He's Not My President?

Thoreau: "Government is Best Which Governs Least"

The Purported Facts About Obama’s Natural Born Citizenship Issue

I have read a plethora of blog posts (including their associated comment sections), a few newspaper articles and even, as recently as today, main stream media coverage on the Obama citizenship issue, and it never ceases to amaze me how much inaccurate information is out there regarding this topic; therefore, I decided to provide a simple bullet point list of the facts surrounding this controversy.  Please note that when I use the term facts, I am claiming that these are the facts of those making the claims, not the veracity of the conclusions these claims make.  It is left for those far more educated than I in the laws of this land to come to the legal conclusions of the claims.

First we must detail that the one thing the lawsuits and claims have in common, i.e., they allege that Barack Obama is not eligible to be President because he does not meet the Natural Born Citizen requirement to hold the office of President of the United States.  Article 2, Section 1, Clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution states:

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. 

 

The Purported Facts

With respect to this requirement, here are the purported facts as argued by the lawyers filing the cases, lawyers analyzing the cases, and the general Internet public at large:

  • Some argue, to be a natural born citizen, you must have two parents that were U.S. citizens at the time of your birth and be born on U.S. soil.  Since Barack Obama admits that his father was a British Subject/Citizen of Kenya at the time of Barack Obama’s birth, Barack Obama is not a “natural born citizen.”  One of the comments on this post by “RightWinger” provides a thoughtful link to this argument that can be found at The Heritage Foundation.  This is the crux of Leo Donofrio’s case and he argues in part that even Obama’s own website substantiates his claim.
  • On Barack Obama’s website Fight the Smears, they quote FactCheck.org as verifying his citizenship: 

    “When Barack Obama Jr. was born on Aug. 4,1961, in Honolulu, Kenya was a British colony, still part of the United Kingdom’s dwindling empire. As a Kenyan native, Barack Obama Sr. was a British subject whose citizenship status was governed by The British Nationality Act of 1948. That same act governed the status of Obama Sr.‘s children.

    Since Sen. Obamahas neither renounced his U.S. citizenship nor sworn an oath of allegiance to Kenya, his Kenyan citizenship automatically expired on Aug. 4,1982.”

