If you have clicked on this page, then you probably have some questions about what exactly is a natural born citizen. Maybe you have seen discussions about this in relation to President Obama, and whether he is eligible for the presidency because of his Kenyan father. Or maybe in relation to Senator Mark Rubio or Governor Bobby Jindal, both of whom were born in America, to non-citizen parents.
This page will just be about short answers to those questions. There are multiple Internet Articles here with the legal quotes, and two pages with the actual court cases. These two pages can be found at the top of the home page. Also check out the Anti-Birther Articles category for more exciting Internet Articles on this subject. Sooo, let’s get started. If you have any other questions not answered here, please leave a comment, and I will try to get you the REALLY Right Answer!!!
1. Are you a lawyer, and if not, why should I believe you??? No. I am not a lawyer, and I don’t ask you to believe ME. That is why I always try to quote legal cases, sooo you can read the answers for yourself. There are only a few cases, and they are pretty understandable. If I explain something, you can judge the truth of it by what the case says.
2. What is a natural born citizen??? For people born inside America, it is just being born here, and not being the child of a diplomat or invading soldier, regardless of the citizenship of your parents. This is by what is called common law, which originally came from England before the American Revolution, and then was common law in America until 1868, when it was added to the U.S. Constitution as the 14th Amendment.
3. Which court case said that??? Well, the biggest and most important one was called Wong Kim Ark, and it was decided in 1898 by the United States Supreme Court. It is on a separate page here if you want to read it. Here is what it said, with some notes:
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.
Sooo, First Note: ALL PERSONS born in the allegiance of the United States are natural born citizens.
NOW, what did the SUPREME COURT say born in the allegiance meant???
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
Sooo, Second Note: EVERYBODY born in America, (who isn’t the kid of a diplomat or an invading soldier) is born in the allegiance.
Now when you add the Second Note to the First Note, you get:
ALL PERSONS born in America, (who are not kids of a diplomat or invading soldier) ARE BORN in the allegiance [and] are natural born citizens.
4. That seems pretty simple, so why do all the Vattel Birthers say that case only applied to 14th Amendment citizens of the United States, and did not cover natural born citizens as mentioned in the U.S. Constitution??? Uh, because Vattel Birthers are notorious for mis-reading legal cases and getting stuff backwards.
5. Wait a minute. . .you said you are NOT a lawyer, sooo how are you coming to this conclusion??? Because again, a court said it, Ankeny v. Governor 2009. It is on a separate page here if you want to read it, and it is a lot shorter and easier to read than Wong Kim Ark. In that case, the Vattel Birthers tried to make that argument, the “They are not the same thing” argument, and the Vattel Birthers lost. Read it for yourself:
The Plaintiffs in the instant case make a different legal argument based strictly on constitutional interpretation. Specifically, the crux of the Plaintiffs’ argument is that
“[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.
The bases of the Plaintiffs’ arguments come from such sources as FactCheck.org, 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.
Part of what the Ankeny Judges said below was that they read the natural born citizen thing in the Constitution as the same as the all persons born citizens in the 14th Amendment. The judges said:
Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution governs who is a citizen of the United States. It provides that “[a]ll persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States . . . .” U.S. CONST. amend XIV, § 1. Article II has a special requirement to assume the Presidency: that the person be a “natural born Citizen.” U.S. CONST. art. II, § 1, cl. 4. The United States Supreme Court has read these two provisions in tandem and held that “[t]hus new citizens may be born or they may be created by naturalization.” Minor v. Happersett, 88 (21 Wall.) U.S. 162, 167 (1874)
6. But wait, the Vattel Birthers say the Ankeny court case was just an Indiana state case , and not applicable to Federal courts??? True, but the Ankeny Court did not do anything except quote U.S. Supreme Court cases, sooo even if it is a state case, it shows how a Court already did, and will continue, to interpret Wong Kim Ark. Plus, it shows how most normal people interpret Wong Kim Ark. BUT, if you want really want some FEDERAL cases that say the same thing, that the ancient common law and the Constitution came together in the 14th Amendment, then here is one from before Wong Kim Ark, and then what Wong Kim Ark itself said:
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.
The vice-chancellor, after an exhaustive examination of the law, declared that every citizen born within the dominion and allegiance of the United States was a citizen thereof, without reference to the situation of his parents.
This, of course, does not include the children born in the United States of parents engaged in the diplomatic service of foreign governments, whose residence, in contemplation of public law, is a part of their own country.
THE RULE OF COMMON LAW ON THIS SUBJECT HAS BEEN INCORPORATED INTO THE FUNDAMENTAL LAW OF THE LAND.
