“YOU CAN’T EVEN ASK THE QUESTION”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Aug. 21, 2020) — At approximately the 20-minute mark in his weekly update from August 14, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton touched on questions arising last week after former Vice President Joseph Biden announced California U.S. Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate in the November 3 presidential election.
Judicial Watch is a self-described “conservative” non-profit organization which frequently takes federal and local agencies to court over their refusal or failure to release government documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
The question of constitutional “eligibility” has become a subject which many in the mainstream media ridicule and attempt to silence without delving into the history or intended meaning of the Framers when they insisted that the president and commander-in-chief of the military be a “natural born Citizen.” That designation was mandated only for the nation’s chief executive, while members of Congress were required to simply be a “citizen” and resident in the state they wished to represent for a specific number of years.
Fitton referred to an article by Chapman University Professor of Law John Eastman which focused on the 14th Amendment’s “citizenship” provision and whether or not Harris’s parents at the time of their daughter’s birth were “lawful permanent residents” as opposed to “merely temporary visitors, perhaps on student visas issued pursuant to Section 101(15)(F) of Title I of the 1952 Immigration Act.”
Eastman appears to accept that Harris’s parents were not U.S. citizens at the time of her birth in October 1964. Queries made on that issue by The Post & Email to Harris’s Senate office in 2018 received no response. However, Harris’s birth narrative and reported family history indicate that in October 1964, neither parent had been present in the U.S. for the requisite five years to apply for U.S. citizenship.
At 20:27, Fitton pivoted from the subject of Hillary Clinton’s emails, generated when she served as secretary of state, to Biden’s choice of Harris and Harris’s verbal grilling of then-Judge Brett Kavanaugh during his 2018 confirmation hearings for the U.S. Supreme Court. The hearings, which were expected to go smoothly, took an unexpectedly ugly turn after Dr. Christine Blasey Ford came forward to accuse Kavanaugh of sexual assault when they were high-schoolers in the 1980s in Maryland.
None of Ford’s alleged witnesses could or would corroborate her account of Kavanaugh’s alleged behavior. During his broadcast, Fitton labeled the hearings, which he attended, were “outrageous” and “victimized” Kavanaugh. “They were sitting there sneering, smirking, half-smiles on their faces the entire time,” Fitton said of “Senator Harris and other Democratic Senators.” “They enjoyed the abuse of Justice Kavanaugh, then Judge Kavanaugh.”
Invoking Eastman’s Newsweek editorial, Fitton extrapolated, “Essentially, you can’t run for vice president unless you’re eligible to be president. In order to be president, you have to be a natural born citizen.” He then erroneously said, “The 14th Amendment defines ‘natural born Citizen’ as someone who is not only born here in the territory of the United States but also subject to the jurisdiction thereof.”
While Fitton may have conflated the terms “citizen” and “natural born Citizen,” he made clear to his audience that the question of Harris’s eligibility, in his view, is relevant and worthy of addressing. “I think it’s a more substantial issue than the left would have you believe, so I tweeted out a question with a link to the article saying, ‘Is she eligible under the citizenship clause to be vice president?’ and a lawyer close to President Trump, Jenna Ellis, retweeted it, and the president was asked about it, so now the left has gone crazy saying, ‘It’s false’ and ‘You can’t even ask the question!…racist!” It’s absurd, because similar questions were asked about John McCain and Ted Cruz. I remember talking to reporters back in the day when this Obama birth-certificate issue was flopping around, and I thought there were more substantial questions about McCain’s eligibility than Barack Obama’s.”
“So this has nothing to do with race; it just has something to do with the Constitution, and the left hates the idea that there’d be any difference between citizens and non-citizens, so any constitutional around this, they go crazy about,” he continued, citing the fact that children born in the U.S. to foreign-diplomat parents are not considered U.S. citizens.
Evidence supporting Fitton’s statement as to the media’s reaction to questions over Harris’s eligibility was borne out that evening when “NBC Nightly News” ran a segment narrated by Andrea Mitchell terming those publishing or speaking on the subject part of a “racist birther conspiracy.” One of the publishers so identified was The Post & Email.
At 25:40, Fitton commented, “I don’t know if anyone would have standing to…challenge her eligibility, although I suppose the Senate or Congress could ultimately decide on her eligibility if the election, when the election moves there through the Electoral College and the certification of votes for her as vice president if Biden and Kamala Harris were to win.”
He then revealed that he is “friendly” with Eastman and “I think he’s a great guy” and “an expert.” As for Harris’s eligibility, he then asked his audience, “What do you think?”