Arizona Legislation SB 1158 and President Obama’s NBC Status
In January of 2009, the Arizona Legislature introduced bill SB 1158 An Act Ammending Sections 16-341 and 16-507, Arizona Revised Statutes; Relating to Conduct of Elections. The bill focuses on adding the following language in an attempt to make presidential candidates prove that they are Natural Born Citizens:
Within ten days after filing the nomination paper, a presidential candidate shall submit an affidavit in which the presidential candidate states the candidate’s citizenship and age and shall append to the affidavit documents that prove that the candidate is a natural born citizen, prove the candidate’s age and prove that the candidate meets the residency requirements for President of the United States as prescribed in ARTICLE II, section 1, Constitution of the United States.
But does this bill really accomplish it supposed objective? More importantly, will this legislation finally shine light on President Obama’s current Natural Born Citizen status? Personally, I don’t think it goes far enough, but it hasn’t passed as law yet, so there is still time to further modify it so it can reach its ultimate objective.
SB 1158 adds the quoted text above to both A.R.S. 16-341 and A.R.S. 16-507 leaving the existing language intact and amending each with the above quoted text. So we must focus on the above quoted text. From the above quoted, the following is the new burden placed on presidential candidates:
a presidential candidate shall submit an affidavit in which the presidential candidate states the candidate’s citizenship and age and shall append to the affidavit documents that prove that the candidate is a natural born citizen…
It is my opinion that this language is too vague to ensure President Obama would have to comply. Let me explain. In the last election, President Obama had to file a signed statement that said he was a Natural Born Citizen, i.e., Presidential Preference Election Candidate Nomination Paper A.R.S. 16-242. Under an earlier public records information request that I made to the Arizona Secretary of State, I am in possession of a copy of Barack Obama’s signed form. I believe President Obama’s legal team will argue that he already signed a form attesting to his Natural Born Citizen status, and more importantly, by virtue of the fact that he is the President of the United States of America that alone is proof that he is a Natural Born Citizen. He may also give the State of Arizona a copy of his Certification of Live Birth as found on his website Fight The Smears. It seems to me that if President Obama makes these arguments and provides the above referenced items, he would satisfy the new requirement and be placed on the Arizona 2012 general election ballot.
What Modifications Will Need to Be Made for this Bill to Work
As I have argued, the bill in its present form may not prevent President Obama’s name from appearing on the Arizona 2012 general election ballot. What must be done is specific language must be contained within the bill regarding the proof that will be accepted required for Natural Born Citizen status. I would argue that the bill needs to be re-written to include the following language. All Presidential Candidates will submit the following records/documents in order to prove Natural Born Citizen status:
- A copy of the candidate’s “long form” birth certificate which includes the attending physician’s signature and the name of the hospital the candidate was born in.
- A copy of all immigration records relating to the candidate.
- A copy of all passports held by the candidate during his or her lifetime.
Why are these three inclusions important? I will explain.
With respect to President Obama, he has not provided a “long form” birth certificate on his Fight the Smears website. The birth certificate on that website is referred to as a “Certification of Live Birth” commonly referred to as a short form birth certificate. It does not state on it the hospital he was born in, or the attending physician’s name. The “long form” birth certificate used in the State of Hawaii is referred to as a “Certificate of Live Birth” not a “Certification of Live Birth,” please note that there is difference in Hawaii between the terms Certificate and Certification when it comes to birth certificates.
The second requirement regarding immigration records is also critical in President Obama’s case. President Obama was born a dual citizen meaning through decendence on his Father’s side he was a British Subject, and through decendence on his mother side and based on his presumed birth in Hawaii, he was an American Citizen. It is also widely known that President Obama lived in Indonesia as a child from ages 6 to 10. What is not known is his when he emmigrated to Indonesia did he do so as a British Subject or an American Citizen. Before his emmigration or during his residence in Indonesia, did his Step-Father Lolo Soetoro adopt him and change his citizenship to Indonesian? Upon returning to the United States, did President Obama become a Naturalized U.S. Citizen which is very different from a Natural Born Citizen? By requiring that all immigration records relating to the candidate be submitted, many if not all of these questions will be answered.
Finally, requiring that all passports held throughout the candidate’s lifetime be provided further information regarding the candidate’s citizenship will be obtained. In the case of President Obama, he has not produced any of his school records for the Universities of Occidental, Columbia and Harvard. It has been argued that he attended some or all of those schools under foreign citizenship. It is also known that President Obama traveled abroad during his early twenties. By requiring the passport records of candidates, we would find out what citizenship status President Obama was using during his college years.
The following Arizona State Senators and Representatives introduced Arizona Bill SB 1158:
Senator Russell Pearce (R)
Senator Pamela Gorman (R)
Senator Gould (R)
Senator Chuck Gray (R)
Senator Jack Harper (R)
Senator Thayer Verschoor (R)
Representative Judy Burgess (R)
Representative Carl Seel (R)
I will be following the progress of Arizona Bill SB 1158 closely and encouraging the Senators and Representatives listed above to add the additional language (like suggested above) to this bill to ensure it will actually meet the stated objective. Check back here for updates on what transpires.
In following up on this legislation, I discovered that the Arizona State Legislature did not pass this bill during the last legislative session; therefore, the bill is dead. I have contacted the eight Senators above to see if any of them are willing to reintroduce the bill in the next legislative session which does not begin until January 2010. Yes, that is correct, the Arizona State Legislature only works half a year, or at least is only in session half of the year. I am awaiting their response, and I have also asked them to include in the bill a definition of natural born citizen.