Diagramming the Grammatical Structure of Article II, § 1, Cl. 4

“No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President . . . “ U.S. Const. Art. II, Sec. 1, Cl. 4

Remember diagramming sentences? We all studied this in the 4th grade, and hopefully again when you fulfilled your English requirements in college.

In legal writing, the best teachers are lawyers who know sentence structure like an ASE certified mechanic does your car. They know the parts, their names, and how they function properly in relation to each other. It is essential to know your grammar in order to write good briefs and interpret statutes and case law.

I studied grammar several times, for Journalism and Legal Writing, plus the more complex constructions of Latin and German. But, I do not claim to be an expert. In fact, the research and refresher courses I attempted for this article reminded me why grammar is such a discipline. So, I backed off and kept it to the basics.

Breaking Down Article II into its Grammatical Parts

The subject is ‘office’ of the President. That is what the modifiers are describing.

‘No person except’ sets up the primary and subordinate adjective clauses describing who is ‘eligible’ to the ‘office,’ 1) ‘a natural born citizen,’ and; 2) ‘or a citizen of the United States.’

Note: ‘Natural Born Citizen’ and ‘Citizen’ are not appositives, but a primary and subordinate clause separated by the conjunction ‘or.’ Conjunctions set up alternatives to the main clause or subject. If ‘natural born’ and ‘citizen of the United States’ were synonyms in appostive construction, then the word ‘or’ would not be required.

‘At the time of adoption of this Constitution’ is a prepositional phrase further describing the adjective clauses . . . as are the later 35-year old and 14-year residency requirements.

‘Of the President’ describes, of course, ‘office.’

Liberal Interpretation

Liberals are true to the legal definition of their name; they interpret the law beyond its original scope and boundaries. (See Black’s Law.)  In the case of Article II, they try to blur the distinctions between ‘natural born citizen’ and ‘citizen.’

If the liberals are corrrect, the sentence would set up the two adjective clauses as appositives, basically synonymous terms. A ‘citizen’ would then be equal to a ‘natural born citizen’ with no distinctions . . . in which case John Madison would have just relied on his sentence structure in Article I, Sec. 3, Cl. 3, simply describing the qualifications of a Senator as being a ‘Citizen.’

Natural Born Citizen, versus Citizen

At the time of adoption of the Constitution (remember that prepositional phrase?) there were two possible types of citizens.

1)      Natural Born Citizens – These were those children of U.S. Citizens, which is, obviously, necessarily after the time of adoption, not prior.

2)      Citizens – Who were the first citizens of the United States AT the time of adoption? Anyone, and their children, native to or lawfully residing in the United States, who accepted the legal authority of the Constitution and who rejected foreign allegiances. This, of course, did not include Loyalists. Their fate is described in the history of that time.

In fact, every one of our first presidents were native born in the various states of the original thirteen colonies. But, as the colonies were under the jurisdiction of England, they were by law Natural Born British subjects, born of British fathers on British controlled lands.

The Constitution, by power of its adoption, ‘naturalized’ these British subjects and they became the first U.S. citizens.

Thanks to the subordinate adjective clause, they were eligible for the office of president until the first children born naturally into that fortunate condition reached the age of 35. John Tyler, born about six months after the adoption of the Constitution, was the first natural born citizen to become president.

Barack Hussein Obama, a Natural Born British Subject

President Obama was born either in the United States, or Kenya. A court order for him to produce certified copies of his original birth certificate will determine which country.

But for now, we can apply both British and U.S. nationality law and safely say that if born in Kenya, Obama was a natural born subject of Britain. He was a U.S. citizen ONLY if you consider Stanley Ann Dunham’s marriage to an already married Obama, Sr. bigamy and therefore void ab initio, and Obama, Jr. born out of wedlock. This complicated and fraudulent marriage (perhaps done solely to prevent Obama, Sr. from being deported for statutory rape, or the appearance of statutory rape) allowed Dunham to avoid U.S. residency 5-year requirements post age fourteen through 8 U.S.C. 1409, which only required two years.

If the much publicized Hawaiian C.O.L.B. is validated to represent a genuine native birth (which will require production of Obama’s birth certificate from a certified birthing facility), then Obama is a ‘native born’ U.S. citizen under the 14th Amendment and 8 U.S.C. 1401.

Why isn’t Obama’s birth to a U.S. citizen mother on U.S. soil ‘natural born citizenship?’ . . . because, natural born citizenship is free of statutory definition, and therefore devolves from the father.

Usually, the mother is the same nationality of the father. Prior to the 1920’s, marriage automatically naturalized the wife to that of the husband. In Dunham’s situation, statute was required to ‘de-alienage’ the natural nationality from the father to that solely of the mother. At best, Obama was a dual-national at birth, which doesn’t qualify under the ‘no person except’ clause.

If born on U.S. soil, the 14th Amendment described the types of parentage allowed to qualify for citizenship at birth. But, while U.S. citizen father and mother are qualified to pass citizenship on to a U.S. born child, no amendment or statute is required. Compared to the other descriptions in the 14th Amendment, mentioning a child born to a U.S. father and mother is superfluous.

