Vattel Birther Legal Experts
This is a kind of long Internet Article, but it is about important stuff. Plus, it is the first in a new series I plan to do on the Vattle Birther Issue. (I mis-spell it as Vattle on purpose because I think the whole Vattel thing is just silly.)
From the very beginning, there have been two main Schools of Birther Thought related to the natural born citizen clause of the Constitution. One was the Common Sense Suspicious Birthers who simply were not convinced by Obama’s verifiable-information deficit short form birth certificate. If Obama was born outside the United States, then he was NOT eligible to be president.
The other group was the Vattel or British Citizen Birthers who invented this weird legal theory that it takes TWO citizen parents to make a natural born citizen. The actual law on this is pretty well established in a U.S. Supreme Court Case called Wong Kim Ark. (This was the name of the Chinese person, and had nothing whatsoever to do with Arkansas). In that case, the Supreme Court said over and over that if you were born in the United States, and weren’t the child of a diplomat or invading soldier, then you were a natural born citizen and it didn’t matter where your parents were from. Which is why we have the anchor babies you hear about on the news. Here is a excerpt from the case:
every child born in England of alien parents was a natural-born subject, unless the child of an ambassador or other diplomatic agent of a foreign state, or of an alien enemy in hostile occupation of the place where the child was born.
III. The same rule was in force in all the English colonies upon this continent down to the time of the Declaration of Independence, and in the United States afterwards, and continued to prevail under the constitution as originally established.
Here is a link to this very long 1898 case if you are interested:
The Supreme Court was very clear that there were only two kinds of citizens, those born here and those naturalized:
The Fourteenth Amendmentof the Constitution, in the declaration that all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside, contemplates two sources of citizenship, and two only: birth and naturalization. Citizenship by naturalization can only be acquired by naturalization under the authority and in the forms of law. But citizenship by birth is established by the mere fact of birth under the circumstances defined in the Constitution. Every person born in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, becomes at once a citizen of the United States, and needs no naturalization.
Now, the Vattel Birthers, knowing that Obama’s father is probably from Kenya, which in August 1961 was still part of the British Empire, believe that this makes Obama not eligible to be president even if he was born in Hawaii. Most of this was based on a guy named Emerich de Vattel, who wiki confirms was SWISS (not French as I have previously stated) but wrote stuff in French. (The Swiss don’t seem to have their own language.)
This is because Vattel wrote this:
The citizens are the members of the civil society; bound to this society by certain duties, and subject to its authority, they equally participate in its advantages. The natives, or natural-born citizens, are those born in the country, of parents who are citizens.
And thus, because Obama’s father wasn’t born here, Obama is supposedly not eligible. Here is a link to the Vattel stuff:
This is a really nice theory, but there is a pretty big problem. American courts DO NOT use Vattel’s definition. American courts, like quoted above, use English law. Plus, according to the Wong Kim Ark case, there were only two kinds of citizens–natural born and naturalized, where you have to get the government to make you a citizen.Which, if you think about it, makes sense, because our country was British at the time of the American Revolution and NOT Swiss.
Sooo, the Vattle Birthers tried to argue that there were two kinds of birth citizens— just plain old regular birth citizens, like the illegal alien anchor babies, and then natural born citiziens who had two citizen parents. Again, a really nice theory, so in 2008 some Vattel Birthers in Indiana sued to have Obama thrown out because he was just a regular birth citizen and not a natural born citizen. So here is what the Vattle Birthers said.
“[c]ontrary to the thinking of most People on the subject, there’s a very clear distinction between a „citizen of the United States” and a „natural born Citizen,” and the difference involves having [two] parents of U.S. citizenship, owing no foreign allegiance.” Appellants’ Brief at 23. With regard to President Barack Obama, the Plaintiffs posit that because his father was a citizen of the United Kingdom, President Obama is constitutionally ineligible to assume the Office of the President.
But the Indiana Court said NOPE!!!
