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A Comment at the Natural Born Citizen Blog

I left the following comment on Leo C. Donofrio’s Natural Born Citizen blog.

Mr. Donofrio,

I am writing this comment to ask you to reconsider, in the light of new information, some statements made on this web site in regard to the late President Chester A. Arthur.

It has been said that 1) Chester A. Arthur knew he was ineligible for the office of Vice President when he ran in 1880 and 2) that statements made by Arthur so confused his opponents, that they were misdirected away from examining the naturalization status of his father.

A prior (1844) statement from the Supreme Court of New York in the case of Lynch v. Clarke states that the contemporary opinion both of the legal community and of the public at large was that Chester A. Arthur was eligible to be president. If true, one must infer from the Court’s statement that Arthur also believed that he was eligible.

Vice-chancellor Sandford, speaking for the Court said:

Upon principle therefore I can entertain no doubt but that by the law of the United States every person born within the dominions and allegiance of the United States whatever were the situation of his parents is a natural born citizen…the general understanding of the legal profession and the universal impression of the public mind so far as I have had the opportunity of knowing it…

Second, A. P. Hinman, Arthur’s arch foe and proponent of the “born in Canada” theory, included in his own 1884 book, How a British Subject became President of the United States, a letter he received from Senator Bayard in response to his query in early 1861:

Senate of the United States
City of Washington, January 10th, 1881.
A. P. HINMAN, Esq., New York.
DEAR SIR :-In response to your letter of the 7th instant-
the term” natural-born citizen,” as used in the Constitution
and Statutes of the U. S., is held to be a native of
the U. S.
The naturalization by law of a father before his child
attains the age of twenty-one, would be naturalization of
such minor.
Yours respectfully,
T. F. BAYARD.

Page 89.

It appears to me that Hinman, by raising the question about a father becoming naturalized and its effect on his child, knew of Arthur’s father’s naturalization status, and at the very least, he was considering such a scenario. He was not misdirected so far as to ignore the possibility.

Why did Hinman, a New York lawyer, not raise this issue in his book, prepared to attack Arthur in the 1884 election? Perhaps because he too held the general opinion of the legal community of New York that every person born within the dominions and allegiance of the United States whatever were the situation of his parents is a natural born citizen.

Thank you for your consideration.

The comment is currently awaiting moderation. I took a slight liberty in the ellipsis in my quotation from Lynch v. Clarke which I think is fair given what appears the view of the opinion as a whole. It doesn’t matter for this purpose whether the decision in Lynch is correct, or what the definition of natural born citizen is. The important point is that a judge on the Supreme Court of New York would reasonably be expected to speak with authority on what his colleagues believed.

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46 Responses to A Comment at the Natural Born Citizen Blog

  1. avatar
    Sally Hill May 5, 2009 at 12:47 pm #

    While I would agree the information you have presented is interesting and relevant with regards to Chester’s backgound – I still question some of the events surrounding Chester Arthur and view this new information merely as conflicting information. I don’t think it proves anything definitively or conclusively. Specifically, nothing that would invoke a reconsideration of the information presented on Donofrio’s site, in my opinion.

    You do not address the fact that Chester had his paper’s burned – why? Why did Chester lie about where his father immigrated to or his age? Why did Chester lie about his mother never leaving the US?

    Chester may or may not have known / suspected / or had reason to be concerned about his eligibility to VPOTUS and ultimately POTUS, but that doesn’t explain some of his actions. It’s the unknown answers and the unexplainable actions that continue to give this issue credence. And unfortunately, I highly doubt that we will ever have a definitive answer as to Chester Arthur’s eligibility.

    Why change your birth year by ONLY 1 year – hardly vanity – as what is just 1 year? While the timeline of his father’s naturalization, birthdate, and where his father immigrated might not have affected his eligibility – to Chester’s knowledge – then why change dates, ages, and locations if so?

