Who is a Citizen-at-Birth, or a Natural Born Citizen?

“The state of Hawaii has said that President Obama was born there,” the speaker [John Boehner] responded. “That’s good enough for me. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20027684-503544.html

I submit that Speaker John Boehner neglected his due diligence.

Who is a Citizen-At-Birth?

Who is a Natural Born Citizen?

natural-ize — def.  to remove alienage by statutory provision or oath.

natural born citizen — a child born without alienage, e.g., not dealienaged by statutory provision.

 These two questions must be asked by the 112th Congress for two reasons:

 1)      Illegal immigration and the ‘border,’ ‘anchor,’ or ‘jackpot’ baby is creating citizens at birth bankrupting hospitals, communities, and diluting state sovereignty.[1]

2)      By claiming Hawaiian birth, Barack Hussein Obama assumed constitutional eligibility to be President of the United States. However, reading Article II, Sec. 5 of the U.S. Constitution in context of the intent of the framers would deny the son of a British subject natural born citizen eligibility (unless born prior to the “the time of adoption of this constitution.”).

 When Attorney Phillip Berg filed his 2008 lawsuit against Barack Hussein Obama, I was intrigued. However, after two weeks of personal research in my spare time, I had to conclude that Barack Obama was, indeed, a U.S. citizen, but only by statutory provisions.[2]

The next question was if he was a natural born citizen as required by Article II, Sec 5.

The answer was, clearly, No. Obama inherited British and Kenyan nationality at birth through an alien, non-immigrant father.

na-tur-al-ize — def. dealienage by statutory provision at birth or oath.

natural born citizen — def.  a child born without alienage, i.e.,  not requiring ‘dealienage by statutory provision.’

By the time you finish reading this memo, you will wonder how Speaker John Boehner, most of congress,* the media, and many legal scholars got the intent of the framers and the first legislators so wrong.

They lacked curiosity and due diligence, which I hope I can provide you in this memo, and the memos linked within.

*See Appendix A for letters from Congressmen Burgess and McCotter.

 The framers created the term of art ‘natural born citizen’ based on Vattel’s ‘Law of Nations.’

 § 212. Citizens and natives. The citizens are the members of the civil society; bound to this society by certain duties, and subject to its authority, they equally participate in its advantages. The natives, or natural-born citizens,* are those born in the country, of parents who are citizens. As the society cannot exist and perpetuate itself otherwise than by the children of the citizens, those children naturally follow the condition of their fathers, and succeed to all their rights.

* English translation from the original French, ‘indigenes’

Conversely, a society will dilute itself and cease to exist if it allows itself to be populated by children of aliens . . . . . This is why La Raza and the Mexican government so strongly support birthright citizenship; it fulfills their political agenda.

Minor vs Happersette, 88 U.S. 162 (1875) was, at least, honest in its appraisal of ‘natural born citizen’ being unquestionably the child of U.S. citizen parents, and only possibly relying on native-birth alone.

 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.

Chief Justice Waite in Minor vs Happersette (1875)

What about the 14th Amendment?

The 14th Amendment was passed in order to ‘immunize’ the Civil Rights Act of 1866 from congressional repeal or revision.

Here is the preamble to the 1866 Act:

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That all persons born in the United States and not subject to any foreign power, excluding Indians not taxed, are hereby declared to be citizens of the United States;”

Here is the preamble to the 14th Amendment:

“All 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.”

Finally, here is the first section of the Aliens and Nationality Act, Title 8 U.S.C. 1401:

“The following shall be nationals and citizens of the United States
at birth:
(a) a person born in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof;”

Note: That ‘not subject to any foreign power’ is synonymous to the phrase ‘subject to the jurisdiction thereof.’

Note 2:  That accepting Horace Gray’s interpretation, ‘under the jurisdiction thereof’ is a massive REDUNDANCY to ‘born in the United States’ . . . hardly a modifying or conditional clause.

Note 3: Justice Horace Gray violated subject matter jurisdiction AND precedent from an 1884 case, Elk vs Wilkins, which got it RIGHT!

