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The night the constitution changed

I can remember it clearly. I was watching CNN. It was 11 PM, November 4, 2008. Wolf Blitzer was on the screen when the giant graphic appeared calling Barack Obama our next President. I heaved a great sign of relief never realizing at that moment the Constitution had changed. The realization was slow in coming, but at least on some of the web sites that Obama Conspiracy Theories covers, it was well known. What had happened? The definition of “natural born citizen” had changed.

I’ve been reading this marvelous article from the Boston University Law Review by Sarah Helene Duggin and Mary Beth Collins. While written in 2005, you might think it was written only yesterday when it says:

Any of the many birthright citizens whose natural born status is unclear, however, could become entangled in a battle over the meaning of the natural born citizenship clause in a variety of ways. Early in the Presidential selection process, for example, media coverage of a prospective candidate’s origins could trigger a national controversy over constitutional qualifications. A public credentials contest could, in turn, cause the candidate to withdraw from the race, or persuade supporters that backing the candidate would be too  risky.  Alternatively, vigorous public debate might result in a popular consensus that birthright citizenship should suffice for the Presidency, regardless of the precise meaning of Article II. A popular consensus could  persuade state election officials to include a Presidential hopeful’s name on an election ballot, despite questionable natural born citizenship credentials, and it might dissuade potential challengers from initiating a legal action contesting the eligibility of the candidate to serve as President. Given the nature of present-day political battles, however, it is hard to imagine that competitors would pull any punches in a Presidential contest.

Nor would winning the Democratic or Republican nomination necessarily insulate a Presidential candidate from legal action or convince a disappointed rival to abandon the quest for the Presidency. Moreover, as long as the constitutional standard remains ambiguous, the risk of contentious legal disputes will linger, even in the midst of a national emergency.

‘NATURAL BORN’ IN THE USA: THE STRIKING UNFAIRNESS AND DANGEROUS AMBIGUITY OF THE CONSTITUTION’S PRESIDENTIAL QUALIFICATIONS CLAUSE AND WHY WE NEED TO FIX IT Boston University Law Review, February 2005.

And then the article brings up complications over “standing” should someone try to bring a lawsuit over eligibility, the difficulties involved should the Supreme Court take on the case and even scenarios where the House of Representatives wrestled with the possibility of failing to qualify a popularly elected candidate.

Wow! You might think this describes exactly where we are today, but you would be wrong because what the authors mean by “birthright citizens” are those who are citizens from birth, born in the United States and in US Territories (the latter face ambiguity). Our President-Elect was born in the United States proper. That article goes on to say:

United States citizens born to parents subject to United States jurisdiction in one of the fifty states are unquestionably natural born citizens…

As the foregoing discussion demonstrates, however, even an individual who is indisputably a natural born American can also be a dual national. The  Constitution does not bar dual nationals from becoming President, and, in recent years, United States nationality law has become increasingly tolerant of multiple citizenship, thereby increasing the possibility that a dual national will become President.

According to a CNN report:

“The law has always been understood to be, if you are born here, you’re a natural born citizen,” said Thomas Goldstein, founder of the Scotusblog.com Web site and a lawyer who has argued numerous cases before the high court.

Anyway, that was how it was at 10:59 on November 4, 2008. As soon as the black guy with the funny name walked in the door, it all changed. Now everybody knows. And not only did it change for us, but it changed retroactively so that now everybody knew this in 1776 and knew it in 1880, that to be a natural born citizen (which even has its own acronym, NBC) one must be born in the United States, and BOTH parents must also be citizens. This Constitutional amendment was passed unanimously by the anti-Obama blogosphere and there it is.

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26 Responses to The night the constitution changed

  1. avatar
    Hitandrun December 24, 2008 at 3:13 pm #

    admin writes:

    >what the authors [Duggin and Collins] mean by “birthright citizens” are those who are citizens from birth, but not born in the United States. Our President-Elect was born in the United States.<

    I believe ‘birthright citizenship’, as used by Duggin and Collins, encompasses those citizens born in the USA.

