Defining “Natural Born Citizen”

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The Debate Over Who Qualifies To Run For President

In order to qualify to be President, the US 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; 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.”  So what defines a “natural born citizen.”  The answer has not been so simple over the years.  The framers left it fairly vague and up to us to interpret throughout our history, and it is an issue that has gone back and forth.

This has all been brought into question as a result of one man whom various media outlets have kept an eye on that he might try to run for President in 2016.  The man in question is freshman Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).  Cruz was born in Canada to an American mother and a Cuban father.  His parents were working in the oil business there.  (This will be addressed later on.)  Cruz’s father did not become a US citizen until 2005.  So though he has made trips to Iowa and the media seems to be watching him quite closely, does he even meet the qualifications of being a natural born citizen?

145731159_640Section 1 of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution states, “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. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

This still only leaves a very vague definition for what constitutes a natural born citizen.  So now we look toward Section 5 of the 14th Amendment which states, ” The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.”  It should also be noted that under Article 1, Section 8, Clause 4 of the US Constitution, Congress has authority to create law regarding naturalization which includes citizenship.

So now we know that Congress, under the 14th Amendment, can write legislation declaring what constitutes a natural born citizen. And yes, that means that there will be legal challenges and the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) will have to make sure such legislation does not violate the Constitution in any way… including Section 1 of the 14th Amendment.  In the case Minor v. Happersett (1875), the Court ruled, “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.”

Now though the Constitution is vague in what constitutes a natural born citizen, Congess has stepped in to attempt to fill in the gap.  Under Title 8 of the US Code, Section 1401 defines the following as citizens of the United States upon birth… or natural born citizens:

  • Anyone born inside the United States.  The person must be “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States.  (This would exempt the child of a diplomat, for example, from this provision.)
  • Any Indian or Eskimo born in the United States, provided being a citizen of the U.S. does not impair the person’s status as a citizen of the tribe
  • Any one born outside the United States, both of whose parents are citizens of the U.S., as long as one parent has lived in the U.S.
  • Any one born outside the United States, if one parent is a citizen and lived in the U.S. for at least one year and the other parent is a U.S. national
  • Any one born in a U.S. possession, if one parent is a citizen and lived in the U.S. for at least one year
  • Any one found in the U.S. under the age of five, whose parentage cannot be determined, as long as proof of non-citizenship is not provided by age 21
  • Any one born outside the United States, if one parent is an alien and as long as the other parent is a citizen of the U.S. who lived in the U.S. for at least five years (with military and diplomatic service included in this time)

By the conditions just laid out, it would appear that Senator Ted Cruz is not eligible to run for President as he would not qualify as a natural born citizen since only one of the parents was a citizen of the US.  However, there still exists one more historical clause which will challenge this argument.  The clause states, “a person born before May 24, 1934 of an alien father and a US citizen mother who has lived in the US” is a citizen.  Does this change the argument?  If it is grouped with Section 1401 of Title 8 of the US Code, then it would appear so.

Currently, citizenship in the US is governed by the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952.  The most recent changes to statutory law was done by Congress in 2001.  So since this most recent debate has circulated around Sen. Cruz, I am going to focus on one particular section… birth abroad to one US citizen.  There are a certain set of rules for those born after November 14, 1986, but I’m focusing on the rules at the time of Cruz’s birth which are the rules that were in effect from December 24, 1952 – November 14, 1986.  A person born abroad between those dates is a US citizen upon birth if all of the following are true:

  1. The person’s parents were married at the time of birth
  2. One of the person’s parents was a U.S. citizen when the person was born
  3. The citizen parent lived at least ten years in the United States before the child’s birth;
  4. A minimum of 5 of these 10 years in the United States were after the citizen parent’s 14th birthday.

By these very definitions of the law, it would appear that Sen. Cruz is a natural born citizen and thus meets the qualifications to run for President if he decided to do so.  This also does one more thing, as well.  In regards to President Obama, if the “birther” theory had been proven correct (and I’m not saying that it is) in that he had been born in Kenya (instead of Hawaii) to his US mother and his Kenyan father, he would still qualify as a natural born citizen.

image005As I stated at the beginning, this issue is a complicated mess.  The Framers left it vague when they wrote the Constitution.  Did they do it because they couldn’t foresee our future situations or was it so we could make such a determination as our nation progressed?  One can only really speculate on that.  Regardless, we have done our best to set forth a definition, and one that holds for all Americans… born here and born abroad.  The laws have changed throughout our history, and they will probably change again in our future.  For now, we go by the laws which we have… the laws in which we live by… the laws that govern our society.  They apply to us all equally.  In this confusing mixture, I hope there has been some small sense to the issue and that now we can have a better understanding of it.