Elk v. Wilkins, 112 U.S. 94 (1884)

The main object of the opening sentence of the Fourteenth Amendment was to settle the question, upon which there had been a difference of opinion throughout the country and in this Court, as to the citizenship of free negroes ( 60 U. S. 73; Strauder v. West Virginia,@ 100 U. S. 303,
100 U. S. 306. This section contemplates two sources of citizenship, and two sources only: birth and naturalization. The persons declared to be citizens are “all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof.” The evident meaning of these last words is not merely subject in some respect or degree to the jurisdiction of the United States, but completely subject to their political jurisdiction and owing them direct and immediate allegiance. And the words relate to the time of birth in the one case, as they do to the time of naturalization in the other. Persons not thus subject to the jurisdiction of the United States at the time of birth cannot become so afterwards except by being
naturalized, either individually, as by proceedings under the naturalization acts, or collectively, as by the force of a treaty by which foreign territory is acquired. (p. 111)

It is also worthy of remark that the language used about the same time by the very Congress which framed the Fourteenth Amendment, in the first section of the Civil Rights Act of April 9, 1866, declaring who shall be citizens of the United States, is “all persons born in the United States, and not subject to any foreign power, excluding Indians not taxed.” 14 Stat. 27; Rev.Stat. § 1992. (p. 103)

In fact, all that is necessary for this issue to be resolved is for Congress to debate and exercise its Plenary Power over Uniform Naturalization Law ( U.S. Const. Art. I, Sec. 8 ) to revise 8 U.S.C. 1401 to clarify its relationship to the 1866 Civil Rights Act preamble.

Cf. http://judiciary.senate.gov/hearings/testimony.cfm?id=1326&wit_id=3883

 The courts (see a brief analysis of Wong Kim Ark, virtually creating the jus solis standard out of thin air, in Appendix C) have for decades held that mere birth on U.S. soil was the controlling factor. Yet, here is Sec 3 of the 1795 Act describing how a minor child of an alien is naturalized, not by birthright, but successful naturalization of the parent.

SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, that the children of persons duly naturalized, dwelling within the United States, and being under the age of twenty-one years at the time of such naturalization, and the children of citizens of the United States born out of the limits and jurisdiction of the United States, shall be considered as citizens of the United States. Provided, that the right of citizenship shall not descend on persons whose fathers have never been resident of the United States. No person heretofore proscribed by any state, or who has been legally convicted of having joined the army of Great Britain during the late war, shall be admitted as foresaid, without the consent of the legislature of the state in which such person was proscribed.

NOTE:  There is no distinction made between minor children emigrating with the father, or those born on U.S. soil during the father’s naturalization process.

Here is how the 14th Amendment was interpreted as citizenship at birth, regardless of the alienage of the parent father:

The power, granted to Congress by the Constitution, “to establish an uniform rule of naturalization” was long ago adjudged by this court to be vested exclusively in Congress. Chirac v. Chirac (1817), 2 Wheat. 259. For many years after the establishment of the original Constitution, and until two years after the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment, Congress never authorized the naturalization of any but “free white persons.” Acts of March 26, 1790, c. 3, and January 29, 1795, c. 20; 1 Stat. 103, 414; April 14, 1802, c. 28, and March 26, 1804, c. 47; 2 Stat. 153, 292; March 22, 1816, c. 32; 3 Stat. 258; May 26, 1824, c. 186, and May 24, 1828, c. 116; 4 Stat. 69, 310.

The Fourteenth Amendment, while it leaves the power where it was before, in Congress, to regulate naturalization, has conferred no authority upon Congress to restrict the effect of birth, declared by the Constitution to constitute a sufficient and complete right to citizenship.

Notice that Justice Gray in Wong Kim Ark slips in his interpretation of Ark’s 14th Amendment right to citizenship at birth a Constitutional definition of citizenship. Chief Justice Fuller, by the way, disagreed. Per my discussion of the writing and purpose of the 14th Amendment, guaranteeing automatic citizenship to freed slaves and their children, the slaves had no subjection to any foreign jurisdiction. Yet, a child of an alien immigrant, legal or otherwise, possessed by nature and the laws of the foreign power alienage.