    Also, the authors perpetuate the fiction that John McCain was born officially inside the Panama Canal Zone, when in fact his birth is recorded as having taken place in 1936 at the Colon Hospital in Colon, Panama, legally exempt by treaty from US jurisdiction. The 1937 US law may have retroactively naturalized McCain at age 11 months and not at birth. Is it any wonder his campaign hesitated to highlight doubts about Mr Obama’s eligibility.

    Finally, Mr Obama’s birth locale, while likely Hawaiian, remains definitively unproven, given his unwillingness to settle the issue (for most of those troubled by it) by simply releasing the vault-sealed birth document and supporting hospital records. The race-baiting simply evades the substantive issue.

    Hitandrun

  2. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy December 24, 2008 at 4:34 pm #

    Hitandrun, Assuming that McCain was not born in the Canal Zone as you say, this information would not have been available in 2005 when the article was written. Any public source or newspaper account would have said McCain was born in the Canal Zone, as do most today.

    I continue to wonder exactly how Obama could release such a record so as not to create more speculation than there is now. I don’t think posting an image on his web site, or giving it to factcheck.org would do much good. Fantasy headline: “Obama declares Million Man March on Washington to examine his Birth Certificate – Washington DC, January 19.” Sounds like an article…

  3. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy December 25, 2008 at 3:43 pm #

    Hitandrun,

    Duggins and Collins use the term “birthright citizen” to reference anyone is a citizen by virtue of where they are born. This may include those born in the United States who are citizens by virtue of the 14th amendment and those who are citizens of US Territories, citizens by law. Her example was John McCain who she thought was born in the Canal Zone. I’ll fix my article to reflect this. Thanks.

  4. avatar
    Hitandrun January 7, 2009 at 8:02 pm #

    Is this obstacle truly insurmountable, Doc? All Mr Obama has to do is voluntarily release certified copies of his vault document and supporting hospital birth records to any court. Let him select from the wide variety of cases confronting him and simply heal this festering sore once and for all. His continuing obstruction will otherwise threaten his legitimacy as POTUS and serve as pretext for flag-wrapped extremists to engage in sedition.

    Hitandrun

  5. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy January 7, 2009 at 8:03 pm #

    Suggest a case.

  6. avatar
    Hitandrun January 7, 2009 at 8:12 pm #

    The more I read Baro’s ‘affidavit’, the more I detect ventriloquist Farah’s hand inside the PI’s back. I agree, Doc, by itself such testimony is worthless propoganda. It adds nothing.

    Hitandrun

  7. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy January 7, 2009 at 8:55 pm #

    Baro said: “They could not confirm who actually placed the ad in the paper.” But that is not true. The birth announcement was not an “ad”, it was a list from the health department. Do even his “no information” is actually disinformation.

  8. avatar
    Hitandrun January 8, 2009 at 6:03 pm #

    How about the Essek case in Kentucky, Doc? Has that been dismissed yet? Besides, Mr Obama needs no case to release the relevant records or certified copies of same. He needs to exemplify the vaunted transparency he touts.

    Hitandrun

  9. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy January 8, 2009 at 7:21 pm #

    Last time I checked (which was a couple of days ago), I found exactly nothing on the status of that case. It was filed November 25.

    It’s a strange suit. Essek is representing himself and didn’t pay the required fees, pleading poverty which is odd from the leader of the Liberty and Prosperity party. Also Barack Obama is named in the suit, but the claim is brought under the Freedom of Information Act, which doesn’t apply to private individuals. Finally, the way the suit is worded, all that Obama would need to do should the court accept the suit (doubtful) is show the COLB and all Essek’s demands would be met. However, Essek has the same standing issue that Berg has, so it will never come to trial.

    Essek’s case is like Berg minus the tin foil hat.

