The Vattel Birther Mob Weighs In (And Comes Up Short!!!)

Squeeky Wondered, "Where Was Freud When You REALLY Needed Him???"

Well, come to find out, Squeeky Fromm, your fearless Girl Reporter, aka the  Head Researcher at The Birther Think Tank ,  is now supposedly an Obama Enabler!!!  This was quite a surprise to me since I was a common sense suspicious Birther and have been hammering Obama for a year and a half on the Internet.  But, I was never one of the Birthers who bought into the two citizen parent stuff, the ones I teasingly call Vattle Birthers for their reliance on the writings of Emerich de Vattel.   The way I found out that I was an Obama Enabler is the following Internet Article, by world-famous attorney, Mario Apuzzo, Esq., on his blog, Natural Born Citizen – A Place To Ask Questions And Get The Right Answers:

It seems that Mr. Apuzzo noticed the page here called, A Place To Get The REALLY Right Answers on Natural Born Citizenship., which through a series of 9 short questions and answers, walks a person through the whole issue and comes to the opposite conclusion as Mr. Apuzzo.

Not one to shy away from a good Internet Dust-up, here is my, and The Birther Think Tank’s response.  To make this easier on readers, I am going to do this two ways. First,  just a short, down and dirty quick  recap for the person who does not want to wade through paragraph after paragraph of legal stuff.  This is about stuff that is relevant to the argument, and pretty much all by itself shows Mr. Apuzzo is just plain wrong in his conclusions. Then, some more detailed point by point responses which addresses some of  Mr. Apuzzo’s arguments on things that I think are pretty much irrelevant to this,  like the Minor versus Happersett case of 1874.  The detailed analysis  is for those people who like this kind of stuff.

The Down and Dirty Quick Recap

Mr. Apuzzo believes that Obama is a 14th Amendment citizen,  if he was born in the United States at all, but not a natural born citizen which he says requires two citizen parents.  This is based on the wording in the Wong Kim Ark Supreme Court case in 1898, wherein the Judges said:

The evident intention, and the necessary effect, of the submission of this case to the decision of the court upon the facts agreed by the parties were to present for determination the single question stated at the beginning of this opinion, namely, whether a child born in the United States, of parent of Chinese descent, who, at the time of his birth, are subjects of the Emperor of China, but have a permanent domicil and residence in the United States, and are there carrying on business, and are not employed in any diplomatic or official capacity under the Emperor of China, becomes at the time of his birth a ‘citizen of the United States.’ For the reasons above stated, this court is of opinion that the question must be answered in the affirmative” (emphasis supplied). Id. at 705.)

Apuzzo analyzes it like this:

We do not see anywhere in the question presented or the holding any reference to “natural born” Citizen. The Court could not have been clearer by telling us twice that it was only deciding whether Wong was a “citizen of the United States.” We clearly see that the case only concerned itself with whether Wong was a “citizen of the United States” under the Fourteenth Amendment (more on the Fourteenth Amendment below).

The Birther Think Tank is of the opinion that Wong Kim Ark judges said there is no difference between natural born citizens and  14th Amendment citizens, for several reasons. First, the Wong Kim Ark judges discussed, at length, the evolution of natural born citizenship from at least 1608 in England,  then to the British colonies in America, then to America when it became free of England, and then all the way up to the time of the 14th Amendment, when the common law natural born citizen became merged into the 14th Amendment. This is based, in part, on these quotes from the Wong Kim Ark case:

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, as well as of England. We find no warrant for the opinion that this great principle of the common law has ever been changed in the United States. It has always obtained here with the same vigor, and subject only to the same exceptions, since as before the Revolution.


