by Sharon Rondeau, h/t CDR Charles F. Kerchner, Jr. (Ret.)

Photo courtesy of “Patriotic Citizen TM”

(May 13, 2015) — On Tuesday, the Lawyers Chapter of the Phoenix Federalist Society held a luncheon whose honored guest was U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, who was on a tour promoting his new bookReading Law:  The Interpretation of Legal Texts, co-authored with Bryan Garner.

Following the luncheon and Scalia’s address to the assembly, an individual calling himself “Patriotic Citizen TM” purchased a copy of the book, stood in line to have Scalia autograph it, and then seized on the opportunity to ask, “U.S. Constitution, Article 2, Section 1, Clause 5: Is it your understanding a ‘natural born Citizen’ is a person born in the U.S. to two US-citizen parents?”

Scalia then responded, “Uhh… Umm… Ahh… I have to research that.”

As background information, Patriotic Citizen TM told The Post & Email that after he heard about the event, he saw it as “an opportunity to bring up the ‘natural born Citizen’ question.”

He further explained:

The person who ran the event said that there was going to be an opportunity for Q&A, and at your tables are 3×5 cards and pens. “You may write a question and submit it,” one of the event coordinators said.  So I wrote the question.  My ideal question in this scenario is:  “The U.S. Constitution, Article 2, Section 1, Clause 5:  is it your understanding that a ‘natural born Citizen’ is a person born in the U.S. to two U.S.-citizen parents, and what about any variation on that theme?”

I ran out of space on the card, so I ended it before “what about any variation on that theme?”  The question never got asked, and some of the most bizarre questions were asked.  I think they just wanted to keep it balanced and light.  Throughout Justice Scalia’s presentation, he brought up all kinds of things that are directly related to this.

Scalia began his address to the group by discussing the Bill of Rights, recounting the debate of the Founders and Framers on how to structure the new government.  He asserted that they believed that “without a sound constitution, a Bill of Rights would be meaningless, and they were right.”  He said there are “very few” countries possessing a bicameral legislature which do not simply vote out a chief executive of whose policies they do not approve.

Scalia acknowledged a “vast expansion of the federal government” in modern times but asserted that the U.S. is still a “federal republic.”  He stressed that the “most important court” in the land is not the U.S. Supreme Court.  “Federal law is a small part of the laws under which we are governed,” he said.

After approximately ten minutes, Scalia asked for questions submitted by attendees.

Patriotic Citizen TM views his encounter with Scalia as a “model” for others who could attend similar events which host members of the U.S. Supreme Court.

“I bought the book; I was about the third person in line.  I gave the book to his helper, who opened it up to the proper page, and he gave it to another helper, who was seated at a table with Justice Scalia.  The book was then handed by his helper to Justice Scalia.”  At that point in the process, Patriotic Citizen TM then asked Scalia the question.

He reported that Scalia first stuttered, then said, “If the person is a U.S. citizen…” after which the patriotic citizen clarified that “citizen” is required for a member of the House of Representatives and Senate.

Patriotic Citizen TM described the remainder of the conversation:

“President” is the only one that says “natural born Citizen,” and Scalia then said, “Oh, for President,” and I said, “Yes.”  I figured when I said “Article 2, Section 1, Clause 5,” he would know, but he’s got a lot on his mind.  I restated:  a person born in the U.S. to two U.S.-citizen parents…as you’re familiar with Emmerich de Vattel’s Law of Nations… and I got the impression that he responded positively.  In his presentation, Scalia referred to how he is all about that founding and framing era.  He said he and Justice Thomas are the only ones.  So it seems according to Scalia, even if appointed by Republican Presidents, the others are up in the air.

The takeaway statement is, “I have to research that.”

Scalia has quoted Vattel previously, when the Supreme Court ruled on Arizona’s multi-pronged immigration law passed in 2010, to which Scalia wrote a scathing dissent of the majority opinion striking down a majority of the law’s provisions.

Also in 2010, U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas told a congressional panel that the court was “evading” the question of the meaning of the “natural born Citizen” clause.

Patriotic Citizen TM said that in his 30-second exchange with Scalia, he believes he benefited more than the many litigants who have filed presidential eligibility lawsuits against Sen. John McCain and Barack Hussein Obama since 2008. “All these people who filed lawsuits and never got standing, and I got it for $75 admission and a $40 book…that’s $115 and the passion of a patriotic American, you can go face-to-face with Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and ask him what his understanding of ‘natural born Citizen’ is as per the Constitution.  That blows me away…that’s what I love about America,” he told us.