  • Obama has not produced a long form Birth Certificate.   Obama has produced a Certification of Live Birth.  These two documents are not synonymous.  A Certification of Live Birth is often used in place of a long form Birth Certificate; however, it lacks pertinent additional information found on a long form Birth Certificate.
  • Some argue that the Certification of Live Birth found on Barack Obama’s Fight the Smears website and other sites is a forgery.  This topic is obviously debatable; however, for more information on the veracity of the claim, you can view this video.
  • Many have cited that Hawaiian officials have stated that they have seen Barack Obama’s original Birth Certificate, so therefore, he was in fact born in Hawaii.  What’s curious about these reports is that even though the reporters claim the officials state that he was born in Hawaii, they make no such statement, rather they state that they have seen his original Birth Certificate.  Some argue that at the time Barack Obama was born, Hawaii allowed foregin born individuals to receive Hawaiian Birth Certificates.
  • Some have argued that many of the early Presidents weren’t Natural Born Citizens and they became President.  Those who argue this point have missed the part of the clause that states “or a citizen of the U.S. at the time of the adoption of this Constitution.”  The founding fathers knew that they would not qualify under the Natural Born Citizen clause so they included this additional verbiage to ensure their own eligibility.
  • Many reporters have lumped in Leo Donofrio’s case with others that question where Barack Obama was born.  Leo Donofrio’s case does not rely on Obama’s birthplace nor his BirthCertificate, long form, or Certification of Live Birth in his case regarding Barack Obama’s Natural Born Citizenship status.
  • Another requirement often cited as to whether or not a person is a Natural Born Citizen is that they must have been born on U.S. soil, and some argue that Barack Obama was not born in Hawaii.  They argue that he was born in Kenya.  This requirement is often argued to be not quite this simple, and further states that at least one of the two parents must be a U.S. Citizen for 5 years following his or her 14th birthday when the child is born if that child was not born on U.S. soil.  In this instance they argue, Obama’s mother was only 18 years of age and therefore unless Barack Obama was born on U.S. soil he is not a Natural Born Citizen.  This is one of the two primary arguments in Phil Berg’s lawsuit.
  • Phil J. Berg’s case is very much concerned about where Obama was born; however, it is not his sole requirement for Obama’s lack of  Natural Born Citizenship status.  Berg’s lawsuit makes two claims against Barack Obama’s Natural Born Citizenship status: 1)he claims that Barack Obama was not born in Hawaii and therefore lacks eligibility based on the arguments made in the previous bullet point, 2)he claims that even if he was born in Hawaii during his time when he lived in Indonesia, he would have been a citizen of Indonesia which did not allow dual citizenship and therefore he lost his Natural Born Citizenship status.  He could have regained U.S. Citizenship when he returned to the U.S., but this would make him a Naturalized U.S. Citizen which is not the equivalent of a Natural Born Citizen.
  • Some argue that the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides for Barack Obama’s eligibility, while others argue that the 14th Amendment doesn’t have baring on Article 2, Section 1, Clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution.
  • There are those who argue that the only requirement for Natural Born Citizenship is to be born on U.S. soil, and Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, so he is, therefore, a Natural Born Citizen.  This argument may very well be valid, but I’m not qualified to judge its veracity.
  • Some argue the above bullet point is not valid primarily based on Barack Obama’s Father’s citizenship status.  They make a similar argument to Leo Donofrio (and to some degree Berg’s second point above) by expanding the argument.  For example Dr. Kate in her article “Stand By Me” on TexasDarling’s Word Press blog states:  “One universal point most all early publicists agreed on was natural-born citizen must mean one who is a citizen by no act of law. If a person owes their citizenship to some act of law (naturalization for example) they cannot be considered a natural-born citizen.”  I encourage you to read Dr. Kate’s rather long but thoughtful article on the entire subject of Barack Obama’s citizenship status.
  • One of the reasons that many argue Obama’s Father’s citizenship is important is because it makes him a dual citizen at birth.  They argue the framers of the U.S. Constitution were adamant that the President not have dual loyalties and Obama’s dual citizenship at birth provides him with at least the potential of dual loyalty and disqualifies him from Natural Born Citizenship status and the Presidency.

Again, the above bullet points are the crux of the arguments surrounding Barack Obama’s Natural Born Citizenship status.  I make no claims as to reporting the validity of the conclusions of those making the assertions.  I simply wished to provide you with a bullet list of the facts regarding the claims being made and not the veracity of the conclusions drawn by these claims.

Why is any of this important?  It may or may not be important to you, but as is the case of most posts made on this website, I like to look at the issues through the lens of the U.S. Constitution.  The U.S. Constitution is often viewed in two ways: 1)as an Original Intent Document or  2)as a Living Document.  These two schools of thought can be summarized as:

Original Intent— Remove as much as possible interpretation application of the law from political controversy.  Set up basic principles that are going to apply and the legislatures and courts have to abide by those principles.  Typically historical legal standards as opposed to present day political policies and desires.  To Constitutionally deal with political questions, you would use the amendment process.  In other words, view the constitution as a contract and to change any of the original terms of that contract you must utilize the amendment process.

Living Document — The opposite of original intent.  It believes that the Constitution changes its meaning in some automatic fashion according to the political or economic or social problems of the time.  There are basically three rationalizations for this view:  1)we can’t really know original intent, 2)the language is a living entity and changes over time, and/or 3)the document doesn’t speak to present day society, so we’re going to interpret under modern day terms.

To view a thorough discussion on this topic, you can view this YouTube Video.

Acknowledging my bias, I prefer original intent over living document.  In my opinion, the Natural Born Citizenship status of Barack Obama is paramount to preserving our Constitutional Law.  If it is determined that Barack Obama is not a Natural Born Citizen, he is not eligible to be President, and, therefore, cannot be sworn in as President.  If it is determined that Barack is a Natural Born Citizen, then his eligibility is certain, he was elected by the people, and will become the legitimate 44th President of the United States.  It is not for me to determine his eligibility, but the determination of his eligibility is paramount in protecting and preserving the United States Constitution.

