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by Sharon Rondeau

What did the Framers intend when they agreed to place the “natural born Citizen” clause in the Constitution solely for the presidency?

(Jan. 25, 2015) — On Friday, Dallas Morning News Washington Bureau Chief Todd Gillman reported on remarks which prominent businessman Donald Trump made prior to the Iowa Freedom Summit, where a number of potential 2016 presidential candidates and current public servants assembled on Saturday.

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) and the organization Citizens United hosted the event held in Des Moines.  Iowa is the first state to hold caucuses for the presidential race every four years.

Sen. Ted Cruz, former Sen. Rick Santorum, Trump, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry were in attendance and addressed the gathering.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin also attended.

Noticeably absent were former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, both of whom appear to be framing presidential campaigns and engaged in a private meeting in Utah on Thursday.

While Bush has suggested he would run for several months and resigned from all boards of directors on which he was serving, Romney had stated last year that he would not seek the presidency for a third time in 2016.  Earlier this month, however, Romney appeared to reverse himself.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Sen. Marco Rubio have also been mentioned as possible presidential candidates. Both were born in the United States to non-U.S.-citizen parents.  A straw poll taken by Townhall.com on January 3 showed Cruz in first place and Rubio in third place for presidential contenders.

According to media reports, Cruz appears to be seriously considering a run for the presidency.  During an October interview with CNBC, he stated that Republicans must “run a candidate who runs as a strong conservative” or risk losing the White House to Hillary Clinton.

“We need to look to history,” Cruz said, in determining who would make the best candidate for the GOP.

History, however, also requires that the president and commander-in-chief be a “natural born Citizen.”  In Article II, Section 1, clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution, the Framers wrote:

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.

The clause was included at the urging of John Jay, who later became the first chief justice of the United States Supreme Court and wrote in a letter to George Washington as the Constitution was under construction:

Permit me to hint, whether it would not be wise & seasonable to provide a strong check to the admission of Foreigners into the administration of our national Government; and to declare expresly that the Command in chief of the american army shall not be given to, nor devolve on, any but a natural born Citizen.

While Gillman asserted that “the popular understanding” is that “natural born Citizen” means “being born on American soil,” he omitted the fact that historically, the citizenship of the parents was also taken into consideration when determining the status of the child.  Further, the media has not delved into the historical reason and context for the difference in terms.  Many constitutional scholars believe that when the Framers added the words “natural born” to the requirements of the presidency, it indicated a higher level of citizenship and allegiance.

Swiss philosopher Emmerich de Vattel, author of the 1758 treatise, “The Law of Nations” believed to have heavily influenced the Framers, wrote:

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. The society is supposed to desire this, in consequence of what it owes to its own preservation; and it is presumed, as matter of course, that each citizen, on entering into society, reserves to his children the right of becoming members of it. The country of the fathers is therefore that of the children; and these become true citizens merely by their tacit consent. We shall soon see whether, on their coming to the years of discretion, they may renounce their right, and what they owe to the society in which they were born. I say, that, 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.

Cruz was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada on December 22, 1970 to a U.S.-citizen mother and Cuban-citizen father.  He was automatically considered a Canadian citizen, a fact which Cruz denied knowing in August 2013, when The Dallas Morning News displayed his Canadian birth certificate and reported that he was born a dual Canadian-U.S. citizen.  Gillman was also the author of that article and reported that Cruz’s mother registered him as a U.S. citizen with the U.S. consulate, according to Cruz’s spokeswoman.

Gillman reported that Trump has taken issue with Cruz’s eligibility based on his birth in Canada, although Gillman stated that because “Cruz was entitled to American citizenship at birth,…a strong legal consensus has emerged that Cruz is, in fact, eligible, and the senator has insisted as much.”  Gillman did not cite the sources of the “strong legal consensus.”

Discussions have surfaced in the media about Cruz’s eligibility, and Trump believes that Cruz may require a court decision to settle the matter.