The 14th Amendment describes every combination of birth of a child on U.S. soil. While birth to a father passes the father’s nationality to the child naturally, any right of native nationality at birth from the soil, or jus solis, requires permission by the laws of that jurisdiction.

An example may be a Christian couple living in China as part of a ministry teaching from the bible. They spend a few years there and have more than two children. China has the right to deny the children rights of native birth nationality, just as the family can ignore the ‘two child’ restriction under Chinese law.

Now, a fair question is if the children born in China are ‘natural born citizens?’ I would say no. They do not meet exemptions historically given to active military and diplomatic personnel. However, under the repealed 1790 Nationality Act, the children would be ‘as’ natural born citizens. By laws of the jurisdiction they were born in, they were born solely with the nationalities of the parents and no de-alienage or naturalization law is required to remove Chinese nationality. However, on return to the U.S., the children would have to be registred in the U.S. under special nationality law created for that very situation.

Afterword:

If you find the above merely interesting, perhaps you will find Justice Joseph Story’s discussion more persuasive. I just came across this yesterday.

“§ 1473. [T]he president should be a natural born citizen of the United States; or a citizen at the adoption of the constitution, and for fourteen years before his election. This permission of a naturalized citizen to become president is an exception from the great fundamental policy of all governments, to exclude foreign influence from their executive councils and duties.  It was doubtless introduced (for it has now become by lapse of time merely nominal, and will soon become wholly extinct) out of respect to those distinguished revolutionary patriots, who were born in a foreign land, and yet had entitled themselves to high honours in their adopted country. A positive exclusion of them from the office would have been unjust to their merits, and painful to their sensibilities. But the general propriety of the exclusion of foreigners, in common cases, will scarcely be doubted by any sound statesman. It cuts off all chances for ambitious foreigners, who might otherwise be intriguing for the office; and interposes a barrier against those corrupt interferences of foreign governments in executive elections, which have inflicted the most serious evils upon the elective monarchies of Europe. Germany, Poland, and even the pontificate of Rome, are sad, but instructive examples of the enduring mischiefs arising from this source. . . .”
Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution (1833)


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23 Responses to “Diagramming the Grammatical Structure of Article II, § 1, Cl. 4”

  1. smrstrauss Says:

    National Born at the time of the writing of the Constitution simply meant “born in the country.” It was the equivalent of Native Born, which was seldom used at the time.

    To be a Natural Born Citizen meant that one had to be both Natural Born and a citizen. Slaves and Indians were not citizens even though they were Natural Born. But others who were born in America, except for the children of foreign diplomats, were both Natural Born and citizens, Natural Born Citizens.

    This stems from the British common law and the laws in the colonies at the time.

    As late as World War I, the registration for the draft asked men whether they were citizens or not, and then if they were citizens, whether they were Natural Born or Naturalized.

    At the time of the writing of the Constitution, the same meaning applied. For example, this paragraph from a book written very shortly after the Constitution says: “A very respectable political writer makes the following pertinent remarks upon this subject. “Prior to the adoption of the constitution, the people inhabiting the different states might be divided into two classes: natural born citizens, or those born within the state, and aliens, or such as were born out of it. ”

    In other words, since there was no naturalization laws by colonies or early states, if you were not born in a colony or state you were an alien to that state. And what was the phrase used to indicate that someone was born in the state? Natural Born.

    This was from View of the Constitution of the United States with Selected Writings (1803) by St. George Tucker, who was an officer in the American Revolutionary Army, a Professor of Law, justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia and a judge of the Federal District Court for Virginia by appointment of President James Madison.

    Re: “natural born citizenship devolves primarily from the father.”

    No, in the original meaning, the meaning that still applies to Obama, it devolves from the place of birth. In Obama’s case that was Hawaii, a US State.

    Re dual nationality. It simply does not apply. Natural Born means “born in the country.” The fact that one of the parents was not a citizen does not affect the fact of the place of birth. Natural Born is the equivalent of Ohio-born. No foreign law can take away the fact of the location of birth.

  2. paralegalnm Says:

    Natural Born refers to the Father, not the Soil. Read Vattel . . . read British law. The earliest nationality law of the U.S. did not require ‘native’ birth to be ‘as’ a natural born citizen. In 1795, mention of ‘natural born citizen’ was revised by deletion. However, being born to a U.S. father was and is essential . . . otherwise, you are a citizen by statute, not nature.

    Soil only, or jus solis, requires statutory definition. The ‘native’ U.S. birth of a child to an alien did not automatically confer U.S. citizenship. The example of Native Americans and Chinese are your examples. Native Americans were adverse to U.S. jurisdiction to the point of being soveriegn nations under treaty. There were also problems with the Chinese in treaty, and a discriminatory feeling that they were so foreign that the concepts created in the constitution were not applicable to them as a race. A nationality from a country at war, bearing a child on U.S. soil, also creates a problem. Does the soil confer allegiance? Or, does the parentage? By nature, the parentage. Soil and residency only creates allegiance through time, experience, and the personal investment of the child of alien parents.

    Bobbie Jindal is a good example. His parents resided as aliens with student visas, but returned to India. Bobbie is a U.S. citizen under the 14th Amendment, but not a natural born citizen. No statute or law defines who is ‘natural born,’ it is only determined by the father. If the mother maintains a different nationality, a dual national is the result, and U.S. law admits that it creates legal questions and potential problems.

