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Media resources at your public library

A trip to the local library (or an online visit to its web portal) may provide you with resources not available on the public Internet. Here are some media articles I picked up.

An article from the recent “First Draft of History” conference in Washington included quotations from John McCain and Lindsey Graham.

You can raise a lot of money by stirring up anger and passion.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., complained that Republicans want to turn the Democratic Party into MoveOn.org while Democrats want to turn the Republican Party into talk radio. His response to people who say that President Obama is not a Christian or a natural-born citizen? “Republicans have to say, ‘That’s crazy,’ ” Graham said. “I go to town hall meetings and say, ‘That’s crazy.’ “

Source Citation: Schneider, Bill. “Institutionalized Nastiness.” National Journal (Oct 9, 2009)


I found a bit of academic humor here in a legal treatise on originalism:

Similarly, while Article II, Section 1 requires that the president be a “natural born Citizen,” no one could draw the legitimate conclusion from the “literal construction” that anyone born by caesarean section is ineligible for the office. Thus, when Marshall argued that there may be cases that seem to fall within the literal language of the Constitution and yet do not rightly, he is not necessarily advocating the abandonment of originalism. [Citations omitted]

Source Citation: Dougherty, Richard J. “Originalism and precedent: principles and practices in the application of stare decisis.” Ave Maria Law Review 6.1 (Fall 2007): 155(38).


And this bit

Article Two stipulates that “no person except a natural-born citizen” can be president. As a consequence: * No one born by cesarean can be president.

  • Progeny of alien insemination cannot be president.
  • Those born in Guantanamo Bay prison must take their case before the Supreme Court.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger is out of luck.

Source Citation: Douglas, Lawrence, and Alexander George. “A Pop Quiz for Constitution Day.” The Chronicle of Higher Education 53.4 (Sept 15, 2006)


This is from the year 2000 and so outside the context of the Obama debate:

We begin, of course, with the text of the Constitution. The text expressly states that “no Person except a natural born Citizen … shall be eligible to the Office of President.” As the Supreme Court has explained, “[t]he Constitution does not, in words, say who shall be natural-born citizens. Resort must be had elsewhere to ascertain that.” That is, we look to the common law at the time of the founding (as opposed to, say, an act of Congress). At common law, children born within the sovereign’s territorial jurisdiction were citizens at birth, and were so whether or not their parents were citizens- a principle of territoriality later codified by the Fourteenth Amendment.) In addition, children born outside of the territory, but to citizen parents, also enjoyed citizenship at birth. (One resumes, of course, that the natural born citizen requirement does not additionally exclude otherwise eligible individuals born by Caesarean section.) [Citations omitted]

Source Citation: Ho, James C. “Unnatural born citizens and acting Presidents.”  Constitutional Commentary 17.3 (Winter 2000)


This article talks about the tension between the authority of the courts and the power to make treaties.

Because state [i.e. nation state] sovereignty despite certain qualifications continues to be the basic organizing principle of the international system, most of us continue to accept implicitly its basic allocation of responsibility between the domestic and international orders. …While rarely stated explicitly, the allocation of responsibility is implicit throughout the entire Constitution. The document’s first three Articles establish the basic framework for internal self-governance. They do not attempt to establish a regulatory structure for the world at large. Article I establishes a legislative branch with powers vested in “a Congress of the United States” to “provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States.” Article II establishes the executive powers of the United States, the office of President to be held only by a natural born citizen of the United States. Article III establishes the “judicial Power of the United States,” which “extend[s] to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made . . . under their Authority.” As a framework for internal governance, the document functions to allocate power among the fifty states of the Union and between those fifty states and the federal government, not among the nation-states of the global community…. Thus, the Constitution establishes the deference in certain matters that the fifty states within the Union owe to each other. Nowhere does the Constitution purport to establish similar reciprocal obligations upon the nation-states of the world. Defining such reciprocal obligations between the nation-states of the world, it is well-established, is the province of international law….

Source Citation: Strauss, Andrew L. “Where America ends and the international order begins: interpreting the jurisdictional reach of the U.S. Constitution in light of a proposed Hague Convention on jurisdiction and satisfaction of judgments.”  Albany Law Review 61.n4 (Summer 1998)


A note on the common usage of  “natural born citizen”.

In carrying out the law, administrative agencies often create particular categories or classes of citizenship and define the proper relationships among those classes. An immigration law may define in general who is a natural-born citizen, a naturalized citizen, a legal visitor, or an illegal immigrant.

Source Citation: Cook, Brian J. “Politics, political leadership, and public management.” Public Administration Review 58.n3 (May-June 1998): 225(6).


And this is from history:

We have natural-born citizens — Constitution Art. 2 [sections] 5 — not made by law or otherwise, but born: And this class is the large majority; in fact, the mass of our citizens; for all others are exceptions, specially provided for by law. As they became citizens in the natural way, by birth, so they remain citizens during their natural lives, unless by their own voluntary act, they expatriate themselves, and become citizens or subjects of another nation. For we have no law (as the French have) to decitizenise a citizen, who has become such, either by the natural process of birth, or by the legal process of adoption. And in this connection, the Constitution says not one word; and furnishes not one hint, in relation to the color or to the ancestral race of the “natural born citizen.” Whatever may have been said in the opinions of judges and lawyers and in State Statutes, about negroes, mulattoes and persons of color, the Constitution is wholly silent upon that subject. The Constitution itself does not make the citizens (it is in fact, made by them.) It only intends and recognizes such of them as are natural — home-born, — and provides for the naturalization of such of them as were alien — foreign-born — making the latter, as far as Nature will allow, like the former….

I have said that, prima facie, every person born in this country is born a citizen; and that he who doubts it in individual cases, assumes the burden of stating the exception to the general rule, and proving the fact which works the disenfranchisement. There are but a few exceptions commonly made, and urged as disqualifying facts. — I lay no stress on the small and admitted class of the natural born, composed of the children of foreign ministers, and the like,…

It is strenuously insisted by some that “persons of color” though born in the country, are not capable of being citizens of the United States. As far as the Constitution is concerned, this is a naked assumption for the Constitution contains not one word upon the subject. The exclusion, if it exist must then, rest upon some fundamental fact which, in reason and the nature of things, is so inconsistent with citizenship that the two cannot coexist in the same person. Is mere color such a fact? Let those who assert it, prove that it is so. It has never been so understood nor put into practice in the nation from which we derive our language, laws and institutions, and our very morals and models of thought; and, as far as I know, there is not a single nation in Christendom which does not regard the new-found idea with incredulity if not disgust. What can there be in the mere color of a man, (we are speaking now, not of race, but of color only,) to disqualify him from bearing true and faithful allegiance to his native country, and for demanding the protection of that country? And these two — allegiance and protection constitute the sum of the duties and rights of a “natural-born citizen of the United States.”[Internal citations omitted]

Source Citation: McClure, James P., Leigh Johnsen, Kathleen Norman, and Michael Vanderlan. “Circumventing the Dred Scott decision: Edward Bates, Salmon P. Chase, and the citizenship of African Americans.” Civil War History 43.n4 (Dec 1997): 279(31).

2 Responses to Media resources at your public library

  1. avatar
    elmo October 26, 2009 at 11:17 am #

    Next thing you know birthers will be claiming Obama was born by caesarian section, so he can’t be president. Wait for it…

  2. avatar
    misha October 26, 2009 at 5:44 pm #

    No man of woman born
    Can harm MacBeth