How Could Obama Not Be a U.S. Citizen if His Mother Was An American?

THE MATTER OF CITIZENSHIP AND “NATURAL BORN” CITIZENSHIP

by Antoine Francisque

Is Obama even an American citizen?

(Apr. 14, 2011) — This article will clarify the several arguments surrounding the issue of Obama’s eligibility to the presidency. It will raise some additional points of concern that may yet need to be sufficiently dealt with, and will provide the references to several legal and historical sources often cited on this subject.

By presenting these issues clearly and concisely, I hope to promote a greater sense of urgency to see that this matter is properly resolved.

Why would anyone suggest that Obama might not be an American citizen, if his mother was an American? A narrow focus on Obama’s birth certificate obscures some basic facts. For those who are concerned about this matter, a few things should be candidly addressed.

Obama’s Citizenship

Unless Obama’s mother was not Stanley Ann Dunham, the only way it might be possible for Obama not to hold American citizenship is:

1.) If Obama had had, then subsequently lost American citizenship at some other time. This appears unlikely, as both past and present U.S. citizenship law has certain protective provisions for children. However, it is important to note that under such a scenario, the presentation of an original birth certificate or other document indicating U.S. birth is useless in verifying current citizenship status.

2.) Or, if Obama was born in his father’s country of Kenya, (or elsewhere outside the U.S.). U.S. law at that time did not grant automatic citizenship to children born abroad to married couples if one parent was a foreigner, and the other was under the age of nineteen, as Ann Dunham was. Under this scenario, any record for Obama that Hawaii may have on file indicating Hawaiian birth would have to contain either erroneous or falsified information.

Obama’s Natural Heritage

In addition to citizenship, it is a legal requirement that the president must also have been natural born. This brings up another frequently discussed subject regarding presidential eligibility, which is often muddled together with the citizenship issue.

Is Obama natural born?

To answer this question with clear understanding, backed by evidence, one must be able to define the term “natural born.”

It is common for persons having been natural born citizens of a foreign country, to also hold American citizenship. Such persons are considered “naturalized” American citizens. You may have friends or relatives who are naturalized, or yourself be a naturalized citizen. The presidency and vice presidency are the only offices in U.S. government which a naturalized citizen may not hold. This legal restraint provides a check against foreign influence within the office of President of the United States.

From time to time it is suggested that the complete meaning of the term “natural born citizen” is uncertain. Even the U.S. Senate’s official website says that this provision raises an unanswered question concerning presidential eligibility. However, there are several important references which will assist us as we follow, and continue our own research into this matter. First, let’s examine the actual law.

The related provision is found in Article 2, Section 1, Clause 5 of our United States Constitution, and is as follows:

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…

We can see that a clear distinction is made between a “citizen” and a “natural born citizen”. The phrase “natural born” as it is used here, very much appears as a reference to nature as in “natural law.”

What is natural law?

In the legal sense, natural laws are those which are not instituted by man, but which exist by nature. As a relevant illustration, consider that every person has natural parents. One’s natural parents are not determined by any man-made law, and no man-made law or legal adoption can ever change who one’s natural parents are. Furthermore, the identity of one’s natural parents are legally recognized- as in child custody and child support cases, for example.

Many agree that natural parents are a factor in determining the natural born citizens of a country. Some may say that it is the only factor. In any case, if we are interested in finding the meaning of the words “natural born citizen”, it is necessary to look to sources dealing with natural law as it applies to natural born citizenship, rather then simply looking up citizenship legislation.

Non-Binding Senate Resolution on Natural Born Citizenship, 2008

The latest resource which addresses the “natural born” issue, is the 2008 non-binding Senate resolution which recognized candidate John McCain as eligible for the presidency. Although the resolution has no legal effect, I mention it here for the record, as well as to suggest that it was presented with questionable motives.

This non-binding resolution was co-sponsored by then-Senator Barack Obama, and begins by stating that the term “natural born citizen” is not defined in the Constitution. It later suggests that candidates born outside of the country may be eligible for the presidency, and also calls specific attention to John McCain’s birth to “American citizens”.

A portion of the 2008 non-binding resolution is as follows:

…Whereas previous presidential candidates were born outside of the United States of America and were understood to be eligible to be President; and Whereas John Sidney McCain, III, was born to American citizens on an American military base in the Panama Canal Zone in 1936: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That John Sidney McCain, III, is a ‘natural born Citizen’ under Article II, Section 1, of the Constitution of the United States.

Congressman Bingham on Natural Born Citizenship, 1866

An earlier source on this subject is Congressman John Bingham, who in 1866 appears to speak quite directly on this point.

Bingham had been one of the thee judges in charge of the Lincoln assassination trial. He has also been called the father of the 14th amendment. During the period following the Civil War, Congress was compelled to enact legislation upholding the citizenship rights of freed slaves. While debating a civil rights bill in the House, Bingham concurred on a specific point of the legislation being presented, and declared:

I find no fault with the introductory clause, which is simply declaratory of what is written in the Constitution, that every human being born within the jurisdiction of the United States of parents not owing allegiance to any foreign sovereignty is, in the language of your Constitution itself, a natural-born citizen

Note Bingham’s plural use of the word “parents…”, “not owing allegiance to any foreign sovereignty”. If such a definition of a natural born citizen were found to be complete and authoritative, Obama, (whether a U.S. citizen or not) could not be considered natural born. In this case, America would have been for the last few years without a president, in violation of its Constitution.

This quote from Bingham was displayed in an article on Wikipedia.org for some time, but has since been deleted. There appears to have been some discord among Wikipedia contributors- I believe this quote had been deleted and restored at least once before. In any case, the original transcript, in its entirety, is available though the Library of Congress’ online archives.