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  1. JimNiner RestlessNativ pugilist66 In regards to the use of the concept of "natural born" in the time of the framers, I offer http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/a1_8_4_citizenships1.html "The first and most obvious division of the people is into aliens and natural-born subjects. Natural-born subjects are such as are born within the dominions of the crown of England, that is, within the ligeance, or as it is generally called, the allegiance of the king; and aliens, such as are born out of it." However, Blackstone also recognizes natural born citizenship for subjects born abroad. English common law is comprised of precedents, court decisions, as amended by statutes. "Yet the children of the king’s embassadors born abroad were always held to be natural subjects: for as the father, though in a foreign country, owes not even a local allegiance to the prince to whom he is sent; so, with regard to the son also, he was held (by a kind of postliminium) to be born under the king of England’s allegiance, represented by his father, the embassador. To encourage also foreign commerce, it was enacted by statute 25 Edw. III. st. 2 (passed in 1350). 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: and accordingly it hath been so adjudged in behalf of merchants. But by several more modern statutes these restrictions are still farther taken off: so that all children, born out of the king’s ligeance, whose fathers were natural-born subjects, are now natural-born subjects themselves, to all intents and purposes, without any exception; unless their said fathers were attainted, or banished beyond sea, for high treason; or were then in the service of a prince at enmity with Great Britain." The http://www.indiana.edu/~kdhist/H105-documents-web/week08/naturalization1790.html, passed just 12 months after our constitution became effective in 1789, undoubtedly reflects the understanding of “natural born citizen” in effect in that era, and states: And the children of citizens of the United States that may be born beyond Sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born Citizens:  Provided, that the right of citizenship shall not descend to persons whose fathers have never been resident in the United States… A http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R42097.pdf concludes: The weight of legal and historical authority indicates that the term“natural born” citizen would mean a person who is entitled to U.S. citizenship “by birth” or “at birth,” either by being born “in” the United States and under its jurisdiction, even those born to alien parents;by being born abroad to U.S. citizen-parents; or by being born in other situations meeting legal requirements for U.S. citizenship “at birth.” Such term, however, would not include a person who was not a U.S. citizen by birth or at birth, and who was thus born an “alien” required to go through the legal process of “naturalization” to become a U.S. citizen.
  2. JimNiner RestlessNativ pugilist66 Guys, All of this has already been resolved.  The 14th Amendment established a baseline by which subsequent legislation has narrowed the defining characteristics required to be a "natural born" citizen.  The law in effect at the time of Cruz's birth in Canada, the McCarran-Walter Act, established that the following must be true in order to receive the status of "natural born citizen:" - One parent is a US citizen at the time of birth and the birthdate is before November 14, 1986 but after October 19, 1952. and, - The parents are married at the time of birth and the US citizen was physically present in the US or its territories for a period of at least ten years at some time in his or her life prior to the birth, at least five of which were after his or her 14th birthday. As Ted Cruz's birth meets all these requirements, he is a "natural born citizen" of the United States.  No further discussion is required.  No subsequent law can remove citizenship status previous granted at birth.   Cruz is eligible to run for President.
  3. GlennPChickering Surly Curmudgen pleas show me such a law or a supreme court case that backs your opinion the law is more complicated than  one might think  and  children born of one parent out of wedlock are considered moms nationality  if born after 1952  and  you are either a natural born citizen or become nationalized which also can depend on age and registration but I see nothing saying both parents have to be American citizens again  the supreme court will have to decide this issue I seen arguments on both sides of the coin
  4. RestlessNativ pugilist66 see? sometimes that name calling is just plain wrong...in more ways than one
  5. RestlessNativ Surly Curmudgen I don't think I've ever agreed with the Curmudgen (though it's usually a less concrete more emotional issue...), but I agree wholeheartedly with him here
  6. mrrmwright @Vicki nope she got preg at 17 and was 18 when stanley gave birth
  7. mrrmwright nope , sorry james, if obama had been born in kenya he would not be a natural born citizen. in 1961 it required 5 years of us residence from the age of 14 . 5 plus 14 = 19 and stanley was 18 when she gave birth. ouch
  8. GlennPChickering Surly Curmudgen sorry but no where has the constitution or the supreme court say both parents have to be a US citizen  also natural born   is not what it says  it says naturalized the meaning being citizen at birth, the only way to settle the argument is for the supreme court  to take up the matter
  9. Surly Curmudgen pugilist66 Just what in that makes me a lib. Try Googling the screen name and then come back and try telling me I am a lib. LOL
  10. GlennPChickering wow your research is lacking, the supreme court  has stated if the parent is female  who is the citizen  than a child born in a foreign jurisdiction will be a natural born citizen however if the parent of us citizen ship is male  than this male must claim child as his before his 18th birthday   wish I could remember the case however it was about a father and son and son was born elsewhere  and ended up deported to live with relatives and poor kid only spoke English  I believe it was between 20-30 years ago
70 comments
mrrmwright
mrrmwright

nope , sorry james, if obama had been born in kenya he would not be a natural born citizen. in 1961 it required 5 years of us residence from the age of 14 . 5 plus 14 = 19 and stanley was 18 when she gave birth. ouch 

GlennPChickering
GlennPChickering

wow your research is lacking, the supreme court  has stated if the parent is female  who is the citizen  than a child born in a foreign jurisdiction will be a natural born citizen however if the parent of us citizen ship is male  than this male must claim child as his before his 18th birthday   wish I could remember the case however it was about a father and son and son was born elsewhere  and ended up deported to live with relatives and poor kid only spoke English  I believe it was between 20-30 years ago

Vicki
Vicki

I don't understand your math concerning Barack Obama and is citizenship.  His mother was 19 when he was born.  According to your article, she would have to have resided in the US for at least 5 years after her 14th birthday.  If he was born in what is now known as Kenya, his citizenship would depend on how long she had been in Kenya before his birth.  If she had been there for longer than 9 months, by your definition, he would not qualify.

