The SUBJECT of Natural Born Citizen


Sorry friends – I’ve been laid low by a serious lung complaint.  Seriously.  Haven’t felt up to doing much blogging.

I read the following post on the Legal Insurrection blog the day it was published, and meant to cross post, but didn’t feel up to the task of writing a decent intro.  I still don’t, but I want to get this out there anyway as I think it has not received the attention it should.

I respect Professor Jacobson a great deal.  I hope that he is able to look past the canned pre-packaged “research” of the obama sycophants and dig deeper than most researchers are willing to go.  It is a topic whose time has come for the most vigorous research possible.   Did I use the word “research” enough there?  I hope so.  We should be able to find the real answer, the clear truth, somewhere, if we are really serious about knowing what the Founders intended.  It does seem to me that no stone should be left unturned.  We have reached a turning point in this country where this has suddenly become one hell of an important Constitutional issue.

PINK LINK to full Legal Insurrection article with comments.

Follows is a partial cross-post from the Legal Insurrection blog:

This will be dealt with

sted by    Sunday, February 17, 2013 at 1:05pm


The nature of the hostility directed at me has changed over the years.

In 2008-2010, it was mostly Obama supporters upset that someone who taught at an Ivy League law school would dissent.  I guess they figured their love letters weren’t working, so that has mostly (but not completely) stopped.

The most unhinged of late are Elizabeth Warren supporters.  (More on that, perhaps, in a later post.)

But along that road, there has been a consistent allegation that I was part of some vast conspiracy to conceal Obama’s alleged lack of constitutional qualification, first on birth place grounds and then on “natural born citizen” grounds.

That, even though I was one of the few people to defend the right of anyone to question the constitutional qualifications of any presidential candidate, so long as the challenge was not based on conspiracy theories and making stuff up.  I never accepted the Barack Obama birthplace conspiracy theories any more than I accepted the Trig Palin birth mother conspiracy theories.

I, almost alone, delved into the history of constitutional challenges, dating back to Chester Arthur on through George Romney and John McCain, with others along the way, to show that challenging constitutional qualification was not inherently racist and did not begin with Barack Obama.  No one pushed back against the abuse of the “Birther Card” more than I did.  (On the flip side of the coin, some left-wingers accused me of being a “Birther” because I refused to buy into the race card use.)

Nonetheless, now that we have three Republicans who might be presidential contenders and who will be subject to claims they are not “natural born citizens” (Rubio and Jindal born here to parents legally in the country, and Cruz born in Canada to an American mother),  my involvement in the alleged conspiracy continues to be the source of emails and attempted comments, like this one, from someone using the pseudonym “I. BarKahn”:

JACOBSON: First you display your inexcusable contempt for the law by keeping the fact of Obama’s ineligibility from your readers, for whatever discreditable reasons. Now you double down and defend and promote the candidacies of two more ineligibles, Rubio and Jindal. (The reason the Democrats have to paint Rubio and Jindal as crazies is because they know that thanks to people like you, the Republicans would actually put up an ineligible candidate.) What is wrong with you? Don’t you have any respect for the Constitution? Or for a government of laws?  You enable, aid and abet lawbreakers. You are a Professor of Law and your conduct is so egregious you are an indelible stain on the profession.

Debate me, defend your conduct in any public setting. Or defend in writing your enablement of Obama and promotion of other ineligible candidates. You can’t, can you? There is no honorable defense, is there? No. You and your ilk are largely responsible for Obama’s tremendously destructive foreign and domestic policies of the past four years. Had you and your colleagues in the Conservative MSM spoken up four years ago, the Federal Courts would have removed Obama and avoided so much damage done and so much damage yet to be done.

Such lawlessness. Such dishonesty. Such cowardice.

I will write about this when my research is complete.  I have spent a lot of time reading analyses of the term “natural born citizen” by law professors and others before the Obama controversy, as well as the arguments raised by those claiming Obama lacked constitutional qualification.

What I’m finding is that there is no easy, definitive answer as to what the term “natural born citizen” was intended to mean; there is an argument that it was based on the term “natural born subject” used in British law, but that is just an argument which seems inapplicable given that we were freeing ourselves from the British and rejecting the notion of “subjects.”  The more compelling argument, by far, is that the words distinguish natural born citizens from citizens to signify someone who becomes a citizen by virtue of birth, as opposed to some other process.


~ by ladysforest on February 21, 2013.

11 Responses to “The SUBJECT of Natural Born Citizen”

  1. I took a look at the professor’s blog. I fear he is looking for data to support a very loose definition of natural born Citizen.

    I was giving most of your comments a thumbs up click (not clicking on some the short ones), but I accidentally hit the thumbs down button on one of your best comments – and there was no way for me to correct my mistake. 😦 Sorry about that.

    There is a simple argument of logic that doesn’t require research that I find very compelling. The Founders labored, deliberated and debated over the content of the Constitution for many months. They did not willy-nilly add superfluous, meaningless words. If they had meant to allow the broader category of “born citizen” they would have succinctly stated such and not bothered to include the further restrictive qualification of being a natural born Citizen, which clearly then must exclude many types of mere “born citizens.”