Vattel’s “The Law of Nations” on Natural Citizenship, 1758

The last source I will cite here, is the 1758 works of the Swiss legal philosopher, Emmerich de Vattel.

Vattel wrote several books on the law of nature as applied to nations. This treatise, known by its short title “The Law of Nations” is of enduring significance. According to the preface to the 1999 digital edition, this work had been read by many of the founders of the United States, and influenced their understanding of principles of law now established in our Constitution.

In dealing with natural citizenship from birth, Vattel teaches that it is not where we are born, but to whom we are born that matters. Several excerpts from “The Law of Nations”, Book 1, Chapter 19 are as follows:

The natives, or natural-born citizens, are those born in the country, of parents who are citizens. As the society cannot exist and perpetuate itself otherwise than by the children of the citizens, those children naturally follow the condition of their fathers, and succeed to all their rights. …in order to be of the country, it is necessary that a person be born of a father who is a citizen; for, if he is born there of a foreigner, it will be only the place of his birth, and not his country.

…It is asked whether the children born of citizens in a foreign country are citizens? …By the law of nature alone, children follow the condition of their fathers, and enter into all their rights; the place of birth produces no change in this particular, and cannot, of itself, furnish any reason for taking from a child what nature has given him…

…naturally, it is our extraction, not the place of our birth, that gives us rights…

Note: The dictionary definition of “extraction” is not just the “taking out of something”, it can also mean “ethnic origin: the original nationality of somebody’s ancestors”, (Encarta World English Dictionary).

If the Framers of our Constitution accepted Vattel’s view that natural born citizenship is inherited only through parents, Obama might be considered as much a natural born citizen of Kenya/Britain as of America. If such is the case, could a dual citizen at birth be considered “natural born” according to the complete meaning of the term, and as used and understood by the framers of our Constitution? Does Obama’s birth to a Kenyan father, and his Kenyan/British citizenship at birth make him ineligible to the office of President of the United States?

Summary and Points of Concern

There are many other points of concern relating to this controversy, not discussed here, including Hawaiian procedure for certifying state births, and the prior conflict of interest in the U.S. Senate regarding Senator McCain’s presidential eligibility. Additionally, there are sources which assert that place of birth alone may determine natural born citizenship, and I have not presented such arguments and counterarguments.

While I have not set out to resolve every question relating to this matter, I hope I have contributed to a clearer understanding of the underlying issues and their importance.

Specifically, I would like to emphasize the following points:

  • An original long-form birth certificate does not verify “current” citizenship.
  • Place of birth does not necessarily establish “natural born citizenship”.
  • A citizen, even a naturalized citizen at birth, is not necessarily a natural born citizen.
  • No state elections law, election committee, or public official can sufficiently provide for the verification of natural born citizenship, without first having an accurate definition of what a natural born citizen is.

As to this last point, to my knowledge no case directly addressing this issue has been tried in a court of law. It appears that the present situation is due to more than simple negligence. If this is so, certain persons may have implicated themselves in an attempted to conceal or commit fraud, regardless of whether or not Obama is found to be eligible.

The Constitution guarantees to every American that they will have a lawful president, and it is their right to know that this provision is upheld. As a self-governed nation, it is the duty not just of the military, but of every American citizen to support and defend the Constitution.

Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin

I close by reminding the public of Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin, a distinguished career military doctor who has been sent to prison for disobeying orders to redeploy to Afghanistan. Considering his oath to defend the Constitution, Terrence Lakin had sought assurance that his orders were lawful, as originating from a duly seated Commander in Chief. He attempted to resolve the matter through his chain of command, through his congressional delegation, and by writing to Obama. Lakin was rebuffed and found guilty by a court martial. He was stripped of his title, his service, his salary and pension, and is currently serving 6 months in prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, (as of April 2011).

Lakin had previously served in Afghanistan, (under President Bush), Korea, Bosnia, Germany, Honduras and El Salvador. A recipient of numerous medals and commendations, he would have been due for a promotion to full colonel this year, of 2011.

Resources

U.S. Citizenship Law Between 1952 and 1986 – Birth Abroad to One Citizen

The actual U.S. Code, Title 8, Section 1401, Subsec. (g.) and amendment history may be found at uscode.House.gov

The United States Constitution on Presidential Eligibility, Article 2, Section 1, Clause 5, (and commentary on this provision)

2008 Non-Binding Senate Resolution on John McCain’s Natural Born Citizenship
Bill summary of S.RES.511 with links to the Senate proceedings and actual resolution.

John Bingham on Natural Born Citizenship – The Library of Congress
The Congressional Globe, March-9-1866, Page 1291, 2nd column, 3rd paragraph.

Emmerich de Vattel’s “The Law of Nations” on Natural Citizenship
Book 1, Chapter 19, the first several paragraphs starting from the section titled “Citizens and natives“. Also available are the prefaces to the several editions.

ARTICLES OF INTEREST

Emmerich de Vattel

“The Continuing Importance of Congressman John A. Bingham

CNN.com – “Before birther row, Lt. Col. Lakin racked up medals as flight surgeon”

YOUTUBE VIDEO

State of Our Nation’s Media – When former Press Secretary Robert Gibbs is presented with a question concerning presidential eligibility, members of the Media deride the issue.

37 Responses to "How Could Obama Not Be a U.S. Citizen if His Mother Was An American?"

  1. Texoma   Sunday, April 17, 2011 at 12:24 AM

    A true natural-born subject in England was one who was a subject at birth by natural law. These children were called “subject born” and they were born in England to English subject parents who were under the “actual obedience” of the king.