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14 Responses

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  1. Seems the Supreme Court is waiting to hear from me before issuing a decision on Donofrio, so here goes: Albeit the Court is loathe to enter this dispute, it now has no choice (thanks to the audacious one — and I don’t mean Leo, I mean Barack) and the ONLY WAY to bring closure, knowing CLOSURE IS ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL before any Presidential inauguration, is to back the Constitution, meaning, Obama is NOT an Article II “natural born citizen” (albeit he may be a “citizen”) .

    Ted

    December 6, 2008 at 5:06 am

  2. REVISED: Seems the Supreme Court is waiting to hear from me before issuing a decision on Donofrio, so here goes: While the Court is more than loathe to enter this dispute, currently it has no choice (thanks to the audacious one — and I don’t mean Leo, I mean Barack) and the ONLY WAY to bring closure, knowing CLOSURE IS ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL before any Presidential inauguration, is to back the original intent of the Constitution, meaning, Obama is NOT an Article II “natural born citizen” (albeit Obama may or may not be a “citizen”, a question heated by the steadfast refusal of the DNC or any of the Secretaries of State to require his birth certificate, which the Court will now not have to confront).

    Ted

    December 6, 2008 at 6:02 am

  3. There is a lot of confusion, misinformation and intentional omission on this controversy. You provided an excellent summary. A valuable public service. Thank you.

    One issue that is a surprise to many of us is the issue of “standing”. It appears that, the plaintiff must prove “irreparable damage” (or some kind of damage) to gain “standing” when asking the court to check the Constitutional validity of an issue, and for ordinary citizens, under current law that is impossible. Consequently, an ordinary citizen is prohibited to initiate any action to enforce the Constitution.

    Congress can make law to eliminate this hurdle, according to the opinion of the “Berg Case” judges. However, if Congress does not provide such law and if Congress itself does not question the issue, for all practical purposes the Constitution is unenforceable. That is the big surprise for an ordinary citizen: The supreme law of the land is not enforceable?

    There is speculation that the Alen Keyes lawsuit overcomes the “standing” issue, because he was a candidate. So how is he going to prove “damage”? Theoretically, a president is serving the people. So is Keyes claiming that he is going to suffer damage, because he could serve the people better, or how is he going to beat “standing”? Can you throw some light on this? Thanks.

    Voco Indubium

    December 6, 2008 at 3:39 pm

  4. Unfortunately you have errors in your statements.

    If Obama was born in Hawaii it might make him a citizen but never a Natural Born Citizen. You mix the ideas as some other people do.

    Here is a typical error statement.
    + + + + +
    soil. In this instance they argue, Obama’s mother was only 18 years of age and therefore unless Barack Obama was born on U.S. soil he is not a Natural Born Citizen. This is one of the two primary arguments in Phil Berg’s lawsuit.
    + + + + + +

    If Obama was born in Kenya he is NOT a Citizen of any kind.

    If Obama was born in Hawaii he is a citizen but still never a NBC. Birth on US soil usually makes one a citizen by 14th ammendment but not always.

    The 14th ammendment is specifically about Citizenship NOT about NBC status. Again you are confused here:
    + + + + + + + +

    Another requirement often cited as to whether or not a person is a Natural Born Citizen is that they must have been born on U.S.

    + + + + + + + + +

    Your entire paragraph is all messed up but would be closer if you simply replace the words NBC in the above with simple “citizen” since everything you talk about in the paragraph is about being a citizen not about being a NBC.

    The 14th Ammendment is about Citizenship ONLY. ALL LAWS ABOUT CITIZENSHIP ARE NOT NATURAL in a sense. If you are a citizen because of laws then you are NOT a NBC.

    If you would number your bullet points I could more accurately correct your errors. I see no sense in trying to publish a simple statement of the situation if you are going to fill your blog with obvious errors. I can only assume you have picked up the errors from other places.

    Please everyone. Stop being confused. The situation is simple. The one and only correct definition of a NBC is both parents are citizens at the birth of the child and the child is born in usa soil. forget the rest of the trash.

    Obama’s father was not an american citizen so he can NEVER be a NBC. end of discussion.