    Slaves were 3/5th of a person for purposes of congressional district apportionment. Indians were not counted because they were alien to U.S. jurisdiction, even though they were native born. The issue of Native Americans and Chinese was addressed in Wong Kim Ark and subsequent statute, even though they were ‘native’ born.

    You are stuck in your bias towards Obama. If your premise was correct, the qualifications for president would be the same as for Senator, a Citizen with residency requirements. Why? Because a native born citizen, according to current interpretation through the 14th Amendment, may include a foreign parent and foreign nationality.

    You are dead wrong. See the err of your ways . . . I will delete your comment shortly because is is so ignorant of the law.

  3. smrstrauss Says:

    Re: “Natural Born refers to the Father, not the Soil. Read Vattel . . . read British law. ”

    Natural Born simply meant born in the country. Vattel did not use the term Natural Born. It did not appear in a translation of Vattel until years after the Constitution was approved.

    Moveover, Vattel did not recommend that countries make citizens much less two-parent citizens their leaders. He has several examples of countries picking their kings or emperors from the nobility of foreign countries, and he never says that this is a bad thing. He recommends several things that the Constitution did not adopt, such as a state religion.

    So, how do we know that the writers of the Constitution were referring to Vattel? It is unlikely that they were, since the term Natural Born was used in British Common Law, and since by far most of the writers were lawyers.

    IF they had meant Natural Born in the Vattel sense, they would have said so. But they meant it in the common law sense, which was simply “born in the country.”

    Re: “Bobbie is a U.S. citizen under the 14th Amendment, but not a natural born citizen.”

    If he was born in the USA, he is Natural Born, and if he is a citizen (and he would be by virtue of being born in the USA, under the 14th Amendment), he is a Natural Born Citizen.

    That is why such prominent conservative Senators who are also lawyers as Orren Hatch and Lindsay Graham say that a Natural Born Citizen is simply one who was born in the USA:

    Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), said:

    “Every child born in the United States is a natural-born United States citizen except for the children of diplomats.” (December 11, 2008 letter to constituent)

    Senator Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT), said:

    “What is a natural born citizen? Clearly, someone born within the United States or one of its territories is a natural born citizen.” (Senate Judiciary Committee hearing hearing on OCTOBER 5, 2004)

    Re: “the qualifications for president would be the same as for Senator, a Citizen with residency requirements.”

    NO. A senator can be a naturalized citizen, meaning one who was born outside of the USA. A president has to be a Natural Born citizen, either under the original definition, meaning born IN the USA, or under recent changes to it that allow Natural Born status to such people as McCain who was born outside of the USA but to two US parents.

    Re: “Native Americans were adverse to U.S. jurisdiction to the point of being soveriegn nations under treaty.”

    That is right, and until 1925 they were not citizens. However, they were still Natural Born. When they became citizens, they became Natural Born Citizens.

    Re: “Does the soil confer allegiance?”

    Excellent question. Under our system the soil does confer allegiance.

    This is what Madison said: “It is an established maxim, that birth is a criterion of allegiance. Birth, however, derives its force sometimes from place, and sometimes from parentage; but, in general, place is the most certain criterion; it is what applies in the United States.”

    What criterion applies in the USA? Place, or as you say, soil.

  4. paralegalnm Says:

    Soil allegiance is certain, but dependent upon local jurisdiction.

    Parentage, or allegiance through blood, is dependent solely upon the will and natural allegiance of the parent.

    Common law and its interpretations are all over the map, so to speak, whether there is a distinction between native and natural born. One commentator argued that the latin root ‘nat’ in both words made them synonymous.

    St. George favored Greek, Roman, and John Locke’s philosophies of free will of man emancipating him from so-called natural allegiances.

    While the place of birth had something to do with the choice of the father to marry and reproduce within the locus of jurisdiction, that is not ‘natural law.’ That is choice of free will.

    Natural law is the allegiance of the father passing to the child. No matter if native born to one country, or another, the allegiance of the father is by nature . . . biology. The child may accept the place, but he can never remove himself entirely from his natural biological source.

    You cite Madison, but what of Washington and John Jay? They were intent on protecting the office of president from foreign intrigues and influences. Thus, dual citizenship or liegance would defeat that intent.

    I diagrammed the sentence in Article II, and pointed out that the word ‘or’ was a conjunction denoting an alternative condition. If ‘or’ was not there, the clauses would comprise an appositive.

    Also, the distinction of ‘natural born citizen’ from ‘citizen’ is born of a citizen. The commentaries by St. George admit that those denizens, aliens, inhabitants, and natural born subjects of Britain, at the moment of the 4th day of July, 1776, were entitled to be citizens. This included free negroes, although sufferage for them came later, as it did for women.

    If there was no distinction between ‘natural born’ and ‘native born’ . . . as you and other authorities argue, then the son of an alien, not of an enemy state or foreign diplomat, is a ‘natural born citizen’ and eligible to be president because the law made him a citizen at birth by fortune of place.

    Meanwhile, the nationality of the father still imparts an immoveable allegiance, by blood and heritage. This defeats the intent of the instigator of Article II’s distinctive use of ‘natural born.’ Your definition allows the foreign intrigue the law was designed to avoid.

