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Calais v Marshfield

The a US Circuit Court in the case of US v. Rhodes defined natural born citizenship as birth within the allegiance of the United States [cited approvingly by the Supreme Court in US v. Wong Kim Ark]. Some have said that because President Obama, through his father, was born also a Citizen of the UK and Colonies, that he has a dual allegiance to Britain, and that this defect renders him not a natural born citizen of the United States.

It has always seemed to me profoundly unfair that some second country could impose an allegiance upon someone against their will, or that somehow a second country could dictate who could and who could not be President of the United States. Apparently, the court agreed with me in this decision from the case of Calais v. Marshfield (1844):

“Although the government of one country may grant to persons owing allegiance to that of another, the rights and privileges of citizenship, it is not intended to intimate that the government making such grant would thereby, and without their consent or change of domicil, become entitled to their allegiance in respect to any of their political duties or relations.” Calais v Marshfield 30 Maine Rep 520. [As cited in Fields International Code.]

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13 Responses to Calais v Marshfield

  1. avatar
    nBc September 30, 2009 at 4:11 pm #

    Excellent find

  2. avatar
    nBc September 30, 2009 at 4:31 pm #

    See also State v Adams decided in the Iowa Supreme Court in 1876

    By the common law allegiance is not a matter of individual choice. It attaches at the time and on account of birth and under circumstances in which the family owe allegiance and is entitled to protection. A person may be domiciled in one place or country and owes allegiance to and be a citizen of another. The fact that plaintiff’s grandfather made his permanent domicile in Canada does not of itself prove him to be an alien. Even if he was regarded as a British subject this would not necessarily make him an alien. The laws of the United States determine what persons shall be regarded as citizens irrespective of such persons pleasure or the laws or pleasure of any other government

  3. avatar
    Sally Hill September 30, 2009 at 5:01 pm #

    Oh please! Surely you can do better than this.

    “It has always seemed to me profoundly unfair that some second country could impose an allegiance upon someone against their will, or that somehow a second country could dictate who could and who could not be President of the United States.”

    Against their will? What father in their right mind would not WANT to bestow upon their new born son, that of his own heritage? Are you kidding me? You seem to be saying that we should all be able to pick and choose our country’s allegiance at birth.

    I don’t see that Britain dictated anything upon Obama. It has nothing to do with the government itself. It has everything to do with human emotion and the feeling of parental attachment and that of pride in our parents. Obama obviously has great pride in his father – he (or someone on his behalf) wrote a whole book about his father and his connections to him, whether dreamed or real. THIS is exactly what the forefathers wanted to guard against. The fact that Obama would WANT what his father passed on to him, would WANT to honor his father’s heritage, is exactly what dual-allegiances is all about. The fact that these dual-allegiances could cloud his judgement regarding possible foreign affairs with that country or against that country.

    The ruling supports this as well. Of course, that country should not EXPECT the allegiance from a person born in another; however, it certainly doesn’t stop them from allowing the father to confer that allegiance to their offspring. In that we are unable to read a persons heart and mind – again, it is precisely this issue that the forefathers wanted to guard against. Who knows what allegiances Obama carries for his father’s country – the point is – WE DON’T KNOW.

    What we DO KNOW are his actions – that seem to overwhelmingly support his continued allegiance or at least some sort of connection to Kenya. If not for his father, why on earth would he have travelled to Kenya to campaign for his paternal relative, Odinga? You think he just woke up one morning and said to himself – geeze, I think I’ll just skip on over to Kenya and campaign for someone day.

    And didn’t your parents teach you –
    Life isn’t Fair?

  4. avatar
    nBc September 30, 2009 at 5:04 pm #

    Against their will? What father in their right mind would not WANT to bestow upon their new born son, that of his own heritage? Are you kidding me? You seem to be saying that we should all be able to pick and choose our country’s allegiance at birth.

    It’s not what the parents want, it’s what the laws are. Furthermore, what the father wants may not be what the child want. Your Kenya ‘accusations’ again show the vacuity of your position as they lack in facts.