    Sir Edward Coke said this in 1608: “There be regularly (unless it be in special cases) three incidents to a subject born. 1. That the parents be under the actual obedience of the King. 2. That the place of his birth be within the King’s dominion. And, 3. The time of his birth is chiefly to be considered; for he cannot be a subject born of one kingdom that was born under the ligeance of a King of another kingdom, albeit afterwards one kingdom descend to the King of the other.”

    From my debates with Obama defenders (the bloggers that you refer to in your last paragrahp), the case they point to support their position is the 1898 US Supreme Court case of Wong Kim Ark, and this quote from that case:

    “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. 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.”

    What the Obama defenders do not know (or wish to admit) is that aliens (known as “alien friends”) in England suspended their home country allegiance and owed a temporary allegiance to the English king. They were expected to take, or at least comply with, the Oath of Allegiance, whereby they promised that, while on English soil, they would “bear faith and true allegiance” to the English king. This temporary allegiance was sufficient for their English-born children to be given subjecthood — they were called denizens and were deemed to be natural-born subjects by statute.

    In the US, aliens do not suspend their home country allegiance and they do not owe a temporary allegiance to the US. They are not expected to take any type of Oath of Allegiance until such time they become citizens (naturalization). While residing in the US, these aliens do not “bear faith and true allegiance” to the US – their faith and true allegiance remains with their home country. Hence, there is no allegiance on the part of aliens residing in the US which would allow their US-born children to be deemed natural born citizens.

  2. Joe The Blogger   Sunday, April 17, 2011 at 12:12 AM

    This is a very good question. In my opinion, according to the actual wording of The Constitution, it could be argued that Marie Elg would have been eligible to be President of The United States. However, this matter would have had to be settled by The Supreme Court, which would have had to decide the matter on the basis of ‘the original intent’ of ‘The Framers’.

    There is a conflict of natural laws here – as well as positive laws. On the one hand, minors are not considered to be fully accountable for their actions – even for many actions that would be regarded as criminal in an adult. On the other hand, a child’s life in a foreign Country, as a naturalized citizen of that foreign Country, would normally be expected to lead to the development of some measure of loyalty and allegiance to that foreign Country.

    In my opinion, for The Framers, the more important issue would have been the necessity to ensure the survival of The United States of America, as a Free and Independent Country, for the benefit of ‘We The People’ – and to that end there should be no chances taken over the loyalty and allegiance of The President of The United States of America (and Commander in Chief), which might lead to conflicts of interest in his/her decision making.

    There is also the issue of the social and political cohesion of The United States of America. Even the suspicion of the holding of a foreign allegiance by the current occupier of The White House is tearing this Country apart. It is reasonable to believe that the Framers of The Constitution would also have had this matter very much in mind when they stipulated that The President of The United States of America (and Commander in Chief) must be a ‘natural born Citizen’ of The United States of America.

    Of course the Perkins v Elg case does not help Barack Obama, because he is not a ‘natural born Citizen’ of The United States of America, due to the fact that, at the very least, his legal Father was NEVER a citizen of The United States of America.

  3. Texoma   Sunday, April 17, 2011 at 12:00 AM

    I think it can be inferred that the President not only had to be a natural born citizen, but also a citizen since birth. This inference comes from the requirements for Congressmen and Senators, where they had to have been citizens for 7 and 9 years respectively. These timeframes had to be stated, since Congressmen and Senators could be adult naturalized citizens.

    There is no stated timeframe (in terms of a certain number of years) for how long the President had to have been a citizen, and I think that this is because it was well-understood that the President would have been a citizen since birth.

  4. Texoma   Saturday, April 16, 2011 at 11:35 PM

    I agree with your conclusion. She never lost her natural born citzenship status due to the actions of her parents when she was a minor.

  5. tom   Saturday, April 16, 2011 at 9:22 PM

    No reasonable person has ever suggested permitting B.O. Jr to get by without full disclosure. He needs to be positively identified and if the record shows beyond a “reasonable” doubt that he is who he says he is; namely the son of NON-U.S. Citizen, NON-U.S. Immigrant, Foreign National Barack Obama Senior, then he needs to be removed
    Quo Warranto
    District of Col
    Full Discovery
    Special Prosecutor
    Jury Trial

  6. RacerJim   Saturday, April 16, 2011 at 10:24 AM

    Obama would indeed fail to pass an FBI national security clearance background investigation due to his long-time close associations with many/most of the most radical American Communists, Marxists and Socialists — some of whom have actually committed acts of domestic terrorism.

    This country is under seige by an anti Caucasion-Christian-Capitalist usuper tyrant. I am ashamed that our military has not only turned a blind eye but, moreover, aided and abetted the usuper tyrant re Stefan Cook, Walter Fitzpatrick, Charles Kerchner and Terry Lakin.

    Another PISSED-OFF Vietnam Veteran

  7. Antoine Francisque   Saturday, April 16, 2011 at 6:35 AM

    IN RESPONSE TO: Mike Roof’s post on Friday, April 15, 2011 at 10:21 AM …and Texoma’s post on Friday, April 15, 2011 at 5:27 PM

    ———————————————————————-
    Mike Roof said:

    By saying “natural born citizen”, they made clear they [the Founders ] only cared about the status at birth.

    ———————————————————————-

    Texoma said:

    Mike Roof, your point is valid, but keep in mind that the Founding Fathers added one more deterrent to a President with foreign influence, and that was the 14-year residency requirement.