    I cannot speak for Mr. Donofrio; however, I still believe there was something hinky going on with Chester and his eligibility – same with Obama. It could just be Obama’s arrogance in not wanting to be questioned; however, the fact remains, Obama continues to have a hand in creating and maintaining his eligibility issue. Why? Why would he want this cloud to continue to hang over his head and to be historically part of his presidency?

    Bottom line – if you have nothing to hide, why hide anything? If you have nothing to hide, then why change dates, seal/burn papers, stonewall, and mislead?

    Chester may well – within the law/Constitution – end up being ruled as eligible, as too with Obama, but until that definitive ruling is handed down from some recognized authority, the questions and ambiguous imformation surrounding both Chester Arthur and Barrack Obama remain very real to me. While I respect the Office of President, due to his lack of attention to the issue, I have no respect for the man, as he shows me no respect as a US Citizen when he fails to respond to my legitimate concerns surrounding his eligibiity.

  2. avatar
    richCares May 5, 2009 at 1:16 pm #

    “when he fails to respond to my legitimate concerns”

    Sure!

  3. avatar
    Heavy May 5, 2009 at 1:17 pm #

    How DARE you question THE ONE! That is what he and his minions are saying. We have NO RIGHT to ensure that he is elligible. We must take his word for it. Funny though, HE has not said a thing on the issue. He has had many rush to his defense, yet HE remains silent.

  4. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 5, 2009 at 1:38 pm #

    First, I think the case against Arthur is a tissue of suppositions without any clear link between the facts and the conclusions.

    You ask, why did Arthur burn his papers? Burning ones papers was not all that unusual at the time. Arthur seemed deeply afraid of the press. There are any number of reasons Arthur may have burned his papers, INCLUDING that he had something to hide. However, there is no basis for making the logical leap of having something to hide to proof of some particular thing to hide, when a) I have shown that the truth about his father’s naturalization was no problem and b) nothing in his papers could have made any difference on the issue of his eligibility to be president anyway. (What do you think he burned that mattered?) If he had a single fact to hide, then why not destroy that singly (and without notice) rather than burn everything to much notice. More likely he just didn’t want his legacy pawed over by the press.

    His mother leaving the US (traveling just a few miles from Vermont to Canada) had no relevance to his eligibility to be president. So you may ask why, but whatever answer you get, it cannot effect his eligibility. That question is a diversion.

    The historical record shows:

    1) Arthur never claimed his father was a citizen
    2) Arthur never gave any information that would preclude his father from being a foreigner at Arthur’s birth
    3) The general opinion at the time both in the population and the legal community was that it didn’t matter
    4) Arthur’s opponents considered the implications of Arthur’s father not being a citizen, and dismissed it

    Your argument about Arthur having something to hide, might just as well be used to prove he was an alien from Jupiter. Everybody has something to hide.

    Newspapers described Arthur as “Irish born”. There was no secret. There was no lie. Nobody cared. It was only Obama that made people want to change the rules.

    Obama’s book stating his father’s nationality has been on the bookshelves for over a decade. Why did NO ONE even mention that he wasn’t a natural born citizen because of that before June of 2008? That’s because until the smear campaign and the propaganda, no one in the country thought citizen parents were a requirement. The whole redefinition issue was created out thin air by Obama opponents, and many of you were fooled into thinking that you knew something all your life that you never heard before last June.

    I challenge you to find a US Civics textbook published in the past 200 years that says a US president must have citizen parents. Now explain to me why you can’t find one.

    And if it is in no textbook, then where do you think anyone would have gotten the idea that there was a parental requirement? They read it on the Internet AFTER June 2008, and after Obama had shown his birth certificate, requiring the smearbots to come up with a new strategy.

  5. avatar
    Heavy May 5, 2009 at 1:45 pm #

    How high-handed. Quick, tell me what I’m thinking right now! Doc, in you desparation, you are starting to degrade your image. Don’t let that happen to you.

    Smear campaign, propaganda, NOONE? you’re sounding sillier by the day.

