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by Joseph DeMaio, ©2020

U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), from official website

(Jul. 4, 2020) — Although it pains your faithful servant – grievously – to sully this post with a link to the electronic pages of The Washington (“Propaganda-Thrives-in-Darkness”) Post, once again the issue of presidential eligibility raises its head in connection with the potential candidacy of Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth as a vice-presidential running-mate for Slow Joe Biden.  It appears that she is ineligible under the 12th Amendment.

As a preliminary matter, for those who continue to argue that the question of who is – and more importantly who is not – eligible to the presidency as a “natural born citizen” under the Constitution is irrelevant, just remember that much of the chaos the nation is now experiencing was originally set in motion by another individual whose constitutional bona fides – even today – remain in question: Barack Hussein Obama, Jr., the Second Usurper-in-Chief (“SUC”) of the United States.

The SUC’s open hostility to law and order, evidenced by his silence over the destruction being wrought by Antifa and BLM2; his insouciance as to the requirements of the Constitution; and his now-revealed seditious involvement in the groundless prosecution of General Michael Flynn in the effort to torpedo – before and during – President Trump’s first term in office…, were and remain despicable.  Had he been properly excluded from the office from the outset, an argument could be made that the history of the nation would be a lot different…. and far better.

But I digress.

The WaPo article in question is another in a series of opinion pieces by “data analyst and political columnist” David Byler.  His series has addressed a number of rumored Biden vice-presidential candidates, including, to name a few, Kamala Harris (also constitutionally ineligible; Amy Klobuchar (out, too many George Floyd tragedy skeletons; Tammy Baldwin (who?) and hyper-disastrous Wuhan COVID19 Governor Gretchen (“Michigan’s Mussolini”) Whitmer.

To begin with, and to be perfectly clear, Tammy Duckworth’s service to this Nation – and huge sacrifice, having lost both legs in 2004 to combat injuries as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot in the Iraq War – must never be forgotten or marginalized.  Ever.  Even the worst Democrat officeholder or candidate for public office, if they are an honorably discharged military veteran, must always be thanked for their service before challenging them on their political views.  Always… with the possible notable exception of John (“Take-these-medals-and-shove-it”) Kerry.

Back to text.

The WaPo Duckworth opinion piece author asserts: “Duckworth easily meets the basic requirements for the job.”  Your faithful servant begs to differ: no, she doesn’t, because she was born in Bangkok, Thailand rather than in the United States.  At the time of her birth, her mother, Lamai Sompornpairin, was a Thai-Chinese citizen and her father, Franklin Duckworth, was a U.S. citizen tracing his roots back to participants in the American Revolutionary War.

The Illinois Senator’s personal story is inspiring and a model for perseverance and determination to overcome adversity.  But those qualities and characteristics cannot trump or invalidate the language of Art. 2, § 1, Cl. 5 of the Constitution, the “natural born Citizen” clause.  That clause, not a word of which has changed since 1789, states, in relevant part: “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….”

While no U.S. Supreme Court decision has yet directly addressed the question of what the clause means in the context of a live “case or controversy” involving a sitting president or candidate for president, it has addressed the issue in the context of what the Founders intended when they selected the restriction.

Specifically, in Minor v. Happersett, 88 U.S. 162 (1875), the Supreme Court stated that “[t]he Constitution does not, in words, say who shall be natural-born citizens. Resort must be had elsewhere to ascertain that.  At common-law, with the nomenclature of which the framers of the Constitution were familiar, it was never doubted that all children born in a country of parents who were its citizens became themselves, upon their birth, citizens also. These were natives, or natural-born citizens, as distinguished from aliens or foreigners. Some authorities go further and include as citizens children born within the jurisdiction without reference to the citizenship of their parents.  As to this class there have been doubts, but never as to the first.” (Emphasis added).

Because Tammy Duckworth (1) was not born on U.S. soil, and because (2) from the available records, it appears that her mother was of Thai-Chinese ethnicity at the time of the birth, she would not meet the commonly understood “nomenclature” and meaning of a “natural born citizen” relied upon by the Founders when they drafted the Constitution.  That definition, as explained here, was extracted by the Founders from § 212 of The Law of Nations authored by a contemporary Swiss jurist and legal philosopher, Emmerich de Vattel.

Section 212 of de Vattel’s treatise provides, in relevant part, that natural-born citizens, are those born in the country, of parents who are citizens.”  Stated otherwise, to be a natural born citizen, one must be born on the soil of the birth country to two parents who are already citizens of that country.

While under the 14th Amendment, Tammy Duckworth is deemed to be either a “native-born” or “naturalized” U.S. citizen, that status does not meet the Art. 2, § 1, Cl. 5 presidential eligibility requirements.  And because the 12th Amendment specifies that “no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States,” Senator Duckworth would be ineligible to serve as Vice-President under a President Biden.

If, nonetheless, Senator Duckworth were to be named as Slow Joe’s running mate – the Democrats and the mainstream media being unconcerned, not to mention ill-informed, about the issue – look for challenges to her candidacy and a revisiting of the “natural born citizen” issue.  Unless and until the U.S. Supreme Court discovers the collective backbone to take up the eligibility question, the issue will continue to fester.

Moreover, if the recent rulings of Chief Justice John Roberts are any indication – and assuming Duckworth (or Kamala Harris) is named as Slow Joe’s running mate – do not be surprised if a concocted and reverse-engineered 5-4 decision, with the majority opinion cobbled together by Roberts and confirming Senator Duckworth’s (or Senator Harris’s) eligibility is forthcoming, say, in mid-October…, just in time for the November 3 general election.

Is this a great country or what?


