Sunday, November 20, 2011

New Hampshire Ballot Law Commission Proves The Natural Born Citizen Requirement Is Dead Law

The United States Constitution says only a natural born citizen may serve as president of the United States, but the video-taped hearing above of the New Hampshire Ballot Law Commission demonstrates why that requirement is essentially a dead law. A natural born citizen as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court in Minor v. Happersett states that only children born of U.S. citizens are natural born citizens. Barack Obama has always conceded the fact that he was a British subject at birth because of his father's Kenyan citizenship, which meant he was, at best, a dual citizen at birth accepting as fact his birth to a U.S. citizen mother in the state of Hawaii. Dual citizenship is completely incompatible with the concept behind the natural born citizenship requirement.

This past week, the New Hampshire Ballot Law Commission heard a complaint challenging Obama's placement on the New Hampshire presidential primary ballot. According to the testimony of a representative of the Secretary of State's office, a presidential candidate need only fill out a statement of candidacy swearing he or she is qualified to be president and pay a $1,000 filing fee in order to get on the ballot. An assistant Attorney General told the Commission the jurisdiction of the Commission hearing a challenge to a candidacy was limited to determining disputes over whether statement of candidacy conforms with the law. Upon the filing of a declaration of candidacy and the payment of a $1,000 filing fee, Obama's statement of candidacy was filed in conformance with the state law requirements according to the assistant Attorney General. The Commission refused to consider evidence tendered in an 80-page complaint submitted and argued by California attorney Orly Taitz explaining why Obama is constitutionally unqualified to serve as president. Taitz stumped the Secretary of State's witness when she asked her if she as a naturalized citizen born in the Soviet Union could file a statement of candidacy and pay the $1,000 filing fee and also make it on to the ballot. The Secretary of State's witness said she would refer it to the Attorney General if a complaint was filed, but as he explained to the Commission, its jurisdiction is limited to deciding whether the statement of candidacy had been filled out properly and the filing fee had been tendered. Oddly, the Commission members met in private to discuss the case with their legal counsel before returning to the room to render a decision. The Commission then unanimously voted to deny the challenge to Obama's New Hampshire candidacy. Audience members, including several supportive state legislators, began shouting "traitors" at the Commission members.

As I've discussed at length in previous posts, every single court challenge to either the candidacies of Barack Obama or John McCain during the 2008 presidential election were dismissed on the basis that the citizen(s) bringing the complaints lacked jurisdiction to challenge a presidential candidate's eligibility. Not a single state or Congress has enacted a law that specifically requires candidates for president to tender evidence of their natural born citizenship or age (at least 35 years old) in order to become candidates for the highest office in the land. As a consequence, citizens are completely without power to enforce the requirement that presidential candidates be natural born citizens. State legislators, such as Sen. Mike Delph, have been mocked and made fun of for proposing state laws that would require presidential candidates to prove their natural born status before their names can appear on a state election ballot. Every attempt to enact such a law to date has been turned aside. Remarkably, there is a higher standard of proof imposed on average citizens desiring to cast a vote in an election than there is for a person seeking to have his or her name placed on a ballot to become a candidate for president of the United States.

The Concord Monitor reports on the hearing here. On the legal decision before the Commission the paper reported:

It was out of the commission's purview, however. Senior Assistant Attorney General James Boffetti told commission members they could only consider whether Obama had filed his declaration of candidacy form in accordance with state law and paid his $1,000 filing fee. Both form and fee were properly submitted by Vice President Joe Biden on Oct. 20, according to Assistant Secretary of State Karen Ladd.
The five members voted unanimously to keep Obama's name on the ballot.
Their response to the testimony during the hearing angered many of those in the room, including state representatives.
"Unbelievable," fumed state Rep. Susan DeLemus, a Republican from Rochester, walking around the room during a break in the hearing, before the commission took its vote.
"Let's just bury the Constitution now and have a funeral," DeLemus said. "It just makes me want to throw up."


QRBNST said...

Your logic is flawed. There is nothing incompatible with someone holding dual citizenship, by virtue of parentage, in relation to his/her qualification to serve as President.

The Constitution states that a person MUST be a natural born citizen, it does not say that a person CANNOT also be a natural born citizen of another nation. You are making a legal inference where none exists, nor was intended. If such was the case, then by your standard, the original presidents (Washington, Adams, Jefferson, etc.) would not have been eligible for office.

Gary R. Welsh said...

NBC did not apply to the early founders; they were grandfathered in at the time of the adoption of the Constitution; otherwise, nobody would have been eligible. As with others who fail to comprehend, one can be a citizen and still not be a natural born citizen--the terms are not synonymous: "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; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States."

QRBNST said...

Thanks for the correction on the founders.

It does not change the fact that your disqualification argument is still not sound. Obama is a natural born citizen of the United States, by virtue of his birth in Hawaii and his mother's U.S. citizenship - his father's nationality notwithstanding.

Had Obama's mother & father relocated to Kenya prior to his birth and had his mother renounced her U.S. citizenship, your "birther" argument might have some credibility. But, as the facts stand, it does not.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Not sound? I've cited a Supreme Court decision as establishing legal precedent for my interpretation. Upon what do you rely on your interpretation--other than modern-day folklore views of what it means or hoped to mean.

QRBNST said...

The case you've cited also explicitly deals with women's citizenship, which makes my next point all the more ironic for your view.