In December 2013, Cruz was sent a letter by the North American Law Center (NALC), a legal firm seeking to reinstitute the individual rights guaranteed by the Constitution and Bill of Rights.  The letter, entitled “A Call to Honor,” reads, in part:

Senator Cruz, you have been placed in the position to end the greatest fraud ever perpetrated on the United States of America, and to stop the systematic destruction of our Country. The action required is simple – but not easy, for it requires a selfless act of love and concern for others, and calls upon you to do the right thing. Yes, some will call it a true act of heroism.

Senator Ted Cruz, as a true Christian, you must say to the nation and the world…

“It has been the delight and honor of my life that so many Americans have found me worthy of their respect and admiration, and have wanted me to run for president or vice president. But the truth is, I am not eligible for either office according to the United States Constitution Article II, Section I, Clause V wherein only a Natural Born Citizen of the United States, born of an American Citizen Father, can seek or hold these offices. I know that the Founders, in their brilliance, set this standard based on the Biblical principles of Natural Law, wherein the name, citizenship and birthright of a child was always passed by the blood of the father. Knowing this beyond question, a proud son of my Cuban father, I am not now, nor can I ever be, a Natural Born Citizen of the United States. Therefore, based upon unquestionable and prima facie evidence, I state for the record that Barack Hussein Obama, the son of a Kenyan Citizen father, is not now, nor has he ever been, nor will he ever be a Natural Born Citizen of the United States. I call for the immediate resignation of Barack Hussein Obama and the legitimate investigation into all who are involved in the greatest fraud ever perpetrated on the United States and the world, as well as all who have engaged in the greatest political cover-up in the history of politics.”

Cruz did not respond to the letter to this writer’s knowledge.

In October, The Post & Email attempted to obtain a certified copy of a certificate possibly filed with the U.S. State Department upon Cruz’s birth indicating a U.S.-citizen birth abroad.  However, a State Department staffer informed us several weeks later that only the subject of the certificate, or a close relative or guardian having a tangible interest in it, could be granted access.

Cruz’s press office did not respond to The Post & Email’s request for comment on any proof Cruz might provide that he was born with U.S. citizenship. He officially renounced his Canadian citizenship in June of last year.

One of the constitutional requirements for U.S. Senators and Representatives is “a Citizen” for a given number of years:  seven for representatives and nine for senators.  Candidates for those offices are not required to be “natural born Citizens.”

Gillman reminded his audience that Trump had raised concerns about Obama’s eligibility in 2011 when he called for Obama to release his “long-form” birth certificate proving that he was born on U.S. soil.

Obama claims a birth in Hawaii to a foreign-citizen father and U.S.-citizen mother.  Prior to Trump’s public call for Obama’s bona fides, the matter of Obama’s eligibility was stifled by the media, with some outlets reportedly threatened if they were to discuss it on air.

In July 2011, former attorney Leo Donofrio found that at the website Justia.com’s section on Supreme Court cases, 25 references to the case of Minor v. Happersett “which cited the vital Supreme Court decision which classifies those born in the country to parents who are citizens as ‘natural-born citizens’, such classification excluding Obama from eligibility,” had undergone “surgical scrubbing.”

Donofrio also discovered that in 1896, The New York Tribune published debate within the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. John Bingham, the author of the 14th Amendment, who described a person “born of naturalized parents within the jurisdiction of the United States” as a “natural-born citizen.”

Following Trump’s urging, on April 27, 2011, the White House unveiled an image on its website touted to be a scan of a certified copy of Obama’s long-form birth certificate from Hawaii.  Within 24 hours, several experts declared the birth certificate image a forgery.  However, the media suppressed those reports and was quick to accept the image as authentic.

In August 2011, a group of 250 Surprise, AZ Tea Party members approached their local law enforcement officer, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, to request an investigation into the image so that they could be assured that their votes would not be disenfranchised in the 2012 election.  Arpaio complied, believing that a cursory examination of the image would “clear the president” and delegated his “Cold Case Posse” to the task.