The foregoing considerations and authorities irresistibly lead us to these conclusions: the Fourteenth Amendment affirms the ancient and fundamental rule of citizenship by birth within the territory, in the allegiance and under the protection of the country, including all children here born of resident aliens, with the exceptions or qualifications (as old as the rule itself) of children of foreign sovereigns or their ministers, or born on foreign public ships, or of enemies within and during a hostile occupation of part of our territory, and with the single additional exception of children of members of the Indian tribes owing direct allegiance to their several tribes. The Amendment, in clear words and in manifest intent, includes the children born, within the territory of the United States, of all other persons, of whatever race or color, domiciled within the United States. Every citizen or subject of another country, while domiciled here, is within the allegiance and the protection, and consequently subject to the jurisdiction, of the United States. His allegiance to the United States is direct and immediate, and, although but local and temporary, continuing only so long as he remains within our territory, is yet, in the words of Lord Coke in Calvin’s Case, 7 Rep. 6a, “strong enough to make a natural subject, for if he hath issue here, that issue is a natural-born subject;” and his child, as said by Mr. Binney in his essay before quoted, “if born in the country, is as much a citizen as the natural-born child of a citizen, and by operation of the same principle.”

Finally, all this went to court in Indiana in 2009, and the Indiana Appeals Court, when confronted with this statement by the Vattle Birthers:

[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.”

Responded, and I quote:

The bases of the Plaintiffs’ arguments come from such sources as, The Rocky Mountain News, an eighteenth century treatise by Emmerich de Vattel titled “The Law of Nations,” and various citations to nineteenth century congressional debate.11 For the reasons stated below, we hold that the Plaintiffs‟ arguments fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, and that therefore the trial court did not err in dismissing the Plaintiffs‟ complaint.


The Plaintiffs do not mention the above United States Supreme Court authority[Wong Kim Ark] in their complaint or brief; they primarily rely instead on an eighteenth century treatise and quotations of Members of Congress made during the nineteenth century. To the extent that these authorities conflict with the United States Supreme Court‟s interpretation of what it means to be a natural born citizen, we believe that the Plaintiffs‟ arguments fall under the category of “conclusory, non-factual assertions or legal conclusions” that we need not accept as true when reviewing the grant of a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim.

My BFF, Fabia Sheen, Esq., a lawyer,  says that “conclusory, non-factual assertions or legal conclusions” is a nice way of saying it was Spucatum Tauri. Which is a Latin legal term.

Sooo, this is the short version. You can check here under the category of Vattel Birther Debunking, for more Internet Articles.

Now, let us move into a little bit more detailed analysis. Mr Apuzzo’s arguments and statements are in bold, with my response following:

1). . .Now it may be true that the owner of that blog is not a lawyer. But what about all the other enablers who feed at that blog under the cover of anonymity?

I am NOT a lawyer. The cases in this are simple enough to be read and understood.  My BFF Fabia Sheen, Esq., is a lawyer, and if I get over my head, I can usually talk her into explaining stuff to me.  Although she says this whole issue is nonsense.

2). . .Let us now examine what Obama’s enablers are peddling on this blog. They must and do attack the Minor v. Happersett, 88 U.S. 162 (1875) decision on two fronts. First, they argue that the definition of a “natural-born citizen” given by the Court is dicta and therefore not binding precedent. 

Dicta??? I could care less about it being DICTA, because what the Vattle Birthers quote, is NOT EVEN A COMPLETE DEFINITION of what the Vattle Birthers say it is. As Mr. Apuzzo admits, but for the wrong reason. Let’s discuss his reasons first.

3). . . Continuing Minor:  It thoroughly analyzed and considered what a “natural-born citizen” was and after saying that it is a child born in the country to citizen parents, found that Virginia Minor was a “natural-born citizen” and therefore also a “citizen.” After the Court told us what a “natural-born citizen” was, it then made the comment about there being doubts as to whether a child born in the country to alien parents was even a “citizen.” The Court said that it was not necessary for it to decide that question and it did not because Virginia Minor was a “natural-born citizen” which necessarily also made her a “citizen.”