PatriciaTeel
PatriciaTeel

A Natural Born Citizen is a person born in the US to parents that were born in the US .I should know. I am a true natural born citizen. My mothers ancestor was one of the first to settle in Jamestown VA in the early 1600s. She had more than one ancestor that fought in the Revolutionary War. My father's ancestors arrived in 1751 and one fought in the Revolutionary War. All my ancestors since then have been born in the USA, including one Seminole Indian. In my opinion, as much as I love Ted and for as much as I dislike Obama, neither qualify for president. BOTH had fathers that were NOT born here, so they are NOT NATURAL BORN CITIZENS !.

Surly Curmudgen
Surly Curmudgen

"Citizen at birth" is not the equal of "natural born citizen"

To be a natural born citizen the citizenship must be singular and beyond any doubt. You can not be born on foreign soil as that raises the possibility of dual citizenship. Your father can not be of British citizenship as that makes you a dual citizen. Your father can not be of Cuban citizenship as that makes you a dual citizen.

To be a natural born citizen, not just a citizen, you must have all three legs of the stool. First you must be born on US soil. Second your mother must be a US citizen at your birth. Third your father must be a US citizen at your birth.

US citizenship alone can be attained by any one of the three.

JimNiner
JimNiner

But Cruz does meet the last bullet in the list of requirements as established by Congress.  His father was an alien, and his mother was a citizen of the US who had lived in the US for at least 5 years.  Additionally, we have political ties with Canada that allow that nation to issue US citizenship to those born within their borders to parents wherein at least one is a citizen of the US.

cfkerchner
cfkerchner

Natural born citizen of the United States goes to allegiance, i.e., sole allegiance to the USA at birth.  That is why the founders and framers chose that natural law legal term for who can be President and Commander-in-Chief of our military forces. Read this Three Legged Stool Test for more information on sole allegiance at birth and natural born Citizenship:  http://cdrkerchner.wordpress.com/2013/11/15/the-three-legged-stool-test-analogy-for-natural-born-citizenship-of-the-united-states-to-constitutional-standards/


JimHenderson
JimHenderson

You have made a leap in logic unsupported by the text of the Constitution.

Congress has plenary authority to provide a uniform rule for naturalization, to be sure.

But your assertion that Congress can enact laws defining "Citizenship" is unsupported by constitutional text.  Naturalization is the process of making one who WAS NOT a citizen into one.  But citizenship is acquired by means other than naturalization, namely by right of birth.  Congress has no constitutional warrant to regulate the terms or conditions of citizenship for natural born citizens.

rraeppel
rraeppel

The Framers were not vague if you read the Federalist Papers. They understood a 'natural born' citizen to be someone whose PARENTS (plural) were citizens of the US at the time of the child's birth. To claim, as some judges and lawyers do, that anyone born in the US is a 'natural born" citizen is ludicrous, because that would mean that children born here to illegal immigrants can become president. When a judge has to make a decision as to the constitutionality of a law, they are supposed to consider the original intent of the framers, not rule what they think is constitutional. They don't do that and that is why we have so many unconstitutional laws in this country today.

davidfarrar1
davidfarrar1

I cannot follow the construct you imply here*. If we all agree; do we not, the 14th Amendment did not change the US Const., which, of course, cannot be done without holding a constitutional convention, then where has this new authority derived to create natural law -- if such a thing is even possible? While it is readily true Congress, under Art. 1, § 8, Cl. 4 of the US Constitution, has the authority to establish a uniform rule of naturalization...throughout the United States, which includes (US) citizenship, it can only do so by positive law, not by natural law. Positive law can adopt natural law, but it cannot create natural law. Simply passing a statute and calling it a natural law, does not make it a natural law. Where did you get such a silly notion?


The sun raises in the east and sets in the west, as natural law dictates. You can pass any sort of positive law to the contrary you like and call it whatever you like, but it isn't natural law. This is precisely why the 14th Amendment  has nothing to do with an Art. II, §I, cl. 4 natural born citizen. Congress simply has no power to create natural born citizens. 


ex animo

davidfarrar

*So now we look toward Section 5 of the 14th Amendment which states, “ The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.”  It should also be noted that under Article 1, Section 8, Clause 4 of the US Constitution, Congress has authority to create law regarding naturalization which includes citizenship.  So now we know that Congress, under the 14th Amendment, can write legislation declaring what constitutes a natural born citizen.

bradfregger
bradfregger

This comment section is essentially, to quote Shakespeare, "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." First, Obama is a nothing issue unless it it is determined that he was actually born in Kenya. If this happened the odds are the courts would allow him to complete his second term, unless, he was impeached (highly unlikely). Second, if Ted Cruz decides to run, the courts would decide if he was eligible, this might happen state by state ... It would definitely be a difficult process. So ... It is ridiculous to pretend that anyone of us knows what the result would be, any lawyer would tell you that it is extremely difficult to know in advance what the ruling is. I know it's fun to discuss the issue, but nobody knows the future in this regard.

