Natural Born Citizen — Chapter 11: Congressional Duties
Evaluating the measures Congress and the cadidates could have taken to resolve the natural born citizen definition
As was mentioned in the opening of the book, in April of 2008 a non-binding Senate Resolution was passed stating that John S. McCain was a natural born citizen. It is clear that many were questioning the Constitutional eligibility of Senator McCain, and the Senate found the matter important enough to pursue such a measure. The non-binding Senate Resolution in total with the exception of individual Senators’ statements reads:
Recognizing that John Sidney McCain, III, is a natural born citizen.
Whereas the Constitution of the United States requires that, to be eligible for the Office of the President, a person must be a ‘‘natural born Citizen’’ of the United States;
Whereas the term ‘‘natural born Citizen’’, as that term appears in Article II, Section 1, is not defined in the Constitution of the United States;
Whereas there is no evidence of the intention of the Framers or any Congress to limit the constitutional rights of children born to American citizens serving in the military nor to prevent those children from serving as their country’s President;
Whereas such limitations would be inconsistent with the purpose and intent of the ‘‘natural born Citizen’’ clause of the Constitution of the United States, as evidenced by the First Congress’s own statute defining the term ‘‘natural born Citizen’’;
Whereas the well-being of all citizens of the United States is preserved and enhanced by the men and women who are assigned to serve our country outside of our national borders;
Whereas previous presidential candidates were born outside of the United States of America and were understood to be eligible to be President; and
Whereas John Sidney McCain, III, was born to American citizens on an American military base in the Panama Canal Zone in 1936: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That John Sidney McCain, III, is a ‘‘natural born Citizen’’ under Article II, Section 1, of the Constitution of the United States.[i]
Two very important statements appear in the above non-binding Senate Resolution. First, they relied, in part, on The Nationality Act of 1790 when they stated:
Whereas such limitations would be inconsistent with the purpose and intent of the ‘‘natural born Citizen’’ clause of the Constitution of the United States, as evidenced by the First Congress’s own statute defining the term ‘‘natural born Citizen’’[ii]
They had to know that the “natural born citizen” language used in The Nationality Act of 1790 was later removed and that they gave such status to it is at least curious. The second egregious error on their part was placing any significance on the following statement:
Whereas previous presidential candidates were born outside of the United States of America and were understood to be eligible to be President[iii]
Which previous Presidential candidates? Did any of these Presidential candidates become President? Were they referring to Presidential candidates that were eligible through the grandfather clause of Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution“ or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution[?]” [iv] Is it not clear that this statement in the non-binding Senate Resolution is steeped in incompetence?
Were the Senators trying to illicit some sort of Presidential candidacy precedent regarding who is deemed natural born and who is not based on who has run? Such a line of thinking is indefensible. We know for a fact that during the Presidential election of 2008 Roger Calero (he also ran in 2004) was placed on the ballot of many states as the Socialist Workers Party candidate even though he is absolutely not eligible to the hold the office of the President. According to a website that promotes the Socialist Worker’s Party themilitant.com:
Born in Nicaragua, Calero has lived in the United States since 1985 when his family moved to Los Angeles. He joined the socialist movement there in 1993.[v]
Roger Calero certainly was not a natural born citizen having been born in Nicaragua to parents who were not U.S. citizens. If you doubt that Roger Calero actually made it to the ballot of any State’s general election here is the State of New Jersey’s official governmental website where they list on Page 6 of 11 of their “Official List of Candidates for President For November 2008 General Election” one Roger Calero of the Socialist Workers Party.[vi] Further, Roger Calero according to the same official website garnered 523 total votes in the State of New Jersey in the 2008 Presidential election.[vii] So, I ask these Senators, how is it that they can place any legitimacy in the statement:
Whereas previous presidential candidates were born outside of the United States of America and were understood to be eligible to be President[viii]
Are they including Mr. Calero in this statement? Mr. Calero clearly was born outside of the United States of America. Mr. Calero is clearly not a natural born citizen and is ineligible to run for the office of President.
As of April 2008, the Senators were certainly aware that they had a conundrum on their hands. They had the Republican Candidate for President potentially not eligible to be President of the United States with only seven months left until the General Election, and yet, they were willing to pass a non-binding resolution that could not guarantee John S. McCain’s eligibility risking a potential usurper to the Office of the Presidency. Had John McCain won, it would have been clear that lawsuits would have ensued testing that eligibility. John McCain would have begun his Presidency with serious questions as to his eligibility. If the U.S. Supreme court later defined the term natural born citizen through a proper procedure and decided that John S. McCain did not meet that definition, the country would be thrust into a Constitutional crisis. Any legislation that John McCain would have approved through signature would have been null and void and would require legislation to be written, approved, and signed again. There is no doubt that a Constitutional crisis would have resulted.
