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Was George Washington a “natural born citizen”?

President Washington

No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

Some Internet writers say that the exception to the natural born citizen rule ( “or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution“) was placed there specially for folks like George Washington who were born British Subjects before there was any United States. Others say that the clause was for the benefit of Alexander Hamilton who was not born on the American continent.

As I wrote in my article: George Washington, first in war, first in peace, and first presidential usurper, George Washington came from a state that had not ratified the Constitution at the time the Constitution went into effect, and therefore was not a “Citizen of the United States” at the time of the Adoption of the Constitution. That story was joke because the United States existed under the Articles of Confederation before there was a Constitution, and many would contend that the United States existed since the 13 American colonies signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

However, we are instructed by the controversy over seating William Smith (as reported here in The eligibility debate in Congress) that it was the prevailing view in Congress the citizenship worked another way. The view, put forward by James Madison and almost unanimously affirmed by Congress, was that place of birth is what matters. Madison wrote:

It is an established maxim that birth is a criterion of allegiance. Birth, however, derives its force sometimes from place, and sometimes from parentage; but in general place is the most certain criterion; it is what applies in the United States; it will, therefore, be unnecessary to examine any other.

The Annals of Congress 1st Congress, 1st Session p. 420

George Washington, born in Virginia, was no foreigner. Even though he was born a British Subject as was his father before him, nonetheless Washington was also born a Virginian. When Virginia became part of the United States, all of its natural born subjects became natural born citizens of the United States as well, and the treaty of peace with Britain absolved them of any claims to allegiance by Britain. Allegiance is primarily to the society into which is born and where one is raised.

John Jay wrote to George Washington: “Permit me to hint whether it would not be wise and seasonable to provide a strong check to the admission of foreigners into the administration of our national government ; and to declare expressly that the command in chief of the American army shall not be given to, nor devolve on any but a natural born citizen.”  Do you think that Jay intended to exclude George Washington? Thomas Jefferson wrote:

The treaty of peace acknowleges we are no longer to owe allegiance to the king of G.B. It acknowleges us no longer as Natural subjects then. It makes us citizens of independent states;

December, 1783, notes to Congress

and

Citizenship is membership in a political society…

Luria v. United States, 231 U. S. 9 (1913)

90 Responses to Was George Washington a “natural born citizen”?

  1. avatar
    Scott Brown April 24, 2010 at 2:51 pm #

    Some nice new spin…your making me dizzy. 🙂

  2. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 24, 2010 at 3:05 pm #

    Could you be a little more specific in your criticism if you can? Just calling it “spin” doesn’t help me improve the text for accuracy and balance.

    I allow on comments on this blog primarily to provide constructive criticism on the articles and to bring forward new information.

  3. avatar
    G April 24, 2010 at 3:10 pm #

    Really Scott Brown? Still waiting to hear what state you were born in…

    Gee a week has now past since your made up passport story we caught you on and still you are silent about your lie, you coward.

  4. avatar
    nbC April 24, 2010 at 3:33 pm #

    And again our friend Scott Brown (sic) remains without any arguments, exposing his continued intentions to allow himself to be enslaved by rumors and myths rather than let facts and truth set him free.

  5. avatar
    HellT April 24, 2010 at 6:36 pm #

    Take your fingers out of your ears and stop screaming “LA-LA-LA!” That’s what’s knocking you for a loop.

  6. avatar
    Rickey April 24, 2010 at 6:59 pm #

    Some nice new spin…your making me dizzy.

    Not as dizzy as I’ve been getting, as I fruitlessly search this blog for a note from you telling us what state you were born in.

    I was born in New York State. You see, giving that information is painless! Now it’s your turn.

  7. avatar
    Black Lion April 24, 2010 at 11:07 pm #

    Rickey, as usual Scott is ignoring the requests…She is never going to tell…And we all know it is because she is lying and she completely made up that ridiculous story about having a COLB like Obama’s and couldn’t get a passport with it…So unless she has the guts to admit to her lie or tell us what state she is from, no matter what she posts we know she is full of it.