    There are many sources and many definitions in the common law and commentaries of that time, and current case law. However, the author of the 14th Amendment himself stated clearly that a natural born citizen was of two U.S. citizen parents.

    This satisfies the comments in formal post to George Washington, by John Jay, that the presidency must be free of foreign intrigues, and by that statement free of extraneous foreign allegiances.

    Again, if ‘native’ equaled ‘natural,’ then there would be no need for the conjunctive adjective clause. One of my projects is to use caligraphic pens to copy the Constitution . . . and believe me, to write laboriously by hand does not lend itself to wordiness. If there was no distinction between ‘natural born’ and ‘citizen’ naturalized by adoption, the author would not waste words repeating his intended meaning redundantly.

  5. marcyaz Says:

    SmrStrauss is sadly uninformed. I assume he has not read this blogsite in its entirety nor many others, such as federalistblog.us, which provide excellent research on the history of the term “natural born citizen.” One comment in paralegalnm’s reply struck me as a new way of saying it: that word biology. It needs to be used a lot more. Illegal immigrants from, say, Mexico, may dash across the border and manage to drop the newborn on US soil and by current mis-interpretation of the 14th Amendment, call the child a US citizen. The parents, finding life in the US less than paradise, take the child back to their home in Mexico to live. The baby has no allegiance to the US by having been dropped here; but the genes, the biology of its body, pull it to the homeland of the father. Allegiance comes through biology, the entire culture and history of the immediate ancestors transmitted internally.

  6. smrstrauss Says:

    Re: “Also, the distinction of ‘natural born citizen’ from ‘citizen’ is born of a citizen. ”

    This is an interesting speculation. BUT, it is not the way that they used the words at the time of the writing of the Constitution.

    “Native born” could mean “born of a native,” but we use it today to mean born in a place. At the time of the writing of the Constitution, the use of the term Natural Born meant what we mean today by Native Born.

    Why didn’t they use Native Born? I’m not sure, but you can search hundreds of writings by Adams, Hamilton and others and rarely find it. But you find Natural Born very frequently, and it never means born of two citizen parents or even born of one citizen parent. It merely means born in the location.

    As I said before, not all persons who were Natural Born were citizens. Slaves and Indians were not, but the meaning of Natural Born applied to them too. They were Natural Born, though they were not citizens.

    With the 14th Amendment and the change in the law in 1925 they became citizens, and the ones that were born in the USA were naturally Natural Born citizens.

    As you probably know, the meaning of Natural Born in the British common law was simply “born in the realm.” And that applied regardless of the number of parents who were citizens. Blackstone, for example, said: ”
    The children of aliens, born here in England, are, generally speaking, natural-born subjects and entitled to all the privileges of such. In which the constitution of France differs from ours; for there, by their jus albinatus, if a child be born of foreign parents, it is alien.” http://www.lonang.com/exlibris/blackstone/

    (And the minor exceptions referred to in “generally speaking” refers to the children of foreign diplomats.)

    As we know, by far most of the writers of the Constitution were lawyers. This is the meaning of Natural Born that they were familiar with. IF they had wanted to have Natural Born mean “born of citizen parents,” which is more like the citizenship status in France than the law that they were familiar with, they would have had to say it because the OVERWHELMING use of the term Natural Born at the time was “born in the Country.’

    Re: Soil not conferring allegiance. That is your perception. It was clearly not Madison’s perception. Madison’s statement, quoted above, is that in the US legal system, the place of birth determines allegiance.

    Re: “Allegiance comes through biology, the entire culture and history of the immediate ancestors transmitted internally.”

    There is a difference between real allegiance, meaning the active loyalty of a citizen, and legal allegiance. Even citizens with three generations in the USA, like Benedict Arnold’s three generations before he became a traitor, may be really disloyal. And those who are merely born here can be really loyal. The Constitution cannot determine in advance who will be and who will not be really loyal. Since it does not specifically say that the children of foreigners cannot be president, the normal interpretation is that in terms of law they have the same LEGAL allegiance as the citizens whose parents were already citizens.

    Re: “the genes, the biology of its body, pull it to the homeland of the father.”

    This is an amusing misreading of DNA. A US citizen whose US citizen parents were German, and whose US citizen grandparents were also German is in terms of biology more German than the child of one German parent and a US parent, but the German parent was nationalized after the child was born instead of before.

    According to this pseudo-scientific approach, the US-born child of two immigrants who were nationalized before the birth is different in terms of biology from the US-born child of two immigrants who were nationalized after the birth.

    In fact, we have had seven presidents with at least one parent who was foreign born, and Andrew Jackson had two. To be sure, Andrew Jackson was grandfathered. He would have been eligible regardless of the definition of Natural Born because all he had to be was a citizen at the time of the Constitution, which he was having been born in the USA.

    But the grandfather clause would, of course, be irrelevant to the biological approach to loyalty that is proposed above. Andrew Jackson was very loyal. The fact that his parents were not born in the USA and in fact probably were still dual citizens of Britain at the time of his birth (Britain did not allow its subjects to become foreign citizens without ITs approval at the time, and they were unlikely to have asked for that) was irrelevant to his loyalty.