Based upon the language of Article II, Section 1, Clause 4 and the guidance provided by Wong Kim Ark, we conclude that persons born within the borders of the United States are “natural born Citizens” for Article II, Section 1 purposes, regardless of the citizenship of their parents. Just as a person “born within the British dominions [was] a natural-born British subject” at the time of the framing of the U.S. Constitution, so too were those “born in the allegiance of the United States  natural-born citizens.”15
Here is a link to the full Indiana case if you are interested:
Sooo, after all this you think the Vattle Birthers would get the point. But they don’t and this is where this whole Vattle stuff leaves Legal La La Land and becomes a embarrassment to the rest of the Birther Movement. Because the Vattle Birthers keep at it, throwing out every thing they can lay their hands on: letters from 200+ years ago, law school articles, law dictionaries from the 1800′s, law cases before the Wong Kim Ark case, and anything else they can to try to get around what is a real simple law thing.
That is what irritated me a year ago when I wrote my first anti-Vattle Birther Internet Article. I would be debating Obotski, and doing a good job, then here would come a Vattle Birther with all that two citizen parent crap and the whole thread would disappear in a confusing mix-match of whatever nonsense they could duck tape together. Usually, the recipe looked something like this:
1. Start with a 1787 letter to George Washington from John Jay, which stated “Permit me to hint whether it would not be wise and seasonable [Blah Blah Blah]that the Command in chief of the American army shall not be given to, nor devolve on, any but a natural born Citizen”;
2. Then, stir in a definition from a 1800′s something law dictionary that had different definitions for natural born citizen and native citizen thus proving for all time the two are different!!!;
3. Adding in a dash of Congressional Intent from a Congressman named John Bingham in 1862 who said: “Who are natural-born citizens but those born in the Republic? […] [P]ersons born within the Republic, of parents owing allegiance to no other sovereignty, are natural born citizens.”;
4. Sprinking in some Vattle seasoning, “The natives, or natural-born citizens, are those born in the country, of parents who are citizens”, and then, finally to make it all look LEGAL;
5. Dump a heap of mis-interpreted law case(s), which DO NOT discuss the issue, like from this 1875 Supreme Court Case, Minor v. Happersett, and then PRETEND it decided the case in your favor—see the bolded, italicized part below :
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. For the purposes of this case it is not necessary to solve these doubts.
This process might take up 5 or 6 pages or 20 or more. But the Vattle Birther would take this mess and proclaim they have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that Obama is NOT eligible, and now, everybody just knows it takes two citizen parents to be president. And if you didn’t agree, then you were just totally stupid or something.
Except that the Vattle Birther had completely disregarded the two cases above, and usually managed to mangle whatever case they were quoting. And, you have to ignore the fact that if this was really the law, the lawyers working for Hillary Clinton and John McCain must have really messed up. And, you have to ignore that not one legal case backs them up. And, that only a couple of conservative lawyers in the whole country out of hundreds of thousands, have filed anything. And, you have to ignore that probably nobody was ever taught this in school; And, you have to ignore that even a large number of Birthers don’t buy it.
And those other Birthers, the ones like I was, actually managed to accomplish something. By repeatedly asking why Obama had not coughed up his long form birth certificate, by the time of the 2010 mid-term elections 58% of Americans had some degree of doubt where Obama was born, Obama was SHELLACKED and neutered, and Obama was maneuvered into coughing up his long form birth certificate, as flaky as it is.
What have the Vattle Birthers accomplished??? NOTHING, except confusion and stress from having to read their silly crap. There have been some decent Vattle Birthers. Mr. Apuzzo is a nice person and he put together as respectable a case as he could, but the Supreme Court didn’t even think it was worth a hearing. The Birther websites are run by dedicated people like Dr. Kate, Sharon Rondeau, and whoever it is who runs Obama Release Your Records, just to name a few.
But, by and large, the Vattle Birthers sit there and write their dribble day after day, and Heaven Help Them if the Obotski find them because here comes those two law cases from above and the Vattle Birther just has to do his or her best to ignore the legal reality. Which is kind of hard to do when you are debating with people who have good reading comprehension skills. It used to embarrass me when I was on the same thread as a Vattle Birther, and it is embarrassing me more and more when these twerps spew their nonsense. It is embarrassing to watch the stupid Vattle Birthers just get creamed time after time and know people are associating them with me. Sooo, I think I am going to start doing something to shut them down. Sooo, now The Birther Think Tank has a NEW category: Vattel Birther DeBunking!!!
BTW (which means By The Way), if you see somebody who looks like those two guys above, it is probably a Vattle Birther. Be prepared for a lot of noise, slobbering, and drooling!!!
Tee Hee! Tee Hee!