by Roger Ogden, Patriot Fire, ©2023 

(Mar. 18, 2023) — The Constitution requires the president to be a “natural born citizen”. However, the term is not defined in the Constitution. Neither has a law or court ruling been made more exactly delineating the constraints of the term. The purpose of this post is not to re-hash the arguments about what “natural born citizen” means, but to outline a process that generates a legal standard for how it is enforced. The States are key to this process.

This proposal is to have one or more states enforce via legislation the implementation of the requirement in their state, according to their understanding of the requirement. If a candidate or political party sues the state, the Supreme Court will review the law and decide whether the details of the law are constitutional, according to the original intent of the framers. By this means, we can produce a general standard for the requirement that all states could adopt.

Simply stated, I believe the Framers intended for both parents to be 100% American and the child should be born in the US, though some additional details should be considered. For over 200 years there was no controversy about this requirement. The controversy arose only in recent years when persons with very questionable qualifications began to become candidates.

However, legally, it does not matter what I believe or what any other non-expert, non-authority believes. I would like to see the states and courts work out what enforcement should be, according to the Constitution and the original intent. Let them do their duty and commit what they decide to law. That would start the process.

Today, there is a large constituency of people who corrupt the original meaning of the term, because they want to promote the internationalization of America or for whatever ideological or financial reason. Then, most of the population has not researched the issue and is just not well informed about the original meaning of the term. Many of them have been influenced by the media, which generally supports the abrogation of the constitutional requirement via manipulation of public opinion rather than using the legal system.

The term comes from the philosophy of natural law, on which our Constitution is based. To understand the meaning of the term and the Framers’ original intent, one should look at how it was used in the literature about natural law.

Article II, Section 1 (excerpt)

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.

There are several ways that a legal definition of the term could be obtained.

  • The clearest and most straightforward way would be to amend the Constitution to better define the term, but at this time it is unlikely to pass Congress.
  • Congress could also pass a law outlining the requirements placed on candidates, but this is also highly unlikely at present for political reasons.
  • The Supreme Court could rule on requirements are for candidates. However, all attempts so far have been rejected by the courts, generally due to the plaintiff not having legal “standing”.
  • Finally, the States could enact a law requiring candidates to meet their natural-born citizenship requirements to be listed on the state ballot. (See the first reference listed at the bottom by Mario Apuzzo.)

The states enact many laws that determine how different aspects of the Constitution are implemented in their states. For one example, just consider the many gun control laws that have been made by states that delineate the limits of the Second Amendment. The “right to bear arms” is also not defined in the constitution. Nevertheless, all the states pass numerous laws that constrain your right to bear arms. The courts review these laws for constitutionality. So, why should not the states do the same with the natural-born-citizen qualification for the presidency, delineating the exact qualifications with respect to the Constitution?

With states, we have 50 chances of passing a law that outlines the Framers’ original intent and requires candidates to comply. We don’t have to depend on a politically disinterested Congress alone. This would likely be very controversial and states may enact different versions of how the requirement will be implemented. However, this would just cause it to go quickly to the Supreme Court for adjudication. Then presumably there would then be no question of “standing” if a candidate or political party were to file such a lawsuit. So, this could be a means of obtaining a ruling on a more precise meaning of the term. It should be according to original intent, but also in the modern context of citizenship laws.

Such a procedure would also bypass the personal characteristics of any one candidate. When conservative activists pointed to Obama’s lack of constitutional qualification to be president, they were immediately accused of “racism”. That was a tremendous distraction, but would not be a problem if states pass a general law. The state law would be subject to review by the courts, rather than trying to have a specific candidate disqualified. The focus should be on developing a clear legal standard, which applies equally to every would-be candidate.

Related Posts:

Nikki Haley is NOT A Natural Born Citizen

What is the Definition of “Natural Born Citizen”?

Other References:

The States Have the Constitutional Power to Pass Legislation Prescribing Presidential Ballot Access Requirements Including Determining Whether a Candidate Meets the Eligibility Requirements of Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 by Mario Apuzzo

The Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How of the “natural born Citizen” Term In Our United States Constitution by CDR Charles F. Kerchner, Jr. (Retired)

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  1. Sorry, the horse has left the barn.
    Had not EVERY Secretary of the States been “compromised”, Barry Soetoro’s (aka Obama) name would NEVER have been on the 2008 ballot (thanks Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean), but it was and all the pieces couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty together again, which is why we have Biden and his gang of CCP operatives.