  8. avatar
    MuhommadMcLovin April 25, 2010 at 1:32 pm #

    George Washington’s mother, Mary Ball Washington, died a few days before George was inaugurated as a Tory.

    George’s father, Augustine, was adopted and emigrated to Europe with his stepfather after his father died. Augustine’s mother died when he was 8 years old. When Augustine was 10 years old, he was orphaned and sent back to Virginia as a refugee.

    Throughout his life, George referred to himself as a Virginian.

    Dr. Conspire wrote … “When Virginia became part of the United States, all of its natural born subjects became natural born citizens of the United States as well, and the treaty of peace with Britain absolved them of any claims to allegiance by Britain. Allegiance is primarily to the society into which is born and where one is raised.”

    George never held himself out to be a citizen of the United States, but a citizen of Virginia. George thought of the United States as a collective of unified entities. A person either belonged to one of those entities or was a foreigner.

  9. avatar
    MuhommadMcLovin April 25, 2010 at 1:34 pm #

    Correction: George was inaugurated as President of the US and his mother died as a Tory.

  10. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 25, 2010 at 2:49 pm #

    OK, that was funny.

  11. avatar
    Black Lion April 26, 2010 at 11:01 am #

    Thomas Jefferson was a “dual citizen” at the time he was elected President….And everyone knew…So what about the so called “dual citizens” cannot be President argument, I guess it doesn’t hold a much water anymore….

    http://ohforgoodnesssake.com/

    “According to the usages and understanding of all nations a man may have all the rights of a naturalized citizen or subject in his adopted country, and yet retain all his relations, civil and political, in his native country. For instance, the Marquis La Fayette was naturalized in the United States, but retained every such relation to France. So Mr. Jefferson was naturalized in France and there made a French citizen, and had he gone there would have been entitled to all the rights there of an adopted citizen, but he certainly retained all his relations to the United States, his rights and duties as a native citizen, and was in fact after such naturalization, elected President of the United States….Suppose Mr. Jefferson should go to France, where of course he would be a naturalized citizen or subject, and a war should take place between France and the United States, and he should be taken in arms fighting against them, and the United States should proceed to punish him as a traitor, and France should claim him and forbid the punishment, and say allegiance and protection are reciprocal, and he owes allegiance to France and is entitled to her protection: should we not say we admit the principle? But Mr. Jefferson has to every intent his protection in the United States; as he not only holds, but by their laws can here inherit real estate, claim his writ of habeas corpus, his jury trial, and a right to elect and to be elected to any office, even to that of President of the United States; and therefore it is we claim his allegiance, as it is his native and original allegiance, and the United States have never agreed to dissolve it, this allegiance takes place in case of collision of all other allegiance.”

  12. avatar
    Det. Cliff Hanger April 26, 2010 at 11:54 am #

    Black Lying quoting Oh for Gooviness Sake wrote …

    So Mr. Jefferson was naturalized in France and there made a French citizen, and had he gone there would have been entitled to all the rights there of an adopted citizen, but he certainly retained all his relations to the United States, his rights and duties as a native citizen, and was in fact after such naturalization, elected President of the United States …

    Jefferson qualified for POTUS as a citizen of the United States at the time of the ratification of the Constitution. His dual citizenship did not disqualify him as a citizen of the United States.

    A natural-born citizen is a separate qualification standard independent of the qualification to be a US citizen at the ratification of the Constitution.

    A natural-born citizen is a person born with allegiance to only the US and two parents who are citizens of the U.S.

  13. avatar
    DiogenesLamp April 26, 2010 at 11:57 am #

    In a word. NO. He was not. He didn’t need to be. He, and all contemporaries became Citizens under the Articles of Confederation in 1776, and they were further grandfathered by Article II of the US Constitution.