ProtectOurLiberty
ProtectOurLiberty

Read this essay regarding the legal term of art “natural born Citizen” and basic logic, i.e., trees are plants but not all plants are trees. Natural born Citizens are a subset of “born Citizens (citizens at birth)” but not all “born Citizens (citizens at birth)” are “natural born Citizens”: http://cdrkerchner.wordpress.com/2012/06/20/of-natural-born-citizens-and-citizens-at-birth-and-basic-logic-trees-are-plants-but-not-all-plants-are-trees-natural-born-citizens-nbc-are-citizens-at-birth-cab-but-not-all-cab/

ProtectOurLiberty
ProtectOurLiberty

Read these essays regarding the legal term of art “natural born Citizen” and basic logic, i.e., trees are plants but not all plants are trees. Natural born Citizens are a subset of “born Citizens (citizens at birth)” but not all “born Citizens (citizens at birth)” are “natural born Citizens”: http://cdrkerchner.wordpress.com/2012/06/20/of-natural-born-citizens-and-citizens-at-birth-and-basic-logic-trees-are-plants-but-not-all-plants-are-trees-natural-born-citizens-nbc-are-citizens-at-birth-cab-but-not-all-cab/ … AND … http://www.art2superpac.com/issues.html Also watch this video by the renowned constitutional scholar Dr. Herb Titus: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esiZZ-1R7e8

CDR Charles Kerchner (Ret)

Radphord Howard
Radphord Howard

D. Randall ... I still refer to the Constitution and the lack of vagueness in the document: The office of the President is the ONLY position REQUIRING "natural born citizen" ... Representatives and Senators only require they be a "citizen" ... Vattel was French, so what? Lafayette was French and fought WITH us. Vattel wasn't defining a natural born citizen for France; he was defining what was considered the general consensus of people of the time. Yes, maybe we're beating a dead horse here but the only way we correct this blunder is to stop allowing it to happen by electing another UNqualified person. Therefore, Ted Cruz and  Marco Rubio are NOT eligible and if the GOP had any guts, they would start impeachment proceedings against the communist in the White House.

Radphord Howard
Radphord Howard

Our founding fathers did NOT leave the definition "vague" ... in 1887, "the Law of Nations" defined a natural born citizen as "natural-born citizens, are those born in the country, of parents who are citizens. "How is that "vague"? Those who are bent on destroying this nation have perverted the 14th Amendment to fit their agenda because the 14th Amendment did NOT change the definition; it granted citizenship to freed slaves – Period!! As much as I like Sen. Cruz, he is NOT eligible to be President, anymore than the communist occupying the White House is!

Angry as hell
Angry as hell

Just the fact that MR. Cruz did not renounce his citizenship to Canada before running for public Office in the U.S. Makes me have my doubts...Besides, anyone like him that would initiate a government shutdown while the U.S. Is still at War is troublesome. I mean during the shutdown a damn charity had to step up to pay for the death benefits for the service men and women killed in Afghanistan. To me that proves where his allegiance is, and it is not to the United States.

And before some hammerhead goes off about death benefits for servicemen an women killed in action, the Government gets the deceased person to Dover AFB, with the death benefits paid to the families, it allows them to travel there and make arrangements for their loved one's return to their home state and funeral expenses, anything over the allotment of the death benefit the family has to shell out. So ask yourself, during the shutdown, we had I think 5 K.I.A. And the government could not pay its bills, because of Mr. Cruz and his rendition of green eggs and ham by Dr. Seuss.

cfkerchner
cfkerchner

The "Three Legged Stool" test for whether a candidate or otherwise meets the constitutional "natural born Citizen of the United States" requirement to be the President and Commander in Chief of our military:  http://www.scribd.com/doc/185258103/Three-Legged-Stool-Test-for-Natural-Born-Citizen-of-the-United-States-to-Constitutional-Standards  Also check out:  http://www.art2superpac.com for more history as to HOW and WHY that requirement was put in there in the first place.   CDR Kerchner (Ret)

cfkerchner
cfkerchner

To know why something is in the U.S. Constitution you must look to why the founders and framers put it in there.  Find the purpose they chose certain words and phrases.  The founders and framers chose the natural law term of "natural born Citizen".  So we must look to why.  It all boils down to allegiance(s).  For the office of the President and Commander in Chief of our military the founders decided that after the founders and framers were gone that the person in the office must have SOLE allegiance to the USA at birth. John Jay's letter to George Washington the president of the Constitutional Convention said it explicitly ... to reduce any chance of "foreign influence" on the person who would command our military forces in the new government the person should be a "natural born Citizen" rather than the less exclusive term of being simply "born a Citizen" as was suggested by Alexander Hamilton. Cruz and Obama were born to a foreign national father and thus no matter where they were born, neither one is or was eligible. Neither of their fathers was a U.S. Citizen when their son was born. Cruz's dad eventually became a U.S. Citizen.  Obama's did not.  Obama's father was eventually deported back to Kenya.  Both were born with dual allegiances at birth. Read this essay regarding the legal term of art “natural born Citizen” and basic logic, i.e., trees are plants but not all plants are trees. Natural born Citizens are a subset of “born Citizens (citizens at birth)” but not all “born Citizens (citizens at birth)” are “natural born Citizens”: http://cdrkerchner.wordpress.com/2012/06/20/of-natural-born-citizens-and-citizens-at-birth-and-basic-logic-trees-are-plants-but-not-all-plants-are-trees-natural-born-citizens-nbc-are-citizens-at-birth-cab-but-not-all-cab/ … AND … http://www.art2superpac.com/issues.html Also watch this video by the renowned constitutional scholar Dr. Herb Titus: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esiZZ-1R7e8

