Daily Wisdom

December 13, 2008

Natural Born Citizen - Definition

Natural Born Citizen: A person who is born within the borders of a country (jus soli) to parents who are both citizens of that country (jus sanguinis).

The following is from the Natural Born Citizen blog. I have bolded certain passages for emphasis...

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Despite popular belief, the 14th Amendment does not convey the status of “natural born Citizen” in its text. It just conveys the status of “Citizen”. And it’s very clear that in the pre-amendment Constitution, the Framers made a distinction between a “Citizen” and a “natural born Citizen”. The requirement to be a Senator or Representative is “Citizen”, but the requirement to be President is “natural born Citizen”.

From 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 the State wherein they reside.

But even as to this conveyance of citizenship, those who were responsible for drafting the 14th Amendment made it clear that - to them - the meaning of “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” meant subject only to the jurisdiction thereof.

Dr. John Fonte, Senior Fellow of The Hudson Institute had this to say about the issue at a Congressional hearing on dual citizenship from September 29, 2005:

The authors in the legislative history, the authors of that language, Senator Lyman Trumbull said, ”When we talk about ’subject to the jurisdiction of the United States,’ it means complete jurisdiction, not owing allegiance to anybody else.” Senator Jacob Howard said that it’s ”a full and complete jurisdiction.”

This illustrates that Congress recently discussed the issue, and they can’t claim they were unaware. But we don’t have to take Dr. Fonte’s word for it. The following discussion by the various 14th Amendment Framers took place on the Senate floor. I took it from P.A. Madison’s research at http://www.14thamendment.us (use his link for footnotes):

It is clear the framers of the Fourteenth Amendment had no intention of freely giving away American citizenship to just anyone simply because they may have been born on American soil. Again, we are fortunate enough to have on the record the highest authority tell us, Sen. Lyman Trumbull, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee... and the one who inserted the phrase:

[T]he provision is, that ‘all persons born in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens.’ That means ’subject to the complete jurisdiction thereof.’ What do we mean by ‘complete jurisdiction thereof?’ Not owing allegiance to anybody else. That is what it means.

Then Madison quotes Sen. Howard, another Framer, concurring with Trumbull:

Sen. Howard concurs with Trumbull’s construction:

Mr. HOWARD: I concur entirely with the honorable Senator from Illinois [Trumbull], in holding that the word “jurisdiction,” as here employed, ought to be construed so as to imply a full and complete jurisdiction on the part of the United States, whether exercised by Congress, by the executive, or by the judicial department; that is to say, the same jurisdiction in extent and quality as applies to every citizen of the United States now.[3]

Mr. Madison continues with even more proof of what the 14th Amendment Framers meant:

Sen. Johnson, speaking on the Senate floor, offers his comments and understanding of the proposed new amendment to the constitution:

[Now], all this amendment [citizenship clause] provides is, that all persons born in the United States and not subject to some foreign Power–for that, no doubt, is the meaning of the committee who have brought the matter before us–shall be considered as citizens of the United States. That would seem to be not only a wise but a necessary provision. If there are to be citizens of the United States there should be some certain definition of what citizenship is, what has created the character of citizen as between himself and the United States, and the amendment says that citizenship may depend upon birth, and I know of no better way to give rise to citizenship than the fact of birth within the territory of the United States, born to parents who at the time were subject to the authority of the United States.[4]

No doubt in the Senate as to what the citizenship clause means as further evidenced by Sen. W. Williams:

In one sense, all persons born within the geographical limits of the United States are subject to the jurisdiction of the United States... All persons living within a judicial district may be said, in one sense, to be subject to the jurisdiction of the court in that district, but they are not in every sense subject to the jurisdiction of the court until they are brought, by proper process, within the reach of the power of the court. I understand the words here, ’subject to the jurisdiction of the United States,’ to mean fully and completely subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.[5]

Madison saves for last the greatest authority on the issue:

Rep. John Bingham of Ohio, considered the father of the Fourteenth Amendment, confirms the understanding and construction the framers used in regards to birthright and jurisdiction while speaking on civil rights of citizens in the House on March 9, 1866:

[I] find no fault with the introductory clause [S 61 Bill], which is simply declaratory of what is written in the Constitution, that every human being born within the jurisdiction of the United States of parents not owing allegiance to any foreign sovereignty is, in the language of your Constitution itself, a natural born citizen...[6]

It’s important to note this statement was issued by Bingham only months before the 14th Amendment was proposed.