    ———————————————————————-

    Mike Roof,

    It is certainly important to understand, has you have pointed out, that when we speak of someone’s “natural born” citizenship we are talking about a past event that cannot be altered, whereas citizenship is something than can be changed, (even often) during one’s lifetime.

    However, I would like to suggest that there may even be a bit more to “natural born” citizenship than this- that someone can NOT be a natural born U.S. citizen, loose their citizenship, then re-naturalize again to the U.S. and still be eligible for the presidency.

    Let’s take a critical look at the Constitutional provision we are discussing, leaving out the grandfather clause so that it can be studied more closely:

    “No Person except a natural born Citizen shall be eligible to the Office of President”

    The framers do not say “No Person except a natural born Citizen [, or a citizen,] shall be eligible…” Yet it is clear that they do not mean that someone could have been a natural citizen at birth, then lost their U.S. citizenship, and yet as a foreigner be eligible to the presidency because they were at one time- at the time of their birth- a natural citizen. (Stay with me, and you’ll see where I’m going with this.)

    It is clear that this provision should NOT be interpreted as:

    “No Person except [someone who was] a natural born Citizen shall be eligible to the Office of President”

    Doesn’t this indicate that the Framers did in fact care about more then just “status at birth“?

    In searching for the complete meaning of this provision, we should ask ourselves how is it, here, that the single phrase “natural born Citizen” means both: one who had been born a natural citizen AND one who is presently a citizen?

    Perhaps the correct interpretation is as follows:

    No Person except [one whose present citizenship is due to having been natural born] shall be eligible to the Office of President”

    If this interpretation this is correct, (or at least close) we could understand how someone who was natural born, who later lost his U.S. citizenship, and then was re-naturalized to the U.S., could not presently be considered a “natural born citizen”, (even though he was natural born). The reason being, is that his present citizenship is not due to natural law, but due to his re-naturalization. During the time the person was a foreigner, we would not have said he is a natural born U.S. citizen. Similarly, we would not say he is a natural born U.S. citizen even after his re-naturalized. His latest U.S. citizenship would be dependant on his re-naturalization… if not for this he would not be a U.S. citizen at all.

    If offer these considerations as food for thought. I have not, myself, come to certain conclusions in every area of debate.

    I would like to point out that while such considerations are tedious, and even rambling, they are important. I have spent considerable time reviewing U.S. citizenship code, (which is itself complex nd rambling). I believe I even came across a provision where, if a women automatically naturalizes to another country by marrying a foreigner, if the marriage goes bad and she gets a divorce, she has the opportunity to re-naturalize again to the U.S. (I think this was amended, however, and that it wouldn’t have applied to Obama’s mother.)

    I would like to present some more of my research and findings at a later date, if I can make the time.

    –Antoine Francisque

  8. Antoine Francisque   Saturday, April 16, 2011 at 6:14 AM

    IN RESPONSE TO: Mike Roof‘s post on
    Friday, April 15, 2011 at 10:17 AM

    Mike Roof,

    Thanks for your comments. I would like to provide some more details about why I think Vattel is saying that natural born citizenship depends only on parents.

    First let me point out, (and acknowledge) the possibility that, around the time of the signing of our Constitution a different meaning of the term “natural born citizen” could have been used and accepted.

    LEGAL INTERPRETATION – INTENT AND MEANING

    Courts of law must go by the common usage of the words of a contract at the time the contract (or constitution) was created. Words are only meaningful as people attach meanings to them… as they are commonly used and understood. Therefore, it is theoretically possible that the framers used the phrase “natural born citizen” differently, (perhaps as Bingham describes it). Even if the framers’ understanding of natural law and natural citizenship were imperfect, our Courts of law would have to go by the intent and usage of the framers at that time, even if such usage was proven to be different than that of Vattel, OR Bingham.

    Another idea, perhaps a bit off-base, is that even if some of the Framers of our Constitution did not fully contemplate every aspect of natural-law citizenship- Even so, they understood very well, (in regards to the presidency) the importance of having natural allegiance to the country rather than artificial, and one that was from birth. If so, it would have been reasonable for them to require that the president be a natural born citizen, even if some of the signers were not clear on some of the more obscure theories of natural-law. In this case, they would have left it up to us to determine who is truly a natural born citizen, if such a case should arise that is unusual or less certain, (as with the present case regarding Obama’s eligibility).

    A third possibility, is that the framers were well aware of the meaning of what a natural born citizen was, and that they agreed with the definition Vattel provided in his book “The Law of Nations”.

    I suspect that there is much evidence to prove that, both before and during the time of the framing of our Constitution, Vattel’s works were respected, and even widely popular in America. I say “suspect” because I am still at the beginning of my research on this subject, and do not now have time to present some of my findings- Perhaps someone else will have, or already has something to contribute to this effort?

    VATTEL – WHO IS A NATURAL BORN CITIZEN?

    I have come to understand that when discussing citizenship and presidential eligibility, it is essential to differentiate between naturalization law (U.S. code) and natural born citizenship. When examining past case-law or historical studies it is important to ask, “are we talking about citizenship here, or natural law?”- especially when the text seems to be obscure.

    However, when studying Vattel, it should be understood his entire book is on the subject natural law. “The Law of Nature as applied to Nations” is the entire purpose and focus of his work. Though there may be occasions when he departs from this core subject, he is likely to mention or imply that he is doing so.

    You’ve provided a translated quote from Vattel, as follows:

    “By Natural Law alone, children follow the condition of the father and inherit all their rights (§212); the place of birth does not take anything away from that; and it cannot by itself provide any reason to take away from a child what nature gives to it.”

