Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Meaning Of "Natural Born Citizen" And What It Means For Obama's Eligibility

A historian and former journalist, Judah Benjamin (a pseudoname), has put together a scholarly paper on the meaning of the requirement in Article II of the U.S. Constitution that a person be a "natural born citizen" in order to serve as president of the United States and what it means for Sen. Barack Obama's eligibility for our nation's highest office. The paper is laid out in a two-part series at the Texas Darlin blog. You will likely find his conclusion's about the meaning of "natural born" surprising and be even more surprised by his conclusion that Obama became an Indonesian citizen after his mother married his step father and moved the family to Jakarta when Obama was six years old. Benjamin readily admits he is not a lawyer, but his well-researched paper was reviewed by a constitutional lawyer at Columbia University and an expert on Indonesian law.

Benjamin concludes that Obama is barred by Article II from serving as president of the United States. His argument can be summed up as follows:

Barack Obama has been a citizen of multiple nations. And even if his citizenship outside the US was renounced, Article II of the U.S. Constitution prohibits him from being President, for the same reason that naturalized citizens are prohibited: divided loyalties.

Article II reads, “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." Benjamin goes to great pains in his paper to explain this clause does not have anything to do with the location where you were born; rather, it's about one's allegiance and loyalty to the United States. Quoting Justice Swayne from a precedent-setting case, U.S. v. Rhodes, explaining Article II: “All persons born in the Allegiance of the King are Natural- Born subjects, and all persons born in the Allegiance of the United States are Natural-Born Citizens. Birth and Allegiance go together. Such is the Rule of the Common Law, and it is the Common Law of this Country…since as before the Revolution.” Dual nationality, according to Benjamin's article, is "impossible as a condition". That's why persons who have become naturalized citizens are ineligible to be president Benjamin explains--because they have had allegiance to another country. To the extent any law passed by Congress runs counter to this understanding, Benjamin reminds us the Constitution will always trump a statute no matter how long ago it was written or what people think of its import today.

Benjamin takes time in his article to address the brush up in the liberal media over Sen. John McCain's eligibility to serve under Article II because of his birth in the Panama Canal Zone. McCain’s parents, Benjamin explains were "serving as agents, or ambassadors, of their country while serving in the Panama Canal Zone." Because McCain's parents had been sent to the Panama Canal Zone by our government, their child "born abroad" would always be considered a "natural born" citizen. To the extent McCain may have also been considered a "dual citizen" under Panamanian law, Benjamin says that status would have been washed away when he joined the U.S. Navy. Benjamin dismisses the notion that the 14th Amendment in any way altered the requirement in Article II as suggested on Sen. Obama's Fight The Smears website and elsewhere.

In Benjamin's analysis, Obama's problem has nothing to do with whether he was born in the U.S. For purpose of his analysis, he assumes Obama was born in Hawaii as he claims. Obama's problem, according to Benjamin, is that he has been a citizen of more than one country. And Benjamin's main point of contention on this does not rest with his father's Kenyan nationality but rather his conclusion that Obama became an Indonesian citizen. What? Yes, that's what Benjamin believes based upon everything he has been able to review that is available in the public record. Benjamin focuses on Obama's school records from STLP Asisi, his first Elementary School. Benjamin says it is undisputed that his school records include the following information:

He was enrolled on January 1st 1968, given Serial No 203 and placed in Class 1 B. His Religion is given as Islam, his Nationality Indonesian, his Father’s Name as L Soetoro Ma., his Father’s Occupation as Official, Director General’s Office TNI [Topography Division Indonesian Army] and his Name as Barry Soetoro.

Based upon Benjamin's analysis of Indonesian law, Obama had to have been adopted by his step father and changed his name to Soetoro. Under Indonesian law, Obama automatically became an Indonesian citizen when his step father adopted him. Further, Benjamin supports his contention based upon who was eligible to attend a state-run school at which he was later enrolled--only Indonesian citizens. But how could Obama have later re-entered the U.S. as a U.S. citizen and remained here all of these years? Benjamin surmises that Obama's mother retained a U.S. passport for him, which he was issued based upon his birth in the state of Hawaii. He left Jakarta using his Indonesian passport as Barry Soetoro when he was ten years old and entered the U.S. on his American passport as Barack Obama, a practice Benjamin describes as common but not legal. "There is clear prima facie evidence that Senator Barack Hussein Obama has held at least two Citizenships, American and Indonesian, Benjamin concludes. "Under Article II of the Constitution that disqualifies him for POTUS, and it should."