Alienage, which in Obama’s case was that of his British subject father, requires naturalization law to ‘de-alienage;’ that is the function of naturalization law. Therefore, Ark would have to be a naturalized citizen through his own application. In the same light, Barack Hussein Obama was a naturalized, statutory citizen at birth, through 8 U.S.C. 1401 or 1409.

This law, Mandatory Authority in interpreting who is a U.S. citizen, is clearly based on Emmerich de Vattel. The myriad of references to English law ( foreign law being persuasive, but lacking authority ) relied upon by the judiciary are extensive, but wrong.[3]

How can I prove it?

1) There is an alternative definition of citizenship being inherited, based on Vattel and not English law.

2) The result of jus solis birthright citizenship in a Republic, where those newborns are instantly equal members of the polity, i.e., citizens, yet of foreign nationality from their parent, has been rampant illegal immigration and destruction of our infrastructure and electorate. It is what Justice Joseph Story recognized as a ‘conflict of laws.’   Secretary of State William H. Seward, said: “But the idea of a double allegiance and citizenship united in the same person, and having reference to two separate, independent, and sovereign nations or governments, is simply an impossibility.” See also the Alexander Morse quote in the following section. https://paraleaglenm.wordpress.com/2009/02/27/barack-hussein-obama-a-natural-born-subject-of-great-britain/

3) Re-interpretation of the law in accordance to Vattel eliminates, i.e., cures current conflicts of nationalities and abuses of immigration, including a president born of a British subject, and of foreign influences favoring totalitarian economics and law.

 John Jay (May 22, 1793): “The Constitution, the statutes of Congress, the laws of nations, and treaties constitutionally made [not English law] compose the laws of the United States.”       (http://books.google.com/books?id=jVkSAAAAYAAJ , Page 479)

In a letter to Henry Lee ( http://tinyurl.com/ya3wj3j ) on June 25, 1824, James Madison wrote:

 What a metamorphosis would be produced in the code of law if all its ancient phraseology were to be taken in its modern sense . . . And that the language of our Constitution is already undergoing interpretations unknown to its founders . . . Not to look farther for an example, take the word ‘consolidate’ in the Address of the Convention prefixed to the Constitution. It there and then meant to give strength and solidity to the Union of the States. In its current & controversial application it means a destruction of the States, by transfusing their powers into the government of the Union.

The Conundrum of Dual Nationality

Alexander Morse wrote:

 Any doctrine which recognizes a double citizenship or double nationality attempts to perpetuate a political hybrid, which is as abnormal and monstrous as its prototype in the natural world: and the expression even must disappear as soon as that wise and judicious system which Savigny almost created becomes universal. The basis of this system is £he principle which insists that there should be a harmony rather than a conflict of laws. The contrary principle, which seeks to perpetuate a conflict of laws, is a relic of barbarism, and is rapidly disappearing from view.

The jus solis model is best suited to a totalitarian sovereignty. Allegiance is state sanctioned regardless of parentage and only revocable by act of treason; it is for life. By adopting jus solis principles for granting citizenship at birth, the United States judiciary has created conflicts of law with children having the nationality of an alien parent as well as U.S. birthright.

In Justice C.W. Fuller’s dissent in Wong Kim Ark, he opines that English mandate of natural born subjects born to subjects overseas creates a conflict of laws, i.e., children of aliens born within English dominion are natural born subjects, but children of English subjects born overseas are not subjects to the place they were born.

Here is some English law.

Later, this problem of jus solis in a foreign sovereignty not under the King’s dominion is solved, “[t]to encourage also foreign commerce, it was enacted by statute 25 Edw. III st. 2, that all children born abroad, provided both their parents were at the time of the birth in allegiance to the king, and the mother had passed the seas by her husband’s consent, might inherit as if born in England . . . The children of aliens, born here in England, are, generally speaking, natural-born subjects, and entitled to all the privileges of such.                    The Laws of England: in four books,’  p 232, William Blackstone.

A Violation of Jurisprudence?

The case law Obama supporters rely on goes so far as to define ‘natural born citizen’ directly from English law’s ‘natural born subject,’ declaring no difference between ‘subject’ and ‘citizen.’ This case law is enormous in volume[4] to the point where Blackstone’s commentaries on English common law[5] is cited as precedent, raising  persuasive authority up to the level of mandatory authority.