Further, the Senate put Senator John McCain in quite a predicament with respect to him getting his name placed on the ballot in his own State of Arizona. In order to be placed on the 2008 general election ballot as a presidential candidate, you had to submit a Presidential Preference Election Candidate Nomination Form (A.R.S. § 16-242)[ix] Said form specifically requires the Presidential candidate to swear, affirm and have notarized the form which contains in part the following:
I am a natural born citizen of the United States, am at least thirty-five years of age, and have been a resident within the United States for at least fourteen years.[x]
Senator McCain was placed on the Arizona ballot, and, in fact, he won the Electoral votes of the State of Arizona in the 2008 presidential election, but was all of that accomplished in falsely swearing on a nomination form in his own State? It should be noted that John McCain signed this form before the U.S. Senate passed the non-binding senate resolution; however, John McCain would have known he had already attested and signed the form and that his natural born citizen status remained under suspicion.
The United States Senate, according to our Constitution, is the legislative branch of the government with the purpose of representing the interests of the States. This is why, regardless of population of the several States, each State is allowed two senators. The U.S. Constitution originally dictated that Senators would be elected by the legislatures of their States. It was not until 1913 under the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that the election of Senators was changed to election by the people of their respective states. How could the Senate, which is supposed to represent the interests of the States, place John McCain in a position where he may have falsely attested to get on his own State’s ballot?
In fairness to the Senate, they most likely had no authority to do anything other than what they did at least by April of 2008. We have seen legislation come from the Congress regarding citizenship, but that legislation deals with Naturalization laws. Defining the term natural born citizen is not a naturalization issue. The only methods at our disposal to define the term natural born citizen are: 1) thorough court cases that specifically address the natural born citizen clause such as the cases currently pending in numerous courts, or 2) through Constitutional Amendment. It really wasn’t practical at the time for the Congress to attempt to amend the Constitution before the 2008 General Election as there wouldn’t have been enough time to get it accomplished prior to the election that was a mere 7 months away. The process to amend the Constitution is contained in Article V of the Constitution and reads as follows:
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate. [xi]
As you can see from the description, this would have been a time consuming process and there just was not adequate time to accomplish this before the 2008 General Election at least not if started in April of 2008 when the non-binding Senate Resolution was passed. However, this issue of whom is a natural born citizen was not new to this Senate. In fact, many attempts have been made in the past as to Amending the U.S. Constitution to define natural born citizen. This same question of John McCain’s eligibility arose in the 2000 Republican primary; however, John McCain did not secure the nomination; therefore, the matter was dropped. Are we to simply alleviate the United States Senate of its burdens to clarify matters because there wasn’t enough time? Should we not wonder why the Senate did not take up the matter after many candidates had attempted to gain access to the Presidential ballot whom were not eligible? I contend that the Senate has had plenty of time to clarify the natural born citizen clause through Constitutional Amendment through the many years of their body’s existence, and if they were interested in protected the people of the United States from usurpation of the Office of the President, they would have written and passed through the proper process an Amendment to the U.S. Constitution defining natural born citizen.
The House of Representatives, the other branch (with the Senate) of the Congress, is supposed to be the representation of the people in our Constitutional Republic. The House of Representatives is based on the population in the several States thereby resulting in divvying up statistically its members. Did the House of Representatives have any method that the Senate did not possess to define natural born citizen? The answer is no, both the House of Representatives and the Senate make up the Congress and legislative powers granted within the Constitution apply to the Congress as a whole. The negligence in addressing this matter by the Senate can also be attributed to the House of Representatives. So what could have or should have been done to resolve this issue after April 2008 and before the November 4, 2008 election?
Both John McCain and Barack Obama were U.S. Senators while running for President in 2008. Both men were keenly aware of the non-binding Senate resolution passed regarding John McCain’s natural born citizenship status as John McCain was the subject of the bill and Barack Obama was a co-sponsor of the bill. Both men had to swear and attest to being natural born citizens on Arizona’s Presidential Preference Election Candidate Nomination Form (A.R.S. § 16-242).[xii] When John McCain signed this form under what knowledge or authority did he make this attestation?
