He's Not My President?

Thoreau: "Government is Best Which Governs Least"

Posts Tagged ‘state legislation on election laws

Natural Born Citizen — Chapter 14: Legal Remedies

The remedies currently available regarding the natural born citizen requirement

As we learned in our last chapter, there were those who attempted to resolve this issue before the election and again before the election results became official through the Electoral College process, but those attempts were unsuccessful.  So what does this mean for the American people?  Is there no legal remedy left to us to ensure the eligibility of the Commander in Chief after the election results are official and the President has sworn the oath and resides in the Office?  The answer, as Leo Donofrio researched and concluded, is the quo warranto statute.

Many of you may be under the impression that the only remedy to remove a President found to be usurping the office would be through the impeachment process powers granted to the United States Congress in the Constitution, but that would be inaccurate.  As Leo Donofrio argues in part one of his three part brief:

…Congress has delegated that authority to the District Court of the District of Columbia by providing for the removal of the President (and other public officers) by quo warranto where the President is found to be a usurper to the office even if he assumed the office with a good faith belief he was eligible. [i]

To support his legal argument he introduces us to the quo warranto federal statute citing the following pertinent language contained therein:

§ 16-3501 applies against any person within the District of Columbia who “usurps, intrudes into, or unlawfully holds or exercises… a public office of the United States.”  Under the statute, the writ of quo warranto is issued by the DC District Court in the name of the United States. [ii]

Leo Donofrio is introducing us to two important points here:

  1. The Congress has delegated its duties regarding removal of persons usurping federal offices to the District Court of the District of Columbia under the quo warranto statute, and 
  2. Both the United States Attorney General and the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia hold the power to bring a suit using the quo warranto statute to challenge the eligibility of a sitting President.

It is critical that we understand that there is a way out and that a usurper does not need to remain in office if only those with the Constitutional and legal power choose to challenge the usurper.  Unfortunately, the reality is that the likelihood that the U.S. Attorney General or the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia will pursue this matter might be characterized as on par with “pigs flying.”  We reach a point where we might conclude that no action will ever be taken in this matter and as a result, or possibly another unintended consequence would be that a dangerous precedence is set as to who is eligible to be President of the United States. It is deplorable that the quo warranto statute will probably not be used.  Making use of the quo warranto statute would most certainly lead to appeals all the way up to the United Supreme Court where once and for all we would finally receive a definition of natural born citizen. 

The goal of this book is in part to open a national dialogue on the subject matter of natural born citizen, but the book’s ultimate goal is to have the term natural born citizen defined by the U.S. Supreme Court.  With the book’s ultimate goal in mind, the quo warranto statute is not the only legal means to garner said outcome.  Every State Legislature in the nation has the power to bring this issue to light and to the public through its own State’s election laws.

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. [iii]

Unfortunately, this legislation focuses on Barack Obama’s birth controversy or conspiracy (however you choose to categorize those who believe he may not have been born in Hawaii, or that we at least have no proof that he was born in Hawaii) rather than focusing on his admitted dual citizenship at birth, but this legislation is a start.  I contend that legislation like this could prove very important to resolving this issue, but the legislation must go further and define the term natural born citizen.  If we accept that we have no definition for the term natural born citizen, then it seems difficult for a potential presidential candidate to prove that he or she is a natural born citizen regardless of the paperwork he or she submits if the term natural born citizen is not defined in the legislation.

In attempt to get this clarification inserted into Arizona Senate Bill 1158 (SB1158), I emailed the sponsors of the bill asking that they include in their legislation the definition for natural born citizen.  Several of the State Senators whom I emailed responded letting me know that Senate Bill 1158 did not get passed in the last legislative session and is, therefore, “dead.”  I have encouraged them to reintroduce the bill in the next legislative session and to add the language defining natural born citizen.  I have encouraged them to use Emerich de Vattel’s definition, but should they use a different definition that would be fine as well.  The goal here is that they insert a definition for natural born citizen into the legislation and then pass the legislation.  Once the legislation is passed with a definition of natural born citizen included therein, I am confident that the definition the State Legislature uses will be challenged and hopefully a court case will make it to the United States Supreme Court so that the definition can be declared once and for all. 

Should my legislators in the State of Arizona not take up this matter, or fail to pass this legislation, it is my hope that another State will do such.  Regardless, the issue of natural born citizen can still be resolved in the courts either through the quo warranto statute or through election laws passed in our States.  The onus now is on the American public to demand that one or both of these measures are taken.

For a more detailed look at the Quo Warranto Statute, I encourage you to read all three parts of Leo Donofrio’s legal brief which can be found at the following links:


QUO WARRANTO LEGAL BRIEF – Part 2: The Federal Quo Warranto Statute Is The Only Constitutional Means of Removing a Sitting President Other Than Impeachment

[ii] Quo Warranto Legal Brief: Part 1 Natural Born Citizen Blog — http://naturalborncitizen.wordpress.com/2009/03/04/quo-warranto-legal-brief-part-1/
[iii] SB 1158 An Act Amending Sections 16-341 and 16-507, Arizona Revised Statutes; Relating to Conduct of Elections — http://www.azleg.gov/FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/legtext/49leg/1r/bills/sb1158p.htm


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>[i] Quo Warranto Legal Brief: Part 1 Natural Born Citizen Blog — http://naturalborncitizen.wordpress.com/2009/03/04/quo-warranto-legal-brief-part-1/