“Think of all the time, money and research that people invested who are just as patriotic as me, and they got no standing,” he said.  He then proposed the following:

We should use this as a model going forward.  As the story goes, each year, Supreme Court justices make public and private speaking appearances over the summer.   You may go to the Supreme Court website, among other internet platforms, and check into Supreme Court justices’ schedules.  They go around the nation for various reasons.  It just so happened that Justice Scalia just wrote a book, and he’s on a book tour, and it’s being coordinated in part by The Federalist Society.  If people in our movement can get into those meetings or other public appearances, or even if it’s private, get into these opportunities, it’s something we can try.

Patriotic Citizen TM said he also had the opportunity to educate a co-host of the private reception held for Scalia last evening on the “natural born Citizen” issue during a break between the two events.

He told us of that encounter:

I stated my question to Scalia to her, and she said, “Well, the person has to be a citizen,” so I brought up point after point after point…and she was blown away.  She is a major Republican donor. To demonstrate, I put my hand on my heart and pledged allegiance to the Flag and Constitution of the United States of America, explaining that the allegiance is singular.  It’s not, “I pledge divided allegiance because my dad was born somewhere else and he’s still a citizen somewhere else, and my mom is a citizen of here or there or anywhere…”  I said, “They fail the test, and the Republican Party is playing into it.”  So she was blown away.  I got the impression she thought you just had to be a U.S. citizen and meet the other requirements of age and residency.

Patriotic Citizen TM said his luncheon companion also received an education on “natural born Citizen” on Tuesday. In an apparent reference to Barack Obama, his friend remarked, “So it’s not about the birth certificate; it’s about the Kenyan father,” after witnessing Patriotic Citizen TM’s explanation to the private reception’s co-host.

In reflecting on the event on Wednesday, Patriotic Citizen TM observed, “I got the impression I was the only person to take the opportunity to interact with Justice Scalia, as the others only got their book signed, said thanks, and some posed briefly for a quick photo.”

He added, “I thank God for the opportunity, and I just pray to God that somehow, something good is going to be made of this.  I feel as if I made some breakthroughs for our patriotic American movement today, and it keeps the momentum going on to that ultimate breakthrough we’re all seeking for the overall good of America.”

[Editor’s Note:  The Phoenix Federalist Society has reported that the Scalia event was attended by “over 300 people.”]

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  1. SLCraig, My point is that the definition of NBC “One born in a country of parents who are citizens” is THOUSANDS of years old and written in stone.

  2. If only two justices have any idea of what they are supposed to know, the writer is absolutely correct that it won’t change with a Republican-nominated justice. The Republican donors sitting there to hear Mr. Scalia obviously have no clue either. “Research it” is a great idea for anyone who wants to get to the basics of the matter. Too many just accept what someone else who supposedly researched it came up with. The education (read: public school) system in this country only promotes mindless morons who don’t know how to do independent research. The end may not justify the means, but it sure explains it.

  3. Scalia knows full well that Minor v Happersett,on the subject of NBC, is still “good law”. He and the other (8) Justices were reminded of this in Laity v NY.

  4. This is at least the second time Justice Scalia has feigned ignorance when asked a direct question person to person about the constitutional meaning of “natural born Citizen”. A blast from the past from 2012 — Scalia flummoxed about natural born citizenship: Exclusive: Larry Klayman asks justice for definition of term used in Constitution: http://www.wnd.com/2012/08/scalia-flummoxed-about-natural-born-citizenship/ I guess after two years have elapsed Justice Scalia is still “researching that”. Unbelievable what a disgrace our judicial system has become even at the highest levels. CDR Kerchner (Ret) – http://www.ProtectOurLiberty.org

  5. ” ….. still a Federal Republic ….” which would bind the SCOTUS to “construe the federal laws” …. on the subject of a U.S. natural born Citizen …. which, even though Vattel may have been a a primer on constructing a government based on the laws of nature and natures laws as they affect the conduct of men and nations, Vattel did not express the specifics of concept and doctrine of “birthright citizenship” in statutory form. Vattel wrote a narrative, the Framers wrote in statutory construction, just as the 1st Congress and those that followed have.

    Vattel’s construction of a “natural born Citizen” fails without the “doctrine” of “birthright citizenship”.

    Here is how the 1st Congress expressed that doctrine in statutory form;

    … ” … 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:…”

    1,2,3 and “birthright citizenship” was ESTABLISHED as the uniform Rule of U.S. Citizenship in March of 1790 and remains in effect today.