  2. Lots of comment action by Patriots and also OBOT trolls on the subject article after my re-posting of this ThePostEmail article by Roger Ogden at this other website. Roger’s idea hit a nerve it seems. It really has the OBOT and HARRISbot types all stirred up over there. The idea obviously scares them so they have to squash it with their faulty logic arguments, misinformation, lying by omission, mixing up state and federal common law, mixing up citizens with subjects, falsely saying our new country adopted British Common Law at the “federal level” when they created the new Constitution, misinforming case law and writings by tactical use of the ellipsis — like the did in the CRS Memos, or to keep moving the goal post, citing dicta and not holdings, saying the founders and framers did not clearly read and understand Vattel’s legal treatise in French, … that I have seen them (the OBOT trolls — likely paid operative online troll farms) use over and over again for the last 13+ years. They’ll use any unscrupulous or other tactic to disrupt any meaningful, logical discussion. See this link:

  3. Would it not take only one State to challenge/deny a candidate Article 2 qualification to throw this into the Supreme Court finally?

    1. I think the state needs to make a general law first that outlines exact qualifications to be on the state ballot, not throw any specific candidate off the ballot, before they have enacted a law that justifies it. Then the law could be reviewed, hopefully before the Supreme Court.

  4. For sure something needs to be done to insure Constitutional eligibility. Empirical evidence has shown America can and will be destroyed from within if NBC is ignored and/or effectively changed by more ineligible people being accepted as eligible.

    When the requirements for natural born citizen are clarified by the states will those people who do not meet NBC requirements, but have already served or are serving in a position requiring natural born citizen, be given a free pass for the time they spent in office? If still in office will they be allowed to complete their term? The Supreme Court has effectively decided if Congress, by Congress actions and/or inaction does nothing to stop a candidate from being sworn-in, that candidate then meets the Constitutions requirements. In other words…too late!! What is done is done and no Judge is going to say, for example, that John Roberts was wrong to have sworn-in Obama, no matter how much evidence is shown after the swearing-in. In the case of Obama it was mostly his race protection which initially protected him. Once it’s done…it’s over……….This is how America’s government and her military were given to her enemies when no member of Congress said or did anything to try to stop Obama.

    Once sworn-in Obama’s race and ineligibility protection have proven over the years that he will always be protected, as Congress protects themselves from possible charges of treason for literally giving America to her enemies……….. Obama really was the perfect person to destroy America from within………And getting Congress locked into protecting Obama to protect themselves was the ultimate cover-up move for those who are going to protect the fundamental change Obama said he would do and still is doing in his “third term”… protect Obama…..and even more importantly to protect themselves. Game over?

  5. The “natural-born citizen” issue, as it pertains to the presidency, boils down to one point…the U.S. Supreme Court. Those nine men and women, will have to determine the meaning of the phrase based on how it was understood by the Framers.

    Law and history will guide the decision, as will the implications. Did the writers of the Constitution want to ensure, as best they could, that the commander-in-chief be loyal to only the interests of the American people? Or would they have been happy to have in the Oval Office a person whose only claim to eligibility is their birth moments after their illegal alien mother was carried over the U.S./Mexican border?

    For this, and many other reasons, let’s hope that stalwarts like Justices Alito and Thomas remain on the court until January 2025 when President Trump will select their successors.

  6. What the states have done, is deferred elections to the parties. At some point, like a presidential election, there is Federal Involvement. The sad part is the States are also political animals as are their supreme court. So everything that happens is seen through the lens of a democrat mostly or spineless republicans. In Texas, we have an election law, actually, a couple that the State refuses to adhere to because they say they can’t according to the Texas Constitution. I have the receipts of much of the malfeasance in election law regarding natural-born citizens which is in fact election fraud when an unqualified candidate runs for office.

  7. The framers wanted the President not to have divided loyalties, something dual citizens have as the US Govt mandates they owe allegiance to both nations.
    States should adopt paperwork that candidates must sign where they attest under penalty that they’re Natural Born Citizens. If that occurred you’d see a whole host of candidates drop out.