    Vattel is hardly one who holds the view that the loyalty of a leader is determined by citizenship. He gives several examples of countries who picked their kings and emperors from foreign countries, and never says that doing that was a bad thing.

    The bottom line is that the overwhelming use of Natural Born at the time of the writing of the Constitution was “born in the country.”

    Article II of the Constitution is very clear that a naturalized citizen cannot be president. For that matter, since the President must be a citizen, a foreigner cannot be president. But it says nothing about the children of foreigners who are born in the USA. And, since Natural Born included the children of foreigners at the time, there is no evidence that the framers meant to exclude the children of foreigners who were born in the USA.

    Re: “However, the author of the 14th Amendment himself stated clearly that a natural born citizen was of two U.S. citizen parents.”

    I assume that he did. However, he did not say that the meaning of Natural Born was two US parents at the time of the writing of the Constitution. That could not have been the case according to the hundreds of quotations that I have read. It simply meant “born in the country.”

    Moreover, the Wong Kim Ark case clearly shows what Natural Born means. It says:

    “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, 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.”

    Although the Wong case did not rule that Wong was a Natural Born Citizen for Article II purposes. (No case has, since no presidential case has been called) It clearly defined Natural Born, as EVERY CHILD born in England and that the same rule applied to the colonies and to the United States.

    If you are born in the USA, you are Natural Born. If you are a citizen, you are a Natural Born Citizen.

    • paralegalnm Says:

      The distinctions have been blurred. I take offense at your arrogance, claiming John Jay used ‘natural born’ a certain way. Jay wanted a president free from foreign influences and the constitution bans it from birth in Article II, and later in the ban on accepting foreign honors of nobel station.

      Judges and senators have wasted many words in describing natural born one way, or the other. As the proverb goes, in many words is indiscretion.

      You would probably favor Mr. Dowdy’s interpretation before congress at http://nativeborncitizen.wordpress.com/2009/10/23/us-congress-mr-dowdy-reports-on-the-meaning-of-natural-born/#more-5595.

      Yet, natural born citizen has been interpreted the other way as well. Vattel and Sen. Bingham . . . the judge in Minor and in Ark both lean towards the jus sanguinis nature of natural born citizen.

      I have tried to interpret Article II based on grammatical structure, context, and the thoughts and sources of law and philosophy of the founding fathers. That is a true interpretation called constructionist or originalist. True, you can borrow from the common law perspectives that support your conflating of native and natural born, but you’d be biased in your interpretation because John Jay and Sen. Bingham, and the judges, said it was certain that a natural born citizen was of two U.S. citizen parents.

      Soil nationality relies first on statute at birth, and then allegiance is developed through residency.
      Blood nationality relies on no statute because it flows biologically. As the saying goes, you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family.

      Natural suggests natural law, as many of our rights in the constitution rely on as their source. The definition of Natural Law is beyond the scope or delineation of statute. Natural Born Citizen, as a child born to a Citizen relies on Natural Law. Your desire to conform and distort natural born to encompass Obama violates natural law and invokes man’s discretionary interference through statute.

      In fact, you would agree that while all ‘citizens’ have equal rights of the vote, commerce, and property . . . the natural born citizen clause is exclusionary of any naturalized citizens who, despite one judge’s opinion, includes citizens at birth by statute, e.g., Barack Obama relied upon the 14th Amendment and 8 USC 1401 or 1409 to gain citizenship through his mother.

      One last comment. The scope of natural born British subject was greater than that of the U.S. one, because British are subjects and were part of a vast global colonial empire. Americans are citizens, which removes the allegiance to royalty . . . we have the right of self defense, something a subject depended on through the sovereign.

      It is stipulated by me, and I am sure by you, that Natural Born Citizen has been defined and analyzed both ways. But John Jay used the term in a way to mean a 100% U.S. citizen . . . no dual allegiances . . . and that can only be acheived by the natural flow (Vattel) from the father. [Period]

  7. smrstrauss Says:

    Re: “I take offense at your arrogance, claiming John Jay used ‘natural born’ a certain way. Jay wanted a president free from foreign influences and the constitution bans it from birth in Article II, and later in the ban on accepting foreign honors of nobel station.”

    It is clear that Jay was a lawyer, and it is clear from the quotation I posted that Jay, and Franklin and John Adams, used Natural Born Citizen as equivalent to Natural Born Subject.

    To be sure, Jay wrote Washington that to protect against foreign influence, the president should be a Natural Born Citizen, but Natural Born meant “born in the country” at the time. If Jay had written Washington that the president had to have two US parents or could not be a dual national, that would be different.

    This is hardly arrogance. It is more arrogant to assume that Jay would have excluded the US-born babies of foreigners if he did not say that was what he meant.

    [edited due to complaints about length]

    • paralegalnm Says:

      John Jay urged against a presidency with risks of international intrigue. He therefore wrote to Washington, that it would 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…”

      Vattel wrote, “By the law of nature alone, children follow the condition of their fathers, and enter into all their rights (§ 212); the place of birth produces no change in this particular, and cannot, of itself, furnish any reason for taking from a child what nature has given him.”

