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“TOM FITTON IS UNAVAILABLE”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Sep. 5, 2020) — As The Post & Email reported, in his August 14 weekly update, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton expanded on questions raised by Chapman University Professor of Law John Eastman in an August 12 Newsweek column concerning California Sen. Kamala Harris’s constitutional eligibility to serve as vice president or president.
Constitutionally, if a president becomes permanently incapacitated or passes away while in office, the vice president is immediately sworn in to assume his duties. The 12th Amendment mandates that “no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.”
Article II, Section 1, clause 5 of the Constitution requires the president to be a “natural born Citizen” to avoid the possibility of foreign allegiances and influence. In contrast, members of the U.S. House and Senate are required to simply be “a Citizen of the United States” for seven or nine years, respectively.
Harris was born in 1964 in Oakland, CA to non-U.S.-citizen parents, which Eastman hypothesized might call into question her own U.S. citizenship based on the 14th Amendment‘s “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” clause in regard to her parents.
The terms “citizen” and “natural born Citizen” are often conflated; indeed, Eastman implies in his column that a “citizen at birth” is the same as a “natural born Citizen.” Regarding Harris’s parents; status, Eastman differentiates between immigrants who become “lawful permanent residents” or, on the other hand, are in the United States on a student visa. “If the latter were indeed the case,” Eastman posited, “then derivatively from her parents, Harris was not subject to the complete jurisdiction of the United States at birth, but instead owed her allegiance to a foreign power or powers—Jamaica, in the case of her father, and India, in the case of her mother—and was therefore not entitled to birthright citizenship under the 14th Amendment as originally understood.”
Further, Eastman wrote, Harris might not be eligible to hold the office of U.S. Senator. The second-to-last paragraph of his column reads:
Interestingly, this recitation of the original meaning of the 14th Amendment Citizenship Clause might also call into question Harris’ eligibility for her current position as a United States senator. Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution specifies that to be eligible for the office of senator, one must have been “nine Years a Citizen of the United States.” If Harris was not a citizen at birth, we would need to know when (if ever) she became a citizen. Her father’s biographical page at Stanford University identifies his citizenship status as follows: “Jamaica (by birth); U.S. (by naturalization).” But there is some dispute over whether he was in fact ever naturalized, and it is also unclear whether Harris’ mother ever became a naturalized citizen. If neither was ever naturalized, or at least not naturalized before Harris’ 16th birthday (which would have allowed her to obtain citizenship derived from their naturalization under the immigration law, at the time), then she would have had to become naturalized herself in order to be a citizen. That does not appear to have ever happened, yet without it, she could not have been “nine Years a Citizen of the United States” before her election to the U.S. Senate.
In his video Fitton noted that the media immediately moved to ridicule and quash any discussion of Harris’s eligibility once it was raised by Eastman, on blogs and social media. “I think it’s a more substantial issue than the left would have you believe…now the left has gone crazy saying, ‘It’s false’ and ‘You can’t even ask the question!…racist!” Fitton stated. “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.”
On August 27, The Post & Email contacted Judicial Watch through its online contact form, stating:
I watched with interest your August 14, 2020 weekly update in which you broached the topic of vice-presidential and presidential eligibility requirements as they relate to Sen. Kamala Harris or any future candidate, for that matter.
Your contention that the media has attempted to silence any debate on this issue is accurate, as indicated by an NBC Nightly News segment, also aired August 14, targeting my online paper and me personally for daring to ask the question back in January 2018 after one of Harris’s constituents questioned her parents’ citizenship at the time of her birth.
In my view, the concerted effort on the part of the media to stifle discussion of “eligibility” questions of federal candidates through ridicule, shaming and propaganda is an alarming trend which threatens the very foundation of our Republic. It is the responsibility of all legal U.S. voters to inquire into the eligibility and qualifications of all candidates, from local to state to federal offices, and I applaud Judicial Watch and you personally for pushing back against the media’s doctrinaire tactics.
Attorneys and citizen scholars who have written extensively on the topic of “natural born Citizen” for my paper have delved into Emmerich de Vattel’s “The Law of Nations,” Article II of the U.S. Constitution, the 12th Amendment, the 14th Amendment, and U.S. Supreme Court cases. Examples can be found here:
I would much appreciate the opportunity to interview you about this very important subject in the near future if your schedule allows. As you mentioned in your August 14 video, questions arising over Barack Obama’s eligibility, heightened by the finding of a 5+-year criminal investigation that his “birth certificate” is a forgery, were largely extinguished by a media with an obvious agenda, effectively keeping most Americans in the dark. As you well know, there is mounting evidence that Obama’s cabinet members and other high-ranking officials were involved in surveilling the 2016 Trump campaign, transition team, and nascent presidency; what else might they have been capable of?
The article I wrote around your August 14 broadcast was well-read and widely circulated.
The emergence of an organization demonstrating that it is unafraid to voice questions and concerns which the media has relegated to “conspiracy theories” and racism is a refreshing change. Whether or not Kamala Harris can be considered a “natural born Citizen” as envisioned by the Founders is a valid question, the answer to which the courts, Congress, and state governments appear too intimidated to explore. I sincerely hope we can discuss this subject in the near future.
To ensure this communication reaches you, I am also sending it as a hard-copy letter through the U.S. Postal Service.
On September 1, we received the following response:
Thank you for your interest and support of Judicial Watch. Unfortunately Tom Fitton is unavailable.
Very best wishes for great success,