  14. avatar
    Black Lion April 26, 2010 at 11:58 am #

    But he was a dual citizen Sven. That is a fact. It had nothing to do with anything else. Your argument is that Obama is a dual citizen with dual alegiances…So was Jefferson according to the article. He was both a citizen of France and the US when he was elected. This has nothing to do with NBC status….It has to do with his dual citizenship issues…

  15. avatar
    Black Lion April 26, 2010 at 12:01 pm #

    Again the issue is not NBC but the dual citizenship aspect. The birther argument is predicated on the fact that Obama is a dual citizen and therefore does not have sole allegiance to the US. Well Jefferson, when President, has allegiance to the US and France.

  16. avatar
    Black Lion April 26, 2010 at 12:05 pm #

    Sven, you incorrectly state above that “A natural-born citizen is a person born with allegiance to only the US and two parents who are citizens of the U.S.”. Really? Can you show us where that is stated in the US Constitution? Can you show us what SCOTUS case states that?

    The problem with you and the other Vattel supporters is that you have no case law to support your view. All you have is supposition and a library book to try and prove your point. While any true legal scholar will look at the case law. As I posted on another link, there is case law against the Vattel theory of citizenship.

    We know that the Constitution only spells out 2 ways someone can be a citizen of the US, naturalized and by birth. But the SCOTUS has gone further. In the US Supreme Court’s ruling in Luria v. U.S., 231 U.S. 9 (U.S. 1913), the court stated that “Under our Constitution, a naturalized citizen stands on an equal footing with the native citizen in all respects, save that of eligibility to the Presidency.” The case then cites Elk v Wilkins and Minor v Happersett as precedent. And we know in Minor the SCOTUS ruled that are exactly two kinds of citizens: native or natural born citizens and naturalized citizens. So logically this leaves us with a couple of facts. We know that the SCOTUS has ruled that there are only 2 types of citizens and that these 2 citizens are equal in all ways except that the native born (or natural born) is eligible to become President. We also know that the SCOTUS in Wong Kim Ark determined that a child born in the US, regardless of the citizenship status of the parents, is considered a citizen of the US. Actually as we know Justice Gray cites Blackstone and English Common Law to determine that “All persons born in the allegiance of the king are natural-born subjects, and all persons born in the allegiance of the United States are natural-born citizens.”

    What this determines is that the SCOTUS didn’t believe in the ridiculous De Vattel 2 parent argument. The SCOTUS, like most Americans believe that if someone was born in the US, they are eligible to be President of the US. And since Obama was born in HI, then he is eligible. Period.

    “Citizenship is membership in a political society, and implies a duty of allegiance on the part of the member and a duty of protection on the part of the society. These are reciprocal obligations, one being a compensation for the other. Under our Constitution, a naturalized citizen stands on an equal footing with the native citizen in all respects, save that of eligibility to the Presidency. Minor v. Happersett, 21 Wall. 162, 165, 22 L. ed. 627; Elk v. Wilkins, 112 U.S. 94, 101 , 28 S. L. ed. 643, 645, 5 Sup. Ct. Rep. 41; Osborn v. Bank of United States, 9 Wheat. 738, 827, 6 L. ed. 204, 225.”

    http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/getcase.pl?friend=nytimes&court=us&vol=231&invol=9

  17. avatar
    Greg April 26, 2010 at 3:23 pm #

    So, Diogenes, why did the Founders talk about the “grandfather clause” as applying to people like Hamilton who was born in the West Indies? If everyone was grandfathered in by the clause, then there was no distinction between Hamilton and Washington.

    It is clear from the writings and comments of the founders that they believed that everyone born in the colonies was, before the declaration of independence, a natural born subject of Great Britain and a citizen of the colony they were born in. When the country declared independence, anyone who did not remain expressly loyal to the Crown became a natural born citizen of the new nation.

    This makes sense, since the Revolutionaries based their legal arguments for the Revolution chiefly on Lord Coke and, especially, Calvin’s Case. This case was about the transference of citizenship and who gets representation in Parliament – what happens to the natural born subjects of the King when he became King of another nation? “Taxation without Representation” is a concept that came out of this case.

