Examiner.com, a compendium of bloggers called “Examiners” catered to crank journalism in the article by Dianna Cotter, titled America’s two unconstitutional Presidents.
Cotter claims to have done independent research, and I won’t deny she did, but in this article she contributes little or nothing beyond repeating the arguments presented by denialist lawyer Leo C. Donofrio in his smear campaign against Barack Obama by way of former president Chester A. Arthur. Cotter appears to have researched extensively the historical evidence available and represents it fairly. The problem is that she also took Leo’s unreasoned speculation and puts that in too, mixing fact and fantasy with a result, perhaps not intentionally, that is full-bore birther material. If she had taken the research she did, and then applied some critical thinking to Donofrio, the result might have been something worthwhile.
Following is some of what’s wrong with the article (in bold italics):
- “President Arthur was successful in keeping the secret of his heritage.” There is no historical evidence supporting this assertion, and at least one contemporary newspaper account described Arthur as “born an Irishman”.
- “[Arthur] was not Constitutionally Qualified for the Office of either Vice President or President, and set a precedent by which it would happen again.” If such were true, why does she think the Congress voted unanimously to certify Obama’s election and the Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court swore him in if the well-known fact of Obama’s parentage mattered?
- “During the campaign of 1880, questions were asked about Chester’s birth place, but just as today, those doing the research were looking in the wrong direction.” A. P. Hinman in his contemporary account describes the exact situation of Arthur’s father’s naturalization. It is hardly credible that Hinman didn’t know. He just didn’t care. And what “wrong direction” does she think people today are looking?
- “[The father’s naturalization] document and its relevance have only recently been discovered.” Or perhaps rediscovered.
- “A lawyer and scholar by the name of George D. Collins Esq. wrote an article regarding citizenship during Arthur’s term,” Collins was writing in 1884 in defense of the Chinese Exclusion Act that singled out the Chinese as unfit for citizenship. Collins reviews were rejected by the courts of his day. Today we would describe Collins as a racist and a bigot.
- “He also draws upon “The Law of Nations” by Emerich [de] Vattel written in 1758.” Cited by the LOSING side in United States v Wong Kim Ark. The only time De Vattel was cited by the winning side in a citizenship case was in Dred Scott, where the court concluded that African Americans could never be citizens. (See the racist theme?) That decision is widely regarded as one of the worst blunders in the history of the Supreme Court and one of the causes of the Civil War and half a million dead.
- Had Collins known that President Arthur’s father was not a naturalized citizen at the time of Arthur’s birth, he would have correctly concluded that the President was not a natural born citizen and not eligible for the office.” One can hardly argue with this conclusion, since Collins believe that the children of non-citizens were not even citizens. He was wrong, of course.
- “The President’s British citizenship can still be formalized.” Sorry, that section of the BNA 1948 law was repealed. This was one of Donofrio’s signature mistakes.
- “[Obama] was not at any time a natural born citizen due to his triple nationality status, and he knows it.” First, there is not a single authority on Constitutional law who has said any such thing, and many who have said the opposite. See this anthology.
- “The President has spent millions of dollars fighting various court cases across the country.” A factoid with no evidence.
- “Barack Obama has hidden the truth right in the open“. That sounds rather silly. Does she somehow expect that the entire Congress, and the Supreme Court missed an important section of the Constitution?
- “By definition, a person cannot be a Natural Born Citizen of the United States of America while at the instant of their birth also being the citizen of any other Nation.” Whose definition? A real American legal dictionary said: “Every person born within the United States its territories or districts whether the parents are citizens or aliens is a natural born citizen within the sense of the Constitution and entitled to all the rights and privileges pertaining to that capacity.”
- Attorneys Leo Donofrio and Steve Pidgeon have been retained by a group of Chrysler dealers who lost their franchises in the Chrysler bankruptcy sale. Quo Warranto is one of 2 ways to remove a sitting President, and is being filed on behalf of the Auto Dealers who had their dealerships taken from them in the summer of 2009, and bankruptcy motion actions are being filed in the Bankruptcy Court, Game, set, match. I told you she was copying Donofrio. Quo warranto cannot be brought by a private citizen, and under the Constitution, only Congress can remove a president.
So in conclusion, Dianna Cotter thinks she and Leo Donofrio are smart and clever and the majority of the Voters, the Congress, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and many federal and state court decisions, along with the writing of US Attorneys General, ex presidents, and framers of the Constitution are all wet.
Cotter is right in one respect: sometimes history does repeat itself. In both the case of Arthur and Obama, a lawyer tried to come up with a crank theory why each was ineligible to be president. Neither was right.