    If you accept this then everything is simple and correct. The birth certificate is not needed but would provide more information on this mystery man. It would help determine if he is an illegal alien. But even the BC will leave much discussion unresolved.

    The Birth Certificate might knock out Obama and prove he is a fraud. But the BC can never prove he is even a citizen today. Because he lost any citizenship to Indonesia.

    Obama Researcher

    December 6, 2008 at 5:11 pm

  5. If Obama or anyone is a citizen because of the 14th Ammendment then it is impossible to be a NBC.

    If Obama is a citizen by any other laws then it is impossible for him to be a NBC.

    Therefore the discussion of his mothers age and his father’s nationality are laws and therefore Obama is NOT a NBC.

    Because there are laws saying when a person with a non citizen parent might be a citizen himself that ALWAYS MEANS IMPOSSIBLE TO BE A NBC.

    do you get it now. to be a natural born citizen there must be no discussion of your citizenship. You are so solidly a citizen that no one can argue it because you are NBC. No laws pertain to your citizenship because you are so naturally a citizen. no one would think anything else. After all both your parents are citizens and you are a citizen born in us soil so there is no question you are a super solid citizen or NBC.

    Obama Researcher

    December 6, 2008 at 5:17 pm

  6. if this is such a hot topic, why isn’t any of this on CNN ro MSNBC or CNBC?

    j

    December 7, 2008 at 9:45 am

  7. This is the most thoughtful and coherent comment I have read on this issue. I wish I had written this comment. This writer goes to he heart of the issue and does it in a very unbiased way.

    Really? (#129849)
    by Hank Rand on December 6, 2008 at 9:44 PM
    “What difference does it make to the future of this country whether Obama was born on US soil? Advocates of this destructive campaign will argue that the Constitutional principle regarding the qualifications for President trumps all others. But how viable will our Constitution be if 5 Supreme Court justices should decide to void 64 million ballots?”

    A proponent of the reality that there is an outstanding question that exists relating to Barack Obama’s natural born citizenship (not that I have an answer, but rather simply that no answer has been given), my personal opinion is that this has less to do with the merit of this particular Constitutional law…and more to do with the character and integrity of a man who may have gone to such great lengths to, knowingly, break it. And in that course of action, our entire country (not just those who didn’t vote for him) and our most coveted process of Democracy (our vote), were defrauded.

    If he’s found to be ineligible per the Constitution, proving he knowingly and willfully defrauded our people and process, it won’t be the Justices who will have disenfranchised 64 million voters. It’s Barack Obama. How many times are you prepared to claim “you fell down the stairs” for this man? I was an initial supporter. I started seeing very real and very questionable issues raised about the nature of his past associations, and the laughable explanations he would give…and I was sure it would hurt him in the press and among supporters. But what did I see? The press and most supporters to engrossed in their partisanship to care. In fact, the more reasonable questions came up about him…the harder the press and the 64 million that same press brainwashed, drove to the hoop for him. As I stood back watching this, again, as an initial supporter of his, even making phone calls on his behalf…I realized what I was seeing, was nothing short of WEIRD. Just, plain, weird.

    And I thought this birth certificate issue (check that, “Certificate of Live Birth” issue…as opposed to “Certification of Live Birth”) was cleared up a long time ago. I thought there was no way the DNC would have been capable of such a gross oversight. Then the court cases came up, and nothing was done to quell the question. What finally landed me understanding that something is not right, is when Chiyome Fukino, Director of Health for Hawaii, released the statement about his birth. That statement actually did more harm than good, and it only demonstrated further how moronic far too many public officials and people in the media and governing bodies, think Americans are.

