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Mon, Apr. 9th, 2012, 04:14 pm
Addressing the provenence of the present occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

(*Insert standard I AM NOT A LAWYER disclaimer here*)

"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 [p168] 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. The words "all children" are certainly as comprehensive, when used in this connection, as "all persons," and if females are included in the last they must be in the first. That they are included in the last is not denied. In fact the whole argument of the plaintiffs proceeds upon that idea."

- United States Supreme Court, ruling on 88 U.S. 162 Minor v. Happersett Argued: February 9, 1875 --- Decided: March 29, 1875

From the above quoted paragraph it may be determined that the Court held that it was beyond doubt that to be considered of the class "natural born citizen", a person's parents had both to be citizens.

Barak Obama's father was not a US citizen; he was a British subject. Thus, Mister Obama cannot be a "natural born citizen"; it is irrelevant whether he was born in Honolulu or in Mombassa; given his father was not a citizen, he cannot be classified a natural born citizen. As he is excluded from the class he is therefore ineligible by definition to hold the office of President of the United States.

In the cases which the Court said above are doubtful areas - children of a single citizen parent, children born within US jurisdiction irrespective of the parents' citizenship, etc., Mister Obama's birth certificate or lack thereof appears to become relevant. Hence, I suppose, the periodic hulabalu over its presence, absence, and authenticity. I would invite those who would have access to the pertinent legal records to comment on this topic. Has the Congress, or has any State legislature, addressed by passing a law on the subject, or have the US courts ever ruled on the subject, of the citizenship status (natural born or otherwise) of persons in either or both of those grey areas?

Tue, Apr. 10th, 2012 03:16 am (UTC)

The Wikipedia article on the 14th amendment cites US v. Wong Kim Ark (1898, approx. 25 years after the one you cited here) which might be helfpful:

(from en.wp, summary in Citizenship Clause)"In Wong Kim Ark the Supreme Court held that under the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, a man born within the United States to foreigners (in that case, Chinese citizens) who have a permanent domicile and residence in the United States and are carrying on business in the United States and who were not employed in a diplomatic or other official capacity by a foreign power, was a citizen of the United States."

(full article: here, which states that no legislature has taken up the issue, nor has the Court since)

The US has odd citizenship parameters, which i believe goes back to its founding as a country of immigrants. This is a colonized land, which makes citizenship requirements different from other countries with different histories.

That being said, all of this focus on the president's citizenship status is incredibly discomforting to me, and proves that we have a very long way to go as a country.