This is an absolute violation of jurisprudence. Being British, the American colonies followed English law; that is a given. However, English law became secondary in value once the constitution was adopted. In regards to Wong Kim Ark’s adoption of jus solis, the Cooley Act and corresponding Chinese treaty did cause inequities, but it was that inequity that the Supreme Court had jurisdiction over, not the essence of Naturalization law itself. The Supreme Court had Article III jurisdiction over treaty and cases in Equity, but not to make changes to the specifically enumerated plenary power of congress over naturalization law itself.

Note the Connecticut Chief Justice Jesse Root’s comment in ‘The Origin of Government and Laws in Connecticut’ (1798), stating the following:

 We need only compare the laws of England with the laws of Connecticut, to be at once convinced of the difference which pervades their whole system . . . These rights and liberties are our own, not holden by the gift of a despot. Our government and our rulers are from amongst ourselves; chosen by the free, uninfluenced suffrages of enlightened freemen; not to oppress and devour, but to protect, feed, and bless the people, with the benign and energetic influence of their power (as ministers of God for good to them). This shows the ignorance of those who are clamorous for a new constitution, and the mistake of those who suppose that the rules of the Common Law of England are the common law of Connecticut, until altered by a statute.

Compare this to, “From the General Assembly of Virgina to the Senators from that State in Congress, January 11th, 1800:

THE General Assembly of Virginia would consider themselves unfaithful to the trust reposed in them, were they to remain silent, whilst a doctrine has been publicly advanced, novel in its principle and tremendous in its consequences: That the common law of England is in force under the government of the United States.  Deeply impressed with these opinions, the general assembly of Virginia instruct the senators, and request the representatives from this State, in Congress, to use their best efforts To oppose the passing of any law, founded on, or recognising the, principle lately advanced, ‘that the common law of England is in force under the government of the United States,’ excepting from such opposition such particular parts of the common law as may have a sanction from the Constitution, so far as they are necessarily comprehended in the technical phrases which express the powers delegated to the government; …. and excepting, also, such other parts thereof as may be adopted by Congress as necessary and proper for carrying into execution the powers expressly delegated.

Additionally, it was not until British Nationality Act of 1772 that a child, whose father was a British Subject, born abroad was given equal status as a natural-born subject (this done via act of parliament). Prior to that time, different laws were passed but they basically provided a route for naturalization, which as explained earlier did not have all rights attached to it.

Cf. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649, Dissent by Chief Justice C.J. Fuller,

Whether it was also the rule at common law that the children of British subjects born abroad were themselves British subjects — nationality being attributed to parentage, instead of locality — has been variously determined. If this were so, of course, the statute of Edw. III was declaratory, as was the subsequent legislation.

But, if not, then such children were aliens, and the statute of 7 Anne and subsequent statutes must be regarded as, in some sort, acts of naturalization. On the other hand, it seems to me that the rule partus sequitur patrem has always applied to children of our citizens born abroad, and that the acts of Congress on this subject are clearly declaratory, passed out of abundant caution to obviate misunderstandings which might arise from the prevalence of the contrary rule elsewhere.

Section 1993 of the Revised Statutes provides that children so born are declared to be citizens of the United States; but the rights of citizenship shall not descend to children whose fathers never resided in the United States.

Thus, a limitation is prescribed on the passage of citizenship by descent beyond the second generation if then surrendered by permanent non-residence, and this limitation was contained in all the acts from 1790 down. Section 217 provides that such children shall “be considered as citizens thereof.

The language of the statute of 7 Anne, c. 5, is quite different in providing that the children of all natural-born subjects born out of the ligeance of Her Majesty, her heirs and successors, shall be deemed, adjudged and taken to be natural-born subjects of this kingdom to all intents, constructions and purposes whatsoever.

In my judgment, the children of our citizens born abroad were always natural-born citizens from the standpoint of this Government. If not, and if the correct view is that they were aliens but collectively naturalized under the act of Congress which recognized them as natural-born, then those born since the Fourteenth Amendment are not citizens at all, [p715] unless they have become such by individual compliance with the general laws for the naturalization of aliens, because they are not naturalized “in the United States.”