Within 72 hours, the posse found that the image could not have originated with a paper document.  On March 1, 2012, a joint press conference held by lead investigator Mike Zullo and Arpaio declared the birth certificate image, along with Obama’s purported Selective Service registration form, a “computer-generated forgery.”

Like many mainstream media writers, Gillman did not include those facts in his article.

Members of the Kenyan Parliament have claimed that Obama was born in their country, while the former Kenyan ambassador to the U.S. stated in 2008 that “his birthplace [in Kenya] is well-known.”

From 1991 to April 2007, Obama’s literary agent declared that Obama was born in Kenya, and a Hawaii newspaper reported him in 2006 to have been born in Indonesia.

Four U.S. Supreme Court cases which define various circumstances of citizenship appear to support the claim that a person born in the United States to two U.S.-citizen parents is a “natural born Citizen.”

In 1916, former Ambassador to Italy Breckinridge Long asserted that Charles Evans Hughes was not a natural born Citizen and therefore ineligible to run for the presidency because he had been born to a father who was a British citizen.  In an essay published in the now-defunct Chicago Law Journal, Long differentiated between “citizen,” which he asserted Hughes was, and the higher standard of “natural born Citizen.”

Atty. Mario Apuzzo, who has studied the issue extensively and authored one of the many lawsuits challenging Obama’s constitutional eligibility to serve as president, will be speaking about Cruz’s questionable eligibility on the Patriot Radio Network at 9:00 p.m. EST on Monday evening.

Despite Obama’s claims of a birth and upbringing in Hawaii, Rep. Steve King has opined that Obama “was not raised with an American experience.”

Gillman asserts that even if Obama had been born outside of the United States, he would still have qualified with one U.S.-citizen parent.

The Republican Party has not responded to The Post & Email’s letter raising the “natural born Citizen” issue as it relates to any presidential candidates it might proffer.

As noted by Joseph DeMaio exclusively for The Post & Email, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) went to great lengths to obliterate language from Supreme Court cases which would have rendered Obama ineligible for the presidency in its reports to Congress on the issue.  In March 2012, DeMaio noted that the mainstream media had “forfeited any claim to independence and objectivity” in regard to Obama’s eligibility for the presidency.

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  1. SCOTUS has already defined the meaning of natural born Citizen in the case of Minor versus Happersett:

    “The Constitution does not, in words, say who shall be natural-born citizens. Resort must be had elsewhere to ascertain that. At common-law, with the nomenclature of which the framers of the Constitution were familiar, it was never doubted that all children born in a country of parents who were its citizens became themselves, upon their birth, citizens also. These were natives, or natural-born Citizens, as distinguished from aliens or foreigners. Some authorities go further and include as citizens children born within the jurisdiction without reference to the citizenship of their parents. As to this class there have been doubts, but never as to the first. For the purposes of this case it is not necessary to solve these doubts. It is sufficient for everything we have now to consider that all children born of citizen parents within the jurisdiction are themselves citizens.”

    (Note that the emphasis in the text is mine.)

    This text is directly pertinent to the ruling of this case (not rambling dicta) and it clearly defines natural born Citizen as “children born in a country of parents who were its citizens” and contrasts this cohort to the cohort of anchor babies (whose mere citizenship is questioned, but not resolved).

    The Constitution explicitly assigns the duty of controlling immigration and citizenship to congress, but the natural born Citizen eligibility requirement is part of the Constitution and can only be changed by a formal amendment. SCOTUS cannot change the requirement either, but they did define its existing meaning (as understood by the founders) in the decision cited above (Minor v. Happersett).

    Congress may addresses immigration and naturalization, but it has no authority over (and indeed, does not attempt to regulate) anything to do with the meaning of natural born Citizen. The essence of natural born Citizenship cannot be altered because it is a fact of nature and not a matter of law.

