by Harold Gielow, ©2022

Article II, Section 1, clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution requires that only a “natural born Citizen” can be president and “command in chief” of the military

(Dec. 3, 2022) — [Editor’s Note: The following was sent to Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares following the author’s initial letter published here.]

From: Harold Gielow
Date: December 2, 2022 at 10:09:58 AM EST
Subject: Ensuring Legality in our Elections

Dear Mr. Attorney General,

I write well before our next presidential election to encourage you to seek clarity on the constitutional natural born citizen eligibility requirement for US president so that our commissioner of elections can fulfill his responsibility under Virginia law to ensure legality in our elections.

This constitutional eligibility requirement has never been the subject of more than dicta by our US Supreme Court.  Countless challenges have been made to contenders eligibility status due to this requirement.  That we, as a nation, do not know with clarity the meaning of an eligibility requirement for the highest political office in the land is astounding.  What is more astounding is the degree to which opinions vary as to its meaning.  Newsweek ran a front cover piece claiming that Prince Archie could one day run for US president.  More to the legal point, without legal clarity, our Virginia Commissioner of Elections cannot fulfill his legal requirement to ensure those on Virginia ballots are eligible for the positions they seek, this requirement impacting the offices of president and vice president.

Respectfully request you seek a U.S. Supreme Court decision defining, once and for all, the meaning of this US Constitutional eligibility requirement.  Absent such a decision, there are multiple persons already considering a run of questionable eligibility, Tulsi Gabbard, born in unincorporated American Samoa, and Niki Haley, born in the US to non citizen parents, being only two.

Without clarity, the only way for the commissioner of elections to do his job of ensuring legality in our elections would be to enact potentially over broad exclusions for those of questionable article II eligibility to appear on Virginia ballots for these offices.  Waiting to take such actions until ballots are printed would be unwise.  Raising the issue early in the process is necessary.

I know Justice Thomas has joked before congress that the court is avoiding the issue.  Many Americans do not believe this is a joking matter.  It is certainly unsettling that a major news publication believes that a prince of England could run for US President.  By many persons interpretations, so could a child born in the US to illegal immigrants or, for that matter, to non permanent legal US residents here on student visas with citizenship in other countries. I look forward to your response.

Very respectfully,

Harold R Gielow
(Personal information redacted)

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  1. Not related to Virginia, but related to elections: Leo Donofrio unsuccessfully attempted to have the Arizona 2022 election results annulled.

  2. There’s very little actual lack of clarity regarding the meaning of natural born citizen.

    Regardless, the election commissioner isn’t required to ensure that every candidate is eligible; there’s no affirmative duty to investigate.

    Haley is a natural born citizen because she was born in the United States. Gabbard is a natural born citizen because she had a U.S. citizen parent at the time of birth.

    But if Gielow is concerned about candidates’ ineligibility, now would be a good time to start preparing an eligibility challenge.

    It is heartening to see Gielow acknowledge that Thomas’ “evading the issue” was just a joke.

    1. The commissioner of elections has a positive duty, under Virginia law, to ensure legality in our elections. That certainly includes that those on the ballot are eligible for the positions they seek.

      Your other comments fail to define the constitutional meaning of natural born citizen. That is the entire point. There are conflicting interpretations. The Supreme Court has never ruled on this issue. The closest they have come is in US v Wong Kim Ark. Ark was ruled to be a citizen, in part, because his parents were permanent legal residents of the US when he was born. Not true of Niki Haley. Tulsi Gabbard was born in the unincorporated territory of American Samoa. As such, she was not born in the jurisdictional authority of the United States. You may disagree with these points, and that is the point. You and I are not the only ones who disagree, specifically because the court has never ruled on this issue.

      It is way past time for them to do so.

      1. While the election commissioner has a duty to ensure an election’s legality, that “certainly” does not include a duty to investigate every candidate’s eligibility. Gielow doesn’t specify any code or case that specifically says the commissioner must investigate.

        The current practice is not to investigate. And lawsuits brought in other states on this issue also ruled there was no duty to investigate.

        While there generally may be differing beliefs about the meaning of natural born citizen, there’s no conflict in the courts. And the lack of a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court doesn’t mean the lower courts are conflicted or confused by this issue. The U.S. Supreme Court leaves countless issues unresolved, and the lower courts simply don’t see this as a problem.

        Courts ruled President Obama is a natural born citizen because he was born in the United States; no court ruled he wasn’t. Haley also was born in the United States. The same is true for Vice President Harris.

        Courts ruled Cruz is a natural born citizen because, despite not being born in the United States, he acquired U.S. citizen at birth from his U.S. citizen parent; no court ruled he wasn’t. Gabbard also was not born in the United States but acquired U.S. citizenship at birth from her U.S. citizen parent.

