In an original article republished on The Steady Drip blog, Dr. Rice cites the Minor v. Happersett case decided by the Supreme Court in 1875 as sufficient to cast doubt on Obama's natural born status based on the Kenyan citizenship of his father. While this involved a case on which it was not necessary to determine whether a person is a natural born citizen as that term is used in the U.S. Constitution, the Court's opinion made clear there was disagreement on its meaning:
In Minor v. Happersett, in 1875, the Supreme Court, made an incidental reference to the issue: "[N]ew citizens may be born or they may be created by naturalization. The Constitution does not, in words, say who shall be natural-born citizens. Resort must be had elsewhere to ascertain that. At common-law, with the nomenclature of which the framers of the Constitution were familiar, it was never doubted that all children born in a country of parents who were its citizens became themselves, upon their birth, citizens also. These were natives, or natural-born citizens, as distinguished from aliens or foreigners. Some authorities go further and include as citizens children born within the jurisdiction without reference to the citizenship of their parents. As to this class there have been doubts, but never as to the first." 88 U.S. 162, 167-68 (1875).Critics of the so-called birthers, as they are derisively referred by persons ignorant of the U.S. Constitution, continue to misinform the public and insist that numerous court challenges have decided in favor of Obama's eligibility. "The rejections have been based on various grounds, including the plaintiff''s lack of standing to sue and other specified and unspecified procedural grounds," Rice writes. "No court has agreed to decide any of those suits on the merits," he adds. Responding to the inability of plaintiffs to prove standing to pursue their cases challenging Obama's eligibility, Rice says "it is fair to say that the Obama controversy involves significant issues of fact and law that deserve some sort of official resolution" without offering a "conclusion as to whether Obama is eligible or not."
Dr. Rice is troubled by Obama's unwillingness to put the issue to rest by producing records to satisfy those who doubt his eligibility. He believes the so-called "birthers" have raised legitimate issues. "That legitimacy is fueled by Obama''s curious, even bizarre, refusal to consent to the release of the relevant records," he observes. "If it turns out that Obama knew he was ineligible when he campaigned and when he took the oath as President, it could be the biggest political fraud in the history of the world," Rice says. "As long as Obama refuses to disclose the records, speculation will grow and grow without any necessary relation to the truth." He adds, "The first step toward resolving the issue is full discovery and disclosure of the facts."
We should not only be looking to the courts to resolve this issue according to Dr. Rice. He believes a congressional inquiry would be entirely appropriate under the circumstances. "A committee of the House of Representatives could be authorized to conduct an investigation into the eligibility issue," he suggests. Rice quotes from former President Woodrow Wilson's book "Congressional Government" authored in 1884:
It is the proper duty of a representative body to look diligently into every affair of government and to talk much about what it sees. It is meant to be the eyes and the voice, and to embody the wisdom and will of its constituents. Unless Congress have and use every means of acquainting itself with the acts and the disposition of the administrative agents of the government, the country must be helpless to learn how it is being served; and unless Congress both scrutinize these things and sift them by every form of discussion, the country must remain in embarrassing, crippling ignorance of the very affairs which it is most important that it should understand and direct . . .
Rice suggests three matters for possible investigation by a committee looking at Obama's eligibility, including legislation on the subject. He notes the stunning fact there is currently no law that requires a presidential candidate to establish their eligibility to serve as president:
1. To ascertain the facts, compelling by subpoena the production of all the available records relevant to Obama''s eligibility, including the complete Hawaiian records of his birth; his passport records to ascertain whether he traveled to Pakistan in 1981 on an American or other passport; the records from Occidental College, Columbia University and Harvard Law School to determine whether Obama described himself as a foreign student; and such other records as may be relevant. The disclosure of such information to the public would be an appropriate exercise of Congress'' "informing function."Dr. Rice concludes his blog post: "The American people do not know whether the current president achieved election by misrepresenting, innocently or by fraud, his eligibility for that office. I neither know nor suggest the answer to that question. But it would be a public service for the House of Representatives to employ its authority to determine those facts and to recommend any indicated changes in the law or the Constitution."
2. The consideration of legislation to require candidates for a federal elective office to produce, at an appropriate time, evidence of their eligibility for that office. There is now no federal law or regulation that requires such disclosure.
3. The consideration of legislation to define the constitutional term, "a natural born Citizen."
Hats off to Dr. Rice for having the courage to stand up and say what so many constitutional legal scholars in this country are thinking under their breath but are afraid to say aloud for fear of being labeled a racist, a nut job or, as the Left loves to call us, a "birther."
UPDATE: Sen. Mike Delph's legislation, SB 114, would have established requirements for presidential candidates to establish their constitutional eligibility to gain access to the Indiana ballot. While Sen. Sue Landske, who chairs the Elections Committee, did not schedule the bill for a hearing before the bill deadline, she has offered SR 30, which urges the Legislative Council to study the issue during the interim period before next year's legislative session. Sen. Delph is co-authoring the resolution.