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.’
SECOND, in Wong Kim Ark in 1898:
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.”
7. But what about Vattel, Emerich de Vattel, didn’t he define what natural born citizenship was for us??? No. Vattel was a Swiss guy who wrote a book in French called The Law of Nations, a book about international law. Supposedly, he said it took two citizen parents to be a natural born citizen, but there is a lot of dispute on whether or not it was translated properly. But, who cares because Vattel was not ever, not even one single time, quoted in American or English courts in a majority decision for the purpose of determining who was or was not a natural born citizen. These common law citizen cases went back three centuries to around 1608 (Calvin’s Case). Vattel wasn’t even born until over a hundred years later in 1714.
Vattel’s stuff on citizenship was quoted once, that I know of, for the purposes of determining temporary allegiance, in a War of 1812 case about a ship captured by the Americans whose owners were living in Britain during the war. Vattel was NOT quoted for his definition of natural born citizenship, because that was not the point of the case.
8. Then why do the Vattel Birthers quote him all the time, and say George Washington checked out his library book and stuff??? I have to guess on this one, but probably because the Vattel Birthers do not like Obama (and I don’t either) and were trying to find some way to make him ineligible to be President. To stay in business and have something to keep them busy, the Vattel Birthers are now applying this stuff to Mark Rubio and Bobby Jindal. From what I have read, Vattel was highly respected and his book was very popular on the subject of international law. But it had nothing to do with English or American law on natural born citizenship.
Some countries do follow Vattel’s line of thinking, but what the Vattel Birthers will seldom tell you, is that even Vattel, himself, recognized some countries do things differently. Like that Big Island sitting across the English Channel from France:
Finally, there are states, as, for instance, England, where the single circumstance of being born in the country naturalizes the children of a foreigner.
9. Well, all this stuff you said seems to make sense, but I am lazy, and I do not want to read all those legal cases. Is there any other way for me to have some assurance that what you said is right??? Of course, common sense. For the Vattel Birthers to be right, there has to be some sort of massive conspiracy which not only includes all the Obama supporters, but even the people who are vehemently opposed to Obama. Everybody knew when Obama was running for office, that his father was a Kenyan, and not an American citizen. For the Vattel Birthers to be right, all the reporters in the country, even the ones on FOX News and The National Enquirer, have to be in on it. Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and Mark Levin, to name just a few, would be in on it, because none of them have any use for the Vattel Birthers, and Mark Levin and Ann Coulter are both lawyers. Nearly every conservative Republican lawyer in the country would have to willing to be silent. And every conservative Republican judge from the Supreme Court down to the City Judge level. John McCain would have been in on keeping the secret. And, Hillary Clinton, too. People who were running against Obama for President. All of them would have to be in on keeping this horrible secret from the American Public.
Sooo, you can believe that if you wish, and you can believe in a humongous conspiracy theory. You can believe that there is a dedicated group of mostly pretend Internet lawyers, who have somehow discovered the Sekrit Truth. If you believe that, you may want to check out your local Moon Landing Deniers Group for additional kicks. I hear they have great Kool Aid!!!
UPDATE!!! There is something else that I wanted to add to this Internet Article that I discovered just today, October 10, 2011. One of the Obots told me that Jerome Corsi, PhD. from Harvard, and a reporter at World Net Daily is now really big into the two citizen parent stuff. Mr. Corsi wrote a very good book called The Obama Nation, which I bought back in 2008. My copy says it is even a First Edition!!! I like the book, but what the Obot said kind of shocked me. He said that Mr. Corsi did not say anything about the two citizen parent stuff in his book. Well, right off to the bookcase went ME, and guess what??? The Obot is right. All that stuff Mr. Corsi said about Obama, and why we should not vote for him, and guess what. Not a single word about Obama’s citizenship.
Sooo, add this little tidbit to the reasons why we can be pretty sure that there is nothing to all this Vattle Birther two citizen parent stuff. Because Mr. Corsi is very smart, and he went to a very good college, and was even asked to run as the 2008 candidate for the Constitution Party. Which kind of makes you think he would know what was in the Constitution even back in 2008. But, after 304 pages of just giving Obama HELL, there is not a word about Obama being ineligible because he did not have two citizen parents. Which, if are trying to talk people out of voting for Obama, don’t you think a person would bring up the fact that Obama was breaking the law by running??? If the two citizen parent stuff was really the law??? What, this law just got discovered after Obama became president??? Oh, sure!!! But, you draw your own conclusions.