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by Sharon Rondeau

(Dec. 4, 2019) — At approximately 11:40 a.m. EDT Wednesday in the first hearing by the House Judiciary Committee on the “impeachment inquiry” into President Donald Trump, witness and Stanford University Law School Professor of Public Interest Law Pamela S. Karlan responded to a question from Democrats’ counsel as to the Framers’ fear of foreign influence on the office of the presidency.

Karlan’s bio reads that she has taught at Stanford since 1998 and previously at the University of Virginia School of Law.  Her stated areas of expertise are, among others, “constitutional law,” “Supreme Court,” “access to justice,” “inequality,” and “voting rights & election law,” a topic on which she testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2006.

Karlan has expressed her opposition to “voter I.D.” laws which she believes disenfranchise minority voters.

In a 176-page treatise co-authored in April 2009 with Goodwin Liu and Christopher H. Schroeder for the American Constitution Society, Karlan asserted that “The reason the United States Constitution is the world’s most enduring writ-ten constitution is not simply the genius of fifty-five men who met in Philadelphia in 1787. Rather, it is the way that generation after generation of Americans has made the Constitution ours. The Constitution endures because its meaning and application have been shaped by an ongoing process of interpretation. That process includes both judicial interpretation and transformations in constitutional understanding pressed by political leaders and ordinary citizens throughout our history. Our Constitution retains its vitality because it has proven adaptable to the changing conditions and evolving norms of our society. Its words and principles still resonate centuries after they were written because time and again, as Justice Holmes urged, we have interpreted the Constitution in light of “what this country has become.”2 Americans of all backgrounds can wholeheartedly take an oath to support and defend the Constitution when they are naturalized, join the armed forces, gain admission to the bar, or are sworn into elective office not because of how our founding text was understood in 1789, or even in 1870, but because of how we understand it today.”

In her response to Democrat counsel Norman Eisen, Karlan expressed her belief that Trump attempted to involve Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in the 2020 U.S. presidential election during a July 25 phone call by during which he asked Zelenskiy to investigate Joe Biden, who is currently a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, and, as Karlan interpreted, a formidable 2020 opponent.

The transcript of the call shows Trump asking Zelenskiy for “a favor” in regard to opening or reopening an investigation into possible wrongdoing by Biden in 2016, who was then Obama’s vice president and liaison to Ukraine, and Biden’s son, Hunter, in connection with the Ukrainian energy company, Burisma Holdings.

In 2014, Burisma hired Hunter Biden to serve on its Board of Directors, a position he held until April of this year.  In an interview with CBS News in October, Hunter admitted that he “probably” would “not” have acquired the position were his last name not “Biden.”

In January 2018, Biden admitted to pressuring then-Ukrainian president Petro Poroschenko to fire the country’s chief prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, or risk losing $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees.  According to Biden’s statement at a forum at the Council on Foreign Relations that day, he gave Poroschenko the remaining time he would spend during a visit to Ukraine, “six hours,” to do so, after which Poroschenko complied, according to Biden and an affidavit of Shokin’s posted by investigative journalist John Solomon.

There were concerns about a potential “conflict of interest” in the younger Biden’s service on the Board while his father was serving as vice president, State Department official George Kent and former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testified to the House Intelligence Committee last month. Kent additionally said that the State Department was aware that Burisma was suspected of corrupt practices.

To Eisen’s question about the Framers’ intentions while drafting the Constitution, Karlan segued into what she said was the Framers’ desire to avoid “corruption” in U.S. elections (discussion begins at approximately 1:37:00). “They spent a lot of time trying to design an election system that wouldn’t be subject to that kind of corruption,” Karlan said.  “And there are a number of different provisions in the Constitution that deal with the kinds of corruption they were worried about…One that seems today, I think, to most of us, to be really a kind of remnant of the past is if you become an American citizen, almost everything in this country is open to you.  You can become chief justice of the United States; you can become Secretary of State, but the one office that’s not open to you, even though you’re a citizen just like all of the rest of us, is the presidency because of the  ‘natural born citizen’ clause of the Constitution, and the reason they put that in is they were so worried about foreign influence over a president…”

Karlan’s reference was to Article II, Section 1, clause 5, which 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.

She then went on to mention the “Emoluments clause,” which has been invoked, albeit thus far unsuccessfully, against Trump in a number of civil lawsuits since he took office.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Cold Case Posse lead investigator Mike Zullo at a March 1, 2012 press conference on the Obama birth certificate

A 5+-year investigation authorized by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) into the “long-form” birth certificate image presented to the American public in 2011 as representative of then-Oval Office occupant Barack Hussein Obama’s original birth record from Hawaii revealed beyond any reasonable doubt, through forensic analyses, that the image is a “computer-generated forgery.”  Additionally, lead investigator Mike Zullo reported last year, was that it is “an open secret” in the nation’s capital that Obama was not born in the United States.