  6. avatar
    Heavy May 5, 2009 at 1:52 pm #

    You want to know about SMEAR campaigns? Ask Alice Palmer.

  7. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 5, 2009 at 2:00 pm #

    I am what I am.

    Did you ever go over and look at that racist anti-Obama web site I linked to?

  8. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 5, 2009 at 2:07 pm #

    He published his birth certificate that says he was born in Honolulu.

  9. avatar
    Heavy May 5, 2009 at 2:15 pm #

    I certainly did. There ARE crazy people in this world. Those people are whacked out.

  10. avatar
    Heavy May 5, 2009 at 2:16 pm #

    He did? I must have missed that.

  11. avatar
    Heavy May 5, 2009 at 2:27 pm #

    Those people are almost as extreme as Bill Ayers, Rev. Wright and Saul Alinsky at whose altars your messiah worships.

  12. avatar
    Kevin Bellas May 5, 2009 at 2:35 pm #

    There was no smear campaign done to Alice Palmer. She lossed her congressional bid for a seat in congress and then tried hastily to get re-elected to her old seat that she had endorsed Barack Obama for.

    Her problem was her filed nominating petitions were hastily put together on the last day with invalid signatures.

    Every post you make looks more and more like you are fading fast away from any attempt at logic.

  13. avatar
    Heavy May 5, 2009 at 2:45 pm #

    You clearly are a puppet.

  14. avatar
    Mary Brown May 5, 2009 at 2:52 pm #

    I think everyone is doing well with Heavy. Just reply to his issues and if he insists on calling names ignore him. Heavy, I am past my 60th year. This is anecdotal- I took civics classes that required us to study the Constitution. Never in those classes or in the American Government class I took in college did anyone ever in any way even allude to the two parent requirement. Yes, that is anecdotal. Much of our questioning of motive stems from the fact that the issue was not raised until the summer of 2008. I believe we all hope that in the future the Supreme Court will deal with this issue. Given recent history, including the decision by Congress to certify Obama’s election, it seems unlikely that your opinion will prevail. There are more than a few members of that body who might have protested if they thought your opinion held any merit.

  15. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 5, 2009 at 3:25 pm #

    So you are reading minds now?

  16. avatar
    Cee Cee May 5, 2009 at 5:18 pm #

    We took the word from our previous presidents why not him too?

  17. avatar
    Heavy May 6, 2009 at 9:33 am #

    No other President has been challenged. THAT is the difference. I know, I’m a racist.

  18. avatar
    Heavy May 6, 2009 at 9:35 am #

    Funny how you ran away from this one, doc.

  19. avatar
    NBC May 6, 2009 at 10:10 am #

    So why was President Obama challenged even though his COLB clearly shows him born in the US?

    Any ideas?

  20. avatar
    NBC May 6, 2009 at 10:10 am #

    Just like Heavy running away from the fact that Obama’s COLB shows him born on US soil?

    Ironic isn’t it?

  21. avatar
    NBC May 6, 2009 at 10:11 am #

    Seems the puppets are communicating 🙂

  22. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 6, 2009 at 10:13 am #

    Heavy was too abbreviated in his comment to know what he was talking about. If you will detail what I ran away from, I’ll get back to you.

    Have you run away from your false claim that racism isn’t any way involved with the anti-Obama movement?

  23. avatar
    Heavy May 6, 2009 at 12:05 pm #

    Don’t know, don’t care, just is.

    Oh, I forgot. It must be RACISM!

  24. avatar
    Heavy May 6, 2009 at 12:10 pm #

    No, I have not run away, doc. I went to the site you posted and agreed that those people are nuts. They have nothing to do with the NBC issue. NOTHING.

    Also, I said that they are ALMOST as dangerous as Ayers, Wright and Alinsky. THAT is what you are running away from.