        Given there’s no real problem concerning this issue, it is understandable why the Attorney General is neither taking any action nor even responding to Gielow. Especially because the Attorney General has no method to force the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the issue. Indeed, Gielow doesn’t even suggest who the Attorney General chould sue in this effort to seek “clarity.”

        1. Quote from Rudy Lee:
          “Given there’s no real problem concerning this issue, it is understandable why the Attorney General is neither taking any action nor even responding to Gielow. ”

          You discredited everything else you have said.

        2. Gielow wrote a similar letter to the Attorney General in November.

          Gielow’s essentially repeating his earlier request suggests the Attorney General did not respond the first letter.

          Gielow of course has the constitutional right to petition the government. There is, however, no constitutional right to any petition being taken up or even acknowledged.

        3. Why is it discrediting to note there has been no conflict among courts about the definition of natural born citizen?

          An accurate assessment builds credibility.

        4. “Given there’s no real problem concerning this issue,”

          “That settles it. Period.” — Barack Hussein Obama

          Dictatorial much, Mr. Lee?

      2. In Minor vs Happersett 1874 the court gives the definition of who were at birth natural born citizen. That would be the children of citizen parents within the United States. This case is almost always overlooked or hidden behind a curtain. Not in the Ark case but the Elk vs Wilkens the court finds citizenship was tied to the parents. Even though Elk was born in the U.S. his jurisdiction was by treaty with the tribe.

        1. The dicta in Minor didn’t provide a definition. It just observed that no one had doubted a particular definition.

          Elk involved a special circumstance involving a tribe. No president or vice president was born on tribal land.

    2. Why do you say this? It seems there was much discussion about the term at the time…it was meant to say that someone should have parents who were American born so that that person could not be perceived as having an allegiance to a foreign power.
      Not saying that that 18th century standard makes sense today, but at the time I think they were pretty clear about what that meant.

      1. I have no idea who you believe were discussing the meaning of natural born citizen, or when. Or how anyone else could read an account of these discussions.

        The Federalist Papers do generally discuss minimizing foreign influence on the presidency, but there is no discussion about the president’s parents.

        1. More criminal non-sense: “… there is no discussion about the president’s parents.” – “Rudy Lee”

          MAKE-THEM-BELIEVE MAKE BELIEVE: because the Founding Fathers “failed” to mention parents when discussing John Jay’s anti-foreigners “natural born Citizen” restriction, one can honestly INFER that John Jay and the other Founding Fathers surely would allow foreign-citizen presidential candidates like Barry Obama and Canada Cruz, et al [?!].



          Therefore, your ignorable comments herein, “Rudy Lee”, tend to defend criminal thinking among America’s duped (and doped?) masses. Why?

        2. It is neither ignorant, ignoble, nor criminal to note that the Federalist Papers do not discuss the president’s parents. There is a similar absence in the records from the Constitutional Convention.

          If the Framers believed the president’s parents were so important, they failed to note that anywhere.

    3. Every citizen has a right to insure all persons holding government positions conform to the requirements of that position. At last resort are the courts and they refuse. All citizens have standing to bring these complaints for relief. Harm is done to all when the constitution is ignored and tread on.

      1. There’s no law requiring candidates to show eligibility. Generally their self-certification is sufficient.

        The federal courts repeatedly have ruled a generalized grievance, like “ignoring the constitution,” is insufficient to invoke those courts’ jurisdiction. State courts tend to be receptive to ballot challenges.

        1. So the courts don’t have to worry when the supreme law of the land is broken? Taking an office you are not by law qualified to hold would be a crime. As would be publishing a fake document on a official website.
          The constitution states you must be a natural born citizen to be president or vice president. Nine justices on the supreme court agreed that two parents as citizens at the time of birth and within the limits.
          In Timothy Cunningham’s Law Dictionary (1771) which was purchased for the congress by James Madison, said to be the father of the constitution, that
          “natural-born subject” as one who is born within the king’s realm, of parents who are under the king’s “actual obedience”: The same exact meaning is found in Matthew Bacon’s A New Abridgment of the Law, Volume 1, published in 1736 and Giles Jacob’s New Law Dictionary (1782).
          These works formed the basis of law at the time the founders debated and agreed to natural born citizen. In the later part of the 1960 in 6th grade I can still remember being taught that you must have two citizen parents to be natural born so the meaning carried on till then. The meaning to the term of natural born citizen is there to see, but some refuse to look.

        2. The courts don’t believe any law has been broken with respect to presidential or vice presidential eligibility.

          There’s also no evidence a “fake document” concerning eligibility “was published on an official website.”