By the fifth clause of the first section of article two of the Constitution, it is provided that:

No person except a natural-born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty-five years, and been fourteen years a resident within the United States.

In the convention, it was, says Mr. Bancroft, objected that no number of years could properly prepare a foreigner for that place; but as men of other lands had spilled their blood in the cause of the United States, and had assisted at every stage of the formation of their institutions, on the seventh of September, it was unanimously settled that foreign-born residents of fourteen years who should be citizens at the time of the formation of the Constitution are eligible to the office of President.

 “The interpretation of the Constitution of the United States is necessarily influenced by the fact that its provisions are framed in the language of the English common law, and are to be read in the light of its history.” Smith v. Alabama, 124 U. S. 465, 478 (1888)

. . . or, is it? Do we go so far as to extend that observation to include English law as authoritative precedent? No . . . foreign law is instructive and even persuasive, but it is not of value as precedent in the face of existing U.S. legislated Act.

 The following cite is from the Schneiderman case, in which an avowed and active communist’s recent naturalization was challenged, the plaintiff claiming the court erred being that Schneiderman’s politics belied his ‘attachment’ and ‘support’ the Constitution of the United States. Plaintiff demanded Schneiderman be ‘de-naturalized.’ (Note: 8 U.S.C. 1424 specifically denies visa and naturalization access to communists, and in my opinion Muslims as well.)

 Since 1790 Congress has conferred the function of admitting aliens to citizenship exclusively upon the courts. In exercising their authority under this mandate the federal courts are exercising the judicial power of the United States, conferred upon them by Article III of the Constitution. Tutun v. United States, 270 U.S. 568; holding that an application for naturalization is a ‘case’ and a final decision.
SCHNEIDERMAN v. UNITED STATES, 320 U.S. 118; 63 S. Ct. 1333;87 L. Ed. 1796 (1943)

Appendix A  —   Letters from Congressmen to Two Constituents

Dear Miss Xxxxxx:   Thank you for continuing to contact me regarding your concerns with the eligibility of President Barack Obama. I appreciate you clarifying your previous correspondence.    I have heard about the various concerns regarding President Obama’s qualification to be President of the United States. With respect to his place of birth, the White House and the state of Hawaii have issued statements substantiating that President Obama was born on August 4, 1961 in Honolulu, Hawaii; and I have not seen evidence to the contrary. You also specifically expressed your concerns that the President is using a dead person’s Social Security Number. Again, I have not seen any evidence which substantiates this claim and, despite my numerous disagreements with his policies, I do not believe that he is constitutionally ineligible for the office of the Presidency.    Again, thank you for taking the time to contact me. I appreciate having the opportunity to represent you in the U.S. House of Representatives. Please feel free to visit my website (www.house.gov/burgess) or contact me with any future concerns.

Sincerely,
Michael C. Burgess, M.D.
Member of Congress

Dear Mr. Xxxxxxx:

Thank you for informing me of your concerns regarding President Barack Obama’s citizenship.  Your thoughts on this important matter are most welcome and appreciated.

As you know, the United States Constitution, in Article II, Section I, establishes the principle qualifications an individual must meet to become President of the United States.  Specifically, the Constitution states “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President.”  Additionally, the candidate must be at least thirty-five years of age and have been a resident in the United States for at least fourteen years.

On August 21, 2008, Mr. Philip J. Berg, an attorney filed suit against President Barack Obama, alleging he is not eligible for the Office of the President because President Obama lost his United States citizenship when his mother married an Indonesian citizen and naturalized in Indonesia.  Further, Berg alleged President Obama followed his mother’s naturalization and failed to take an oath of allegiance when he turned eighteen years old to regain his United States citizenship status.  In October of 2008 Pennsylvania Eastern District Court Judge R. Barclay Surrick dismissed the lawsuit Berg v. Obama, ruling Mr. Berg lacked standing to bring the case.  Thereafter, Berg filed an emergency motion with the United States Third Circuit Court of Appeals, where subsequently, Third Circuit Judge Thomas Ambro denied the motion.  Subsequently, Berg petitioned for a Writ of Certiorari, where if granted, the Supreme Court would review the decision of a lower court.  On December 10, 2008 the Supreme Court denied Berg’s petition for an injunction against the seating of the Electoral College.  On December 15, 2008, Berg re-filed the application for injunction.  Two days later, the petitioner’s appeal was denied without comment by Justice Anthony Kennedy.  On December 18, 2008, Berg’s request for an injunction was re-filed with the Court and was summarily denied on January 21, 2009.