Sort of,  to a point. Yes, all of us who were born in the United States to citizen parents would certainly appreciate being considered natural born citizens. Who knows but one day we could be the president. But perhaps the Minor Judges stopped from resolving doubts about children of aliens because. . .drumroll. . .Virginia  Minor wasn’t the child of an alien. There simply wasn’t any need to analyze the other situation.  This was a voting rights case and natural born citizens and naturalized citizens both had the right to vote. It was the fact of citizenship, and whether it applied to women which was applicable, not the distinction between natural born citizenship and  naturalized citizenship, or the imaginary 14th Amendment citizenship as something different from either of those two.

We can suspect this is the case by reading a little further along, where the Minor Court noted:

From this it is apparent that from the commencement of the legislation upon this subject alien women and alien minors could be made citizens by naturalization, and we think it will not be contended that this would have been done if it had not been supposed that native women and native minors were already citizens by birth.

The Minor Court is simply trying to establish if native born women were citizens, not necessarily establish her natural born status versus some other status. Hey, if foreign women could be naturalized citizens, then certainly native born ones could.

If you are interested in this case, there is an Internet Article here about it, which contains a link to the Minor Case, which is fairly short.

4). . .The question is whether Minor’s definition of a “natural-born citizen” is ambiguous. The enablers’ argument that it is ambiguous and that it permits for other birth circumstances which do not exist in that definition is meritless. A definition is not ambiguous merely because it does not expressly rule out every possible other factual scenario which someone claims also fits under that definition. De Leon-Ochoa v. Att’y Gen., 622 F.3d at 353 (reviewing 8 U.S.C. § 1254a).

Well first, lets look at that definition in Minor:

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. It is sufficient for everything we have now to consider that all children born of citizen parents within the jurisdiction are themselves citizens.

After reading that, do you, as the reader believe that there is something that has NOT been addressed? The children of aliens or foreigners??? Yep. Everybody does, even Mr. Apuzzo. But how does Mr. Apuzzo characterize this vague little feeling of INCOMPLETENESS? By using the word ambiguous. Which means having more than one interpretation or unclear.  He quotes a case which I found, and not being a lawyer, here goes on interpreting it. The case said there was a law if a alien was out of the country more than 90 days, then they could not come back in. The wife had gotten sick and could not make it back for 176 days, so the government said no. The aliens said the law should have allowed some wiggle room for stuff like being sick, and that is what the court said the law didn’t have to cover “every possible other factual scenario which someone claims also fits under that definition.” (Hey, I know this is deep and tedious, but Mr. Apuzzo started it, not ME! LOL!!!)

The difference between that case, and the Minor case is, that in that Ochoa case, you had a pretty complete definition- -90 days. If the law had said “90 days, and well maybe even 180 days, who knows, there are doubts about how long it should be” or “a reasonable time that isn’t too long” , then that would have been too much ambiguousness.  You aren’t even getting enough there to be a definition, which in the case quoted by Mr. Apuzzo,  it says there is a definition.  Having a 90 day period, and then not allowing wiggle room for being sick, makes sense. You shouldn’t have to think of every possible scenario that could or might happen. And there is enough there to call it a complete definition- – -90 days.

But something is different in Minor. In this case you know right from the get-go that you are missing big chunks of the picture.  Because the things there are doubts about are children born here to two alien parents, children born here to one alien parent and one citizen parent. My goodness, the Minor case that is giving the partial definition even talks about the doubts concerning aliens’ children. Rather than that being ambiguous, the better word is just incomplete. You just don’t have enough for a definition.

Plus, there does not seem to be any cases at all that quote the Minor case for a definition of natural born citizenship, or even citizenship. Cases do quote it for the need to go to common law to interpret natural born citizenship. Cases quote it for the observation that the Constitution has only two sources of citizenship, “Additions might always be made to the citizenship of the United States in two ways: first, by birth, and second, by naturalization.” But no cases that I am aware of quote it for a definition of citizenship. Sooo, five paragraphs later and I think I have shot down the argument that Minor v. Happersett  is the Super case the Vattel Birthers think it is.