    You can see Madison repeating the logic of Calvin’s Case in the early debate about the citizenship of a Virginian who was educated in Paris (Dr. C. has posted this recently).

  18. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 26, 2010 at 3:26 pm #

    No will argue seriously that George Washington NEEDED to be a natural born citizen of the United States. But that fact doesn’t tell us whether he was or not. Your assertion that he was not is just an unsupported claim.

  19. avatar
    Granite May 21, 2010 at 12:21 pm #

    I have seen the claim that Thomas Jefferson had become a naturalized citizen of France. This is important, if true. Can anyone cite a source for the information? An article or book, or two?

  20. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 21, 2010 at 12:35 pm #

    There is a biography of Jefferson on Google books that says this.

    If you can’t find let me know. I’m on mobile device now.

  21. avatar
    Granite May 21, 2010 at 1:14 pm #

    I am unable to find it. But there’s no rush. If true, this would be important. But I think it is unlikely. IF he had really done it, the French would have been calling him a citizen for years.

    Perhaps this was referring to Jefferson’s well known statement that every man has two countries, his own and France. That is nice, but it is merely a statement of love for France.

  22. avatar
    Ballantine May 21, 2010 at 2:22 pm #

    Granite: I am unable to find it. But there’s no rush. If true, this would be important. But I think it is unlikely. IF he had really done it, the French would have been calling him a citizen for years.Perhaps this was referring to Jefferson’s well known statement that every man has two countries, his own and France. That is nice, but it is merely a statement of love for France.

    .

    http://books.google.com/books?id=kf48AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA713&dq=nathan+dane+jefferson+citizen+france&lr=&num=100&as_brr=0&cd=1#v=onepage&q&f=false

    .

    “According to the usages and understanding of all nations a man may have all the rights of a naturalized citizen or subject in his adopted country, and yet retain all his relations, civil and political, in his native country. For instance, the Marquis La Fayette was naturalized in the United States, but retained every such relation to France. So Mr. Jefferson was naturalized in France and there made a French citizen, and had he gone thpre would have been entitled to all the rights there of an adopted citizen, but he certainly retained all his relations to the United States, his rights and duties as a native citizen, and was in fact after such naturalization, elected President of the United States. So Mr. Church emigrated from England to the United States, here married General Schuyler’s daughter and had children here, and was a contractor here, remained here many years, and yet retained all his civil and political relations to Great Britain; for when he returned to that country he there purchased real estate and was a member of parliament in virtue of his native rights as a subject. He again came to this country, and is now a freeholder in New York; and if not naturalized, be is certainly an emigrant animo manendi. It will naturally be ^ r> 1813. asked what is his situation in this war now existing between the United States and Great Britain. Can he bear arms against the British government, and if taken in arms against that government, can it lawfully punish him as a traitor, and if it do so, what is the duty of the United States f Is it to retaliate or make war on account of this punishment, or to leave Mr. Church to settle this affair himself with his native government ? Suppose Mr. Jefferson should go to France, where of course he would be a naturalized citizen or subject, and a war should take place between France and the United States, and he should be taken in arms fighting against them, and the United States should proceed to punish him as a traitor, and. France should claim him and forbid the punishment, and say allegiance and protection are reciprocal, and he owes allegiance to France and is entitled to her protection: should we not say we admit the principle ? But Mr. Jefferson has to every intent his protection in the United States ; as he not only holds, but by their laws can here inherit real estate, claim his writ of habeas corpus, his jury trial, and a right to elect and to be elected to any office, even to that of President of the United States ; and therefore it is we claim his allegiance, as it is his native and original allegiance, and the United States have never agreed to dissolve it, this allegiance takes place in case of collision of all other allegiance. And suppose further, the United States should cite the French code on the subject, of ancient times, revised in the year 1812, which enacts, that ” no Frenchman can be naturalized abroad without our consent;” and ” every Frenchman naturalized abroad even with our permission can at no time carry arms against France, under pain of being indicted in our courts, and condemned to the punishments inflicted in the penal code,” which is death and confiscation of goods. And this law is executed regularly by the judicial courts of France.”