Recently, on January 20, 2009, Barack Obama was sworn in as our nation’s 44th President. Nevertheless, Berg continues to assert President Obama lost his naturalized citizenship when he became a citizen of Indonesia after moving there as a boy.  Similarly, additional lawsuits have been filed requesting the birth certificate of our President.

Ultimately, under our Constitution the authority to make a ruling on this matter rests with the Supreme Court of the United States.  Rest assured, however, I will well remember your concerns regarding this issue during the 111th Congress.  Again, thank you for contacting me; and for all you do for our community and our country.  Should you have any further comments or questions on this or any other issue, please contact me at the Livonia or Milford district, or Washington, D.C. office.

I work for you.

Sincerely,
Thaddeus G. McCotter
Member of Congress

Appendix B 

“As such, the allegiance of parents whatever their situation is irrelevant in determining the citizenship status of a child born in the United States. At common law, a native is a person born within the jurisdiction and allegiance of a country, irrespective of the allegiance of his parents, except the child of an ambassador.” Ex parte Palo, 3 F. 2d 44, 45 (W.D. Wa 1925)

The court in Luria vs. United States, 231 US 9 (1913) noted: “Under our Constitution, a NATURALIZED CITIZEN stands on an equal footing with the NATIVE CITIZEN in all respects, save that of eligibility to the Presidency. (emphasis added)

I do not find warrant in the Constitution for believing that it contemplates two classes of citizens, excepting only for two purposes. One is to provide how citizenship shall be acquired, Const., Art. I, § 8; Amend. XIV, § 1, the other to determine eligibility for the presidency. Const., Art. II, § 1. The latter is the only instance in which the charter expressly excludes the naturalized citizen from any right or privilege the native-born possesses. Knauer vs. United States, 328 US 654, 677 (1946) (Rutledge, J, dissenting)

Fisher vs. U.S., 425 U.S. 391 (1976) – “The language of the Constitution cannot be interpreted safely except by reference to the common law and to British institutions as they were when the instrument was framed and adopted.”

Colgrove vs. Battin, 413 U.S. 149 (1973) – “(I)t is common sense and not merely the blessing of the Framers that explains this Court’s frequent reminders that: ‘The interpretation of the constitution of the United States is necessarily influenced by the fact that its provisions are framed in the language of the Emglish common law, and are to be read in the light of its history.’”; quoting Smith vs. Alabama, 124 U.S. 465, 478 (1888)

Ex parte Grossman, 267 U.S. 87 (1925) – “The statesmen and lawyers of the Convention who submitted it to the ratification of the Convention of the Thirteen States, were born and brought up in the atmosphere of the common law, and thought and spoke in its vocabulary. They were familiar with other forms of government, recent and ancient, and indicated in their discussions earnest study and consideration of many of them, but when they came to put their conclusions into the form of fundamental law in a compact draft, they expressed them in terms of the common law, confident that they could be shortly and easily understood.”

Kepner vs. U.S. – 195 U.S. 100 (1904) – “In this, as in other respects, it [a constitutional provision] must be interpreted in the light of the common law, the principles and history of which were familiarly known to the framers of the Constitution.”

Ex parte Wells, 59 U.S. 307 (1855) – “Now, no principle is better settled than that for the definition of legal terms and construction of legal powers mentioned in our constitution and laws; we must resort to the common law when no act of assembly, or judicial interpretation, or settled usage, has altered their meaning.”