Benjamin makes some interesting observations about the resolution the U.S. Senate passed earlier this year to declare Sen. McCain a "natural born" citizen within the meaning of Article II and, thus, eligible to serve as president. "Why were Democratic Senators trying to pass a Resolution making Senator McCain undoubtedly legally eligible when this issue had already been cleared up in 2000 and again in 2004?" Benjamin asks. He notes a particular recital Sen. Obama and Sen. McCaskill insisted on adding to the resolution: “Whereas previous presidential candidates were born outside of the United States of America and were understood to be eligible to be President". According to Benjamin, based upon news reports, Obama and McCaskill attempted to remove from the resolution this recital: "Whereas John Sidney McCain, III, was born to American citizens on an American military base in the Panama Canal Zone in 1936.” "It seems clear that McCaskill and Obama were attempting to create a blanket Resolution covering ALL Foreign Born candidates," Benjamin opines. McCain did not need this resolution in Benjamin's view.


Fred Ramos said...

Your first sentence begins, "An historian and former journalist ..." The word "an" is indefinite article and only placed before a word beginning with "H" when the H is silent. Such as, an "heir" to the throne or before a vowel. Such as, "an onion." You never place “an” before a word with a hard "H" sound. “An historian ...” is Old British English and long abandoned.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Duly noted.

Jeff said...

Well since a historian and a former journalist says it is so it must be law. Boy I tell you the more we go down this road there won't be anyone left who can qualify let alone want to run for President. This to me is an article based on I am going to lose so I have to find another way to win. I now wonder if my living in England for 4 years I some how gave up my citizenship.....if so I guess I need to call the IRS for a wee bit of a refund....

Concerned Taxpayer said...

Well, here's something else that will be swept under the MSM rug until it is too late.

Oh well...Constitution, smonstitution!

Shofar said...

BO is attempting to stand on the shoulders of McCain when it comes to the issue of citizenship. It is unfortunate that those in the MSM and those on the BO Soul Train have not the integrity nor honesty to take the steps needed to put this matter at rest.

They would rather vilify any and everyone who is trying to uphold the Constitution of the United States. The language is clear as to who can be elected to the office of POTUS.

If there is a question regarding BO's ability to meet the qualification for the office, then it is incumbent upon him to put these questions to rest. He has basically refused by not providing a certified copy of his Hawaiian birth certificate; by attempting to stifle discussion of his early years when he lived in Indonesia and down playing his relationship with his step-father and his school associate in Indonesia.

His being listed as a Muslim in school records in Indonesia is troublesome for me, as it goes to his early indoctrination both religiously and philosophically.

It should be noted that in Sunni Islam the concept of al-Taqiyya is allowed and encouraged if it protects the individual from current or FUTURE harm. Read ( written by Abd-al-Hamid Siddiqui, noted Sunni scholar. The concept of lying to non-believers is allowed and encouraged if need be.

I am not convinced of BO's personal religious ideology as he puts it forth. Given the fact that in Islam a person can lie about their faith and still maintain their state of grace with Allah is troublesome.

While I am not able to judge a man's heart, that is the sole prerogative of God, I am able to judge a man's actions. BO's refusal to lay to rest the questions of his citizenship and his past relationship with Islam gives me more than pause.

It is my HOPE FOR those of you who have jumped on the BO Soul Train that you will have a CHANGE of heart, and start looking at your candidate with more open eyes.

One last comment. I would much rather have a leader who comes to me and says lets WORK FOR CHANGE. There is an old saying, "You can sh*t in one hand and wish in the other. Guess which one will fill up first?" Leaders lead, politicians pander.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Jeff, If these same set of facts existed for a candidate who happened to be a white Republican, you can bet the media would be all over it and left-leaning groups would have filed a lawsuit to block the candidate's election by now. Obama antagonist Andy Martin from Chicago has promised a lawsuit against Obama's candidacy. We'll see it that one or any others come about. It is a sad statement on our country that so many people know so little about this provision of our constitution and could seem to give a damn less about it.

Jeff said...

Gary, I do agree on this from a Constitutional Standpoint but that and $2.13 will get me a Venti Bold at Starbucks as I am not a Judge. And back awhile ago when we discussed this I said at the time the Obama should end this right away by producing the birth Cert. I know I can produce mine from the booming town of Hartford City, Indiana in about 30 seconds.