  23. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 21, 2010 at 2:48 pm #

    According to Empire of Liberty: A history of the Early Republic 1789-1715 by George S Wood, France bestowed honorary French citizenship on Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison about 1792. The related information at the link is also interesting. In the book The Age of Democratic Revolution: The Struggle by Robert Palmer, it seems to say that Jefferson was not made a French citizen, but that Washington, Hamilton, Paine and others were. The Formative Years: The second administration of Thomas Jefferson, 1805 … edited by Herbert Agar says that Jefferson was awarded French Citizenship in 1792 also. The political works of Thomas Paine By Thomas Paine introduction says Jefferson was made a French citizen.

    Looks like a little more research is in order.

  24. avatar
    WTF? May 21, 2010 at 3:14 pm #

    France bestowed honorary French citizenship on those Americans who upheld the cause of liberty.

    Why didn’t you include the word “honorary”, Doc?

  25. avatar
    WTF? May 21, 2010 at 3:22 pm #


    Honorary citizen of the United States

    Recipients:

    Marquis de Lafayette

    Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu [Mother Teresa]

    William and Hannah Callowhill Penn

    Raoul Wallenberg

    Winston Churchill

  26. avatar
    WTF? May 21, 2010 at 3:27 pm #

    Here’s the info on Hornorary U.S. citizenship from the State Department.

    http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/86761.pdf

  27. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 21, 2010 at 4:13 pm #

    WTF?: France bestowed honorary French citizenship on those Americans who upheld the cause of liberty.

    Why didn’t you include the word “honorary”, Doc?

    Oh, do you think that makes a difference? One source said that Jefferson “accepted” the honor. I thought the natural born citizen revisionist crowd denied the possibility of ANY smudge on the purest of lily white allegiance.

  28. avatar
    Granite May 21, 2010 at 4:32 pm #

    Hi; not to quibble, but I believe that the quotation from Thomas Paine cited refers to Thomas Paine being made a citizen of France.

  29. avatar
    WTF? May 21, 2010 at 4:52 pm #

    Doc said; “Oh, do you think that makes a difference?”

    Damn straight it makes a difference. If it didn’t make a difference, you probably would not have felt the need to omit it. 🙂

    Tell me, Doc- Why the need to muddy the water? You’re not a stupid man. You know that honorary citizenshiip presented no duties or obligations. Yet, you chose to pretend that some of our nation’s most revered citizens adopted another allegiance.

    Is there an end, or would you throw your own mama under the bus to defend Obama?

  30. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 21, 2010 at 9:24 pm #

    WTF?: Doc said; “Oh, do you think that makes a difference?”

    Damn straight it makes a difference. If it didn’t make a difference, you probably would not have felt the need to omit it. 🙂

    Tell me, Doc- Why the need to muddy the water? You’re not a stupid man. You know that honorary citizenshiip presented no duties or obligations. Yet, you chose to pretend that some of our nation’s most revered citizens adopted another allegiance.

    Is there an end, or would you throw your own mama under the bus to defend Obama?

    Well I thought I was throwing you a real softball there. You could have done a little research of French honorary citizenship, and you could have built an argument showing why you thought that there was a significance there. You could have developed your idea of natural born citizenship and honed it using the distinction between naturalization and honorary citizenship.

    The purpose of this web site is to get people thinking for themselves, not to win points.

    You really let me down. And if you ever disrespect my mother again, you’ll never comment on this web site again.

  31. avatar
    Sef May 21, 2010 at 10:59 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: And if you ever disrespect my mother again, you’ll never comment on this web site again.

    Hear, hear!