    For example, no law is required to ensure that a horse can only issue from progenitors that are both horses (even though a zebra or a jackass may mate with a horse, the result can never be a horse — regardless if any lawmaker were to say otherwise). A natural born horse is defined by purity and exclusivity. By nature it is a horse because no other possibility exists — it is pure, not a hybrid.

    Ted Cruz was born a hybrid citizen of three countries, Canada, Cuba and America and by his natural born divided allegiances at birth he was born a hybrid citizen and is not and can never be a natural born Citizen of any country. This is a natural fact of his essential nature at birth and cannot be altered by man’s law.

    Ted Cruz was officially a Canadian citizen from the moment he first appeared in the Canadian hospital where he was born and issued his Canadian birth certificate. However, he was not officially an American citizen until his mother registered him with the American consul as a foreign born child of an American citizen living abroad.

    In fact, if his mother had never bothered to contact the consul and his parents had not quit their permanent residence in Canada (when Ted Cruz was already four years old and his dad had by then become a Canadian citizen), Ted Cruz would never have been an American at all.

    Ted Cruz is not a natural born Citizen, and, yet, some misguided republicans really, really, REALLY want him to be their president. Perhaps they may take comfort in the fact that that silly little Constitutional eligibility requirement did not stop the democrats from using stupidly misplaced white guilt to foist their own favorite unconstitutional usurper upon America.

    However, beware, the race card does not apply to republicans and the democrats and their marxist media are duplicitous hypocrites, if Cruz were to be nominated, don’t be surprised if they don’t wait until Cruz is locked in and torpedo him on eligibility grounds at a point when it would be far too late to field a replacement candidate.

    Walker/Palin 2016 — both unquestionably natural born Citizens with solid gubernatorial experience under heavy fire from the opposition (no skeletons left hiding in their closets).

  2. Todd Gilman is simply wrong. An NBC is “One born IN a Country of Parents who are both Citizens” at the time of birth of said person.
    There can be NO level of citizenship higher than that of a person whose parents are both Americans and who was born ON U.S.Soil. That level of citizenship is mandatory for becoming President.

  3. Proverbs 29:18

    (18) Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint;
    But happy is he who keeps the law.

    The “native vs natural” born conflict of law is the exact reason the bonds that tied the “colonies” to the English Common Law regarding the subject of PERSON-HOOD must be severed once and for all.

    Amendment X
    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

    Article I Section VIII Clause IV
    The Congress shall have power; …;To establish a uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States;

    “Probate Laws” in most of the Original States were based on the English Common Laws and codified as such under the State Constitutions under the Articles of Confederation. Often in cases of Probate that were contested the U.S. Courts were petitioned to settle conflicts that arose under the State Laws.

    In most cases it is these Petitions that are cited to give the impression that U.S. Citizenship was based on the English Common Law. That connection is in ERROR. The questions of “citizenship” in cases of Probate REQUIRED the finding of relationships through the English Laws of SUBUGATION, (subject-hood) arising from the Feudal Laws.

    In U.S. Law, for the purpose of Probate inquiries, is the ONLY instance that consulting English Common Law was appropriate, insofar as U.S. Citizenship is concerned.

    Although it seems I stand alone in equating certain words to ancient political concepts, I will continue to do so knowing it to be FACT.
    “to establish an uniform Rule”, in my way of thinking , is to say ‘establish a doctrine’

    DOCTRINE, noun [Latin , to teach.]
    1. In a general sense, whatever is taught. Hence, a principle or position in any science; whatever is laid down as true by an instructor or master. The doctrines of the gospel are the principles or truths taught by Christ and his apostles. The doctrines of Plato are the principles which he taught. Hence a doctrine may be true or false; it may be a mere tenet or opinion.
    Webster’s 1828

    Speaking of Aristotle, in his Politics Book III Part II he seems, to me, to be expressing the “doctrine of naturalization” in a narrative sense;