    This statement begins with “By Natural Law alone…”

    I do not think it’s necessary to always use the phrase “natural born citizen” to indicate that we are talking about someone whose citizenship is by natural law, by birth. If someone is a citizen from birth, by “natural law alone”- isn’t this the same thing as saying he is “natural born”?

    I think Vattel is reasonably clear. He says:

    “…the place of birth does not take anything away from that [the child’s citizenship by natural-law]”

    If a husband and wife are traveling through, or temporally staying in a foreign country, when they have a child, the foreign place of birth does not “take anything away” from the child’s natural citizenship, which is inherited through his parents.

    Vattel continues, and says:

    “…it [the place of birth] cannot by itself provide any reason to take away from a child what nature gives to it”

    Just because the child is born in a foreign county, that foreign country is not required to naturalize the child. It is not required, (nor would it necessarily be reasonable) for the foreign country to take away the citizenship the child inherits through is parents- the citizenship that is by nature, by birth.

    The several references I made to “The Law of Nation’s” in my article, are not all that Vattel has to say on this point. He elaborates further-

    There’s a bit more at the end of the section you quoted:

    “By the law of nature alone, children follow the condition of their fathers, and enter into all their rights (§ 212); the place of birth produces no change in this particular, and cannot, of itself, furnish any reason for taking from a child what nature has given him; I say “of itself,” for, civil or political laws may, for particular reasons, ordain otherwise.”

    This last part may not seem relevant to the subject at hand, but please stay with me for a little longer, and you will see why I brought it up, and what I am leading to.

    Vattel says that the law of nature alone and of itself dictates the a child naturally inherits the citizenship of his parents, but that a country may have certain laws where, if one is born there, he becomes a citizen even if that country is foreign to him. Such citizenship, while occurring at the time of birth, is not “by” birth or “because of” birth. It is because of the “civil or political laws” a country has decided to have. This is not the same thing as natural law- not natural born.

    An apt illustration of this is the anchor babies born in the United States. We have created laws which grant them citizen upon their birth. But this does not make them natural born citizens.

    Vattel agrees with this explanation. In the paragraph proceeding the one you quoted from, Vattel says:

    “Finally, there are states, as, for instance, England, where the single circumstance of being born in the country naturalizes the children of a foreigner.”

    Here again, we have someone who is a citizen upon birth in a foreign country. Vattel distinguishes this as naturalization, and not natural law. The title of this section is “Naturalization”, and it is one place where Vattel departs somewhat from the core subject of natural law- but I believe he does this to promote a better understanding of natural law, and to clear up possible confusion between natural law and man-made law.

    This clarification by Vattel is of particular importance. If you have often read the online blogs about this issue, you may have seen some people claim that natural law is based on English common law. They say that since anyone born in the domain of the King of England became English citizens regardless of their parents’ nationality, the same the case today for those born in the United States, and such persons are considered natural born U.S. citizens.

    Vattel clearly explains that this is not the case.

    …I have more to say on this and other related issues, but I must stop typing.

    -My regards to those who continue to follow and research this matter.

    Antoine Francisque

  9. Hugh   Friday, April 15, 2011 at 8:33 PM

    Texoma:

    I do understand what you are saying. Here is a quote from Perkins v Elg:

    “Page 307 U. S. 327

    MR. CHIEF JUSTICE HUGHES delivered the opinion of the Court.

    The question is whether the plaintiff, Marie Elizabeth Elg. who was born in the United States of Swedish parents then naturalized here, has lost her citizenship and is subject to deportation because of her removal during minority to Sweden, it appearing that her parents resumed their citizenship in that country but that she returned here on attaining majority with intention to remain and to maintain her citizenship in the United States.

    Miss Elg was born in Brooklyn, New York, on October 2, 1907. Her parents, who were natives of Sweden, emigrated to the United States sometime prior to 1906, and her father was naturalized here in that year. In 1911, her mother took her to Sweden, where she continued to reside until September 7, 1929. Her father went to Sweden in 1922, and has not since returned to the United States. In November, 1934, he made a statement before an American consul in Sweden that he had voluntarily expatriated himself for the reason that he did not desire to retain the status of an American citizen and wished to preserve his allegiance to Sweden.”

    It seems that the only reason that Marie Elg did not lose her natural born citizen status is that her Sweden status was made when she was under the authority of her parents as a minor. So, in effect, SCOTUS was saying she held her natural born citizen status since she did not surrender it as an adult.

  10. Texoma   Friday, April 15, 2011 at 6:02 PM

    I forgot to mention that Marie Elg was born in New York.

  11. Texoma   Friday, April 15, 2011 at 6:01 PM

    I agree that exclusive life-time allegiance to the US was the intent of the Founding Fathers. However, there was a US Supreme Court case back in 1939 (Perkins v. Elg) which apparently allow for the President to have held a dual citizenship as a child.

    Elg was born in 1907 to Swedish parents who naturalized in 1906. She was then taken back to Sweden and given Swedish citizenship. At the age of majority she came back to the US to claim her US citizenship. The case wound its way to the Supreme Court. The court ruled that she did not lose her US citizenship as a child on account of actions taken by her parents. They also affirmed that she was a natural born citizen, and so could she have become President after attaining the age of 35 and having lived in the US for 14 years?

  12. Texoma   Friday, April 15, 2011 at 5:49 PM

    I like to think of the citizenship of a natural born citizen as one that is “self-evident” — if you are born in the country to citizen parents, then you are obviously and naturally a citizen — you are a natural born citizen. Your citizenship at birth is self-evident by the laws of nature.