  32. avatar
    WTF? May 21, 2010 at 11:41 pm #

    Sorry Doc. You’re going to have to play those sorts of games with someone else. I never said anything disrespectful about your mother, but I guess you’re free to interpret things however you want.

    As for the rest of your reply; honorary citizenship is like a gold star. It’s only as valuable as you consider it to be. It serves no legal purpose. It is not accompanied by any oath of allegiance.

    You said; “The purpose of this web site is to get people thinking for themselves, not to win points.”

    IF people actually thought for themselves, they would conclude that ANY QUESTION regarding the origin and identity of the person authorized to launch nuclear weapons should be resolved immediately, especially when the ability to do so is readily available.

    Maybe you need to hear the sound of the “General Alarm”; followed by “Man Battlestations Missile”, before you can truly contemplate the power in the hands of the Commander in Chief. Maybe then you’ll see the questions as being reasonable. Maybe then you won’t consider it to be a joke when the questions go unanswered.

  33. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 21, 2010 at 11:58 pm #

    WTF?: … honorary citizenship is like a gold star. It’s only as valuable as you consider it to be. It serves no legal purpose. It is not accompanied by any oath of allegiance.

    So since Barack Obama never swore an oath of allegiance to Great Britain, nor even visited there before he was an adult, his citizenship there, to use your words, “serves no legal purpose”. It is nothing more than a legislated privilege very much like the honorary citizenship conferred on Mr. Jefferson by France.

    I think you perhaps make too much light of Mr. Jefferson’s French citizenship. It was not like a “key to the city” which doesn’t open anything. Jefferson was made a full French citizen and entitled to the same rights as any other French citizen. So can you explain how the British Nationality Act of 1948 confers a stronger quality of citizenship than the French Act of 1792? Jefferson received his grant of citizenship as an adult and history doesn’t tell us that he rejected the honor. Obama was only a baby and that citizenship was gone before he was old enough to know what a citizen was.

  34. avatar
    Scientist May 22, 2010 at 7:14 am #

    WTF?: It is not accompanied by any oath of allegiance.

    Let’s look at the matter of oaths of allegiance. We are told by the birthers that their issue is not at all with the President’s father being from the Dark Continent. No, that would be so intolerant. Their problem is with the fact that he didn’t take the oath of citizenship in the US. Had he just done so, all would be sweetness and light and they would frolic happily in the Rose Garden with Sasha, Malia and Bo the dog. Because oaths are very important.

    Yet the man they hate and denigrate has in fact taken oaths of allegiance to the United States at least 3 times-when he became President, when he took his seat in the US Senate and when he took his seat in the Illinois Senate. Let it further be noted that there is no evidence he ever took an oath of allegiance to any other country.

    So, let’s see, the oath Barack Obama Sr, didn’t take-very, very important
    The oaths Barack Obama Jr. did take-not so much

  35. avatar
    WTF? May 22, 2010 at 7:30 am #

    Look, Doc. The Constitution mandates that ONLY a natural-born citizen shall hold that office. You seem to be arguing that the rationale behind such a provision doesn’t really “fit” Obama. That’s because his alien father abandoned him. Most fathers help to raise their child, and in doing so, instill their values upon their child (the social norm). If you want an exception for those children whose fathers abandon them, the process is amendment.

  36. avatar
    WTF? May 22, 2010 at 7:50 am #

    Scientist,

    Did Obama renounce allegiance to any foreign powers? Hmmm? I can’t hear you? Was that a “No”?

  37. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 22, 2010 at 7:53 am #

    WTF?: Look, Doc. The Constitution mandates that ONLY a natural-born citizen shall hold that office. You seem to be arguing that the rationale behind such a provision doesn’t really “fit” Obama.

    No I am arguing that the rational behind the natural born citizen clause, that US presidents should not be foreigners fits Obama (born and raised in the US) perfectly. Given the fact that not a single news legal correspondent, not a single congressman, not a single judge, not a single state election official, not a single legal scholar and not a single opposition candidate seemed to agree with you before the election, I think that I am justified in being confident in my opinion. And I think it is fair to say that the collection of bloggers who disagree are badly wrong.