CDR Charles Kerchner (Ret), http://www.protectourliberty.org

KathyYorkovitch
KathyYorkovitch

I am confused by this unless I am misreading the article.   It states that Cruz was born in Canada to an American mother and a Cuban father.  So I would assume that since it state an American mother not Canadian that she would be a US citizen.  Then is states that in Title 8 of the US Code, Section 1401 defines the following as citizens of the United States upon birth… or natural born citizens:  

  • Any one born outside the United States, if one parent is an alien and as long as the other parent is a citizen of the U.S. who lived in the U.S. for at least five years (with military and diplomatic service included in this time)

So from what I read he would be a US citizen by this unless his mother did not live in the US for at least 5 years.   

mrrmwright
mrrmwright

@Vicki nope she got preg at 17 and was 18 when stanley gave birth

GlennPChickering
GlennPChickering

@Surly Curmudgen pleas show me such a law or a supreme court case that backs your opinion the law is more complicated than  one might think  and  children born of one parent out of wedlock are considered moms nationality  if born after 1952  and  you are either a natural born citizen or become nationalized which also can depend on age and registration but I see nothing saying both parents have to be American citizens

again  the supreme court will have to decide this issue I seen arguments on both sides of the coin  

RestlessNativ
RestlessNativ

@Surly Curmudgen I don't think I've ever agreed with the Curmudgen (though it's usually a less concrete more emotional issue...), but I agree wholeheartedly with him here

GlennPChickering
GlennPChickering

@Surly Curmudgen sorry but no where has the constitution or the supreme court say both parents have to be a US citizen  also natural born   is not what it says  it says naturalized the meaning being citizen at birth, the only way to settle the argument is for the supreme court  to take up the matter 

pugilist66
pugilist66

Apparently, you haven't read up on this matter before. But, good try lib.

RobertRiversong
RobertRiversong

@rraeppel : In fact, there was no national rule of US citizenship prior to the adoption of the 14th Amendment, as citizenship in the US was defined by citizenship in one of the States, and that was determined by state legislatures.


And what was meant by "natural born citizens" in the 14th Amendment was clarified by Congress:

Under Sec. 1992 of U.S. Revised Statutes, the same Congress which had adopted the Fourteenth Amendment, confirmed this principle: “All persons born in the United States and not subject to any foreign power, excluding Indians not taxed, are declared to be citizens of the United States.”

emaildejan
emaildejan

@rraeppel  Well, I would argue that a natural born citizen (RBC) does NOT require that both parents be U.S. citizens per se at the time of one's birth.  Instead, I would argue that both parents must be LEGAL RESIDENTS of the U.S.   So, in other words, LEGAL ALIENS who choose to permanently live in the U.S. (i.e., have been granted a green card) that have a child would be giving birth to a NATURAL BORN citizen because both parents are "subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S."  


However, visiting aliens (only have a visa, but no green card) cannot have a child that can claim to be a RBC.  In fact, the child at that point is considered a "visiting" alien since both parents are subject to the jurisdiction of another country anyway.  However, the child COULD at least lay some claim to a dual-citizenship, and in such could be considered a "regular" citizen of the U.S.  Also, any foreigner that becomes a citizen of the U.S. would also be considered a "regular" citizen, but not a RBC.


As far as ILLEGAL ALIENS are concerned, the location for the birth of their children is rendered equally meaningless by the "subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S."  Since neither parent is subject to the U.S. jurisdiction (they both crossed the border ILLEGALLY), then their child cannot lay claim to being a U.S. citizen, let alone a RBC.

RobertRiversong
RobertRiversong

@davidfarrar1 "the 14th Amendment did not change the US Const., which, of course, cannot be done without holding a constitutional convention"

Did you flunk high school civics?


"Amendments...shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution"

bradfregger
bradfregger

It doesn't matter what you or any of us thinks. The courts and the states will decide who can run for and be president. If Cruz runs, this will surely be challenged; unlike Obama who was never fully vetted. Congress obviously thought the term "natural-born citizen" needed defining, whether or not that stands up in court and the states ... we will just have to wait and see. In the meantime, quit showing your ignorance of how the courts in the USA work by suggesting that you have knowledge of the only possible outcome. I will say this, if Cruz was a liberal there wouldn't be a question of whether he could run or not. Progressives are such hypocrites.

RobertRiversong
RobertRiversong

@Radphord Howard : That you believe the corporatist president Obama is a "communist" would seem to disqualify you as a voter by reason of abject ignorance, inadequate intelligence, and extreme bias.

D Randall
D Randall

@Radphord Howard  That the constitution specifically qualifies the office of president alone in terms of "natural born citizenship". Is not vague.  They clearly intended that he not be an immigrant. Whether that also entailed that his parents both be citizens is what IS undefined.