    Don’t try to weave any “Anti-Obama” movement with the NBC issue. They are not the same.
    But hey, liberals will do ANYTHING to try to prove a point. Even though they usually don’t have one.

  25. avatar
    JeffSF May 6, 2009 at 1:42 pm #

    Just to agree with Mary- I am in my 50’s, and I actually do remember learning about presidential eligibility in Junior High School- not a word about parent’s needing to be citizens.

    Not until it looked like Barack Hussein Obama was going to get elected President was this issue raised. Sure it might just be coincidence that this issue came up at the same time as the first African American with that funny Arab sounding name was getting elected, but me saying it sounds like it is because of racism has at least as much basis in fact as any of the claims of the birthers.

    By the way- I wandered over to Orly’s website- those people are scary, really scary. I think they really are hoping for the Military to remove President Obama from office, in other words, they would like a Military Coupe in America, or maybe the joys of an armed revolt.

  26. avatar
    Heavy May 6, 2009 at 2:23 pm #

    Yep, all us redneck Repubes are RACISTS!

  27. avatar
    richCares May 6, 2009 at 2:57 pm #

    heavy says “Yep, all us redneck Repubes are RACISTS!”

    Finally, the truth from heavy. Yes, all you redneck Repubes are RACISTS!, glad you admitted that. The capital of Birferstan is Hatesville, that’s where heavy and his rednck friends live, he is also the mayor.

  28. avatar
    Heavy May 6, 2009 at 3:07 pm #

    You betcha! YEEEEEEEHAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!

  29. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 6, 2009 at 3:50 pm #

    I see now the distinction you’re making with NBC deniers and racists (as opposed to nObamas in general) .

    It would be a gross injustice to say that all NBC deniers are racists. Nevertheless, I think it’s a significant factor for some people.

    If you type this query in Google:

    “natural born citizen” parents site:stormfront.org

    You’ll get 447 pages. Stormfront is a white racist web site.

  30. avatar
    Gordon May 8, 2009 at 8:53 pm #

    State Sen. Alice Palmer decided to make a run for the U.S Congress. When she announced, she endorsed Barack Obama to run for the seat she was vacating. Obama, raised money and launched his campaign. Alice Palmer ended up getting trounced in her Congressional bid. She then hurriedly put together a campaign for the seat she had asked Obama to step down from a campaign that was in full swing. He naturally refused. Palmer had to get her nominating petitions signed in a hurry. I don’t know about anywhere else, but in Cook County it is common and legal to challenge nominating petitions, esp. those put together so fast. Board of Elections found problems with her signatures and knocked her off the ballot. Sounds like smart politics to me.

  31. avatar
    Gordon May 8, 2009 at 8:55 pm #

    The problem is he read about Palmer on some wingnut site w/o checking the facts.

  32. avatar
    Gordon May 8, 2009 at 8:58 pm #

    COLB has been examined and posted online. Asked you before if you checked with the State Dept. regarding the legality of short form COLB for the legal purpose of obtaining a passport.

  33. avatar
    NBC May 8, 2009 at 9:10 pm #

    Do not confuse Heavy with attempts to get to the truth of the matter. Heavy wants only one thing.

  34. avatar
    Vince Treacy July 11, 2009 at 7:37 am #

    From: http://jonathanturley.org/2008/12/09/supreme-court-turns-down-donofrio-appeal/

    The latest twist in the Donofrio Saga.

    Leo Donofrio is still worried that they are out to get him. We last saw him sitting next to a homeless man on a bench at Union Station in Washington D.C., hair dyed, dressed in rock and roll clothes, electronic passport in his sneaker [!] worried about “Blackwater” types communicating with the homeless man about their target, and preparing to file papers with the United States Supreme Court.

    Now he is worried that the birthers themselves are part of a plot [a calculated device] put in place by Obama and his minions [powers that be] to discredit his ideas that Obama is disqualified because his father was African [crushing the eligiblity movement]. He says:

    “I am very concerned that the amount of serious media attention the birth certificate issue is currently generating is NOT due to some mass awakening of citizens but rather a calculated device put in place by the powers that be as a set up for crushing the eligibility movement once and for all.”