  13. Texoma   Friday, April 15, 2011 at 5:30 PM

    That is correct. His Indonesian citizenship as a child is not relevant, assuming that he was a US citizen before going to Indonesia. The US Supreme Court (in the 1939 case of Perkins v. Elg) made it clear that a US citizen child cannot lose his/her citizenship due to the actions of the parents.

  14. Hugh   Friday, April 15, 2011 at 5:30 PM

    “To Antoine Francisque who said on Friday, April 15, 2011 at 2:37 AM
    Rick,

    It would be an incredibly peculiar situation for a dual-citizen to assume the presidency- a scenario that I hadn’t brought up in my article. I’ll keep it in mind for further consideration.

    and to Mike Roof who said on Friday, April 15, 2011 at 10:21 AM in reply to Antoine Francisque

    ‘It would be an incredibly peculiar situation for a dual-citizen to assume the presidency’

    Actually, it is one that the Founders did not exclude.

    By saying “natural born citizen”, they made clear they only cared about the status at birth. Ironically, this would make someone who acquires, say, Iranian citizenship at the age of 18 eligible for Presidency because he’d still be a natural born US citizen (as being “natural born” cannot be taken away and he’d still be a US citizen).
    ———————————————————————————————————–

    Natural born Citizenship must be unemcumbered by any allegience at any time to any foreign county. The Founders were especially concerned about dual loyalties acquired at any time and dual loyalties will disqualify a natural born.

  15. Texoma   Friday, April 15, 2011 at 5:27 PM

    Mike Roof, your point is valid, but keep in mind that the Founding Fathers added one more deterrent to a President with foreign influence, and that was the 14-year residency requirement. The President had to have lived the last 14 years in the US before becoming President. I liken that 14-year period to a sort of cleansing period — a time for getting cleansed of foreign ideas, values, culture, etc.

  16. Harry H   Friday, April 15, 2011 at 11:06 AM

    If the Framers had meant “naturally extracted,” they would have said that. But they said “natural born,” and they knew it meant born IN a country to citizens OF that country. That is the only way one can automatically and indisputably be born a citizen of that country and no other country.

  17. Harry H   Friday, April 15, 2011 at 10:34 AM

    According to today’s msnbc article on the Arizona “birther,” which passed the AZ House with a very lopsided vote, natural-born citizenship depends solely on birthplace, and “. . . his [Obama’s] Hawaiian birth certificates have been made public.” See, it’s all settled in Obamamedia.

    And note the plural “certificates”: that must include the Kenyan birth certificate, right? The one with a hospital name and multiple signatures, the one that actually looks like a birth certificate?

  18. Mike Roof   Friday, April 15, 2011 at 10:21 AM

    > It would be an incredibly peculiar situation for a dual-citizen to assume the presidency

    Actually, it is one that the Founders did not exclude.

    By saying “natural born citizen”, they made clear they only cared about the status at birth. Ironically, this would make someone who acquires, say, Iranian citizenship at the age of 18 eligible for Presidency because he’d still be a natural born US citizen (as being “natural born” cannot be taken away and he’d still be a US citizen).

  19. Mike Roof   Friday, April 15, 2011 at 10:19 AM

    > No evidence has ever come to light to demonstrate that B.O. Jr has relinquished his naturally inherited status as a Brit British Citizenship does not simple expire ; the holder must formally renounce

    I think that doesn’t matter; only his status at birth is relevant. If he was born a British citizen, he cannot be a natural born citizen, even if he renounced his British citizenship later.

  20. Mike Roof   Friday, April 15, 2011 at 10:17 AM

    > However, after this brief introduction, and beginning in the same paragraph, Vattel specifically addresses birth in a foreign country. Vattel elaborates that the place of birth has no bearing on one’s natural citizenship.

    I think this may be debatable. The relevant excerpt of Vattel is this:

    > Par la Loi Naturelle seule, les enfans suivent la condition de leurs pères, & entrent dans tous leurs droits (§”.212.); le lieu de la naissance ne fait rien à cela, & ne peut fournir de Iui-même aucune raison d’ôter à un enfant ce que là nature lui donne

    Translated to:

    “By Natural Law alone, children follow the condition of the father and inherit all their rights (§212); the place of birth does not take anything away from that; and it cannot by itself provide any reason to take away from a child what nature gives to it.”

    However, in this paragraph he is talking about citizenship, not natural born citizenship.

    I think it is at least unclear whether this is to be understood as “children of citizens are citizens regardless of their birthplace” or “children of citizens are natural born citizens regardless of their birthplace”.

  21. Tom the veteran   Friday, April 15, 2011 at 9:15 AM

    In reply to Challenger, Justice Marshall said it best:

    “It is most true that this Court will not take jurisdiction if it should not: but it is equally true, that it must take jurisdiction if it should. The judiciary cannot, as the legislature may, avoid a measure because it approaches the confines of the constitution. We cannot pass it by because it is doubtful. With whatever doubts, with whatever difficulties, a case may be attended, we must decide it, if it be brought before us. We have no more right to decline the exercise of jurisdiction which is given, than to usurp that which is not given. The one or the other would be treason to the constitution. Questions may occur which we would gladly avoid; but we cannot avoid them. All we can do is, to exercise our best judgment, and conscientiously to perform our duty. In doing this, on the present occasion, we find this tribunal invested with appellate jurisdiction in all cases arising under the constitution and laws of the United States. We find no exception to this grant, and we cannot insert one.”
    -U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall when he wrote in Cohens v.Virginia 19 US 264 (1821)

  22. RO   Friday, April 15, 2011 at 9:03 AM

    Another point we are forgetting about is this:Obama has his finger “on the button” but-if he had to pass security clearance, he would fail based on his associations with known enemies and terrorists! So-you can bet that the FBI and CIA know exactly who he is and so do Agencies abroad!