    Who are by far the most common, everyday ordinary type of citizens that naturally populate and perpetuate our great country, the type of citizens who, by their very nature, can only be U.S. citizens and nothing else? The answer is obvious – those born exclusively in country jurisdiction to existing U.S. citizens. These are the only type of citizens who are born with 100 percent, red-blooded exclusive allegiance to no other country but America. These are the natural born Citizens.

    The eligibility clause is an attempt to ensure strict loyalty and allegiance to our country. One born to non-citizen parent(s), is inherently born with a conflict in this regard for such a person is not born with exclusive allegiance to our great country, something that very wisely was meant to be an absolute requirement for the person entrusted with the sole executive command of our military might, a person who, therefore, must without question always hold our nation’s interests most dear.

    • Thinkwell, I believe you are correct about the coming “conclusions” from the Professor. If he bases his research summary on the analyses of others instead of digging up his own material, we will be no further along. That and it may just be a re-hash of all the same old references we’ve all seen so much of in the past four years.

      As to all of those snippets of Acts that one dude posted, if one takes the time to read the entire Act it is not as clear as he tried to make out. New England did try to cling to English laws and ways, as did certain highly placed politicians and judges, and for a very long time after the Constitution was signed. That’s how it was back then, but we have to concern ourselves with the intent of certain men only.

      I want to know what George Washington and John Jay meant, and what the other signers understood it to mean – not what some law Professors think in todays terms. I know that he (GW) felt very strongly about allegiance, as did a certain group of the Founders. These jackasses that suggest G. Washington meant natural born Citizen because it was the “same” as natural born SUBJECT are simpletons.

      And don’t feel badly if you gave me a random thumbs down, I think the article has been pushed to the back burner and few are following it now. 🙂

      I wish I answered better than I did, but I am still very ill and not as snappy as I’d like to be. One example is that Con. “person” trying to equate abolition as anti-racism. It was not, it was about human rights. It had little to do with the skin color of the slaves, as that was NOT the reason slavery was imposed on them. Consider the East Indian people for example. Their skin color can be very dark, yet they were not targeted for slavery.

      Damn it, I wish I felt well enough to be coherent. Uggggh. And I have to get a post up for the upcoming NY2A pro-gun rights rally in Albany. Maybe I’ll go back to bed for awhile first.

  2. When you read historical documents on citizenship, you can find arguments for the “natural born subject” approach as well as the sole allegiance approach.

    What the founders and framers proposed was radically different from the common culture. Real culture changes happen gradually, not instantaneously. (In my old elementary school, the same taunts were still used when my brother attended 12 years later and maybe even last week.) Most people residing in the new US were basically British, had been subjects, and had gut level traditional ideas. They passed this culture on to their children. Old state constitutions considered their residents as subjects. Descent was even important for a president. There was a generally feeling that the revolutionary leaders and their descendants should be president. As late as 1888, Harrison’s creds included his descent from a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

    So you can take the definition either way depending on what historical documents you are reading. I read an extensive defense on the born on the soil approach over at RedState, was banned when I raised some questions, and my post was erased. One of the regular writers stood up for my right to express my opinion, and his post was modified. Some posters threw profanity at me (a offense that can supposedly get a poster banned), but their posts stood and weren’t banned.

    I think my cardinal sin was asking whether Rubio or Jindal should run without clarification of the nbc definition. Redstate may claim to lean Tea Party but it is really a Republican site. The Repubs want to use the born on the soil definition too – anything to win. That’s one reason they haven’t challenged Obama’s eligibility.

    No matter what you have heard about CAA, Obama may be the only president who didn’t claim a mother and a father both with a least some claim to US citizenship at birth. I think that Obama has proved or will prove that the more restrictive definition is the prudent one.

    • When you read historical documents on citizenship, you can find arguments for the “natural born subject” approach as well as the sole allegiance approach.

      Nothing trumps the indisputable logic that had the founders only intended that one aspiring to the presidency need simply be a citizen from birth, then they would have limited the stated restriction to “born Citizens” rather than the obviously more narrowly intended term “natural born Citizen.”

      The Constitution was a well deliberated, carefully crafted set of protective principles. The “natural” part of “natural born Citizen” was not a superfluous bit of literary fluff devoid of any real meaning. It was clearly intended to provide a further restrictive limitation to the set of citizens who were considered qualified to possibly become our president.

      Ask yourself, what born citizens, by their very nature, can only be Americans and nothing else? That, of course, would be only those citizens born with exclusively American citizenship. These are the natural born Citizens. Anything else defies basic logic.

  3. Also, from
    The Army took over an empty high school in southeast Houston without warning last month in a Department of Defense drill. Terrified residents mistook blank fire for live rounds. At a City Council meeting the next day, Mayor Annise Parker decried “a shocking lack of sensitivity to community concerns” that caught even some in the police department by surprise.

    The “exercise” apparently happened January 28th, 2013. In an effort to confirm that this “exercise” happened (you can’t believe everything you read on the web), I looked at some of the media websites for Houston. NADA. Only the minutes of the city council meeting on January 29th confirmed the “exercise”. Can you imagine the effect on any children and residents on an area where an unannounced similar exercise is held? Shouldn’t this be news so that you might not get out the guns and barricade yourself in your house if an “exercise” happens in your neighborhood? DOD used to do non-shooting demonstrations for entertainment. According to the article, there have been other “exercises” around the country. I did not try to confirm them.