  10. avatar
    Hitandrun January 11, 2009 at 5:04 pm #

    Doc et al,
    I’ve just come across an article by one David Huntwork, that nicely summarizes the Constitutional concerns many of us, both friend and foe alike, have with Mr Obama’s stonewalling on releasing the birth documents:

    http://globalpolitician.com/25363-barack-obama

    Enjoy!
    Hitandrun

  11. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy January 11, 2009 at 5:49 pm #

    Any time an article starts off by saying there are a million lawsuits over Obama’s natural born citizenship, while failing to mention the fact that all the front-runners have been denied by the Supreme Court, you know that the article is not telling the full truth in an attempt to trick the reader. What is the relevance of a school record listing Obama’s religion as Islam, except to bias the non-Muslim reader?

    It pulls out the lies that are refuted here in detail including citing laws that didn’t exist when Obama was born.

    That article is shameful, dishonest, despicable, immoral, and worthy of the condemnation of anyone with half a mind.

    I have little respect for the views of anyone whose views this article summarizes, because they are the views of intentional liars, or people who are unable to think for themselves.

    Hitandrun, you have a novel use of the word “stonewalling”. Stonewalling is a delaying tactic. Only Obama isn’t introducing any delay. To date, Obama filed a total of one legal motion that I know of, and this was an objection to a laundry list of complaints of which the search for imaginary documents was just a part [Berg v. Obama et al. which the Supreme Court threw out]. And Barack Obama has NEVER refused any request for any documentation from Congress, Federal agency, the Courts or any State official. So “stonewalling” is just another smear word used without justification to trick the weak minded into thinking there is something, when there is nothing.

    The preceding is strongly worded, but my hatred of smears and character assassination runs very deep.

    You shall not bear false witness against your neighborThe Bible

  12. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy January 11, 2009 at 6:25 pm #

    I have written the editors of Global Politician the following letter:

    Dear Sir:

    I was pointed to the article, Obama’s “Natural Born” Problem by David Huntwork on your web site here: http://globalpolitician.com/25363-barack-obama

    If you have any interest in credibility, then you should exercise some responsibility for your content and insist that it be at least factual even if it is not fair.

    I won’t waste my time rebutting the article point by point, but I will leave you with one easily verifiable example. The article says:

    “Hawaii Revised Statute 338-178 [sic] allows registration of birth in Hawaii for a child that was born outside of Hawaii to parents who, for a year preceding the child’s birth, claimed Hawaii as their place of residence.”

    Hawaii Statue 338-17.8 was passed in 1982, when Barack Obama was 21 years old. See:

    http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol06_Ch0321-0344/HRS0338/HRS_0338-0017_0008.htm note “L 1982” at the bottom.

    If you have any questions, you may contact me by replying to this message, or leave a comment at http://www.obamaconspiracy.org.

  13. avatar
    Hitandrun January 11, 2009 at 8:00 pm #

    You’ll note, Doc, my concerns were restricted to the birth records, and nothing else. The other arguments (dual citizenship, draft registration, forged images, etc) I find baseless or irrelevant to Mr Obama’s eligibility. Nor do I believe he was foreign born, only that a Hawaiian birth has not been definitively proven. As you no doubt know, he has faced no vetting authority request for original birth records, which he could refuse or not. What he has done is leave those still concerned (both supporters and opponents) twisting in the wind, by refusing to release such records, which I believe will either confirm in detail his Hawaiian birth or leave the facility of birth still undetermined. Let the issue be put to rest once and for all.

    On this birth issue, I believe Mr Huntwork errs in claiming the adduced CnOLB does not represent proof of a sort. Also I don’t know if Mr McCain himself has ever produced a long-form birth certificate for public inspection. Finally, on the 1982 Hawaaian statute, I have yet to learn from you or anyone else what constituted Hawaiian de facto practice in registering a foreign-born infant in 1961. Do you know?

