Can a State Amend Presidential Eligibility Requirements?


by Sharon Rondeau

(Jul. 30, 2019) — On Tuesday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a new law requiring presidential primary candidates to release five years’-worth of income-tax returns to be eligible to appear on the ballot for the March primaries.

According to The Los Angeles Times, the law will not apply to presidential candidates in the general election in November 2020.

Former California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a similar bill in 2017 on the basis that it could begin a process whereby states could ask for increasingly more information from candidates such as “certified birth certificates,” according to The New York Times.

Article II, Section 1, clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution sets forth three requirements for the president and commander-in-chief of the American military:

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.

Over the years, much debate has ensued over the Framers’ intent regarding the term “natural born Citizen.”  Although many Americans interpret it to mean “born in the United States,” statements appearing in the Congressional Globe and several U.S. Supreme Court opinions indicate that the citizenship status of a person’s parents at the time of his or her birth was an equal factor.

In 2000, the debate over whether or not Arizona Sen. John McCain was eligible for the presidency became a moot point when he lost the Republican primary to George W. Bush. McCain was born in Panama to U.S.-citizen parents, one of whom was serving as an officer in the U.S. Navy.

In 2012, then-California Secretary of State Debra Bowen removed Peta Lindsay from the state’s primary ballot because she was 27 at the time.  In 2014, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Bowen’s decision.

In 2008, McCain, who became the Republican presidential nominee, was challenged unsuccessfully by several parties on the basis that he was ineligible to hold the office based on his birthplace.  The Democrat nominee, Barack Hussein Obama II, although credibly reported to have been born in Kenya or Indonesia, was similarly challenged, with the courts consistently declining to hear oral argument.

In April that year, the U.S. Senate quietly passed Senate Resolution 511, deeming McCain a “natural born Citizen,” with then-New York Senator Hillary Clinton and Obama, competing for the Democratic nomination at the time, voting in favor.

Although lawsuits challenging Obama’s eligibility were filed in California, Bowen and the courts dismissed allegations that Obama was not constitutionally-qualified.

Not only was Obama’s birthplace at issue in 2008, but also his claimed father, who was never a U.S. citizen.

The Washington Post reported that the controversy over McCain’s eligibility was “very real.”

In January 2009, during constitutionally-mandated joint session of Congress, then-Vice President Richard Cheney failed to call for objections as required after reading the outcome of the Electoral College vote.

In early 2011, then-businessman Donald Trump demanded that Obama release his “long-form,” or more detailed, birth certificate to demonstrate that he was eligible to serve.  On April 27, 2011, the White House released what it said was a scan of a certified copy of Obama’s original birth certificate from the Hawaii Department of Health.

Beginning within hours, the image was declared a forgery by expert analysts, eventually prompting a criminal investigation lasting more than five years under the authority of the Maricopa County, AZ Sheriff’s Office.

The probe confirmed that the image is nothing more than a “computer-generated forgery” made public “with the intent to deceive.”

Two forensic analysts working separately on different continents and from different disciplines agreed the image is not genuine, lead investigator Mike Zullo announced at a final press conference on December 15, 2016.

Early in the investigation, Zullo additionally declared Obama’s purported Selective Service registration form to be fraudulent, an aspect of the investigation particularly ignored by the mainstream media.

It is a federal felony to create a counterfeit government document.  The FBI has not addressed the evidence Zullo gathered over the course of the investigation which was reportedly provided to “federal authorities.”





One Response to "Can a State Amend Presidential Eligibility Requirements?"

  1. Robert Laity   Wednesday, July 31, 2019 at 1:59 AM

    The answer is NO!!! Pursuant to Article V of the Constitution NO one State can change the Constitution. It MUST be done pursuant to Article V provisions. NY State is an example of a State that has acted ex-constitutionally by claiming that a President must be “Born a citizen” versus the actual mandatory criteria that he/she be a “Natural born Citizen”.

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