    What in the hell is going on? This is not the United States that I grew up in. I’m not sure what it is becoming. These exercises are worth some calls to congressmen, and a couple of senators, maybe even a few letters.

  4. I hope that you feel better soon.

    • “”Old state constitutions considered their residents as subjects.

      So you can take the definition either way depending on what historical documents you are reading.””

      Yes, this is what I found myself. That’s what I was trying to get across on the Professors comment thread. The States each had their own laws on citizenship, as to who was a subject IN that state or not , and also the way that one went about obtaining citizenship in the different states varied.

      The New England states clung to the old English ways the longest. After independence was declared, the different colonies, now states, had a number of years to come around to the idea that the new nation would be under a central government with a Constitution that was for the collective while each state was able to maintain its’ own state Constitution. Some states did indeed use much that was from the English common law – it was what had always been used and it was what they knew. But the citizenship issue had to be addressed – because the states couldn’t each continue to have their own different laws on citizenship in the new united nation. So, the states had no authority to declare who could be a US citizen and/or how to naturalize a new US citizen. They only had say in who was/or how some one became a citizen of that state.

      I did find the use of native born/natural born was without distinction one from the other. I found the use (common use – not in legal terms) of “subject” far less often, and mostly in legal cases addressing treason or inheritance.

      The thing that the obots kept claiming was that Vattel was NOT used when considering “national” citizenship definitions. So I did keep my eye open towards that, to look for any reference or citation of Vattel (specifically B.1 c.. 19. sect 212) in other than the already cited Supreme Court cases. I posted such a thing on that comment thread. That’s the thing really – they keep pointing to the states “citizenship” and we want the definition of the US Constitution.

      And thank you KJ. I just hope I am well enough for that NY2A rally on Thursday. Well, unless I have a very major setback I am going anyway. We booked a room so that I don’t have to deal with round trip travel on the day of the rally, so that should make a world of difference.

  5. Here is another logical argument that proves that the founders did NOT consider that just merely being born in this country was sufficient to make one a natural born Citizen.

    If, back when the founders were laying their quills to the final draft of our awesome Constitution, jus soli (birth on U.S. soil) were considered enough to qualify one as a natural born Citizen, then what would have been the need for the Fourteenth Amendment[1]?

    Of course, the Fourteenth Amendment was written many decades after the Constitution and it did not address nor even mention natural born Citizenship at all, so how could it inform us as to the founders thoughts on jus soli?

    First note that one certainly cannot be a natural born Citizen without at least being born a citizen. Next note that most former slaves were born jus soli totally within the jurisdiction and boundaries of the USA, yet a Constitutional amendment was required to just make some of these, our fellow countrymen, citizens. That’s right (and plain as can be). Many former slaves who were born on U.S. soil were legally being denied citizenship by certain states because they were born to non-citizen parents! (They were not born (jus sanguinis) – of citizen blood.)

    Clearly, jus soli was not enough to make them citizens (let alone natural born Citizens). That the Fourteenth Amendment exists at all is proof positive that the founders did not consider jus soli sufficient by and of itself to confer natural born Citizenship status – blood and dirt were both required.

    The above train of thought is perfectly consistent with the founders’ expressed intent to prevent our commander-in-chief from having any foreign affinities, loyalties or allegiances. The natural born Citizen clause ensures that the circumstances of our president’s birth provide no claim by any foreign power that our president could be a direct subject or citizen of that power. That means that our president must not be born within the jurisdiction of any foreign power of which the USA recognizes their jus soli birthright citizenship, nor may he be born to parents (jus sanguinis) either of whom the USA recognized as being legitimately claimed as subjects or citizens of a foreign power.

    Blood and dirt – perhaps not perfect, but the founders recognized it as doing the best job of protecting sovereign Citizens of our great nation from the danger of a usurper gaining the presidency (and sadly, the danger that comes from defying their wisdom we are experiencing first hand today).


    [1]The Fourteenth Amendment was adopted expressly to grant U.S. national citizenship to all de facto fellow countrymen who were born within the sole jurisdiction and boundaries of the USA, but were born of a special class of parents (i.e., former slaves) who, but for their enslavement, would themselves have been citizens.

    • Logic works for US, yes, but to put an end to any wiggle room/corruption/willful misinterpretation, we must find in written word the intent. Even our own state depart refuses certain positions to dual citizens due to divided loyalty, so LOGICALLY how could the office of the Presidency be less sensitive to such a condition?

      • Speaking of logic – some obots have insisted that the term “natural born” alien US citizen, used in some naturalization cases, shows that a child born to one US citizen off US soil qualifies as the same type of “natural-born Citizen” referenced in the Constitution. Funny thing is that those cases are referring to children born to UN-WED parent(s) out of this country. “Natural born” is an old genteel way of saying “bastard”. You wouldn’t be using the term “bastard” in court hearings back then, so they used “natural born”.

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