      There is no doubt, or argument, that Barack Hussein Obama was, at birth, of two nationalities. 1) A foreign nationality of which he still honors, and; 2) his U.S. nationality which he ignored for the most part until he was about 20 years old . . . stating openly that he despised his white genealogy, his U.S. side. His mother wasn’t much of a U.S. citizen either, essentially renouncing her citizenship in her 20’s, only returning to die of breast cancer.

      Obama is more an f-ing foreigner than a U.S. citizen, which he only saved by the sake of 1952 INA 301(a)(7) and 301(b).

      I rest my case. Any argument to the contrary is, in itself contrary to the context and purpose of Article II’s exclusion of all other forms of citizenship except natural born . . . of a U.S. father and no alien nationality from a foreign mother.
      All of this is analyzed in my main Obama blog, ‘Barack Hussein Obama — A Natural Born Subject of Great Britain.’ His U.S. citizenship at birth from his mother was only acheived by statute.

  8. smrstrauss Says:

    Re: ““By the law of nature alone, children follow the condition of their fathers, and enter into all their rights (§ 212); the place of birth produces no change in this particular, and cannot, of itself, furnish any reason for taking from a child what nature has given him.”

    Yes, but Blackstone said:

    The children of aliens, born here in England, are, generally speaking, natural-born subjects and entitled to all the privileges of such. In which the constitution of France differs from ours; for there, by their jus albinatus, if a child be born of foreign parents, it is alien.” http://www.lonang.com/exlibris/blackstone/

    (And the minor exceptions referred to in “generally speaking” refers to the children of foreign diplomats.)

    John Jay was a lawyer. When he wrote: “Natural Born” it referred to the law. If he had meant to refer to Vattel, or had meant to say that a parent or parents of the child would have to be US citizens, he would have said so. No American leader at the time ever used the term “Natural Born” in any way other than “born in the country.”

  9. paralegalnm Says:

    First, thanks for keeping it brief.

    The term Natural Born is used several ways in English common law. But, there is a distinction to consider. Americans are citizens and British subjects. Our allegiance is less to that of King, but to the allegiance per se of the father . . . the family unit. Derivative nationality from the mother is statutory, and much later.

    To take this distinction to the point of ridiculous, recall the fabled Roman custom of jus prima noctis. The King asserted his right of deflowering virgins, even on their wedding night, as an exhibition of allegiance’s flow to him.

    Vattel’s § 212 is instructive for understanding natural flow of allegiance.

    However, Occam taught us that the simplest solution is often the correct one. The context of John Jay’s letter and the adjective clauses of Article II are definitive to any reader but the most obstinately biased Obama supporter.

    You can not be both a British subject at birth, naturally from the father, AND a Natural Born Citizen of the United States from the mother or soil. All soil and maternal citizenships are defined by statute . . . not natural law.

    Devolving of allegiance and citizenship from the father is not defined statutorily anywhere to be ‘natural born citizenship,’ as it is understood to pass from father to child by natural law. Thus, a natural born citizen . . . singularly of one nationality.

    Many detractors like to cite Minor vs. Happersett. However, the judge admitted no definition of NBC but that a child of two U.S. citizens was the most definite.

    Then, there is the dichotomy of common law’s authority. In one regard, we must be familiar with it for its contribution to U.S. law. Yet, in the final measure it is admitted that there is no reliance on English common law in the United States. The common law system relies on precedent, and every bit of case law mentioning natural born citizen does not rely on it on point, nor are they conclusive . . . they all hedge the meaning for another time.

    That time has come, and John Jay’s letter is proximate and a nexus in determining the alternative clauses in Article II, and the nature of citizenship at the ‘time of adoption.’

  10. smrstrauss Says:

    The issue is not the common law. It is the meaning of Natural Born.

    The common law was one way that Natural Born was used. Others would be, to give an example, when someone writes a letter to someone else and says that the president must be a Natural Born Citizen.

    When the person wrote the letter, he was relying on the reader to understand it from all the previous uses of the term. In those days, and I can show you hundreds of quotations, Natural Born meant the same thing as Native Born did today.

    When Jay wrote to Washington, he used the words “Natural Born.” He did not say “Natural Born as in Vattel.” He did not say “Natural Born meaning two US parents.” He just said “Natural Born.”

    Re: “Minor vs. Happersett. However, the judge admitted no definition of NBC but that a child of two U.S. citizens was the most definite.”

    As you know, no Supreme Court case has decided on Article II. All cases so far have been citizenship cases in which the bottom line is always the decision “he is a citizen,” or “he is not a citizen.”

    However, you will find in all the cases and in the all the writings of the founders, the meaning of “Natural Born” is always “born in the country.” Though in some cases the Supreme Court ruled that X was a citizen, the cases repeatedly define “Natural Born” as “born in the country.” In the Wong Kim Ark case, this is particularly true, with the ruling repeatedly citing the common law that EVERY child born in Britain, regardless of whether her parents were citizens was a Natural Born subject.

    As to “Americans are citizens and British subjects.”

    Yes, but this was NOT the way that the framers understood the difference. I can show you several of the early state constitutions, New York for example, that refers to its citizens as subjects. And even when they lived under the Roman emperor, Roman citizens were called citizens, not subjects.