If this was really an issue of substance I have no doubt the RNC or the Clinton Camps would have already filed a suit to determine.

I mean let's look back in history a bit. Was it not GWB and Rove that laid out the issues of McCain having a black child out of wedlock and that Mrs. McCain was a drug addict in an election not long ago?

My point is the bogus info world is alive and well in American politics.

Peace Dude!

Jeff said...


Check this out:

Gary R. Welsh said...

Jeff, Document experts have studied the document Obama produced purporting to be his certificate of live birth. Let me first begin by saying that it is not his original birth certificate, which he mentions in his biography. As for being an authentic certificate, document experts who have studied it have concluded it is a forged document. This has been written about on many blogs and the foreign press but completely ignored by our own mainstream media. Fact Check is doing its readers a disservice by not noting what document experts have concluded about the document shown on their site.

artfuggins said...

Shofar, you are offensive on two fronts...first , your repeated references to Bo's soul train indicates a major streak of racism running through you. Yes, BO is an African American [1/2] ..we know it and we dont care...he is the most qualified to be president and I will vote for him. Secondly, Barack Obama or any other presidential candidate needs to convince you of their personal religious beliefs. You will NOT be the one making the final judgement.

MissouriDemocrat said...

If this were such an important issue then the MSM as you all put it would be covering it night and day like all our prior scandals and weird national events from Watergate to Iran-Contra to Bill's sex life. This is a dead issue, nice for discussion but going absolutely nowhere. Let's talk about real issues. Yes I am concerned about the weird crap from his religion, but only in an National Enquirer sort of fashion. I am more concerned with is lack of understanding some of the more important national and foreign issues..

Concerned Taxpayer said...

artfuggins, BO is NOT 1/2 Negro. He is 1/6, I believe it is.

He is mostly white and Iranian.

Don Sherfick said...

It seems that key to Benjamin's thesis is that Article II requires someone being "born in allegiance to the United States". He acknowledges that one can be born outside of the U.S. and still have such allegiance (as in the case of John McCain because his parents were indisputably U.S. citizens. That conclusions doesn't seem at all controversial. Then he seems to say that even though one is physically born within the U.S., his/her status under Article II (as oppposed to the Equal Protection Clause, which might produce a different result) they might still have been "born in allegiance", and hence ineligible for the Presidency. Is is suggesting, for example, that if two Mexican citizens were to illegally enter the U.S. and have a child here, that child's eligibility would depend on some concept of subjective intent to have allegiance to the U.S. An intent that one might have to try and litigate decades later? Wow. Benjamin asks for scholarly review by constitutional scholars. I haven't seen any in my limited looking, but my guess is that his rather large leap won't gain much traction, even from scholars usually characterized as conservative or "strict consturctionist/original understanding" folks.

Concerned Taxpayer said...

missouridemocrat, this isn't a's a damn lie!

"If this were such an important issue then the MSM as you all put it would be covering it night and day like all our prior scandals and weird national events from Watergate to Iran-Contra to Bill's sex life."

The MSM is doing all in its power to elect BO and appoint him King, Messiah, and The Blessed One.

NOTHING that is negative about him will be reported by the MSM.

Now if you think it isn't true because the MSM doesn't report it, or that it IS true because the MSM reports it, you live in Peter Pan land.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Don, I think that would depend on his Mexican citizenship status in the example you give. Benjamin discusses some potential problems for Bill Richardson on that score.

Shofar said...

Art, Art, Art. You call me a racist due to my referencing "the BO Soul Train," however kind sir you know nothing about my background. Nothing of my race, ethnicity or origins. For all you know I could be a black American who has a strong conservative bent, they do exist, one who simply wishes to see blacks no longer being victimized by its own leadership. One who wants to see blacks, across the economic spectrum, reach out and take a hold of their own destiny, without relying on handout from some "progressive" who is still trying to enslave us with their pandering. Not all people of color embrace the "African-American" label, as the only ones who are "African-American" are those that were born in Africa and immigrated to this country. Even then they would be Nigerian-Americans or Kenyan-Americans et al. Africa is a continent, not a country.

Or I could be a billy-bob red-neck flying the Confederate flag in my yard and eating spam for dinner. You just don't know.

I will give you a heads up however, I grew up being called a "half-breed" all of my life, and I am keenly aware of what bigotry is about.