Re: Vattel being French, I don't mean to impugn his expertise or character (or any other Frenchman's) in any way. I only mean that he is not writing with reference to, or with any knowledge of, the United States or its laws or constitution or the intent of the framers, none of which even existed when he wrote or in his lifetime for that matter. Nor was he resident in the American colonies prior to the revolution. So he can in no way be an authority on the US Constitution. Lafayette was on our side, and had extensive experience with the American colonies and the revolution, but I wouldn't look to him to interpret the constitution either. The only pertinence that TLON has in this discussion is whether or not the framers had it in mind when they chose the wording of the article. It is believed that his work had an influence on the framers, and I don't doubt that this is true. But being influential does not make his work equal to the Bible in all details. He was not the only influence, and his definition of "natural born"  wasn't necessarily universal at the time. If anyone can come up with any reference to TLON by the the framers specifically related to their consideration of Article 2 I would very much like to hear about it, because that would supply a missing link in the argument that I haven't been able to find. There is another problem with attributing the use of the term "natural born citizen" to TLON. That is, from what I have read, no English translation of this work at the time contains that wording, though modern translations do. It would seem that if the framers had specifically had this definition from TLON in mind they would have used the wording of the English translation available at the time.


Without a specific connection between Vattel and the framers specific to this issue, we can look to how the Supreme Court has interpreted "natural born". As I pointed out in my earlier reply, they sometimes refer to Vattel, but they have been far from consistent in defining "natural born citizen".  Perkins v Elg is particularly damaging as it looks favorably on a AG opinion that a person born on US soil is qualified to run for president, even if his parents are both foreign and were only in the country briefly. 


Believe me, I am sympathetic to the cause, but trying make out that Obama is clearly disqualified based on his father's citizenship just makes us open to being considered ignorant, vindictive, and nit-picking. It strengthens Obama in the eyes of the general public and weakens the opposition. This is why level headed conservatives haven't jumped on this bandwagon. Nothing to do with Republicans who might have the wrong lineage. The whole case started out as a claim that Obama was foreign born. When that collapsed, it has turned into an issue of his father's citizenship. This question has come up time and again with regard to past presidential candidates, and I haven't found one where a candidate was disqualified on that basis. The case just can't be made beyond doubt or even by preponderance of evidence. And the people who are trying to make are just ignoring a lot of the evidence.


All I can say for sure is that the framers were aware of TLON, and it was highly regarded in general. So his definition MAY have been what they had in mind when they used the term "natural born citizen". That's as far as the evidence I have found can take me, which is not far enough to prove that Obama or Cruz are disqualified.


Again, the "smoking gun" would be some definite evidence that TLON was a deciding factor in the wording Article 2 as opposed to any of the other highly regarded authorities at the time.


For a well reasoned article on this topic from a conservative source see:

http://www.redstate.com/diary/ironchapman/2012/05/21/on-this-natural-born-citizen-issue-part-i-from-alexander-hamilton-to-lynch-v-clarke/


D Randall
D Randall

@Radphord Howard  Vattell is not vague, however Vattel is not the Constitution, he is only one legal philosopher, and a French, not American one at that. (Btw TLON was published in 1757.) That said the Supreme Court has cited Vattel as an authority on this perhaps most notably in the case of "The Venus".That case would seem to set a decisive precedent. However the Supreme Court has held in other cases that "natural born" only refers to place of birth. In 1875, Attorney General Pierrepont rendered an opinion on the citizenship of a child born of German parents who were travelling in the US and returned to Germany: "Young Steinkauler is a native-born American citizen. There is no law of the United States under which his father or any other person can deprive him of his birthright. He can return to America at the age of 21, and in due time, if the people elect, he can become President of the United States." This opinion was later cited by the Supreme Court  in Perkins v Elg. So one court in one case cites a French legal philosopher, and another in another case cites an AG opinion to support different conclusions. While the term "natural born" occurs in a number of SC decisions, none of them specifically deal with the case of the eligibility of an individual for the office of the presidency.


Attorney General Edward Bates stated it well, "... our constitution, in speaking of natural born citizens, uses no affirmative language to make them such". Since then the SC has not really helped, sometimes defining "natural-born" in one way, and sometimes in another.


Re: the 14th amendment, congress cannot define the term "natural-born". The congress can write laws to enforce provisions of the constitution, it cannot define what the constitution means. That is the pervue of the courts. This can only be settled via ruling by the SC on a case specifically regarding the citizenship of a person with regard to the eligibility to hold the office of presidency. Or better yet, an amendment to the constitution to clarify this.


Those who say this issue is clear (either way) only cite the cases that agree with them and ignore the rest. Before weighing in, DO THE RESEARCH.