5). . .Again, the Court said “[t]he child of an alien, if born in the country, is as much a citizen as the natural-born child of a citizen, and by operation of the same principle.” It did not say that that child born to aliens is as much a “natural-born citizen” as the natural-born child of a citizen. It said he or she was as much a “citizen.” Here, we see further proof that the Court distinguished between a “natural born” Citizen and a “citizen,” and that it found Wong to be a “citizen,” and not a “natural born” Citizen.

Hmmm. I see a lot of language quibbling when I debate Vattel Birthers on the Internet.  Sometimes Courts use all these terms interchangeably; natural born cittzens native born, citizens, citizens by birth, all persons born in the U. S. The one common thing seems to be that all the different ways to say it have one thing in common – the person in question is born in the U.S. (or England if the case is from England.) Let’s address this complaint by having some fun and throwing Mr. Apuzzo’s Super case, Minor v. Happersett right back at him.  That case uses at least 6 different terms to address the same thing:  Virginia Minor is native born, native, natural born, and citizen. Since she was not naturalized, then she was presumably had citizenship. . .by birth. She was also a  native woman.  What do all those terms have in common? All were about a person born in the United States.

What Mr. Apuzzo seems to forget, is that when there is common law, which is law by the precedents of courts, and then the Legislature passes a law which addresses the common law, the passed law takes over. This is because Courts are supposed to interpret law, not make it. Sooo, when the 14th Amendment got passed, it took over the common law on natural born citizenship for people born inside the U.S. Which is why Wong Kim Ark became a citizen by virtue of his birth. Here is another case which proves this:

FIRST, in Federal law BEFORE Wong Kim Ark, in Ex Parte Chin King in 1888:

By the common law, a child born within the allegiance—the jurisdiction—of the United States, is born a subject or citizen there­of, without reference to the political status or condition of its parents. McKay v. Campbell, 2 Sawy., 118 ; In re Look Tin Sing, 10 Sawy., 353 ; 21 Fed. Rep., 905; Lynch v. Clarke, 1 Sandf. Ch., 583. In the latter case it was held that Julia Lynch, who was born in New York in 1849, of alien parents during a temporary sojourn by them in that city; and returned with them the same year to their native country, where she resided until her death, was an American citizen.[two paragraphs omitted]

The fourteenth amendment declares : 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.’

What this means is, that after 1868, the common law term natural born citizen is really now one of those, All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, who we call citizens.

6). . .But they [the Ankeny Court] do not explain how they go from the amendment’s text referring to a “citizen of the United States” to it saying according to them a “natural born” Citizen. They do not tell us that nowhere in the amendment will we find the words “natural born” Citizen and that nothing in its history or in its debates suggests that its framers included in the amendment “natural born” Citizen status or that they intended by the amendment to create or amend the meaning of an Article II “natural born” Citizen.

Uh,  true.  Because these guys called judges, did it  in Wong Kim Ark and explained it, in detail with a lot of cases, in sections II and III of the case. Like this one:

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, as well as of England. We find no warrant for the opinion that this great principle of the common law has ever been changed in the United States. It has always obtained here with the same vigor, and subject only to the same exceptions, since as before the Revolution.

And they also defined what in the allegiance means:

It thus clearly appears that by the law of England for the last three centuries, beginning before the settlement of this country, and continuing to the present day, aliens, while residing in the dominions possessed by the crown of England, were within the allegiance, the obedience, the faith or loyalty, the protection, the power, and the jurisdiction of the English sovereign; and therefore 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.13

This is starting to look familiar??? Oh, yes. It is on the page here called A Place To Get The REALLY Right Answers About Natural Born Citizenship. And, I am not just being flippant, but the real problem faced by Mr. Apuzzo is that he hasn’t ever read Wong Kim Ark with an open mind. He has apparently always read it through Vattle Birther colored glasses. Because an HONEST read of the case would have revealed this information. It isn’t that hard. I’m not even a lawyer, and I get it. The 14th Amendment, with its citizenship by birth in the country incorporated the concept of natural born citizenship within the allegiance of the sovereign into itself.  Because all natural born citizenship  ever meant was birth within the country within the allegiance of the sovereign. What was common law is now incorporated into the Constitution through the 14th Amendment.