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The article then goes on to talk about a case where Justice Scalia made reference to a certain legal textbook in March, 2008, entitled "The Law of Nations". The footnote for the textbook reads in part...

E. de Vattel, The Law of Nations, or, Principles of the Law of Nature 144 (1792)

According to the 'Preface to the 1999 Digital Edition' of this work...

This 1758 work by Swiss legal philosopher Emmerich de Vattel is of special importance to scholars of constitutional history and law, for it was read by many of the Founders of the United States of America, and informed their understanding of the principles of law which became established in the Constitution of 1787.

In that textbook, we read the following discussion...

§ 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. The society is supposed to desire this, in consequence of what it owes to its own preservation; and it is presumed, as matter of course, that each citizen, on entering into society, reserves to his children the right of becoming members of it. The country of the fathers is therefore that of the children; and these become true citizens merely by their tacit consent. We shall soon see whether, on their coming to the years of discretion, they may renounce their right, and what they owe to the society in which they were born. I say, that, in order to be of the country, it is necessary that a person be born of a father who is a citizen; for, if he is born there of a foreigner, it will be only the place of his birth, and not his country.

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At 12/13/2008 3:38 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, Hawk, for also posting it at Scrappleface.

Of course all the Obamatons will scream foul and say it's people like you/us who are trying to "overturn" an election through too technical of an understanding. However, I believe reasonable and honest people will realize what you have posted is (and certainly, was) the original meaning of the constitutional term "natural born." That is, a person born on American soil having two American parents.

Of course the liberal legalists will whine about whether the parents were natural born, naturalized, etc ... but that is typical of that crowd, obfuscating by throwing out strawhorse arguments when they don't like a particular argument.

So, if we are to give ear to the mainstream historical understanding of "natural born", even if Mr. Obama was actually born in Hawaii (a "fact" yet to be established by incontrovertible documentary evidence), he still isn't a "natural born citizen" though he being an American citizen.

Too bad this debate wasn't more clearly settled at sometime in the last 220 years of this constitutional republic. Right now I would simply settle for Mr. Obama to produce a genuine, certified copy of his vault certificate of birth ... not to be confused with a "certification of birth".

It's interesting how "nuanced" liberals are when trying to promote their agenda, but when it comes to understanding our positions and opinions about very important issues - you know, like, the constitutional requirements of a presidential candidate - they are very much like bulls in a china closet. All we've been getting from them is screaming how Obama is an "American citizen" and nothing else matters. And isn't it funny how the liberals want to "debate" everything and have "public discussions", yet when we conservatives engage them in such they call us haters and morons, put fingers in their ears and drone neeeener, neeeener, neeeener.


At 12/13/2008 3:44 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Amen, brother! The Liberals can change the Constitution through an Amendment at any time. Unfortunately, until then, they are bound by the one we have. If this thing gets swept under the carpet, I will be VERY annoyed.

(:X) Best regards...

At 12/13/2008 7:11 PM , Blogger Beerme said...

I'm afraid you're going to be very annoyed, my friend...

At 12/13/2008 7:33 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Rats! I wish you hadn't said that.

(:I) Best regards...

At 12/14/2008 1:07 AM , Anonymous camojack said...

Hmmm...I just read this at ScrappleFace, so there's no need to read it again.

While it would be much cheaper to simply produce the requested documentation (if it exists), Obama would rather spend copious sums fighting it.

Certainly seems shady, huh?

At 12/14/2008 9:28 AM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Shady indeed. But tell me, why didn't you want to read such an exciting post again? Just kidding.

(:D) Best regards...

At 12/14/2008 11:09 AM , Blogger Ms RightWing's Ink said...

sadly, most of America doesn't give a rat's butt.

At 12/14/2008 11:12 AM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Ms RW,
Sad indeed... but true.

(:I) Best regards...


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