Viewed against the background of history and the context of the times, it is not surprising that the men who drafted the Constitution equated “citizen” and “subject”. Until the Colonies had successfully won their freedom from England, their inhabitants were subjects of the King. With the birth of the United States, the sovereignty that had previously been that of one man,—the King,—was transferred to the collective body of the people. Those who had been subjects of the King were now citizens of the State. Van Der Schelling vs. US News & World Report, Inc., 213 F. Supp. 756 ,761 (ED PA 1963)

Subject and citizen are, in a degree, convertible terms as applied to natives, and though the term citizen seems to be appropriate to republican freemen, yet we are, equally with the inhabitants of all other countries, subjects, for we are equally bound by allegiance and subjection to the government and law of the land.” 2 Kent Com. 258. Medvedieff vs. Cities Service Oil Co., 35 F. Supp. 999, 1002 (SD NY 1940)

The Supreme Court of North Carolina in State v. Manuel, 4 Dev. & Bat. 20, 26, (quoted in United States vs. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649,) said: “The term `citizen,’ as understood in our law, is precisely analogous to the term `subject’ in the common law, and the change of phrase has entirely resulted from the change of government. The sovereignty has been transferred from one man to the collective body of the people; and he who before was a `subject of the King’ is now `a citizen of the State.'” Hennessy vs. Richardson Drug Co., 189 US 25, 34 (1903)

“We thus have an acknowledgment that our law in this area follows English concepts with an acceptance of the jus soli, that is, that the place of birth governs citizenship status except as modified by statute.” Rogers vs. Bellei, 401 US 815, 838 (1971)

“The very learned and useful opinion of Mr. Justice Gray, speaking for the Court in United States v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649, establishes that, at common law in England and the United States, the rule with respect to nationality was that of the jus soli, — that birth within the limits of the jurisdiction of the Crown, and of the United States, as the successor of the Crown, fixed nationality, and that there could be no change in this rule of law except by statute:” Weedin vs. Chin Bow, 274 US 657,660 (1927)

“The ancient and indisputable citizenship rule of the British common law was the jus soli, under which a person’s nationality is determined by the place of his birth…. It is clear, of course, that the American colonies and the nation they ultimately established had accepted the precepts of the English common law, as part of the heritage from the mother country.” Cong. Globe, 39th Congress, 1st Sess. 1262 (1866) (Congressman Broomall).

Galaviz vs. Bridgestone Corp. (N.D. Tex. 2008), the court noted that two minor children, born in Texas of Mexican parents, were “natural born citizens” of the United States due to their birth in Texas, even though they lived in Mexico since birth and had no intention of returning to the U.S.

Of course there is Ankeny vs. Governor of State of Indiana (Ind. App. 2009), which specifically addressed President Obama’s eligibility and held that “persons born within the borders of the United States are ‘natural born Citizens’ for Article II, Section 1 purposes.”

In State vs. Superior Court of Washington for King County (Wash. 1920), the Washington Supreme Court noted that a “natural born citizen’s right to vote depends upon HIS PLACE OF BIRTH” (emphasis added) and a few sentences later the court used the term “native born citizen” in place of “natural born citizen.”

In Town of New Hartford vs. Town of Canaan, (Conn. 1886), the Connecticut Supreme Court noted that “In Rawle’s View of the Constitution of the United States (page 86) it is said: ‘Every person born within the United States, its territories or districts, whether the parents are citizens or aliens, is a natural-born citizen within the sense of the constitution, and entitled to all the rights and privileges appertaining to that capacity.’”

“‘No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President,’ &c. The only standard which then existed, of a natural born citizen, was the rule of the common law, and no different standard has been adopted since. Suppose a person should be elected president who was native born, but of alien parents, could there be any reasonable doubt that he was eligible under the Constitution? I think not. The position would be decisive in his favor, that by the rule of the common law, in force when the Constitution was adopted, he is a citizen.” Lynch vs. Clarke, 3 N.Y. Leg. Obs. 236 (Chancellery Court of N.Y. 1844)

“The interpretation of the Constitution of the United States is necessarily influenced by the fact that its provisions are framed in the language of the English common law, and are to be read in the light of its history.” Smith vs. Alabama, 124 U. S. 465, 478 (1888)

“The common law spoken of was, of course, the law of England as it existed at the time of the colonial settlements — “a system of unwritten law, not evidenced by statutes, but by tradition and the opinions and judgments of the sages of the law. Morgan v. United States, 13 F. 2d 763, 764 (4th Cir. 1926)

Appendix C — What in the Hell was Justice Gray thinking, in Wong Kim Ark?