In Barack Obama’s case, he studied law at Harvard and received his degree, a doctorate of jurisprudence, from Harvard. According to a New York Times article written by Jodi Kantor on July 30, 2008 entitled “Teaching Law, Testing Ideas, Obama Stood Slightly Apart,” Barack Obama spent twelve years teaching at the University of Chicago Law School. In the article, Kantor describes Barack Obama’s time at the University of Chicago Law School in part as follows:
At the school, Mr. Obama taught three courses, ascending to senior lecturer, a title otherwise carried only by a few federal judges. His most traditional course was in the due process and equal protection areas of constitutional law.[xiii]
It is easy to understand that Barack Obama’s studies and eventual teaching of constitutional law may not have focused on or taken him into the intricacies of naturalization laws, the natural born citizen requirement and the cases we have presented in this book, but surely he would have had some familiarity with these matters. When Barack Obama signed Arizona’s Presidential Preference Election Candidate Nomination Form (A.R.S. § 16-242),[xiv] under what authority or understanding of the definition of natural born citizen did he feel comfortable in making this attestation?
Did not John McCain and Barack Obama have some moral duty to ensure they were eligible to be President under Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution? Since when has political power and gain asked a man to abandon character and his moral compass? Each man had to know that if it was later proven they did not meet the Constitutional requirement to be President that a Constitutional crisis would result jeopardizing the fundamental stability of our Constitutional Republic and society as a whole. What type of men risk so much for personal gain? This is the quandary we find ourselves in today. Why didn’t either gentleman, file a law suit within the State of Arizona asking for clarification of the definition of natural born citizen? The form did not define the term natural born citizen. Each candidate had to know that he could not definitively make the case that he was without doubt a natural born citizen. After filing suit and obtaining a definition, if the definition provided did not fit the description of the circumstances of the candidates birth, he could have appealed the case all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court. Given each gentleman’s prominence and what was at stake, it is quite reasonable to suggest that these matters could have made it through the courts before the National Conventions of each party held in July 2008 for the Democrats and August 2008 for Republicans. Why would these two men, one of which was going to be elected President, take an oath (which they had already taken as U.S. Senators) to protect and defend the Constitution show no fidelity to it in their respective quests to become President? With their apparent unwillingness to bring resolution to the matter, could not have someone or something else required them to pay fidelity to the Constitution? The answer is emphatically, yes! The supposed fourth estate, the media, and, in particular, what we refer to as the main stream media could have thoroughly investigated this matter forcing the issue to be put to rest. However, the main stream media had no interest in paying fidelity to our Constitution either.
[i] Senate Resolution on McCain’s Eligibility — http://leahy.senate.gov/press/200804/041008c.html
[iv] Cornell University Online Constitution — http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/constitution.articleii.html#section1
[v] TheMilitant.com Biography of Roger Calero — http://www.themilitant.com/2008/ElectionCampaign/bios.html
[vi] New Jersey Official List of President Candidates For the 2008 General Election — http://www.njelections.org/2008results/08generalelection/2008-official-gen-elect-candidates-pres-vice-pres-092208.pdf
[vii] New Jersey Official List of President Candidates For the 2008 General Election Results — http://www.njelections.org/2008results/08generalelection/08-official-gen-elect-tallies-pres-120208.pdf
[ix] State of Arizona Presidential Preference Election Candidate Nomination Paper — http://www.azsos.gov/election/2008/PPE/Nomination_Paper_PPE_Feb_5_2008.pdf
[x] State of Arizona Presidential Preference Election Candidate Nomination Paper — http://www.azsos.gov/election/2008/PPE/Nomination_Paper_PPE_Feb_5_2008.pdf
[xi] Cornell University Law School 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution — http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/constitution.amendmentxvii.html
[xii] State of Arizona Presidential Preference Election Candidate Nomination Paper — http://www.azsos.gov/election/2008/PPE/Nomination_Paper_PPE_Feb_5_2008.pdf
[xiii] New York Times “Teaching Law, Testing Ideas, Obama Stood Slightly Aprt” — http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/30/us/politics/30law.html
[xiv] State of Arizona Presidential Preference Election Candidate Nomination Paper — http://www.azsos.gov/election/2008/PPE/Nomination_Paper_PPE_Feb_5_2008.pdf
Any reproduction of the content in this blog post must credit the author: KJ Kaufman (aka: curi0us0nefromthe60s) and must reference a link to this blog site https://hesnotmypresident.wordpress.com or link to the specific blog post cited. You are free to distribute this content in order to educate the populous as long as you adhere to the aforementioned conditions. Your cooperation in citing this source when reproducing, referencing or redistributing the content contained herein is greatly appreciated.