    He goes on:

    “One of these days the Obama administration might serve up for your culinary consumption the most perfect long form birth certificate you could ever imagine. Hawaii officials will vouch for its authenticity under oath if need be. And numerous forensic experts will substantiate its veracity.

    “Then the POTUS eligibility movement is going to look like a vast nutjob right wing conspiracy.

    “And the ineligible one will be so much stronger and more powerful for it.”

    He says that the birthers at World Nut Daily have dropped the “POTUS eligibility” ball. This theory implies that all the anonymous posters like Cindy, Troll, bdaman, Buena Vista Mall and others are nothing thing more than catspaws, willing or unwilling agents of the forces of darkness.

    He has more to say:

    QUOTE
    The dual nationality issue is NOT a conspiracy theory. It’s a genuine legal question. Obama admits he was a dual citizen at birth. Eligibility advocates have simply
    questioned whether that makes him ineligible to be President under Article 2 Section 1 Clause 5 of the US Constitution.
    BC = Conspiracy theory
    DUAL NATIONALITY ADMISSION = legal question. UNQUOTE
    Check it out. Source: http://naturalborncitizen.wordpress.com/2009/06/23/world-net-daily-drops-the-potus-ineligiblity-ball/

    So there you have it in his own words. His theory is that the birth certificate doubters are not part of a nutjob right-wing conspiracy, but of an even more sinister left-wing conspiracy aimed directly at him. The aim of the conspiracy is to discredit the genuine legal theory of the dual nationality eligibility advocates. The powers to be are out to get him, and the birthers are their tools, both the willing, knowing agents of disruption and provocation and their innocent, ignorant dupes. Bottom line: Obama is behind the birthers.

    The other Donofrio thread: http://jonathanturley.org/2008/12/04/eligibility-questions-can-clinton-serve-obama-and-can-obama-serve-the-country/

  35. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy July 11, 2009 at 12:57 pm #

    Donofrio: “I am very concerned that the amount of serious media attention the birth certificate issue is currently generating is NOT due to some mass awakening of citizens…”

    I agree with him that far, but it would be MUCH more plausible that the enemies of Obama are the ones behind the smears, not Obama himself. Remember, birther nonsense was hawked by the likes of Israel Insider and World Net Daily long before Donofrio popularized his constitutional theories.

  36. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy July 11, 2009 at 1:00 pm #

    Donofrio: “The dual nationality issue is NOT a conspiracy theory.”

    The dual nationality issue in an of itself is not a conspiracy theory, but Donofrio certainly turned it into one when he built up conspiracies surrounding Chester A. Arthur, claiming a cover-up of the fact that Arthur’s father was British just like Obama’s.

  37. avatar
    Bob July 11, 2009 at 1:23 pm #

    The dual nationality issue in an of itself is not a conspiracy theory

    The conspiracy theory is in trying to explain why absolutely no one challenged Obama on this basis.

    His dual nationality was well know when he started his campaign; the best and brightest that money can buy were hired to oppose Obama. If this semi-professional poker player is correct, why did no one (of substance) pursue this avenue, even after it started to appear in the birfer suits, in the media, etc.?

    Why do the likes of Rush, O’Reilly, etc. still continue to be dismissive? You can’t throw a stone on the Internet and not find a “SAUDIS CONTROL FOX!!!” posting.

  38. avatar
    Expelliarmus July 11, 2009 at 2:24 pm #

    How is a blog post written last December “the latest twist”? The Turley blog column — and Donofrio’s quotes — go back to the time when Donofrio’s stay petition was actually pending before the US Supreme Court (which arguably did make it newsworthy).

    But to dredge this up in July and debate over statements Donofrio made 6 weeks before Obama was sworn in, is kind of lame, isn’t it? I mean, is the birther movement so lame and so bereft of new developments that we have to go into summer reruns?