    Sure, America has it’s slew of idiots. And sure, the aisle that questions Barack Obama’s natural born and/or properly maintained citizenship statuses has it’s smattering of fringe wingnuts. But just because one contingent of people happen to be on board, doesn’t nullify the fact that the question is still outstanding. I hear the same 5 refutations over, and over, and over. “He posted his birth certificate on his website”, “Factcheck proved it”, “The state of Hawaii released a statement saying he was born there”, “There was a birth announcement in a Hawaiian newspaper”, “Judges meritoriously threw it out as ‘frivolous'”; and while each of those statements hold an element of truth, they’re also easily debunked. And “truth” is objective. There is no debunking it. We should be able to move past this on to more subjective and productive lines of communication…with all the dissent we’re accustomed to…forging, like competition, improvement. But here we are. And one man can answer this objective question. And sure, not everyone will get on board if he were to release his college records and actual Certificate of Live Birth (as opposed to the factually less credible, more easily attained and more easily forged “Certification” – which bears no corroborating evidence like the hospital or doctor’s name)…but many would get on board. Coming off a platform of transparency, directly in to a promised pursuit for unity…why leave so many of us divided on what is a simple and objectively debunked question? If the Certification is authentic, the it’s more credible parent – the Certificate, exists. But rather than produce it, he has fought those requests so fiercely that he’s allowed the same requests to land in court rooms…where he continues to fight them. Why? So rather than quell the reasonable, objective and easily answered outstanding question…he opts non disclosure. I wrote somewhere else that the production of Certificate of Live Birth is a very small price t pay for unity. And yet, here we are. And Barack Obama, and Barack Obama only, is responsible for that. I am certain of that beyond any reasonable doubt, because Barack Obama, and Barack Obama only, can quell it…with an actual Certificate of Live Birth, and he has watched requests transition to court cases, and still refuses. So as a first order of business, in a promised pursuit for unity, he leaves us divided, on what should be a very simple, very objective, very basic matter. Who among us can applaud that? “I do, Hank. Because you’re all just whackjobs.” That’s all well and good if that’s your opinion. My brother said to me, “Yeah but if we pull him out, we’re going to look corrupt to the rest of the world.” I replied, “I’d rather look corrupt and not be it, than be corrupt and not look it.” So goes my position on being called a whackjob, for maintaining through nothing more than logic and fact, that there is a still outstanding question regarding Barack Obama’s natural born and properly maintained citizenship statuses. I’d rather be called a whackjob and stand by truth, than submit to mistruths and be called sound.

    I didn’t hear any of the 5 standard press talking points in your piece, which leads me to believe the transition I anticipated is occurring. That is, virtually all of supporters (and I don’t know if you were one prior to November 4th or not), will go from, “He didn’t commit fraud. He is a natural born citizen”, to “So what if he committed fraud. So what if he isn’t a natural born citizen.” I’ve challenged others, staunch supporters in fact, as to whether or not they’d concede a gross misstep in character and judgement, and support his being held accountable for that, if he did commit this fraud. They’ve uniformly claimed they would. This article, blog, whatever it is…demonstrates the first piece I’ve actually seen that goes out of it’s way to say, “No. I wouldn’t. Barack Obama can lie, cheat and steal all he wants. And if he gets held accountable for it, it’s the fault of the Justices…because Barack Obama himself, is simply incapable of wrongdoing.”

    Running that red light you sit at, day after day, when no one is looking, is pretty harmless too. But you know it’s wrong. This man, if not a natural born and properly maintained citizen of the United States, will have knowingly and willfully cheated our entire country, and more critical than that – our absolutely, inherently, unquestionably most coveted process of democracy – in what can only be articulated as a relentless pursuit for unapologetic, integrity-free, and division-inducing pursuit for power.Link.

    The Intellectual Redneck

    The Intellectual Redneck

    December 7, 2008 at 10:43 am

  8. Obama Researcher,

    I very much appreciate your comments. Please note that my bullet points are not an attempt to be an accurate definition of a Natural Born Citizen. My bullet points are simply points that others have made in their arguments. I wanted to provide a place where all of the arguments could be sumarized regardless of the accuracy of the conclusions drawn by those making the arguments.

    Again, your thoughtful responses on the issue are appreciated.

    curi0us0nefromthe60s

    December 7, 2008 at 6:23 pm

  9. There is precedence in this case from a case in 1866 United States vs. Rhodes Case No. 16,151. This means that a natural born citizen has to be born in the US and both parents must be US citizens, otherwise the child would have dual citizenship and would be subject to a foreign power.