    But neither “subject” nor “citizen” can affect the meaning of Natural Born. It cannot change because it is as simple as “Ohio-born.” If you are Ohio-born, you can be a subject of Ohio or a citizen of Ohio; you are still Ohio-born.

    Dual Nationality does not change this either. The writers of the Constitution were very aware that some countries are jus soli and others are jus sanquinis. Whenever a child whose parents were jus sanguinis is born in a jus soli country, the child is a dual citizen. The writers of the constitution said nothing about this. In fact, they did not say that the US-born children of foreigners were barred from the presidency PERIOD.

    It is interesting to debate Natural Law, but it has no votes on the Supreme Court. The justices are lawyers, and they are well aware that natural law philosophers disagree. Vattel, for example, recommended that every country have a state religion, which its residents could either practice or be forced to leave.

  11. smrstrauss Says:

    A further note on jus sanguinis. I did some research on it, and it turns out that until very recently, late in the 20th century in most cases, jus sanguinis countries continued to consider the children of its citizens to be citizens at birth even if their parents had been nationalized by a foreign country.

    Thus, if Dual Nationality had effect on Natural Born status, it would in some cases bar the children of nationalized citizens. A child of two nationalized parents from England (jus soli for most of its history) would be eligible. A child of two nationalized parents from Italy (jus sanguinis) would not.

    This leads to the further reflection that Dual Nationality in all cases is caused by a foreign law. There is something strange about thinking that a foreign law can take away something that is available to a child born in America. If the foreign country has a certain kind of law, the child is not eligible. If it doesn’t have that kind of law, the child is eligible.

    The normal legal practice is to say that a foreign law does not affect the law in the United States.

    • paralegalnm Says:

      Your point is vague. As I made clear, the jus solis element of British nationality law was required due to its massive effort in colonization . . . an unfortunate result of private property and succession limited to royal bequeathment.

      Foreign law is essential . . . it has its own jurisdiction . . . dual nationality is a conflict of law . . . read Rogers vs Bellei.

  12. paralegalnm Says:

    Dual nationality introduces conflicts of law . . . in the case of naturalization, nationality itself.

    This is contrary and contradiction to John Jay’s admonition to avoid foreign influences by mandating a natural born citizen.

    There is enough commentary on natural born citizenship, and natural law/flow of allegiance through the father to dismiss more liberal and careless use of the term.

    Your urgency in diluting the meaning of natural born citizen to anything but the children born of two U.S. citizens is an argument against John Jay’s intent, and therefore an unlawful amendment to the constitution.

    It is traitorous and an act of treason, because it not only is a violation of the constitution, but a violation that favors foreign influences which are declared enemies to the constitution and our free, soveriegn repuplic.

    Did I just call you a traitor? Yes.

  13. smrstrauss Says:

    Re: “Dual nationality introduces conflicts of law . . . in the case of naturalization, nationality itself.

    This is contrary and contradiction to John Jay’s admonition to avoid foreign influences by mandating a natural born citizen.”

    Jay said to avoid foreign influences, the president must be a Natural Born citizen, meaning one that is born in the USA. That is sufficient under the common law to make someone have legal allegiance to the USA.

    As Madison said:

    “It is an established maxim, that birth is a criterion of allegiance. Birth, however, derives its force sometimes from place, and sometimes from parentage; but, in general, place is the most certain criterion; it is what applies in the United States. In a speech before the House of Representatives in May of 1789.

    In other words, according to the law at the time simply birth in the country confers allegiance. This allegiance overrides any allegiance to any other country.

    AND, if Jay or any other writer of the time had meant to exclude dual citizens or the US born children of foreigners, they could have said so.

    I know that you hold to your views very strongly, and no matter how many experts are on the other side, you hold those views. But it is worth asking why, if it seems so obvious that Natural Born Citizen means two US parents, so many people are on the other side.

    For example, such prominent conservative Senators who are also lawyers as Orren Hatch and Lindsay Graham say that a Natural Born Citizen is simply one who was born in the USA:

    Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), said:

    “Every child born in the United States is a natural-born United States citizen except for the children of diplomats.” (December 11, 2008 letter to constituent)

    Senator Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT), said:

    “What is a natural born citizen? Clearly, someone born within the United States or one of its territories is a natural born citizen.” (Senate Judiciary Committee hearing hearing on OCTOBER 5, 2004)

    And, Yale Law review wrote:

    It is well settled that “native-born” citizens, those born in the United States, qualify as natural born. It is also clear that persons born abroad of alien parents, who later become citizens by naturalization, do not. (Jill A. Pryor, Yale Law Review, 1988)

    The dual nationality and two-parent assertion was raised with the electors of the electoral college via an e-mail campaign, and none of the 365 votes that Obama won on Nov 4 last year changed. The issues were raised with the congress that confirmed Obama as president, and no one objected. (The procedure was to file objections before the vote and no one did). Moreover, if any of them had changed his or her mind after the vote, they could have gone to the press and said something. Not one did.

    Do you call all these people traitors too?

    • paralegalnm Says:

      Only if they use those arguments to support Obama.

      Madison argued ‘place’ also in the Smith case, in which the citizenship of a minor at the time of the Declaration of Independence was challenged due to his not being of the age of majority. His residency in the colonies was given greater weight than his loyalist parents.

