My Letter to Justices Roberts, Scalia, Alito, Thomas, and Kennedy

May 11, 2009


Justice David Souter

Supreme Court of the United States
One First Street N.E.
Washington, DC 20543

 Re: Ignoratis Terminis Artis, Ignoratur et Ars

Dear Mr. Justice Souter,

 U.S. Const. art. II, § 1, cl. 5 is unique in all U.S. law because it alone requires a ‘natural born citizen.’ Unfortunately, there is no current agreement on the definition of that term of art.

 When the constitution was being composed, John Jay asked George Washington, “whether it would not be wise and seasonable to provide a strong check to the admission of Foreigners into the administration of our national Government and to declare expressly that the Command in Chief of the American army shall not be given to, nor devolve on, any but a natural born Citizen …”[1]

 The chief author of the 14th Amendment, Sen. John A. Bingham, wrote, “[E]very human being born within the jurisdiction of the United States of parents not owing allegiance to any foreign sovereignty is, in the language of your Constitution itself, a natural born citizen.”[2]

 Recently, however, Thomas Goldstein, CNN Supreme Court Legal Analyst commented that, “The law was [sic] always been understood to be that if you are born here you are a natural born citizen and that is particularly the case when you have a U.S. citizen parent like Barack Obama’s mother.”[3]

 Judicial ethics abjure a court from appearances of political bias. The Separation of Powers and the Political Questions Doctrine discourage hearing post-election cases on their merits.

 However, Justices may be encouraged to clarify the law sua sponte and request amicus briefs from the legal community when other branches of government and political forums are conflicted. Once the constitutional term of art is defined, the political questions may then be resolved in the proper forum or branch of government.

[1] Letter to G. Washington, The Papers of John Jay, Library of Congress, 1787

[2] Cong. Globe, 39th, 1st Sess., 1291 (1866), Sec. 1992 of U.S. Revised Statutes (1866)

[3] CNN Transcripts, at


One Response to “My Letter to Justices Roberts, Scalia, Alito, Thomas, and Kennedy”

  1. Barack Hussein Obama—A Natural Born Subject of Great Britain « Paralegalnm’s Blog Says:

    […] href=”…“> My Letters to Justices Roberts, Scalia, Alito, Thomas, and Kennedy […]

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