As to my own opinion, Obama is NOT qualified to be president. But that has nothing to do with who his father was. We need to quit beating this citizenship horse. It is now irrelevant. He IS the president, and there is no likelihood that the SC will even have an opportunity to find otherwise any time soon, if ever. That ship has sailed, or should I say sunk. Invest the time and resources working issues that will matter.

cfkerchner
cfkerchner

@KathyYorkovitch It all boils down to allegiance(s).  For the office of the President and Commander in Chief of our military the founders decided that after the founders and framers were gone that the person in the office would have SOLE allegiance to the USA at birth.  Cruz and Obama were born to a foreign national father and thus no matter where they were born, neither one is or was eligible. Both were born with dual allegiances at birth. Read this essay regarding the legal term of art “natural born Citizen” and basic logic, i.e., trees are plants but not all plants are trees. Natural born Citizens are a subset of “born Citizens (citizens at birth)” but not all “born Citizens (citizens at birth)” are “natural born Citizens”: http://cdrkerchner.wordpress.com/2012/06/20/of-natural-born-citizens-and-citizens-at-birth-and-basic-logic-trees-are-plants-but-not-all-plants-are-trees-natural-born-citizens-nbc-are-citizens-at-birth-cab-but-not-all-cab/ … AND … http://www.art2superpac.com/issues.html Also watch this video by the renowned constitutional scholar Dr. Herb Titus: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esiZZ-1R7e8

bradfregger
bradfregger

You are exactly right! Your confusion comes from those who don't want him to be a citizen and therefore refuse to see and accept the facts. There are some who insist on twisting the truth until it has a semblance of what they want it to say.

The problem with Obama is that his mother did not meet those requirements, assuming he wasn't born in the US.

Surly Curmudgen
Surly Curmudgen

@pugilist66 Just what in that makes me a lib. Try Googling the screen name and then come back and try telling me I am a lib. LOL 

Much research in a law library reading on paper the pertinent cases. My stance is rock solid. Neither Obama nor Cruz is qualified for the office.

Surly Curmudgen
Surly Curmudgen

@RobertRiversong @rraeppel declared to be citizens of the United States.” but not natural born citizens.

The 14th amendment has nothing to do with the requirements for president. That amendment applies only to citizenship in the US.

Wilted Rose
Wilted Rose

@D Randall @Radphord Howard  

You said:

" Attorney General Pierrepont rendered an opinion on the citizenship of a child born of German parents who were travelling in the US and returned to Germany: "Young Steinkauler is a native-born American citizen. There is no law of the United States under which his father or any other person can deprive him of his birthright. He can return to America at the age of 21, and in due time, if the people elect, he can become President of the United States." This opinion was later cited by the Supreme Court  in Perkins v Elg"

As stated in Perkins v Elg, "Young Steinkauler" was born to naturalized American citizen parents. His parents weren't just traveling in the US, they were citizens.


As the court states in Perkins v Elg -
"It has long been a recognized principle in this country that, if a child born here is taken during minority to the country of his parents' origin, where his parents resume their former allegiance, he does not thereby lose his citizenship in the United States provided that, on attaining majority he elects to retain that citizenship and to return to the United States to assume its duties."

The court used Steinkauler as an example of this principle.


Steinkauler and Elg shared their circumstances at birth. Both were born in the US to US citizen parents. Both were natural born citizens.


Minor v Happersett gave the definition of "natural born citizen". I see no conflict.

KathyYorkovitch
KathyYorkovitch

@cfkerchner @KathyYorkovitch  This article is mainly about Cruz and is very confusing because they state that  Under Title 8 of the US Code, Section 1401 "Senator Ted Cruz is not eligible to run for President as he would not qualify as a natural born citizen since only one of the parents was a citizen of the US." But he does because of the last qualification listed just above that statement. He had one parent that was a US citizen at the time of his birth.  Then a few sentences later it states that he is.   President Obama is only listed in the last few sentences and I have not been following him enough to comment about him.   It looks like the writer of this article was just as confused as me when posting this and tried to make it fit Obama without pointing directly at him.  


JimNiner
JimNiner

@RestlessNativ @pugilist66

Guys,

All of this has already been resolved.  The 14th Amendment established a baseline by which subsequent legislation has narrowed the defining characteristics required to be a "natural born" citizen.  The law in effect at the time of Cruz's birth in Canada, the McCarran-Walter Act, established that the following must be true in order to receive the status of "natural born citizen:"


- One parent is a US citizen at the time of birth and the birthdate is before November 14, 1986 but after October 19, 1952.


and,


- The parents are married at the time of birth and the US citizen was physically present in the US or its territories for a period of at least ten years at some time in his or her life prior to the birth, at least five of which were after his or her 14th birthday.


As Ted Cruz's birth meets all these requirements, he is a "natural born citizen" of the United States.  No further discussion is required.  No subsequent law can remove citizenship status granted at birth.  


Cruz is eligible to run for President.  