  5. avatar
    nBc September 30, 2009 at 5:07 pm #

    Who knows what allegiances Obama carries for his father’s country – the point is – WE DON’T KNOW.

    Again confusing the meanings of the term allegiance furthered by accusations based on ignorance.

    Have you no shame?

  6. avatar
    Bob September 30, 2009 at 5:38 pm #

    What we DO KNOW are his actions – that seem to overwhelmingly support his continued allegiance or at least some sort of connection to Kenya.

    Support and allegiance are two very different things.

    If not for his father, why on earth would he have travelled to Kenya to campaign for his paternal relative, Odinga?

    Except he didn’t campaign for any relative.

  7. avatar
    Greg September 30, 2009 at 7:27 pm #

    And didn’t your parents teach you –
    Life isn’t Fair?

    Obama’s President, and will be until at least 2012. That’s fair enough for me.

    That you seem bent on putting words in the mouths of the Founders, or rather, thoughts into their heads, proves something I heard once, “Stupid is as stupid does.”

    This case stands for the unsurpising proposition that the US Government doesn’t give one crap what Britain thinks. The US Government considers you natural born the minute you’re born on its soil – whether to British citizens, illegal aliens, space aliens, or what not. As long as your parents aren’t ambassadors or soldiers in invading armies, you’re a natural born citizen.

    Obama is a natural born citizen.

    Life is fair enough.

  8. avatar
    nBc September 30, 2009 at 8:05 pm #

    Judge Marshall wrote

    The jurisdiction of the nation within its own territory is necessarily exclusive and absolute. It is susceptible of no limitation not imposed by itself. Any restriction upon it, deriving validity from an external source, would imply a diminution of its sovereignty to the extent of the restriction, and an investment of that sovereignty to the same extent in that power which could impose such restriction.

  9. avatar
    SFJeff September 30, 2009 at 8:58 pm #

    Sally, Sally, Sally….
    “The fact that Obama would WANT what his father passed on to him, would WANT to honor his father’s heritage, is exactly what dual-allegiances is all about. The fact that these dual-allegiances could cloud his judgement regarding possible foreign affairs with that country or against that country.”

    The United States is filled full of Irish American societies, and Slovenian Societies, and Russian and Slovak and Polish societies- all places where the parents hope to pass their cultural heritages on to their children. In my city, I watch kids taking Russian and Chinese classes each day because their parents want them to have that connection with their homeland. Since they all honor their heritages, do they all have ‘dual-allegiances?”

    While an interesting theory, the vast majority of voter disagreed with you, as did the Congress and Chief Justice Roberts.

  10. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 30, 2009 at 9:56 pm #

    Sally Hill: Oh please! Surely you can do better than this.

    I found the case interesting and informative. Just one of the steady drips of cases, historical tidbits and laws to drive the nobots crazy.

    As for me, I think all the birthers have sold their souls to the devil and no longer have allegiance to the United States. In fact, I think that all future presidential candidates must prove that they haven’t sold their souls to the devil either.

  11. avatar
    Greg September 30, 2009 at 10:12 pm #

    How, exactly, is this different from the anti-Catholic bias? If we elect Kennedy, he’ll be taking his orders from the Pope?

    The solution to both “problems” is the same. Let the voters decide. If they feel that Obama is too deferential to Kenya, they’ll vote against him. If the voters think that Kennedy had put Vatican interests above ours, they’d have voted against him.

    It must just stick in Sally’s craw that the voters aren’t buying into her paranoid fantasies. They don’t feel Obama is putting other countries’ interests above our own, in fact, his poll numbers are doing pretty well.

  12. avatar
    Lupin October 1, 2009 at 2:42 am #

    Why don’t you just come out and say, let’s kick out all the Jews who support the State of Israel.

    Because that’s what you’re saying, you know.

  13. avatar
    misha October 1, 2009 at 2:35 pm #

    Thank you, that’s exactly what they are aiming at. Dual loyalty, can’t trust ’em.