    This country is being held hostage by communists -as in communists muslim takeover. We need our military to straigten this out. I am ashamed they have done nothing so far.

  23. Robert Laity   Friday, April 15, 2011 at 8:37 AM

    And…even if she WERE 19 the citizenship transferred would NOT be “Natural-Born” Status since Senior was a brit.

    It is one’s status AT BIRTH and NOT subsequent citizenship status that determines whether one is “Natural-BORN”. At the time of one’s BIRTH one must be born IN the USA AND one’s parents,BOTH of them,MUST BE Americans.

  24. Challenger   Friday, April 15, 2011 at 7:02 AM

    “As to this last point, to my knowledge no case directly addressing this issue has been tried in a court of law. It appears that the present situation is due to more than simple negligence. If this is so, certain persons may have implicated themselves in an attempted to conceal or commit fraud, regardless of whether or not Obama is found to be eligible.”
    ===========================
    The situation expressed above is especially troubling for our nation. The judiciary has deliberately run away from defining the term ‘natural born citizen’ time and time again, as ACJ Clarence Thomas has essentially admitted. Government lawyers (both civilian and military) have used their personal energies and the resources of their office to defeat citizen efforts to have courts address the issue. While doing so, each of these lawyers refused to take seriously their own sworn oath to preserve and protect the U.S. Constitution. To make matters worse, Government lawyers also operate under the ABA Code of Professional Conduct which requires that they aggressively defend the interests of their client (U.S. Government), while avoiding all conflicts or appearances of a conflict of interest (defending Obama’s fraud). The lawyers have not only betrayed their oath to their Country, they have violated their professional legal ethics duty to their employer, who also happens to be their premier client. They have performed these despicable acts while using the resources and instruments of their legal client, resources that come from the people who are trying to be faithful to their oath and Country. This brutally corrupt behavior has to be viewed as aggravated treason worthy of the death penalty. Lack of standing dismissals simply do not wash with regard to actions that ask the court to do what the judge already is affirmatively and personally obligated to do on his own accord – aggressively defend the U.S. Constitution. In covering for Obama, Government lawyers and judges have violated substantive law (misprison of a felony, their oath of office, and their professional code obligations to their client, the American people.

  25. Dan   Friday, April 15, 2011 at 6:28 AM

    If Obama was not born in this country, his mother’s status as an American would not have helped him for another reason. Section 301(a) of the 1952 Immigration and Nationality Act states the following:

    “a person born outside the geographical limits of the United States and its outlying possessions of parents one of whom is an alien, and the other a citizen of the United States, who prior to the birth of such person, was physically present in the United States or its outlying possessions for a period or periods totaling not less than ten years, at least five of which were after attaining the age of fourteen years.”

    This means Obama’s mother needed to be at least 19 years of age to transfer her citizenship to him. However, she was only 18 when she gave birth to Obama; therefore, she was too young to transfer her citizenship to him.

  26. Robert Laity   Friday, April 15, 2011 at 5:06 AM

    Natural-Born Citizen: “One born IN a Country of parents who are citizens”. It is as simple as this.

  27. Antoine Francisque   Friday, April 15, 2011 at 2:51 AM

    ELmo,

    I don’t think you have misunderstood me. My commentary on Vattel may run cross-grain to others’ views on this matter. The sentence you quoted, when taken by itself, indeed appears to indicated that the natural born citizens are those who are (1.) born to citizen parents, and (2.) born within the country.

    However, after this brief introduction, and beginning in the same paragraph, Vattel specifically addresses birth in a foreign country. Vattel elaborates that the place of birth has no bearing on one’s natural citizenship. The relevant quotes I referenced are all found within the first five paragraphs under the section titled “Citizens and natives”, in Book 1 of “The Law of Nations”.

    So why does Vattel start out by saying that “The natives, or natural-born citizens, are those born in the country, of parents who are citizens” …?

    This is a reasonable question. I would venture to speculate that since Vattel is speaking of both natives and natural-born citizens in this sentence, birth on the soil as well as birth to citizen parents would be necessary to make people who are both natives and natural born citizens of the country.

    In my opinion, and based on Vattel’s description of a natural born citizen, being a native is not required for presidential eligibility- assuming that “native” simply means having been born in the country. Although I am still open to thoughtful debate.

    Some might think that this interpretation is more favorable to Obama. After all, someone could attempt to argue that if Obama was born in the U.S. it would make his American heritage stronger than his Kenyan/British heritage. On the other hand, if natural born citizenship depends entirely upon one’s parents, a case might be made that no matter where Obama was born, his natural born citizenship is split directly in half, and that this runs contrary to the meaning and intention of the natural born clause of our constitution. (Of course, one could also argue that any sort of split allegiance from birth makes a person constitutionally ineligibility for the presidency.)

    So many hypothetical considerations can appear extreme. I’m sure you would all agree that a proper course of action is to simply authorize an investigation into whether or not Obama is eligible to the presidency- starting with his birth records, and moving on to passport information, school records, and whatever else is reasonable for a proper investigation.

    However, I do think that such intellectual exercises can be helpful in gaining a better understanding of U.S. naturalization law and natural-law citizenship. It’s a tricky subject, in part because of the way members of the press and others have handled it, but also because the subject itself can be somewhat complex.