cfkerchner
cfkerchner

bradfreggerThe law cited says who is a national of or "Citizen" of the United States at birth or by birth.  It does NOT say who is "natural born Citizen" of the United States.  You cannot ignore the adjectives.  Natural born Citizens are created by the laws of nature and nature's God, not man-made laws.  You obviously did not read and think in depth about the information I presented and the information presented by the constitutional scholar, Dr. Titus.  Cruz was born with triple allegiances at birth.  Canada by place, Cuban from his father, and U.S. from his mother.  Having three allegiances at or by birth cannot possibly equate to SOLE allegiance at or by birth.  Obama has similar problems no matter where it turns out he was born. Obama was British by birth via his British Subject father who sired Obama before Kenya was a free nation and U.S. by his mother IF he was born in the USA.  If not born in the USA then Obama's mother was too young per the laws back then to pass on U.S. Citizenship.  And if Obama was born in a foreign country such as Canada, Indonesia, or Kenya, then Obama would have that Citizenship two.  So Cruz and Obama have multiple allegiances and citizenships by birth.  And renouncing them after the fact does not change your birth status.  Naturalized citizens have to renounce their foreign allegiances when they become a U.S. Citizen. Such renouncements does not make them a natural born Citizen.  Both major political parties want to ignore that term in the constitution so they can run whatever "politically sexy" person they want. Thus they and their major media backers want to keep the people confused so they can do what they wish to do down in Washington DC.  The founders and framers looked to natural law for guidance.  If you don't believe that statement read the first paragraph of the Declaration of Independence.  Read book about the body of law known as The Law of Nations and Principles of Natural Law by Emer de Vattel, a legal reference book that the founder read and used. http://www.lonang.com/exlibris/vattel/vatt-119.htm The Law of Nations is referred to in the Constitution itself.  Natural law (by being born in the USA to two U.S. Citizens at the exact time and place of birth) is what creates and defines a "natural born Citizen of the United States".  Read this analysis by constitutional law attorney Mario Apuzzo of NJ and reread the reports I wrote and watch the video by the constitutional scholar Dr. Titus:  http://puzo1.blogspot.com/2013/07/the-constitution-rule-of-law-and.html  and do read the various U.S. Supreme Court decision that speak about the constitutional term "natural born Citizen of the United States".


CDR Kerchner (Ret), http://www.protectourliberty.org

bradfregger
bradfregger

Like I said originally, those that want Obama president regardless of where he was born will twist the facts until they fit, while those that don't want Cruz will do the same. There is no doubt that the founders wanted a solid commitment to the US, but it is also true that their definition of "natural-born citizen" was not as clear as it could have been and that the congress has been struggling with that for centuries. Regardless, Cruz meets the requirement necessary by law and that will prevail should he decide to run for president, no matter what a thousand essays say.

JimNiner
JimNiner

@RestlessNativ @pugilist66


In regards to the use of the concept of "natural born" in the time of the framers, I offer William Blackstone (1765), Commentaries 1:354, 357–58, 361–62

"The first and most obvious division of the people is into aliens and natural-born subjects. Natural-born subjects are such as are born within the dominions of the crown of England, that is, within the ligeance, or as it is generally called, the allegiance of the king; and aliens, such as are born out of it."

However, Blackstone also recognizes natural born citizenship for subjects born abroad. English common law is comprised of precedents, court decisions, as amended by statutes.

"Yet the children of the king’s embassadors born abroad were always held to be natural subjects: for as the father, though in a foreign country, owes not even a local allegiance to the prince to whom he is sent; so, with regard to the son also, he was held (by a kind of postliminium) to be born under the king of England’s allegiance, represented by his father, the embassador. To encourage also foreign commerce, it was enacted by statute 25 Edw. III. st. 2 (passed in 1350). 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: and accordingly it hath been so adjudged in behalf of merchants. But by several more modern statutes these restrictions are still farther taken off: so that all children, born out of the king’s ligeance, whose fathers were natural-born subjects, are now natural-born subjects themselves, to all intents and purposes, without any exception; unless their said fathers were attainted, or banished beyond sea, for high treason; or were then in the service of a prince at enmity with Great Britain."

The Naturalization Act of 1790, passed just 12 months after our constitution became effective in 1789, undoubtedly reflects the understanding of “natural born citizen” in effect in that era, and states:

And the children of citizens of the United States that may be born beyond Sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born Citizens:  Provided, that the right of citizenship shall not descend to persons whose fathers have never been resident in the United States…

2011 report prepared by the Congressional Research Office concludes:

The weight of legal and historical authority indicates that the term“natural born” citizen would mean a person who is entitled to U.S. citizenship “by birth” or “at birth,” either by being born “in” the United States and under its jurisdiction, even those born to alien parents;by being born abroad to U.S. citizen-parents; or by being born in other situations meeting legal requirements for U.S. citizenship “at birth.” Such term, however, would not include a person who was not a U.S. citizen by birth or at birth, and who was thus born an “alien” required to go through the legal process of “naturalization” to become a U.S. citizen.



And so it seems this case is ... closed.

Surly Curmudgen
Surly Curmudgen

@RobertRiversong @Surly Curmudgen @rraeppel You are the one displaying ignorance.  Neither Obama nor Cruz nor Rubio nor Jindal nor McCain nor Romney nor Santorum are natural born citizens. That should be a glaring illumination of the lack of regard for our constitution displayed by our politicians. 

bradfregger
bradfregger

@RobertRiversong @Surly Curmudgen @rraeppel


Sorry Robert, but you're the one who is has exposed himself it be less than up-to-date on these issues.  Surly is a gigantic leap ahead of you, you need to take learning seriously to catch up and that means reading and understanding more than you are told to by progressive idiots.

Surly Curmudgen
Surly Curmudgen

@RobertRiversong @Surly Curmudgen @rraeppel  Micro evolution was proved a long time ago, the rest of evolution is still up in the air as only theory. The latest attempt to explain evolution is "punctuated equilibrium". 

The globe has been warming and cooling for a long time. A lot longer than man has been around. The current cycle of cooling not warming  ( Earth has been cooling since 1997) is not caused by man. Mans effect, on for instance CO2, is less than 0.000037%.