When I became intrigued with the reliance of the court on English jus solis, when existing law provided naturalization of children of aliens upon naturalization of their parents or formal application when reaching twenty-one years of age, I assumed Justice Gray ignored the Uniform Naturalization Acts.

It had been some time since reading Ark, so I did several searches using ‘1795 Naturalization Act’, and various strings using the formal citation, coming up with nothing.

Notice, however, how Gray cites legislative Act in Ark: “Acts of March 26, 1790, c. 3; January 29, 1795, c. 20; June 18, 1798, c. 54; 1 Stat. 103, 414, 566; April 14, 1802, c. 28; March 26, 1804, c. 47; 2 Stat. 153, 292; February 10, 1854, c. 71; 10 Stat. 604; Rev.Stat. §§ 2165, 2172, 1993.”

“Second. Children of persons so naturalized, “dwelling within the United States, and being under the age of twenty-one years at the time of such naturalization.”” Justice Gray in Wong Kim Ark; citing the Naturalization Act.

So, I was shocked that Gray dismissed legislated Act in favor of his judicial theories relying on jus solis. (Indeed, further reading shows English law to be more complicated than Gray assumed. There are two types of English citizens, as I discussed in the above article. One, ‘by descent,’ and two, ‘otherwise than by descent.’ Both English citizenships required an English father, but being born within English dominion enhanced citizenship rights.

Then, he says, “Here is nothing to countenance the theory that a general rule of citizenship by blood or descent has displaced in this country the fundamental rule of citizenship by birth within its sovereignty.”

Forgive me, but that makes absolutely no sense generally; and the conclusion of favoring a ‘fundamental’ rule of jus solis versus the ‘general rule’ of descent, especially when that general rule is specified in the Act, as quoted above, is a leap of logic more suited to an Escher print.

Back to the question at hand in Ark, Ark was denied citizenship by treaty and legislated Act, that Act barring Ark’s parents and therefore himself from naturalization. The Supreme Court had jurisdiction over the Treaty, but needed congress to follow its lead in eliminating the Cooley Act’s absolute ban on Chinese immigration. After all, Congress could limit immigration for purposes of balance, but not ban Chinese altogether. Indeed, the limitation of immigration to the 1790 Act’s ‘Protestant White Men’ was superseded by ‘men of good character’ and the Reconstruction Act’s inclusion of blacks.

It is that simple fact that should have motivated the Supreme Court to remand the issue to the ‘lower court’ of proper jurisdiction, which was congress. Instead, Gray made a fundamental change to all U.S. immigration law.


[1] New Mexico Secretary of State Mary Herrera admitted 82,000 NM drivers licenses were issued to non-citizens, making them eligible to vote. In 2008, Barack Hussein Obama won New Mexico’s five electoral votes by 11,599 votes. See also http://politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2010/sep/09/susana-martinez/richardson-denish-administration-gave-50000-driver/ (‘Politifact’ is a Pulitzer Prize winning Florida news source.)

[2] https://paraleaglenm.wordpress.com/2010/01/21/a-timeline-of-barack-hussein-obamas-nationality-and-citizenships/

[3] See Appendix B for selected citations of case law.

[4] See Appendix B for selected citations of case law.

[5] “The children of aliens, born here in England, are, generally speaking, natural-born subjects.” ‘Commentaries on the laws of England: in four books,’ p 232, William Blackstone (1723-1780)

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2 Responses to “Who is a Citizen-at-Birth, or a Natural Born Citizen?”

  1. jtx Says:

    Leonard:

    I’ve lost your actual email address that I had on an earlier computer but we had emailed previously when I was working to help Mario Apuzzo and Charles Kercjner on the Kerchner et al case.

    I have a paper you may find ineresting showing that Obama’s current Apr 27 WHBC actually shows him to not be born in the US. I’d like to solicit andy comments you might have (or not if you prefer), so if you could emeil me your “real” address, I’ll attach it to an email to you.

    It’s called “The Little Man Who Wasn’t There”!!

  2. Fax this Memo to your Congressman « Paralegalnm’s Blog Says:

    […] https://paraleaglenm.wordpress.com/2011/01/07/who-is-a-citizen-at-birth-or-a-natural-born-citizen/ […]

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