    Hitandrun

  14. avatar
    laughinghysterically January 11, 2009 at 8:10 pm #

    Hitand Run:

    You write “As you no doubt know, he has faced no vetting authority request for original birth records.”

    How do you know this is the case? Go look at the “list of shame” or whatever they call it on one of those anti-Obama websites. They compile numerous letters from Elected Reps stating that they are satisfied Obama was born in Hawaii.

    What makes you so sure that he has never submitted anything to the appropriate vetting authorities?

    Have you some proof that he has refused to produce these docs to the appropriate vetting authorities when asked? Or is it your position that Berg and Orly are somehow the appropriate vetting authorities! LOL

  15. avatar
    laughinghysterically January 11, 2009 at 8:12 pm #

    Go, Dr., GO!! Awesome letter, BTW!

  16. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy January 11, 2009 at 8:15 pm #

    McCain did not release a birth certificate of any kind. One was obtained and filed as part of Hollander v. McCain. I don’t know where it came from.

    There was nothing about registering foreign births prior to 1982, as can be told from the Law citation (having no prior reference). Prior to 1982, one presumes, the child was registered with a US Consular official in the foreign country. But plain old common sense tells us that Hawaii is not going to have a law or policy that results in a birth certificate saying a foreign-born person was born in Honolulu.

    The fact that you are not questioning that laundry list of “other arguments”, does not mean that they will go away should a vault copy of Obama’s birth registration come to light. And even though the draft registration was received directly from the federal government (with no Obama hand on it), they still say it’s a fake.

  17. avatar
    Hitandrun January 11, 2009 at 8:21 pm #

    Hys,
    You are correct in pointing out my ignorance as to whether Mr Obama has faced such an official vetting request. Do you know otherwise? Please let us know in between the slurs and laughs (which, I assure you, only serve to marginalize you as a responsible interlocutor).

    Stay well,
    Hitandrun

  18. avatar
    Hitandrun January 11, 2009 at 8:33 pm #

    Doc et al,
    I believe vault and hospital records certifying a Hawaiian facility of birth will satisfy most of those concerned with this eligibility issue. As you yourself have noted, there will always be paranoids and conspiracy mongers among us, but they will be even further marginalized by this simple step toward transparency.

    Good evening to all,
    Hitandrun

  19. avatar
    laughinghysterically January 11, 2009 at 8:40 pm #

    Apologies for any “slurs” but my patience has been tested beyond its threshhold with these ridiculous arguments.

    No, I do not know otherwise, although as I have already said, I accept factcheck as a reputable organization for the purposes of verifying information I might seek as a citizen.

    I also have faith in my elected officials and in the justice system. I am not at all worried that there is a grand conspiracy going on in which the only people who are really looking for the truth or who understand the law are Orly and Berg.

  20. avatar
    laughinghysterically January 11, 2009 at 8:42 pm #

    And, HitandRun, I can assure you that your posting of the article earlier which was strewn with misinformation and outright lies, marginalizes you as a responsible interlocutor.

  21. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy January 11, 2009 at 8:51 pm #

    My reading of letters from Congress suggests that they consider the press reports of the birth certificate image, its examination by FactCheck.org and most importantly the statement by Hawaiian officials as sufficient proof for them. Barring some evidence to the contrary (which there is none), a reasonable person would not look further.

    If a person is born in the United States, a certificate of live birth issued where one is born is sufficient proof of U.S. citizenship. The certificate, confirmed by the Hawaii Department of Health as authentic, shows that President-elect Obama was born in Hawaii.

    –Senator Chambliss

    Furthermore, both the Director of Hawaii’s Department of Health and the state’s Registrar of Vital Statistics recently confirmed that Mr. Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii on August 4, 1961 and, as such, meets the constitutional citizenship requirements for the presidency. If contrary documentation is produced and verified, this matter will necessarily be resolved by the judicial branch of our government under the Constitution.