  39. avatar
    Vince Treacy July 11, 2009 at 2:56 pm #

    The latest twist is that Leo now thinks the birthers are the tools of Obama.

  40. avatar
    NBC July 11, 2009 at 8:11 pm #

    A reasonable assumption given the blunders made. Why else would such incompetence be so visible…

  41. avatar
    Sally Hill August 8, 2009 at 1:22 pm #

    A google search brought me back to this page where I see that I have previously commented.

    I have a question….

    You feel I’m a racist since I think Obama is not eligible to be POTUS.

    Am I a racist since I also believe Arthur as well was not eligible to be POTUS?

    Let me assure you – race has absolutely NOTHING to do with my opinion. I think it is a false attack strategy on your part to obscure the real issues. I honestly don’t understand how race has a part in this issue at all – perhaps you are the real racist in being able to see racism where I see nothing of race.

    The fact is that it is NOT about Obama – it is about the precedent that he is setting – who might be allowed to become POTUS now that we have lowered the bar for who is a Natural Born Citizen. That person could be white, Asian, or Hispanic – doesn’t matter, because last I checked the Constitution didn’t put a race stipulation as to who can and cannot be POTUS.

  42. avatar
    nbc August 8, 2009 at 2:07 pm #

    The fact is that it is NOT about Obama – it is about the precedent that he is setting – who might be allowed to become POTUS now that we have lowered the bar for who is a Natural Born Citizen. That person could be white, Asian, or Hispanic – doesn’t matter, because last I checked the Constitution didn’t put a race stipulation as to who can and cannot be POTUS.

    Actually the original Constitution did. Race and Sex were both disqualifying if you were not a white male.

    Since there is no evidence that Obama is not eligible, why do you still insist otherwise?

  43. avatar
    dunstvangeet August 8, 2009 at 2:46 pm #

    I do not see it as lowering the bar to reaffirm that anybody born in the United States is a Natural-Born United States Citizen (with the exception, of course, of Ambassador kids and children of invading armies in occupied territory).

    I also don’t see it as lowering the bar to state that every single one of our U.S. Presidents and Vice Presidents have been legitimate Presidents.

    You, by claiming this is lowering the bar, are ignoring that a U.S. President has been duly elected, who was born in this country. You’re also ignoring the fact that we had the situation of his parentage before with Chester A. Arthur, and despite his political foes knowing this, and trying to get him disqualified from holding office, they never brought this up.

    I find it ironic that you think that proving your place of birth to the Federal Government is fundamentally different than proving your place of birth to the Federal Government. It is not.

  44. avatar
    kimba August 8, 2009 at 3:10 pm #

    “lowering the bar”

    Oh, absolutely, once you start letting the blacks in, how you gonna keep out anyone anymore.

    Hint to Sally Hill: When you start out by saying “Let me assure you – race has absolutely NOTHING to do with my opinion. “, we can be completely assured that it is has EVERYTHING to do with your opinion.

  45. avatar
    Welsh Dragon August 8, 2009 at 3:32 pm #

    There are plenty of racists amongst the birfers you can’t miss it if read their remarks objectively which I hope I’ve done – I came into this as a history buff rather than an Obot.

    Are you racist? – nothing conclusive but your repeated statements that you regard President Obama as ‘white’ would be be suggestive that you are even if you don’t think you are.

    I do know that you are die-hard Vattelist. You regularly post as fact your opinion that the Law of Nations provides the constitutional definition of NBC but NEVER bother to say that you’re quoting a translation that didn’t exist prior to 1797.

    Others have repeatedly pointed this out to you cotinue to do so the suggest you are either stupid, misguided or dishonest – you’re in a better position to judge which one.

  46. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy August 8, 2009 at 4:51 pm #

    If memory serves me right, Minor v. Happersett concluded that women were citizens and had always been so, even before the 14th amendment.