Prior to Obama’s 2008 election, he had been reported as “Kenyan-born” or born in Indonesia as well as described as “an immigrant” by former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.

Later in her testimony, Karlan agreed that any president “wiretapping” a political opponent would be “an impeachable offense.”

It has increasingly been alleged that Obama likely knew that his CIA, FBI, Justice Department and State Department were participating in a scheme to undermine Trump’s 2016 campaign, with the CIA apparently conducting overseas surveillance on certain campaign aides and enlisting foreign governments’ intelligence capabilities to assist.

The full details of a criminal investigation being conducted by U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut John Durham have not yet been made public, although it has been reported that Durham and Attorney General William Barr have traveled to Italy to speak with government officials there about their alleged participation in surveilling the 2016 Trump campaign.

During Wednesday afternoon’s session under questioning from Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL1), Karlan affirmed that in the past, she contributed to Obama’s presidential campaign as well as to that of Hillary Clinton and current Democrat presidential-nomination contender Elizabeth Warren.

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  1. Bob68,

    Obviously what makes me, or anyone else, a “natural born citizen” of the United States of America is the fact that I was born in the USA to citizen parentS of the USA. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it because that’s how my common-sense tells me I would define it if I wanted to exclude anyone born with any allegiance to a foreign country from being eligible to serve as POTUS/CIC, that’s what the first Chief Justice of the SCOTUS John Jay recommended in his letter to President George Washington, that’s what the majority opinion in SCOTUS case Minor v Happersett if not defined at least strongly implied it to mean.

    And if the foregoing isn’t enough, that another “car guy” from way back agrees with me makes it so. PERIOD! :)

  2. jigsaw St John,

    Thank you for your kind words.

    However, as impressive as my qualifications for building/driving road-racing sports cars may be to you, in my opinion they pale in comparison to Jim Hall’s. Why? Well, Jim Hall (and business partner Hap Sharp) designed, built and raced “Chaparral” (Spanish for “Road Runner”) race cars (all but one were road-racing “Prototype” sports cars) during the 60s through the early 80s. Most impressive, in my opinion, was the 1966 Chaparral 2D…a Chevy V-8 powered coupe with a 2-SPEED AUTOMATIC transmission…which Jim Hall drove to victory at the 1966 ADAC 1000 Kilometer race at the Nurburgring in Germany — the GRANDDADDY of all road-racing tracks commonly referred to as “The Green Hell”. One “home grown and driven” Chaparral vs a bevy of factory grown and driven Ferrari’s, Porsche’s, Ford GT’s…

    So you see, Mr/Ms/Mrs St John, somethings are not as they appear to be.

  3. James Carter,
    But does it make you a “natural born citizen”? As a “car guy” from way back I find your post about what a good race driver you are very interesting……and I’m pretty sure if someone is not already a natural born citizen, hence, an accomplishment like that will make them one. LOL

  4. “I qualified 1st in my class, was never passed by another car in my class, and finished first in my class 19 races in a row…a national record.”

    Impressive, most impressive.

    I guess if someone wanted to know what the qualifying requirements were to build/race a car in your class, they would ask you.

  5. When I was building and road-racing sports cars, 1969-1981, I qualified 1st in my class, was never passed by another car in my class, and finished first in my class 19 races in a row…a national record. I believe that makes me the best road-racing car builder/driver in history.

  6. “Fear God and Take Your Own Part” (1916)

    Page 284, President Roosevelt discusses the case of P.A. Lelong jr. who was born in New Orleans to an alien father and U.S. citizen mother.

    Page 291, President Roosevelt writes this about P. A. Lelong jr. “He was born in this country; … He is eligible to the Presidency of the United States.”

    BTW, on page 290, he mentions that President Arthur was subject to being drafted into British military service if he traveled to England. Obviously Roosevelt was aware of Arthur’s dual nationality.

  7. “Does anyone actually believe that someone born to parents who are citizens of different countries can possibly be a natural born citizen of either country?”

    President Teddy Roosevelt believed it and said as much in an article about dual nationality.

  8. Why did American Samoa get rangled-into this post? Could a commenter before me perhaps have the eye-candy and unconstitutional presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard on his/her mind? Who knows? Just toss a fast pitch and disappear into the viewing stands. In trying to interlock (interpret) St. John’s puzzle, I have this to offer:

    What is a “Citizen at Birth”?