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  1. 8USC1401 is NOT relevant to the ‘natural born citizen’ clause of the Constitution. The definition for that term was established 100 years earlier when our charter was penned. To do their work, constitutional authors used established legal and political standards of the time. The ONLY published standard of that time known to have been used by that body that defined that term was THE LAW OF NATIONS by Emerich deVattel. You can find that definition at http://constitution.org/vattel/vattel_01.htm#%C2%A7%20212.%20Citizens%20and%20natives in the second sentence of the first paragraph of section 212. There is no other reference book extant at that time that contains that definition.

  2. Lindsay Boxer, READ it again. YOU are erroneously conflating the term of art “Natural Born Citizen” with “National” and “Citizen”. 8USC, Sec.1401, et seq. is NATURALIZATION law. A “Natural Born Citizen” is one born IN the United States to parents who are BOTH Citizens of the U.S. This WAS a UNANIMOUS decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in Minor v Happersett, (1874). Duckworth is NOT an NBC. Period.!!! You get an “F-” Lindsay.

  3. As reported on Freedom Friday, Mike Zullo separated from the Cold Case Posse in 2017. The new Maricopa County Sheriff then disbanded the Cold Case Posse.

    Joe Arpaio had claimed he sent the Cold Case Posse material to the federal government, but he didn’t specify whether that was in his official capacity in 2016 or as a private citizen after he left office.

    In the last few years, Mike Zullo (again on Freedom Friday) had claimed the materials were being reviewed by someone in (or near) the White House.

  4. At some point, could the P&E post a summary status report on the findings and any subsequent legal actions taken + outcomes of those actions of the Cold Case File effort? Will there ever be a more opportune time to bring this matter before SCOTUS. If not now, then after Trump’s re-election, assuming there’s no encumbering civil upheaval.

  5. Nikita’s_UN_Shoe:

    I was quoting Lindsay Boxer’s comment.

    Please don’t “read” something in my comment that isn’t there.

  6. Is Thomas expanding the definition of natural born to;

    Born in US to two citizen parents, and

    Born outside the US to two citizen parents?

    BTW, in the case he cites, Miller v. Albright, there was a US citizen father and non-citizen mother.

  7. So sad we so routinely and foolishly look to a faithless SCOTUS to render faithful opinions–or, as they prefer, “rulings”. At this juncture, the odds are heavily in favor of SCOTUS’ hat tip to Harris and Duckworth. The Constitution has become effectively irrelevant, nearly meaningless these days. I don’t know what the solution is to such a problem. But, whatever the solution may be, we can be sure it won’t be forthcoming for years to come, if at all. Tragic.

  8. James Carer:
    Where within 8 U.S.C. §§ 1401(c), (d), (g). does it say “natural born Citizen?

    Here is the extract that I copied from https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/8/1401 of 8 U.S.C. §§ 1401(c), (d), (g). that you cited in your comment:

    The following shall be nationals and citizens of the United States at birth:
    (c) a person born outside of the United States and its outlying possessions of parents both of whom are citizens of the United States and one of whom has had a residence in the United States or one of its outlying possessions, prior to the birth of such person;
    (d) a person born outside of the United States and its outlying possessions of parents one of whom is a citizen of the United States who has been physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for a continuous period of one year prior to the birth of such person, and the other of whom is a national, but not a citizen of the United States;
    (g) a person born outside the geographical limits of the United States and its outlying possessions of parents one of whom is an alien, and the other a citizen of the United States who, prior to the birth of such person, was physically present in the United States or its outlying possessions for a period or periods totaling not less than five years, at least two of which were after attaining the age of fourteen years: Provided, That any periods of honorable service in the Armed Forces of the United States, or periods of employment with the United States Government or with an international organization as that term is defined in section 288 of title 22 by such citizen parent, or any periods during which such citizen parent is physically present abroad as the dependent unmarried son or daughter and a member of the household of a person (A) honorably serving with the Armed Forces of the United States, or (B) employed by the United States Government or an international organization as defined in section 288 of title 22, may be included in order to satisfy the physical-presence requirement of this paragraph. This proviso shall be applicable to persons born on or after December 24, 1952, to the same extent as if it had become effective in its present form on that date; and

    Summary: The above law only cites “citizen”. The modifier words “natural born” preceding “citizen” are no where to be found within any current citizenship laws in the USA.


    Because: a natural born Citizen cannot be derived through positive law, i.e., that law authorized by the US Constitution to the Legislative Branch.

    A natural born Citizen can only be achieved naturally – by being born in the country (no foreign lands) to two US citizen parents. There is no other reason why a natural born Citizen IS called a “natural born Citizen” except through a NATURAL event, not a STATUTORY process.

    And, don’t annoy me with the Citizen-at-birth nonsense.

  9. Should be nothing less than 0-9 decision.

    “It has determined that children born abroad to U.S. parents, subject to some exceptions, are natural-born citizens who do not need to go through the naturalization process. 8 U.S.C. §§ 1401(c), (d), (g).”

    Note the “s” in parents above. Her parents were not U.S. citizens…only her parent father was.

  10. “5-4 decision”

    Should be at best 6-3 decision.

    As I believe some others have pointed out Justice Thomas wrote in Zivotofsky v. Kerry,

    “see also Miller v. Albright, 523 U.S. 420, 456, 118 S.Ct. 1428, 140 L.Ed.2d 575 (1998) (SCALIA, J., concurring in judgment) (recognizing that “Congress has the power to set the requirements for acquisition of citizenship by persons not born within the territory of the United States”). It has determined that children born abroad to U.S. parents, subject to some exceptions, are natural-born citizens who do not need to go through the naturalization process. 8 U.S.C. §§ 1401(c), (d), (g).”