WITHOUT INVOKING “NATURAL BORN” REQUIREMENT
by Sharon Rondeau
Prince Harry was holding the child, a boy wrapped in a white blanket and cap, born early Monday morning, while Markle, dressed in white, stood next to her husband, both smiling broadly. Both spoke briefly to the public before retreating behind an ornate, golden door said to be a section of the castle where they reside.
The baby is as yet unnamed, co-host Steve Doocy said, and is currently referred to as “Baby Sussex.” The name “Spencer” is reportedly under consideration given that it was the maiden name of Princess Diana, Harry’s late mother.
As was stated on the show Tuesday morning, Doocy declared that because the baby is presumed to have been born with dual U.S.-UK citizenship, he could grow up to be King of England or “President of the United States.”
Co-host Ainsley Earhardt then queried, “But doesn’t he have to be…?”
“I don’t know exactly; I’m just repeating the factoid we had on the show,” Doocy responded to Earhardt, referring to Tuesday’s broadcast.
“We’ll have to look into that because I’m curious,” Earhardt replied.
Article II, section 1, clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution states:
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 Constitution was finalized after then-Founding Father John Jay wrote a letter to constitutional convention president George Washington stating, “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 expressly that the Command in chief of the american army shall not be given to, nor devolved on, any but a natural born Citizen.
While the term “natural born citizen” was not precisely defined by the Framers, historical texts and U.S. Supreme Court cases indicate that a child born in the United States to U.S.-citizen parents was undoubtedly in that category.
A number of constitutional scholars have posited, in relation to what they believe the Framers were thinking, that when the new nation was formed after the Revolutionary War, there were no “natural born Citizens.” Rather, there were only those who, having risked their own lives, those of their families and all of their possessions, declared themselves independent of the British Crown and fought in the war or participated in drawing up its founding documents. Therefore, although not “natural born” because of their original allegiance, they were new American citizens because of their new allegiance to the nation they helped to found.
Other scholars have argued that a simple birth on American soil irrespective of the citizenship of the parents qualifies a person as “natural born.” However, that would mean that a child born in the United States to illegal-alien parents, including anyone with nefarious intent toward the United States, could become president.
The Framers specifically spurned royalty, and General George Washington, who became the nation’s first president, refused to take on the stature of a king.
Some have argued that the 14th Amendment, ratified in 1868, supplanted the “natural born Citizen” requirement, although its principal author, Sen. John Bingham of Ohio, stated of an American citizen imprisoned in Spain: “That Dr. Houard is a natural-born citizen of the United States there is not room for the shadow of a doubt. He was born of naturalized parents within the jurisdiction of the United States, and by the express words of the Constitution, as amended to-day, he is declared to all the world to be a citizen of the United States by birth.”
Neither Doocy nor the other two co-hosts invoked the term “natural born citizen” during the brief discussion of Baby Sussex’s assumed presidential eligibility.
The mainstream media, including Fox News Channel, has refused to seriously discuss the presidential eligibility requirements as laid out in Article II, particularly in light of questions surrounding Barack Obama’s eligibility. In early 2016, Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Andrew Napolitano stated that whether or not Barack Hussein Obama was eligible for the office was unimportant because he was “in the last year of his presidency.”
Questions about Obama’s eligibility arose in 2007 after news reports from such sources as the Associated Press, NPR and The Honolulu Advertiser surfaced claiming that Obama was born in Indonesia or Kenya and not Hawaii as he claims. Further, Obama claims a father who was never a U.S. citizen, just as Prince Harry has never been a U.S. citizen.
Some of those articles, as well as a 1991 biography circulated by his then-literary agent, were altered later to say that Obama was “born in Hawaii.”
On his 2008 campaign website, Obama claimed presidential eligibility via the 14th Amendment and an alleged birth in Hawaii, while at the same time claiming to be a dual Kenyan-U.S. citizen.
It was not until Congress amended a naturalization law in 1934 that a mother was able to solely pass on U.S. citizenship to her child. Whether or not such children are considered “natural born,” particularly if they are born in a foreign country, has not been considered by the U.S. Supreme Court, although in 2016, Sen. Ted Cruz claimed, with that exact situation, that he qualified for the presidency.
Days before Cruz announced his candidacy, former Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal and and former Solicitor General Paul Clement published an essay in the Harvard Law Review making the case for his eligibility by conflating the terms “natural born Citizen” and “citizen at birth,” an argument similar to those who say the 14th Amendment eliminates nullifies the “natural born Citizen” clause.
In an attempt to quell increasingly strident demands from then-businessman Donald Trump to prove his eligibility, the Obama White House released an image said to be a PDF of a certified copy of his original, “long-form” birth certificate from Hawaii. Within hours, several analysts declared it problematic, and an ensuing five-year investigation found to be a “computer-generated forgery.”
Evidence from the investigation has been said by its lead investigator, Mike Zullo, to now be in the hands of highly-placed Trump administration officials. In a January interview with “Freedom Friday” host Carl Gallups, Zullo said, “That fraudulent document was the vehicle to put someone in the White House whose allegiances were somewhere else; I think that’s very easy for everyone to see…These issues are going to have to be resolved at some point in time.”