    “ … But in practice a citizen is defined to be one of whom both the parents are citizens; others insist on going further back; say to two or three or more ancestors. This is a short and practical definition but there are some who raise the further question: How this third or fourth ancestor came to be a citizen? Gorgias of Leontini, partly because he was in a difficulty, partly in irony, said- ‘Mortars are what is made by the mortar-makers, and the citizens of Larissa are those who are made by the magistrates; for it is their trade to make Larissaeans.’ Yet the question is really simple, for, if according to the definition just given they shared in the government, they were citizens. This is a better definition than the other. For the words, ‘born of a father or mother who is a citizen,’ cannot possibly apply to the first inhabitants or founders of a state…”

    So to express my full view of what A1S8C4 says in terms of interpreted statutory construction, I read;

    The Congress shall have power; …;To establish the U.S. Doctrine of U.S. Citizenship and its common law perpetuation.

    There are several ways to construct those words and arrive to the same place in answer in light of Aristotle’s statement in the last sentence from above;
    “ … For the words, ‘born of a father or mother who is a citizen,’ cannot possibly apply to the first inhabitants or founders of a state…”

    A1S8C4 mandates the Congress to ESTABLISH an uniform Rule of (U.S. Citizenship {implicit}) naturalization post the ratification of the COTUS. So how is Aristotle’s question of the Founders U.S. Citizenship come from…?

    The colonial States each wrote their own State Citizenship Laws while under the Articles of Confederation, most mirroring the Queen Anne Statutes to the extent of the colony State’s needs. Some relying more on Jus Sanguinis and others on Jus Soli, but all conforming to the needs of the State’s Probate Laws.

    Lacking uniformity of process but consistency of purpose the colonial States could be said to be the period of gestation before a “true” U.S. Citizen was born.

    But still, the method that the Founders were MADE U.S. Citizens under the needs of the COTUS needs to be identified.

    The Preamble to the COTUS, although not recognized as Law, is recognized as an authority as to purposes and intents.

    Truncated here to what I view as the part relative to U.S. Citizenship and the justification for viewing the incident of Ratification as a “collective naturalization” event;

    “…We the people of the United States, in order … secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

    So Aristotle is correct, “ … ‘born of a father or mother who is a citizen,’ cannot possibly apply to the first inhabitants or founders of a state….” … but there is no bar to those Founders “making” themselves the fathers and mother “Citizens” who would then “born the posterity”.

    Article II Section I Clause V reinforces the distinction between a “(U.S.) Citizen and a (U.S.) natural born Citizen”, as a matter of fact the very distinction implied by Aristotle; ‘made a Citizen or born TO a Citizen’.

    Many say that the word ‘naturalization” ONLY refers to making aliens citizens or “considering as” citizens of those born abroad to citizens. Bah, umbubug.

    Naturalization, in the ‘noun’ grammatical sense, defines a specific political doctrine, i.e., the ‘making of citizens’. There is NO LIMITATIONS written WITHIN the WORD, the limitations are put in place by the various political determinations and there is certainly NO limitations placed by the words; “ … The Congress shall have power; …; To establish a uniform rule of naturalization, … throughout the United States; …”

    Therefore there is nothing lacking in the 276 words of the 1790 Act entitled; “ … an Act to establish an uniform Rule of naturalization”, to wit;
    “ … Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That any Alien being a free white person, who shall have resided within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States for the term of two years, may be admitted to become a citizen thereof on application to any common law Court of record in any one of the States wherein he shall have resided for the term of one year at least, and making proof to the satisfaction of such Court that he is a person of good character, and taking the oath or affirmation prescribed by law to support the Constitution of the United States, which Oath or Affirmation such Court shall administer, and the Clerk of such Court shall record such Application, and the proceedings thereon; and thereupon such person shall be considered as a Citizen of the United States. And the children of such person so naturalized, dwelling within the United States, being under the age of twenty one years at the time of such naturalization, shall also be considered as citizens of the United States. And the children of citizens of the United States that may be born beyond Sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born Citizens: Provided, that the right of citizenship shall not descend to persons whose fathers have never been resident in the United States: Provided also, that no person heretofore proscribed by any States, shall be admitted a citizen as aforesaid, except by an Act of the Legislature of the State in which such person was proscribed. …”

    Which produces the effect of an uniform Rule expressed as; “Once a person IS a U.S. Citizen, then so too ARE their children, at birth anywhere in the world or otherwise.”