That said let me reference you to the lyrics of Camp Lo's Soul Train:

People all over the world (Hop on the soul train line)
Hop on it (Clap) Clap your hands
Just clap your hands and clap your hands and get down
(Love) Love (Peace) Peace (Soul) Soul (Soul) Soul
People all over the world....clap your hands and get down. Soul Train.

Sounds a bit to me like BO's pandering to the MSM while he was dancing all over the Middle-East and Europe. (By the way Gary, thanks for pointing out the concert connection)

BO wants everyone to think he is the next great leader; he is a shill; a flash in the pan, and a socialist. His policies will wreak havoc on this nation for the next generation, as he is not prepared to lead the country in any way, shape or form.

Further, I NEVER said that he needed to convince me of his religious beliefs. I said, "While I am not able to judge a man's heart, that is the sole prerogative of God, I am able to judge a man's actions. BO's refusal to lay to rest the questions of his citizenship and his past relationship with Islam gives me more than pause."

As I wrote in another piece several days ago, the supporters of BO need to see what the train they are really riding on is. It is my feeling, judging by YOUR comments about me, that it is the train of political correctness. And it is heading into the PC Konzentrationslager, that's concentration camp in case you don't know. If BO wants to be the POTUS, he had better get some thicker skin. He also needs to be more forth coming with his personal history.

Lastly, his supporters need to realize that, if they continue down the abhorrent road of political correctness in an attempt to quash any and all discussion about BO, the backlash will be intense. Even if he were to be elected and serve two full terms, there is a large segment of the American body politic that will remember the vilification they endured during his tenure. Do you not think, or realize, that they will not rise up at the end of his term and take their vengeance against the next progressive?

Run the race clean, do not raise the flag of racism to stifle dialogue, and let your man stand on his own talents and abilities.

artfuggins said...

concerned taxpayer....please, please, please explain the 1/6 African and the Iranian connection. You have uncovered yet another conspiracy.

Concerned Taxpayer said...

O-o-ops, sorry, artfuggins...I got my nationalities mixed up for a minute.

"Barack Hussein Obama is not half black. If elected, he would be the first Arab-American President, not the first black President. Barack Hussein Obama is 50% Caucasian from his mother's side and 43.75% Arabic and 6.25% African Negro from his father's side.

While Barack Hussein Obama's father was from Kenya, his father's family was mainly Arabs.

Barack Hussein Obama's father was only 12.5% African Negro and 87.5% Arab (his father's birth certificate even states he's Arab, not African Negro).

Further, at only 6.25% African Negro, would he even be the first President who was part black? Not at all! Our 3rd President, Thomas Jefferson was our first part black President. And he's not alone, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge were also part black.

Many Americans are influenced by the press, TV and other media. Here are some facts about Obama that can be verified if a person wishes to take the time to do so.

1.) Selma Got Me Born - NOT EXACTLY, your parents felt safe enough to have you in 1961 - Selma had no effect on your birth, as Selma was in 1965.(Google 'Obama Selma' for his full March 4, 2007 speech and articles about its various untruths.)

2.) Father was a Goat Herder - NOT EXACTLY, he was a privileged, well educated youth, who went on to work with the Kenyan Government.

3.) Father was a Proud Freedom Fighter - NOT EXACTLY, he was part of one of the most corrupt and violent governments Kenya has ever had.

4.) My Family Has Strong Ties To African Freedom - NOT EXACTLY, your cousin Raila Odinga has created mass violence in attempting to over turn a legitimate election in 2007, in Kenya . It is the first widespread violence in decades. The current government is pro-American but Odinga wants to overthrow it and establish Muslim Sharia law. Your half-brother, Abongo Obama, is Odinga's follower. You interrupted your New Hampshire campaigning to speak to Odinga on the phone.

Obama's cousin Odinga in Kenya ran for president and tried to get Sharia Muslim law in place there. When Odinga lost the elections, his followers have burned Christians' homes and then burned men, women and children alive in a Christian church where they took shelter.

Obama SUPPORTED his cousin before the election process here started."

And just this week, we found out that Obama never followed through on his promise to his grandmother's impoverished village in Africa.


Shofar said...

CT, thanks for the info regarding BO. I read through Lamb's article, along with the varied links. Very informative.

I guess I owe Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and the rest of the "power brokers" in the black community an apology. They said back at the beginning of '07, BO just wasn't black enough. I guess they were right.