    United States vs. Rhodes Case No. 16,151

    That all persons born in the United States, and not subject to any foreign power, excluding Indians not taxed, are hereby declared to be citizens of the United States; and such citizens, of every race and color, without regard to any previous condition of slavery,”

    Explanation from John C. Eastman, Ph.D:

    The “subject to the jurisdiction” provision must therefore require something in addition to mere birth on U.S. soil. The language of the 1866 Civil Rights Act, from which the Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment was derived, provides the key to its meaning. The 1866 Act provides: “All persons born in the United States, and not subject to any foreign power, excluding Indians not taxed, are hereby declared to be citizens of the United States.”[3] As this formulation makes clear, any child born on U.S. soil to parents who were temporary visitors to this country and who, as a result of the foreign citizenship of the child’s par­ents, remained a citizen or subject of the parents’ home country was not entitled to claim the birth­right citizenship provided by the 1866 Act.

    Read the article for yourself.

    rightwinger

    December 8, 2008 at 9:43 pm

  10. Hi, you said: “A Certification of Live Birth is often used in place of a long form Birth Certificate; however, it lacks pertinent additional information found on a long form Birth Certificate.”

    I know that it lacks some information, but what “pertinent” information? All citizenship either derives from parents or location of birth. The Certification has both. The second qualification for President is age, and that is amply covered by the date of birth. If Obama was applying for a passport, it would also need to include the date of registration, which is there too. If I were asked to design a document that had everything to verify the facts of birth necessary to prove citizenship at birth, I could hardly do a better job than the State of Hawaii did in designing their computer form.

    You further say that “foreign born individuals to receive Hawaiian Birth Certificates”. But the link you provide is misinformed. This is in response to it:

    A. Yes, Hawaii allows certificates to be amended, but not AMENDED FALSELY. And in any case, Hawaiian law requires the word “altered” to be present on the certificate, which it is not on Obama’s.

    B. I suppose if Barack’s mother flew back from Kenya and rushed down to the Health Department in under 4 days to swear a false statement that Obama was born at home–but still the original birth certificate would still say Obama was born in Hawaii with no way to contradict it.

    C. The law cited here was not passed until 1982, 21 years after Obama’s birth was registered. Not applicable.

    D. Yes, all systems are subject to error, like misspelling “Mobasa” as “Honolulu”. I make that mistake all the time.

    E. What does this have to do with anything?

    F. The Hawaiian Homelands program is concerned with Hawaiian ancestry, so the short-form doesn’t work for them. This has nothing to do with proving where someone was born.

    Kevin

    December 8, 2008 at 10:02 pm

  11. Comment on United States vs. Rhodes case

    First, this case preceded the 14th Amendment which uses different language, “subject to the Jurisdiction”.

    Second, in the subsequent United States v. Wong Kim Ark, the Supreme Court declared Wong a citizen at birth even though both his parents were subject to the Emperor of China. The Wong decision is strongly worded where it declares that one born within the United States is completely subject to its jurisdiction (except for the usual subjects – pun intended).

    Kevin

    December 8, 2008 at 10:36 pm

  12. Obama researcher says: “to be a natural born citizen there must be no discussion of your citizenship.”

    Until these last-ditch efforts to keep the duly-elected president out of the White House, there WAS NO DISCUSSION about the natural born status of those born in the United States. Check out this 20-year-old article from the Yale Law Review which says: “It is well-settled that “native-born” citizens, those born in the United States, qualify as natural born.”

    Kevin

    December 8, 2008 at 10:48 pm

  13. The black helipcoptors will be arriving soon to take you all to a special place where you can grow proper brains.

    Someone with a brain

    December 9, 2008 at 5:22 pm

  14. Someone with a Brain,

    For someone with a supposed brain, you choose to post hate instead of adding to the intelligent discussion on the subject matter.

    Maybe you missed the point in the article that states we are simply looking at the purported facts.

    Isn’t it actually an intelligent society that looks at “controversial” matters through the lens of critical thinking and attempts to understand the issue at hand?

    Your comments are certainly welcome here although I would appreciate it if you used just a little bit of your brain when making them.

    curi0us0nefromthe60s

    December 11, 2008 at 5:50 pm


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