    –Senator Crapo

    President-elect Obama’s birth certificate has been made public, and is widely available online. This document has been authenticated by a variety of sources, including the Hawaii Department of Health and the Annenberg Public Policy Center.

    –Senator Kohl

    President-elect Obama was born in Hawaii as documented by his official birth certificate. He is, therefore, a natural born citizen of the United States. Thank you again for writing.

    –Senator Levin

    The rumors concerning President-elect Obama’s citizenship are not valid. Candidates for President of the United States face rigorous scrutiny and provide public documents regarding their citizenship. I am confident that President-elect Obama has proven that he is a citizen. He was born in Hawaii and lived there for most of his pre-college years. I am pleased with this very historic opportunity to have President-elect Obama represent our country as the next President of the United States.

    –Senator Michaud

    In President-elect Obama’s case, such legislation was not deemed necessary because claims that Mr. Obama is constitutionally ineligible for the nation’s highest office are unfounded. No credible evidence has surfaced to call into question his eligibility to run.

    –Senator Sensenbrenner

    In response to the concerns you raised, the director of the State of Hawaii’s Dept. of Health confirmed on Oct. 31st, 2008 that Barack Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. She was also quoted in the newspaper Honolulu Advertiser on Nov. 1,2008 that she had “personally seen and verified that the Hawaii State Department of Health has Senator Obama’s original birth certificate on record in accordance with state policies and procedures.”

    –Senator Snow

    The non-partisan organization Political Fact Check (this group monitors the factual accuracy of political information) has examined Mr. Obama’s birth certificate and they report that it is valid and he is a U.S. citizen. I have included a link to a Newsweek article that was written on this subject and includes links to pictures of the birth certificate

    –Senator Tanner

    The U.S.Constitution requires the President to be a natural-born citizen. In August, a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia alleged that President-Elect Obama was born in Kenya, not Hawaii. The lawyer who filed this action has also filed suits alleging President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney knew about the September 11 terrorist attacks. He also has called for Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, and former Justice Sandra Day O’Conner to disbar themselves for their decision in the 2001 Bush v. Gore. In October, a federal judge dismissed the Obama suit, and on Dec 8, 2008 , the Supreme Court declined to hear the emergency appeal without opinion. Several similar cases have been filed in various courts across the country and are going through the judicial process.

    –Senator Wicker

    Claims prior to and after the election over President-elect Obama’s legal citizenship, holding both United States and Kenyan citizenship, would impact his right to hold the Office of the President of the United States. Neither Congress nor the Judiciary views this as having any merit as he was born in Hawaii with a confirmed birth certificate.

    –Congressman Joe Wilson

    Quotations courtesy of the Save Our Rights Wiki

  22. avatar
    laughinghysterically January 11, 2009 at 9:03 pm #

    Dr
    I agree with you 100%!!!! Thank you for posting all the comments by elected reps, that is what I was referring to in my above comment but was not sure exactly where to find them.

  23. avatar
    TRUTH January 11, 2009 at 10:27 pm #

    Going from the bottom up, it is all a matter of perspective. You read them and laugh because they say what you want.
    Here are my thoughts of the different individual comments.

    JOE WILSON: Says the birth cert. confirmed him born in HI. Well Mr.W., the B.C. IS the issue, we’ve never seen the original. DISMISSED

    SEN.WICKER: Makes references to a few of Dipstick Bergs other cases, which is supposed to make this case look bad. Comparisons do NOT themselves make this Wrong. DISMISSED

    SEN SNOW: Makes claim she “Seen” the B.C., Big Deal. And makes claim the Dir.of Dept of Health in Hawaii confirmed BHO was born in Hawaii, a separate statement from the other and one I’m not sure was even made. DISMISSED

    SEN SENSENBRENNER: (one of my favorites) Makes claim No credible evidence has surfaced to call into question his eligibility to be President. [ DUHH, yes it has, it just no court decision has been made upon it yet because of STANDING!! another obamaniac treasonous politician not serving the people] DISMISSED!!