      While all ‘citizens’ have equal rights as ‘natural born citizens,’ not all native born are natural born. If so, the term natural born would be included in the 14th Amendment. It is decidedly missing (see Sen. Bingham, author of the 14th Amendment.) Pryor, Graham, Hatch, and McCotter (in his e-mail to me) are wrong, and have not fully considered the ramifications of their indiscretion. I don’t consider them learned or studied or wise enough to take their utterances as concise interpretations of the law.

      Natural born appears only once in U.S. law, in order to secure for the office of presidency a person free of foreign influence through birth, or naturalization law. Senators and House members were not so restricted.

      If the interpretation of John Jay’s intent, to the consideration of Wong Kim Ark, the 1790 Act, and Senator John Bingham all agree with the exclusivity of a natural born citizen being of two U.S. citizen parents, then that interpretation should and will prevail.

      The treason is the idea to choose the more liberalized interpretation in order to dilute the office of presidency, putting it at risk of foreign intrigue. Obama’s Muslim leanings and Marxist world philosophy are proof enough of John Jay’s wisdom and perspicacity. Obama, intent on signing the Copenhagen agreement is in effect signing away our soveriegnty . . . as is Cap & Trade . . . or prosecution of soldiers in the World Court. A true full-blooded U.S. citizen with no foreign nationalities or allegiances (Obama’s are Kenyan and Indonesian) would never consider doing such a thing.

  14. paralegalnm Says:

    On June 18, 1787, Alexander Hamilton gave a speech about his suggestions for amendments.

    “No person shall be eligible to the office of President of the United States unless he be now a Citizen of one of the States, or hereafter be born a Citizen of the United States.”

    “Born a Citizen” is not of the 14th Amendment, but born of a citizen father. The term ‘natural born’ is more concise and made it to the final edit.

    You see, a child born in the U.S. of a British father would be a natural born subject, of Britain . . . his U.S. citizenship would only be derived from years of residence in the country of his birth, and election upon reaching the age of majority.

    How about a fer instance? Forty years ago, Castro impregnated and then quietly married a United States citizen and she gave birth in New York City. The child spent his summers in glorious Cuba, but finally came to America to be with his mother’s family to pursue his education.

    Under your interpretation of Article II’s natural born citizen, this son of Castro and Cuba would be eligible for the office of president . . . and he wouldn’t be a bastard to boot.

    • on it Says:

      Looks like Orly’s motion for reconsiderations was denied:

      “After reviewing the moving and opposing papers, the Court finds no factual, legal, or bias grounds upon which to grant the motion for reconsideration. Counsel largely repeats the same arguments made in her briefing and oral argument on the Motion to Dismiss, which is prohibited. To the extent that she does present new argument, it is without merit and does not meet the standard for reconsideration. The Court’s ruling that it lacks jurisdiction, and that Plaintiffs have failed to state a claim on their remaining causes of action, stands.

      The Amended Motion for Reconsideration is DENIED.”

      Ho hum….another one bites the dust. However, the birther idiot dance continues.

      • paralegalnm Says:

        The issue is ripe for appeal.

        When a serious violation of constitutional law is alleged, every citizen has equal standing.
        For a federal court to refuse subject matter jurisdiction is abhorent to the law, and this issue will be pursued to its conclusion.

        Since before the election, Obama was admittedly a natural born son of a British subject, and a U.S. citizen at birth by statute.
        It is axiomatic that interpreting law to misconstrue and unlawfully promote an illegal condition is negligence per se, if not outright fraud.

        AlmightyDawg sounds like a pencil-necked scion of an otherwise laudable Georgia family . . . a failed and unethical ambulance chaser if I ever saw one.

      • paralegalnm Says:

        The issue is ripe for appeal.

        When a serious violation of constitutional law is alleged, every citizen has equal standing.
        For a federal court to refuse subject matter jurisdiction is abhorent to the law, and this issue will be pursued to its conclusion.

        Since before the election, Obama was admittedly a natural born son of a British subject, and a U.S. citizen at birth by statute.
        It is axiomatic that interpreting law to misconstrue and unlawfully promote an illegal condition is negligence per se, if not outright fraud.

        AlmightyDawg sounds like a pencil-necked scion of an otherwise laudable Georgia family . . . a failed and unethical ambulance chaser if I ever saw one.

  15. qwertyman Says:

    How about a fer instance? Forty years ago, Castro impregnated and then quietly married a United States citizen and she gave birth in New York City. The child spent his summers in glorious Cuba, but finally came to America to be with his mother’s family to pursue his education.

    Under your interpretation of Article II’s natural born citizen, this son of Castro and Cuba would be eligible for the office of president . . . and he wouldn’t be a bastard to boot.

    Maybe, maybe no. Citizenship is not conferred on the children of foreign diplomats. I feel confident that a head of government or head of state would be considered a foreign diplomat for those purposes.

    If it was, say, Che Guevara, then that child is almost certainly a natural born citizen and eligible for the presidency.

    Terrorists like Timothy McVeigh are also eligible for the presidency, as they’re natural born citizens. We don’t restrict citizenship based on who we like more. We have uniform standards.

    • paralegalnm Says:

      You got me there . . . I thought of that too.

      I like your Che suggestion, seeing how his cult status has increased . . .

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