult would probably have been regarded as an act bordering on treason.
In fact, the framers would not have even envisioned “birthright citizenship” or “dual citizenship” as being allowed under the Constitution at all. These notions were discussed in articles here and here and were the subject of a 2005 Congressional Hearing. All representatives and experts present at the Hearing affirmed that both dual citizenship and birthright citizenship, while currently allowed in practice, were unconstitutional. Dr. John Eastman, an expert witness at the Hearing, in a recent interview stated:
[T]he real shift in popular perception began to take root in the late 1960s, when the idea that mere birth on American soil alone ensured citizen status. “I have challenged every person who has taken the opposite position to tell me what it was that led to this new notion,” he said. “There’s not an executive order. There’s not a court decision. We just gradually started assuming that birth was enough.”
Obama, as the son of a non-US citizen father, would not have even been granted US citizenship at his birth if he had been born in America a decade earlier. Obama would have only been granted US citizenship as a minor if and when his father naturalized, or Obama Jr. could have applied for US citizenship at 18. Either way, he would have been a “naturalized” US citizen, not natural born.
Dr. John Fonte, also an expert witness at the Hearing, published a report in 2005 on Dual Citizenship. His views were summarized in this introductory paragraph:
The Founders, along with Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Louis Brandeis, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Felix Frankfurter, and Newt Gingrich, among others, have all affirmed that undivided political loyalty to the United States should be an absolute condition for citizenship.
He further states that:
[D]ual allegiance contradicts our core principle of equality of citizenship. The normative values of our nation’s principles — what could be called our “constitutional morality” — tell us that “We the People of the United States,” the American people, consists of individual citizens with equal rights and responsibilities.
Fonte gives as an example a dual citizen voting in both Great Britain and US elections as a violation of this constitutional morality and calls it an act of “civic bigamy:”
First, he violated the Oath of Citizenship in which he had promised to “absolutely and Entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance” to his birth nation. He had a moral obligation to take this oath seriously regardless of any legal loopholes that currently exist. Second, he participated in and expressed loyalty (explicitly and implicitly) toward two different constitutions… and exercised the rights of membership in two different peoples…The dual citizen, in this case, could be described as a type of “civic bigamist,” whose allegiance and loyalty included another constitutional regime besides the United States.
Fonte noted that in the early 1930’s, “drawing upon older laws and crafting new requirements,” the Roosevelt administration recommended that US citizens should lose their citizenship by: “…becoming naturalized in a foreign country; taking an oath of allegiance to a foreign state; being employed by a foreign government in a post for which only nationals of that country are eligible; voting in a foreign political election…; using a passport of a foreign state as a national thereof…”
Obama supporters argue that his Kenyan and British citizenships were granted without his consent, as a child, and were of no consequence as he simply let them “expire.” My previous essay explored whether Obama asserted either, in passports or college applications, which would explain why these documents have been as closely guarded as the long-form birth certificate.
Others argue that possibly the marriage of Obama’s mother to Obama Sr. was illegitimate under the assumption that Sr. was a bigamist; thus by law, Obama Jr. would not truly have been a dual citizen, British or Kenyan, as their laws would not have recognized the marriage as valid. It would be interesting to discover if these countries did, in fact, legally recognize the marriage or Obama Jr.’s citizenship, by granting Obama a passport or the right to vote in their elections. In either case, they probably would have required a birth certificate or some sort of affidavit. In addition, the Obama campaign openly acknowledged that Obama did in fact obtain this dual citizenship at birth.
Some research has uncovered that Obama traveled to Kenya in 1983, 1988, 1995, and 2006. Interestingly, Kenya held general elections in September of 1983 and March of 1988. Obama’s father, who died in 1982, worked for the Kenyan government as a senior economist. Could Obama have voted or participated in these Kenyan elections? Did he vote in the 1980 or 1984 US elections? In 2006 Obama appeared to be campaigning in Kenya alongside his cousin Odinga.
The founding fathers, themselves not natural born citizens, made themselves, as well as other patriots of their time, eligible for office in the “grandfather” clause of Article II. Their past citizenships were covered by the blood shed in the Revolution, making their allegiance to the United States unquestionable and pure. The framers attempted, in drafting Article II, to ensure that future generations of Americans would elect a Commander-in-Chief who would hold such a strong, singular and sole allegiance–with no “civic bigamy” or divorce from the country of his birth, who would vow to be faithful, during his entire life, to the Constitution and the United States of America.
Tags: 14th Amendment, Article II, Dr. John Fonte, dual citizenship, George Washington, Kenya, Oath of Allegiance, Oath of Naturalization, Obama, Obama's eligibility, U.S. Constitution, unity of citizenship