    Obama may very well be qualified, and probably IS. But after being asked by MANY people that all together SURELY had Standing, no cases were judged. ALL the comments from the Senators/Congressmen above are nothing more than Opinionated, JUST Like the people in here. NO LEGAL decisions were made on any of this, Right or Wrong. You can Croon and Laugh all you wish because your point of view is being upheld. That does not make it right however.

    Voting U.S. Citizens question the legitimacy of a person being POTUS. They deserve an answer. Had SCOTUS at least done this the proper way, and proved BHO eligible then people would have to shut their mouths and move on. BUT NOW, NOW they are pissed because they were not given their day in court. PROBABLY not a good idea.

  24. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy January 11, 2009 at 10:49 pm #

    The point of those quotations is that these members of Congress (and presumably others for which I had no quotes) were satisfied by the available evidence. It is my view that only those who want to prolong the agony (or beat a dead horse) try to read out of the Hawaiian official statement that they were saying Obama was born in Hawaii (there is no theoretical way they could be saying anything else). And if there were any doubt, an official health department spokesperson confirmed that they were saying Obama was born in Hawaii, as cited by the Chicago Tribune and others.

    “There have been numerous requests for Sen. Barack Hussein Obama’s official birth certificate. State law (Hawai’i Revised Statutes §338-18) prohibits the release of a certified birth certificate to persons who do not have a tangible interest in the vital record,” reads an Oct. 31 statement from Hawaii’s Dr. Chiyome Fukino, who heads the Hawaii office that oversees health records — including birth certificates.

    “Therefore, I as Director of Health for the State of Hawai’i, along with the Registrar of Vital Statistics who has statutory authority to oversee and maintain these type of vital records, have personally seen and verified that the Hawai’i State Department of Health has Sen. Obama’s original birth certificate on record in accordance with state policies and procedures,” Fukino said in the three paragraph statement.

    “No state official, including Governor Linda Lingle, has ever instructed that this vital record be handled in a manner different from any other vital record in the possession of the State of Hawai’i,” the statement concludes.

    Does this mean Obama was born in Hawaii?

    “Yes,” said Hawaii Health Department spokeswoman Janice Okubo, in both email and telephone interviews with the Tribune. “That’s what Dr. Fukino is saying.”

    Members of Congress, unlike those on the Internet blogs, are not trying to find some excuse to disbelieve the obvious, or to defend a defenseless position by creating unreasonable doubt.

  25. avatar
    TRUTH January 12, 2009 at 10:08 am #

    I know what your point was. And my point was they are either bafoons avoiding the legal process or just puppets on a string. Like a heard of sheep, where the leader goes they all follow.

    “Yes,” said Hawaii Health Department spokeswoman Janice Okubo, in both email and telephone interviews with the Tribune. “That’s what Dr. Fukino is saying.”

    That is AWESOME!! A “SPOKESWOMAN”, says in an “EMAIL” with the “TRIBUNE” what the “DR.” was saying. WOW!! Am I the only person or does that sound a lot like “Colonel Musturd” used a “Candlestick” in the “Library” to “Bake a Cake”. That top paragraph is so ridiculous that I feel embarrassed for the person that said it.

    I stand by my belief. The legal process was circumnavigated to the likings of the “Popular” person, with little to no concern about the TRUTH, which we DO NOT KNOW.
    And also that that was PROBABLY not a good idea. But that’s just my opinion.

  26. avatar
    TRUTH January 12, 2009 at 10:11 am #

    HAHA.. I added the top paragraph last, which makes my 3rd paragraph closing sentence refer to the wrong one. It should say the Prior Paragraph now. Not a biggy, just didn’t want it to sound like I was embarrassed for myself…haha.

    Have a good day, back to work.