7). . .But Obama’s enablers do not end there either. They then attack Emerich de Vattel, saying that nobody knew that “dead Swiss guy” who wrote “some book” on some citizenship “stuff.” Needless to say, the historical record and case law is replete with information which shows how influential Vattel was during the Founding in helping our leaders justify the American Revolution, write the Constitution, and constitute the new republic. 

I am sure Mr. Vattel was a very nice person. But his stuff on natural born citzenship was NOT part of English or American common law on that issue.  Vattel might have been very influential on some things, but isn’t it just amazing how you never see him on American citizenship cases being quoted about issues determining the citizenship of people born here. What was Vattel, The Scarlet Pimpernel of American Law??? (About which I have a new Internet Article coming up soon.):

We seek him here, we seek him there
Those Frenchies seek him everywhere!
Is he in heaven? Or is he in hell?
That demmed Elusive Pimpernel?”

Because you sure don’t see him much in these cases.

8). . .Finally, and this is Obama’s enablers’ favorite ploy, they say for the Birthers to be right, all smart and consequential people in America would have to be part of some grand conspiracy. They paint the “Birthers” with the same brush and paint that they paint those who question the moon landing, the Kennedy assassination, the 9-11 attacks, and whether there is some plot to create a “One World Order.” But there is nothing conspiratorial about correctly defining an Article II “natural born” Citizen and applying that definition to Obama’s admitted birth circumstances.

Well, as a former common sense suspicious Birther, and somebody who still sympathizes with the die hard ones, I can say that our side of the Birther fence does NOT require a conspiracy. All it takes for our suspicions to be confirmed is Obama’s grandmother, a dishonest clerk at the Hawaii DOH, and maybe $20.

But for you Vattle Birthers to be right, it DOES require a VILLAGE. A really big village, maybe one the size of New York City. Because for an ineligible person, who was not a natural born citizen when he was running for president, to scoot right by with nobody saying nothing, all the lawyers and judges in the country who know the law, as you define it, would have had to bit their tongues. Hillary Clinton and John McCain”s lawyers would have had to be in on keeping the lid on. All the reporters, talking heads, and well-read people would have had to be as quiet as church mice.  Even the conservative, Republican ones.

Sorry, but I didn’t vote for Obama; I can’t stand him; I have been giving him HELL on the Internet for over 18 months; beating his Obots like carpets over a clothesline WITH LOGIC; etc.  I think Obama is probably mentally ill, too boot.  And guess what.  Even as much as I don’t like Obama, all those people who should be saying something about his alleged ineligibility, aren’t there saying anything about it.  Instead, these people call the Vattle Birthers all kinds of bad names. Who exactly is on the Vattle Birther side- – just a handful of mostly pretend lawyers on the Internet, most of whom couldn’t read a  law case or make a logical argument if their lives depended on it.

Sooo yes, for Vattle Birthers it would take a conspiracy to have covered up what is written in law books across the country, and all over the Internet.

I hope this addresses a lot of the questions that were raised by the Vattle Birthers.

Squeeky Fromm
Girl Reporter


About Squeeky Fromm, Girl Reporter

Hi!!! I am a Girl Reporter on the Internet. I am 31. Plus I am a INTP. I have a Major in Human Kinetics, and a Minor in English. I have 2 cats, and a new kitten! I write poetry, and plus I am trying to learn how to play guitar. I think that is all??? Squeeky Fromm, Girl Reporter View all posts by Squeeky Fromm, Girl Reporter

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