I fail to comprehend nothing as to the distinction between naturalized and natural-born citizens. What you fail to comprehend is that it is not essential for both parents to be U.S. citizens in order for him to be a natural-born citizen.

Obama's mother was a citizen - this makes Obama a citizen by virtue of his birth - case closed. Unless, of course, you're claiming that American females do not have the same citizenship rights as American males?

This is the flaw in your argument, its based on a notion of citizenship determined by patriarchy - not just parentage. So, no sir, I am not appealing to some folklore.

Gary R. Welsh said...

The case was decided after the adoption of the 14th Amendment but before the passage of the 19th Amendment. The Court in Minor v. Happersett found that women born in the U.S., while citizens, did not have a constitutional right to vote because the U.S. Constitution only provided the right to vote to men (excluding slaves). The 14th Amendment made persons born in the U.S. citizens at birth regardless of their parent's origins. Specifically, it uses the term "citizen" and not "natural born citizen." The Minor court is important in that it makes this distinction. It was a point also made by the author of the 14th Amendment, James Bingham, who made clear during the debates recorded in the Congressional Record that the Amendment did not alter the meaning of a natural born citizen. The plaintiff in Minor argued that the 14th Amendment should have been interpreted to extend the right to vote to women. The Court rejected the argument and, in so doing, defined a natural born citizen and explained that the Constitution did not make all citizens totally equal with respect to all rights. A naturalized citizen male had the right to vote, but a natural born female citizen did not have a right to vote. The adoption of the 19th Amendment was necessary to give women the right to vote. Not all citizens can become president; only natural born citizens. If you accept the argument that anyone born in the U.S. is a natural born citizen, then there would never have been a need for the 14th Amendment. There is a reason the term natural born citizen is only used once in the constitution.

sally-hill said...

@QRBNST - I find it interesting and curious that while you argue your point in favor of Obama, you only declare him to be a citizen and not a NBC.
"Obama's mother was a citizen - this makes Obama a citizen by virtue of his birth - case closed."

Oh, and btw, typing 'case closed' after you've stated your opinion does not make your opinion a fact. Obama followers have a hard time with this concept...I see it all the time. It does make me smile though. :)

I'm curious how you think he can be a NBC of both countries. How do you have undivided allegiances and loyalties to two very different nations at the same time? Unless of course you don't think being a NBC would have anything to do with jurisdiction/allegiance.

Do you not feel that any of Obama's foreign policies have been influenced by his dual citizenship, or family allegiances such as the British's treatment of his grandfather? Of course they have, and that is precisely what the Founding Father's were trying to guard against.

It has nothing to do with female/male citizenship rights. It has to do with the original intent of the Founding Fathers, the framers of our Constitution. They had just fought a bloody and costly war with Britain in order to get out from under the British Monarchy rule - you honestly think they would be fine with a dual US/British citizen being POTUS?

I think they all turned over in their graves and threw up their hands when Obama was elected POTUS, I'm sure they felt their sacrifices and lives lost had been for naught.

QRBNST said...


First, you are beating a straw man in trying to play a semantic game over my use of citizen vs. NBC, when you know very well that I am referring to him as such.

Second, your discounting of the SCOTUS decision being discussed, which is the basis for GRW's argument, and the dismissal of the relevance of female vs. male citizenship status/rights is laughable.

So, you're say that because the Founding Father's did not explicate certain rights of citizenship to women in the Constitution that it was their "original intent" to base citizenship solely on the the parentage of a child's father?

The very SCOTUS decision being discussed contradicts you!

In response to your assertion that the Constitution prohibits someone from being considered an "NBC" while also being considered a citizen of another nation, here's a hypothetical for "NBC" (who for sake of this example has two US Citizen parents and who was born in US territory), marries a foreign national and subsequently is granted dual-citizenship in his/her spouse's native country.

Is this person eligible to serve as POTUS?

Your problem is twofold: 1) is that you presume that Obama is/was a citizen of the U.K. 2) is that you infer that the Constitution has a prohibition where none exists.

It does not say anywhere in the Constitution that someone who is considered an "NBC" cannot also hold citizenship in another country.

Gary R. Welsh said...

I don't presume anything about Obama's British citizenship. Even he conceded during the 2008 presidential election he was a British citizen at birth based on his father's citizenship. He contended he lost that citizenship when he failed to claim it in his own right by his 18th birthday. That's irrelevant. NBC is determined at one's birth, not when they turn 18. You have the added problem of Obama's step-father renouncing his U.S. citizenship in order to make him an Indonesian citizen while he was a child so he could attend school in that country while he was living there. Vattel's writings upon which the founders relied heavily indicates that a child's NBC status is determined by his father's citizenship. The Supreme Court in Minor relied on the parents citizenship stated in the plural, meaning both parents needed to be U.S. citizens. You have to keep in mind that at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, there was no equality for women by any stretch of the imagination. Their inheritance rights were limited, they had no right to vote and were limited considerably in pursuing professional and economic independence. Aside from the 19th Amendment, equality for women has come through legislative enactments, not the Constitution. The Constitution is not a perfect document, but it was a contract entered into between the states and their citizens with the federal government at the time of our country's founding to grant the right of the federal government to exist and exercise limited powers. I understand there are many people who don't like the idea that you have to be an NBC to be president, but you simply can't read it out of the Constitution or misinterpret it deliberately to fit your version of what it should mean as opposed to what the founding father's originally intended it to mean.