          Literally no one doubts that those born in the United States to two citizen parents are natural born citizens. But the U.S. Supreme Court never said that was the only definition.

          There is no evidence the Framers relied on those two dictionaries when drafting the natural born citizen clause.

          Where is the evidence of the Framers’debate over the meaning of natural born citizen?

          There is no evidence that any textbook ever stated that two citizen parents were required to be a natural born citizen. Making it at best extremely difficult to verify claims about what someone was taught 60 years ago.

    4. Your adversary comments on this site, “Rudy Lee”, seem to me to be part of the nation’s “sindication” of narrative control masterminded by the nation’s leading “NARRATIVE SPINMEISTERS”. Your comments seem so disdainful of natural reality and natural facts, as if all intended by design to MAKE-THEM-BELIEVE MAKE BELIEVE, like reality-denying that Nancy Pelosi has foisted the false “Obama-Soetoro narrative” since 08-28-08 and Joke and Coke Biden has foisted the false “Hunter Biden laptop = Russian disinformation narrative”, etc.

      If statements and images today do not match-up with my natural-reality, i.e., if what I see naturally is vigorously scorned by what others tell me I should be seeing, I reject any forced narrative-reality and defend my natural-reality.

      Natural-reality shall set you free; narrative-reality shall set you in jail.

      1. Truth is adversarial only for those who refuse to acknowledge it.

        And, on the contrary, I welcome facts and reality. Facts and reality like there’s nothing “false” about Speaker Pelosi’s certifying President Obama was the Democratic Party’s nominee in 2008.

        It is unsurprising that others don’t “see” what you do.

      2. An AG opinion could be used to limit ballot access, based on that opinion, in the state consistent with that opinion. Such exclusion, if the opinion is exclusionary, would certainly be challenged in court. True, the AG may refuse to respond to a senator’s request for clarification. If he does respond, however, such response would certainly be newsworthy regardless of the opinion. If the opinion holds to Vattel’s definition, the definition provided in the Venus case of 1814, it would certainly begin a long overdue national debate as well as call into question the legality of at least two former and current office holders.

        My senator has agreed to ask for the opinion. Let’s see how the AG, from his party, responds.

      3. I have no idea why you believe the Attorney General can issue opinions that would bind the elections commissioner, who is appointed by the governor, and not the Attorney General. Especially when the commissioner doesn’t investigate eligibility.

        The Venus case did not define the term natural born citizen; the words “natural born citizen” don’t even appear in that case.

        Which elected official agreed to make this request to the Attorney General? Where can others learn more about this agreement and request?

      4. Jonathan gets it so right. We will never change Rudy’s mind. His job is to blast the lie till all believe it. Spin, Spin, and keep on spinning. That is why it so important people with the knowledge to post so others see more than the spin. Thanks JDM

        1. It isn’t my “job” to spin. I just observe these claims lack factual, legal, and logical bases.

          Little actually knowledge has been posted; it is mostly just speculation and accusation.

          Speculation and accusation that has convinced no court.

    5. There is an affirmative duty to ensure legality in all elections.
      § 24.2-103. Powers and duties in general; report.
      A. The State Board, through the Department of Elections, shall supervise and coordinate the work of the county and city electoral boards and of the registrars to obtain uniformity in their practices and proceedings and legality and purity in all elections. Its supervision shall ensure that major risks to election integrity are (i) identified and assessed and (ii) addressed as necessary to promote election uniformity, legality, and purity.

      Legality certainly applies to eligibility to be on the ballot.

      I agree there is very little lack of clarity in what the article II natural born citizen clause means. The historical record is replete with definitions: born under the sole jurisdiction of the United States to a citizen mother and father. That is the Law of Nations definition. That is the definition given by John Bingham in arguing for adoption of the 14th amendment. That is the definition in multiple Supreme Court cases. Agreed – there is no lack of clarity. There is a lack of conformity to the law. It does not suit our modern ideas of equity and inclusion. Sorry. Amend the Constitution.

      1. Is there any statutory or decisional law that “certainly” says 24.2-103 includes a duty (or even authority) to investigate eligibility? Neither “investigate” nor “eligibility” appear in that quoted text.

        The courts are sufficiently clear as to the definition of natural born citizen. No court believes Vattel’s book is the law. John Bingham wasn’t a Framer, and the 14th Amendment doesn’t contain the words “natural born citizen.” No U.S. Supreme Court has provided a definition. And no court believes there has been a lack of conformity to the law as to this issue.

        But you are correct in this regard: seek to amend the U.S. Constitution if the courts are defining the term in a manner that doesn’t meet with your approval.