    Read and then re-read “Citizen at Birth” phrase over and over. If someone can squeeze-out the adjectives “natural and born” found within the phrase “Citizen at Birth”, I will award them a refill on their Kool aid, but in the end I will buy them a box of dermal bandages for their butt-hurt owiee.

    As far as I know, the U.S. laws on what constitutes a “U.S. citizen” are adequately listed here:

    Nowhere within this website could I find the phrase “natural born Citizen” nor a mathematical formula that a “Citizen at Birth” = a natural born Citizen. The above website link aptly lists those who are born in American Samoa to be U.S. nationals and not U.S. Citizens.

    In fact, I have spent numerous hours doing web searches and the only three places where I could find the phrase “natural born Citizen” were in the repealed Naturalization Act (1790), the U.S. Supreme Court “Minor v. Happersett” decision that addressed the voting rights of a female natural born Citizen, and of course, the U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section 1, Clause 5. Could it be that I am wearing horse blinders or am I just an amateur web browser? There may be more instances of “natural born Citizen out there, so I will be on the lookout for more and accept bona fides from other commenters.

    If certain persons are still convinced that ALL persons categorized as “citizens at birth” = a “natural born Citizen”, then hopefully this website explanation can convince them otherwise. https://puzo1.blogspot.com/search?q=citizen+at+birth

    Found within the article from ‘The Hill’ is:
    “This court is not imposing ‘citizenship by judicial fiat.’ The action is required by the mandate of the Fourteenth Amendment as construed and applied by Supreme Court precedent,” U.S. District Court Judge Clark Waddoups wrote.”

    Fiat?! Don’t make me laugh. This judge is bypassing the U.S. Constitution that authorizes only Congress shall make Naturalization Laws. This judge must be a Muslim practicing taqiyya – says one thing opposite of his action.

    Little did we know that the 14th Amendment was going to be a ‘catchall’ category for natural born Citizenship.

    Would someone please let me know when American Samoa was “incorporated” into the United States of America? Did I miss a Statehood Ceremony awhile back?

  9. Does anyone actually believe that someone born to parents who are citizens of different countries can possibly be a natural born citizen of either country?

  10. Ask Bubba and I think that he would unequivocally state that Caesarean section-born children are not natural(ly) born Citizens.

    Just having fun with designer natural born Citizen do-it-yourselfers.

  11. Does anyone really believe that there will ever be a court decision that rules against someone born in the US being eligible for the Presidency?

  12. My collection of articles and papers, historical and more recent, about the founders and framers intent, meaning, and understanding of the “natural born Citizen” of the United States clause in the presidential eligibility section of Article II of our U.S. Constitution. They wanted future presidents and commanders in chief of our military to have sole allegiance and unity of citizenship to the USA and only the USA via and at birth. No foreign influences on them via birth. It is a national security clause as to who can be the Commander in Chief. John Jay so expressed said reasoning in his letter to George Washington who was president of the Constitutional Convention and is why that “natural born Citizen” clause got put into Article II of our U.S. Constitution. For more see: https://www.scribd.com/lists/3301209/Papers-Discussing-Natural-Born-Citizen-Meaning-to-Constitutional-Standards

  13. Bubba, the whole purpose of the clause was to avoid foreign influence.
    Do you really think the framers would have allowed the son of the King of England to be eligible, just because the mother was a US citizen?
    Also, to prove you wrong. look up Winston Churchill. Surely he could have been president right?
    Wrong. Even though his mother was a US citizen he was not even considered a citizen. In fact Congress issued an honorary citizenship, signed by Kennedy, to Churchill.
    Now why would they have to do that if he was already a citizen?
    Now imagine congress issues you one. What would your response be? Mine would be thanks, but no thanks. I am already a citizen.
    Was this Churchill’s response? No, he politely accepted, because he knew he was not a citizen and felt honored to receive it.
    You may think its okay to be “ruled” by foreigners, but we don’t. I say “ruled” because that is what a foreigner would want to do, rule not govern and once again the purpose of the clause.

  14. Strangely BOTH of the two usurpers of the Presidency in U.S. history were born Brits. The Steele Dossier was written by a Brit. Almost makes one think the Brits are trying to recoup their ex-colonies again.

  15. If Madison, Jefferson, Franklin, Washington and Hamilton could see in the future, they must have seen Barack Obama bowing before the king of Saudi Arabia, right before they put in the “natural-born” citizen requirement to be president for keeping out foreign influence against our national security.