The Clause Of Conversation
Today I will speak on this weird phenomenon of people on the right getting rabid over the whole Article II natural-born Citizen question as applies to Cruz. Are they noticing that the most anti-Conservative media and bloggers and Cruz haters are willing to quietly accept that a man who was born in Canada, who had such citizenship at the instant of his birth, whose mother had to take the step of registering his birth at the American consulate in order to extend her citizenship to him, causing Cruz to be a dual citizen in fact only after that exercise – are they noticing how quiet the left is on this?
You all knew it was coming. Cruz announces and the anti-Birthers start popping off like Mexican jumping beans in a frenzy. Conservative people mostly, so presumably Constitutionalists. Listen, Cruz swears that he didn’t have any idea that he had Canadian citizenship – although he has a Canadian birth certificate. Yet the left is giving him a pass on that obviously ignorant and disingenuous claim.
Now, we all have been exposed to the LIV who are happy to accept the word of a couple of lawyers who claim that they understand the issue, and so have decided that any person who derived some form of US citizenship thru a US citizen parent, at birth, meets the Article II requirement. Even though it is not “settled” in any court or session of Congress. Quite the opposite.
So, I decided that I would veer off from looking for the “definition” and instead look for historical understanding of American citizenship. And naturalization. While a clear, unambiguous definition from the US Supreme Court, or even from Congress (heh), at some point in our history being decided and declared is not available, the common understanding of citizenship at the time of the signing, and for generations forward, should give us a clearer and better understanding of what was meant when our Constitution was signed.
Horace Binney, The Allegiance of the United States, 1853:
The state of the law in the United States is easily deduced. The notion that there is any common law principle to naturalize the children born in foreign countries, of native-born American father and mother, father or mother, must be discarded. There is not and never was any such common law principle. But the common law principle of allegiance, was the law of all the States at the time of the Revolution, and at the adoption of the Constitution; and by that principle the citizens of the Untied States are, with the exceptions before mentioned, such as are either born or made so, born within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States, or naturalized by the authority of law, either in one of the States before the Constitution, or since that time, by virtue of an Act of the Congress of the United States.
The question remains, what is the present effect of Acts of Congress, on the subject of naturalization; for it is unnecessary to advert to the long-extinct authority of the States.
The first Act upon this subject was passed on the 25th March, 1790. After enacting, that any alien, being a free white person, who had resided within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States for the term of two years, might be admitted to become a citizen thereof, on application to any year at least, on making certain proof and taking certain oaths, provides, 1st, that the children of such persons, so naturalized, dwelling within the United States, being under the age of twenty-one years at the time of such naturalization, shall also be considered as citizens of the United States. 2dly, that 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–with a proviso, that the right of citizenship shall not descend to persons who had never been resident in the United States.
***since the common law did NOT confer automatic citizenship to children born outside of the country – the children born out of the limits were provided for by passing a naturalization law to address their condition.
Horace was a BFD in his day… a renowned attorney amongst other accomplishments.
His grandson later wrote a biography on Horace, where he mentions the book written on allegiance – or should I say he explains why Horace felt compelled to write it so late in life, and not even being a “writer”.
screenshot, click to enlarge:
More to come. I am tired now. OOPS! I forgot to mention that this post is mostly for the Article II geeks. If you have any question about why I posted this, or what this material means and how it is significant, please drop me a question in comments. If you are new here your question will go into moderation before being answered.