    Due to the political doctrine of coverture ONLY a child born to a U.S. Citizen father is born as a U.S. Citizen between 1790 and 1922, the wife / mother being considered as the SAME Citizenship as the father / husband.

    The 1922 Cable Act abrogated the doctrine of coverture with its provisions that provided for women’s independent citizenship, regardless of the citizenship of one she may marry, aka, women’s citizenship retention. The Act also gave birth to the circumstance of “legal” dual-citizenship” under U.S. Law.

    Dual-Citizen being distinct hyphenation from an A2S1C5 “natural born Citizen” in both birth circumstances and the original intent of usage.

    The foregoing loose construction of the genesis and generations of U.S. Citizenship is made in attempt to CONSTRUE “U.S. Citizenship” entirely under Federal law, as it MUST be in order to be ENFORCEABLE under U.S. Law.

    1. The NA of 1790 was repealed in 1795 deleting the provision making persons born beyond the seas, even to Americans, as being NBCs. Naturalization is citizenship by Statutory action. Being an NBC needs no such act of congress. One BORN on U.S. Soil of Parents who are BOTH Americans themselves. It is bizarre to allow persons with even a hint of foreign allegiance,loyalties or connection to be President of OUR Sovereign nation. For example, Swarzenegger’s father was a Nazi for heaven sake.

      1. Yes, the 1795 Act did indeed REPEAL the “foreign born U.S. natural born Citizen provision” thereafter “making” such a child “considered as” a (U.S.) Citizen, however all the other REPEALED provisions were REINSTATED in the reworded provisions which in the end made the ONLY substantive change to the 1790 Act the removal of the “foreign born U.S. natural born Citizen provision”.

        But you skip right over the effect of the concurrent acquisition of U.S. Citizenship by the minor children present with the newly naturalized alien and the fact that a child of an existing U.S. Citizen is born a U.S. Citizen no matter where in the world the child is born.

        Now, what part of those STATUTORY PROVISIONS does not provide for a U.S. natural born Citizen to be born to two (2) U.S. Citizen parents within the limits of the U.S., keeping in mind the operative effects of the Doctrine of Coverture on the citizenship status of a woman / wife / mother and the ACTUAL substantive effect of the REPEAL of the “foreign born U.S. natural born Citizen provision”.

        Read closely Sir, and muster both your inquisitive instincts and intellectual honesty in an attempt to find fault with the characterization of the “established uniform Rule of (U.S. Citizenship) naturalization” when expressed as; “… Once a person is a U.S. Citizen, then so too are their children, at birth anywhere in the world or otherwise.”

        There is NO SUCH THING as a “citizen” without the POLITICAL DETERMINATION to make one so. <Period

        And without a STATUTORY PROVISION there would be no such creature as a U.S. natural born Citizen, unless you are arguing that the Constitution is not written in a form of STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION and that Article II Section I Clause V was not meant to be an ENFORCEABLE 'exclusionary prerequisite imperative requirement provision".

        Because in a Republic, under the Rule of Law, the Law MUST be written in order to be enforceable.
        Mrs. Rondeau replies: While The Post & Email encourages debate on constitutional subjects driven by deep thought and research, we want to ensure that the essence of comments remains in response to articles, not one reader’s contradiction of another’s comment. Intellectual arguments are fine, but please consider continuing the discussion in a private email exchange so that it is not construed as a personal attack. Thank you.