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by thinkwell, ©2015

“natural born Citizen” clause from the U.S. Constitution on the White House website

(Sep. 8, 2015) — I have put a LOT of thought into what it means to be a natural born Citizen and come to understand why the founders did not define the term. In their day, such ideas were a common currency of political thought among those seeking to form a new country and the meaning of natural born Citizen seemed to them an obvious, self-evident fact of natural law. We have drifted far away from the circles of thought that occupied and were shared among the minds of the founders, ideas which were based on common sense in order to establish and perpetuate a system of self-governance of a nation of free and equal sovereigns.

Today, our collective understanding has been dulled by inattention to the ideas that brought us here. The forces of chaos and tyranny have seized upon our uncertainty with media propaganda and with activist judges wielding such weapons as “standing” and “precedence” (stare decisis) or simply making things up (when, if they were being true to the Constitution, they should just be looking at original intent). But they duck and weave using legal technicalities and absurd rationalizations instead of common sense.

A lot of patriots defer to Vattel’s Law of Nations to justify their understanding of the founders’ meaning of natural born Citizen, which is certainly true and correct, but this approach is prone to attack as an argument from authority and can be (wrongly) countered with opposing figures of authority, who are often little more than partisan hacks. I have been seeking out self-standing, commonsense arguments that cannot be assailed on logical grounds (leaving only the Alinsky tactics of simple contradiction and/or ridicule).

Another tact is to look to the SCOTUS for enlightenment from prior decisions such as in Minor vs. Happersett. However, this approach is subject to the same weakness as deferring to Vattel — it’s an argument from authority (and the SCOTUS is a rather dubious and unreliable one at that). I would rather apply the common sense of the founders.

One common sense argument is to examine what it means to be natural born in the animal world. A natural born wild horse is born in the wild (jus soli) of two wild horses (jus sanguinis). If one of the progenitors is a zebra or a jackass, the offspring is an unnatural hybrid (not a horse). If the horse is born (and raised) on a farm, it is unnaturally domesticated (not wild). This analogy carries over quite well to natural born citizenship, which, for the same reasons, requires jus soli AND jus sanguinis.

Next, consider comparing our country to a family of citizens. A natural born family member is a natural child of its parents born (and raised) in the family among its siblings. A “naturalized” family member is the child of outsiders (non-citizens) adopted into the family perhaps at birth or beyond. A dual citizen is an unnatural hybrid like a sperm-donor child. And a child adopted out of the family and away from his or her siblings is like the child of an American citizen born and raised in a foreign culture. Such a child becomes a “denaturalized” outsider to the family.

Another argument is to compare what it means to become a naturalized citizen and apply that understanding to unlock the meaning of natural born Citizen. An adult alien who becomes a naturalized citizen must renounce all other citizenships and allegiances and become 100 percent exclusively American. How can anyone think that a natural born Citizen could be anything less than this, but with the added qualifiers of being a 100 percent American naturally (without any law) and be so from birth on?

Yet another argument is to examine how combining presidential eligibility qualifiers might best align with the founders’ expressed intent of providing a strong check against foreign intrigue. The three commonly cited qualifiers to being a natural born Citizen are 1) born of a citizen father, 2) born of a citizen mother and 3) born in-country. Combining the three qualifiers with a logical AND function provides a strong check. Combining them with a logical OR function (which is favored by the “living” constitutionalists) barely provides a check at all. Now which do you think the founders had in mind?

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  1. The fact remains. We have a UNANIMOUS Supreme Court decision (9-0) which set legal precedent that a Natural-Born Citizen IS one born in the United States of Parents who both themselves Citizens. This precedent,set in 1875, One Hundred and forty years ago remains “good law”. Obama,Cruz,Rubio,Santorum,McCain,Swarzenegger and Jindal are NOT ELIGIBLE to be President because of their circumstances at birth.