    As for the “foreign born” natural born Citizen of the 1790 Act and the provisions repeal and replacement of the 1795 Act with just a modicum of statutory interpretation it is easily construed that the words, “considered as” requires that there must exist a comparable counterpart that exists in alternate circumstances.

    In considering the variables the only substitutable condition is that of the location of the birth of the child, which then proves that U.S. natural born Citizens were being born to the wives of U.S. Citizen fathers within the limits of the U.S. as well as out of the limits of the U.S. between March of 1790 and January of 1795 and thereafter only within the limits of the U.S.

    The ONLY remaining reconciliation under federal law, insofar as a U.S. natural born Citizen is concerned, is the effect of the 1922 Cable Act which, by the total abrogation of the doctrine of coverture, insofar as U.S. Citizenship is concerned, requires that each parent be INDEPENDENTLY U.S. Citizens, lest the child be born as a “dual-citizen” a condition not legally possible prior to the Act.

    So I have FAITH that the SCOTUS can be spoon fed on the actual FEDERAL LAWS that are wholly consistent with the narrative construction of Vattel’s hypothetical natural born citizen, because, like Justice Marshall before them, the current Justices are aware that the language and vernacular of the Constitution’s Framers was “statutory construction” as opposed to the ‘narrative” of Vattel.

    1. You’ll be interested to know that Vattel did not “Write” the Law of Nations…Vattel merely TRANSLATED it from Latin into French.

    2. United States Congress, “An act to establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization” (March 26, 1790) Critical excerpt below:

      [. . .] 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 [. . .]

      Obots often attempt to use this passage from the Naturalization act of 1790 to show that it is not necessary for a natural born Citizen to be born within the limits of the United States. However, a naturalization act can not make children of USA citizen fathers born beyond the sea natural born Citizens, for congress was not granted that power (as evidenced by the name of the act itself, which only could regulate naturalization).

      The meaning of the phrase, natural born Citizen, is immutable — even a Constitutional amendment cannot change it, but only remove it as an eligibility requirement (or replace it with something else). That the founders so quickly (five years later) removed any possibly misunderstood reference to “natural born Citizen” from this act only further underlines this fact.

      Even if we were to accept the obot premiss that the Naturalization act of 1790 informs us as to the founders’ understanding of what constitutes a natural born Citizen (which, per the Constitution itself is beyond its scope) then we must accept the entire text, which further stipulates that a natural born Citizen must be born to a citizen father who has a one point been a permanent resident of the United States. Guess who that leaves out? Aka obama’s father was never a citizen of the USA and was only here on a temporary student visa (Fail!). When Ted Cruz was born, his father had never been citizen resident of the USA (Fail!). Likewise for Marco Rubio (all three a big fat Fail!).

  6. Maybe we should ask Cruz and Rubio or our Dual Citizen POTUS? Got a $BILLION? Run for POTUS! Anyone can do it! Cash and Flash could get you in-don’t have to be experienced-don’t have to be legal! Are you a good “speaker” and can you act or look like a soap opera star? You just might make it if you have “six pack abs”!! You might have a rich daddy that could get you in like when they lost votes on Col. Alan West early in the morning when votes were “recounted” at a different location and 4.000 votes just disappeared in thin air! Even if you have punched out LEO’s or had your mug shot in the papers-you could still make it to DC! They know how to recognize talent there-don’t miss out on the opportunity. Just don’t tell them you were a Veteran-they could hold that against you. It’s the old saying-“It ain’t what you know-it’s WHO you know.” It could also mean how many cigars do you have in your cigar box!

  7. Message to Justice Scalia from CDR Kerchner (Ret):

    Your feigning lack on knowledge of the meaning of “natural born Citizen” to the Patriotic Citizen who asked you that question, which is obvious by your hesitating response, is not fooling anyone. I have seen you cite the writings of Emer de Vattel in cases at the U.S. Supreme Court. As a self proclaimed “originalist” I believe you already know the original intent, true meaning, and understanding of who a “natural born Citizen” was and is per the founders and framers, i.e., a person born in the country to parents who are both citizens. You know the writings of Vattel inside and out and his influence on the founders and framers. But if you need a refresher course “to research that”, visit the site https://www.scribd.com/collections/3301209/Papers-Discussing-Natural-Born-Citizen-Meaning-to-Constitutional-Standards to help you get started with your research! You people at the U.S. Supreme Court need to stop “evading that question” and do your constitutional job. CDR Kerchner (Ret) – http://www.ProtectOurLiberty.org