  28. Antoine Francisque   Friday, April 15, 2011 at 2:37 AM

    Rick,

    It would be an incredibly peculiar situation for a dual-citizen to assume the presidency- a scenario that I hadn’t brought up in my article. I’ll keep it in mind for further consideration.

  29. Antoine Francisque   Friday, April 15, 2011 at 2:36 AM

    AuntieMadder,

    It is true that we should not simply assume things without evidence. (The attitude that Obama’s long-form birth certificate is something that should be concealed is a bit surreal.)

    Your point is also taken, that, if Obama is not a citizen it could put kind of a damper on the whole “natural born” issue.

    I do not dismiss the either side of this issue, and appreciate the many citizen researchers who contribute to the ongoing investigation, such as it is.

    I have been somewhat concerned, however, that the general public and state legislators may think that a long-form birth certificate is the be-all, end-all for verification of presidential eligibility. A narrow, (or incomplete) view of the birth certificate issue by the media and others could work to confuse the birth certificate issue as it really stands.

    We know that a birth certificate cannot establish a person’s current citizenship. We also know that the validity of a birth certificate would have to be verified, or substantiated by additional evidence for something as important as presidential eligibility. It would be a horrible precedence for our courts to make a judgment in any case without substantiating the evidence, or the testimony being presented.

    The article I’ve written is a condensed overview of the basic issues involved in this matter. There are many points of concern that I haven’t delved into. I would like to cover some of the other issues in detail, at a later time.

  30. tom   Friday, April 15, 2011 at 12:13 AM

    Unless he affirmed or asserted his Indonesian citizenship after the age of discretion This class of citizenship is irrelevant It was impressed upon him by adults while he was in his minority
    The Usurper is a British Citizen This is what folks need to understand No evidence has ever come to light to demonstrate that B.O. Jr has relinquished his naturally inherited status as a Brit British Citizenship does not simple expire ; the holder must formally renounce

  31. tom   Friday, April 15, 2011 at 12:06 AM

    Stanley Ann Dunham graduated in 1960 at age 17. Nothing unusual about that December was the norm for cut-off

  32. 12thGenerationAMERICAN   Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 9:46 PM

    Like I said earlier: We have not a clue who this guy is:
    http://drkatesview.wordpress.com/2011/04/14/who-is-jean-paul-ludwig/#more-5889

  33. Jon Carlson   Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 8:03 PM

    The argument on Obama is mute.

    Faked and missing photos and missing, altered, forged documents. Claimed mother was born November 29, 1942. That is the only fact of the Obama Story. Claimed Obama birthdate August 4, 1961 on all of the fake records makes a conception November 1960 making Stanley Anne Dunham age 17 still in high school in Washington. As her birth state Kansas has a school attendance cutoff date of August she would be Class of 1961 graduating in June 1961.

    Simple arithmetric makes all you know about Obama mute.

  34. 12thGenerationAMERICAN   Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 7:55 PM

    She may not be his mother:

    http://www.hoaxofthecentury.com/ThaiPresident1.htm

    We don’t have a clue from under which rock he came?!!?

  35. ELmo   Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 6:38 PM

    I am not the “brightest bulb on the tree” as many followers of this site may attest, however, it seems to me that a reading of the 1st sentence cited from Vattel Book 1 Chapter 19:
    “The natives, or natural-born citizens, are those born in the country, of parents who are citizens.” requires the “Native” or “Natural Born Citizen” to be:
    A). Born in the country.
    B). Born of Parents who are citizens of that country.
    Does this sentence say something else? It seems very straightforward to me.

    It seems Vattel plainly says Both are required “being born in the country AND of parents who are citizens of that country are necessary to confirm “Natural Born Citizenship”?! Why is this reading wrong? Or am I misinterpreting what your assertion is?
    I think I follow the rest of this otherwise interesting article.
    Please Advise
    ELmo

  36. rick   Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 6:12 PM

    alot going on here, look, soetero is still an indonesian citizen, unless someone can come up with re-patriation photos. i don’t see that happening. yes, he is ineligible to run for the office he now holds, thanks only to american communists and the kingdom of saud. his only job is to advance islam. his communist czars and criminal communists of both parties run the govt. anyhoo, columns like this always miss something concerning this criminal, his indonesian citizenship is a bigge.

  37. AuntieMadder   Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 6:10 PM

    Unless Obama’s mother was not Stanley Ann Dunham, the only way it might be possible for Obama not to hold American citizenship is…

    Or…Assuming Stanley Ann Dunham is his mother…

    We just don’t know and we won’t until and unless he releases all of his personal records for public scrutiny. Since the beginning is the best place to start, the official long-form birth certificate would be a good document to look at first. A birth in Kenya to Stanley Ann Dunham or any other American woman and Barrack Obama Sr renders the arguments over the definition of “natural born citizen” as well as a final say on and the definition of “natural born citizen” from the SCOTUS irrelevant in this case.

    So, while Article II “birthers” seem to think of birth certificate “birthers” as being narrowly focused on the wrong thing, birth certificate “birthers” like me find Article II “birthers” to be too trusting of known liar Barky.

    By the way, if a case was heard and his eligibility per Article II was decided by the SCOTUS, based on his verbal or written retelling of his nativity narrative, perhaps backed with a paper copy of the short form COLB, wouldn’t that set a potentially dangerous precedent? So, if the case is ever heard by the SCOTUS, wouldn’t the Justices require presentation to them of a copy of the official Hawaiian long-form birth certificate? (Of course, determining his citizenship at birth doesn’t examine or investigate any later changes of citizenship. Nor does it answer the question that’s been bugging me lately and that is when did Barry Seotoro become Barrack Obama, II and was that name change made legal (in what state’s court was it filed)?)

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