    Based upon the language of Article II, Section 1, Clause 4 and the guidance provided by Wong Kim Ark, we conclude that persons born within the borders of the United States are “natural born Citizens” for Article II, Section 1 purposes, regardless of the citizenship of their parents.

    Ankeny v Daniels (2009)

    Your view didn’t exist before it was invented as a smear tactic against Barack Obama. If you want an exception, then it is you who need to pursue a constitutional amendment. I don’t need a constitutional amendment to make Barack Obama eligible to be president; he IS president.

  38. avatar
    Scientist May 22, 2010 at 8:14 am #

    WTF?: Did Obama renounce allegiance to any foreign powers?

    Did you? Did any President? The only ones who actually renounce allegiance to foreign powers are naturalized citizens. So by your logic, only naturalized citizens can be President. An interesting position you are taking here….

  39. avatar
    WTF? May 22, 2010 at 8:23 am #

    Doc, If “my view” didn’t exist before Obama, why did Chester Arthur keep the nationality of his father a secret?

    Other than Aurthur (who kept it a secret), what other President was the child of parents who were not permanently domiciled in the U.S., or citizens of the U.S. before he was born?

    Tell me which news legal correspondent, congressman, judge, state election official, legal scholar or opposition candidate would not have been labeled a racist for raising the question? Then you can tell me what everyone who raised the question was labeled.

    I notice you left out what court you were citing, and failed to tell the readers why the opinion of Ankeny was obiter dictum.

    (You’re gonna have to play by yourself. I’m heading to Memphis for a Jazz Concert. I’ll be back on Monday.)

  40. avatar
    Scientist May 22, 2010 at 8:31 am #

    WTF?: If “my view” didn’t exist before Obama, why did Chester Arthur keep the nationality of his father a secret?

    He didn’t. No one asked him because it was irrelevant. If Obama thought his father’s citizenship would have disqualified him, why DIDN’T he keep it secret?

    Now answer my question-Have you renounced allegiance to foreign powers? If so, when? If not, why not?

  41. avatar
    Sef May 22, 2010 at 9:09 am #

    Scientist: Now answer my question-Have you renounced allegiance to foreign powers? If so, when? If not, why not?

    Or maybe ask him when he is going to return to his native Birferstan. Or why dd he quit beating his wife.

  42. avatar
    Scientist May 22, 2010 at 9:53 am #

    WTF?: Doc, If “my view” didn’t exist before Obama, why did Chester Arthur keep the nationality of his father a secret?

    He didn’t keep it a secret, it was irrelevant. It was well known that Arthur Sr. had been born in Ireland and had lived in Canada. If the date of his naturalization in the US had been considered relevant someone (the Democrats, a reporter) would have asked. They didn’t.

    When I go to DMV, I don’t tell them my religion (nor do they ask). Am I hiding it? Am I ashamed of it? Not at all, it’s just irrelevant to registering my car or renewing my license.

  43. avatar
    dunstvangeet May 22, 2010 at 11:15 am #

    WTF?: Doc, If “my view” didn’t exist before Obama, why did Chester Arthur keep the nationality of his father a secret?

    ‘e
    That’s an easy one. Arthur didn’t. Arthur P. Hinman, a political hitman who was hired by Arthur’s enemies to find a way that Arthur was ineligible, knew that Arthur’s father was not a citizen when Arthur was born. He in fact knew it at the earliest in January of 1881. Arthur was not sworn in as Vice President until March of 1881. In order for your scenario to be plausible, you’d have to believe that Arthur Hinman, who hated Arthur and in fact was basically the same as the birthers were to Obama, conspired with Arthur to keep secret the fact that his father was an immigrant. Just doesn’t make sense.

    And you want Presidents? What about Presidential Candinates? John C. Frémont’s (Republican Presidential Candinate in 1956) father was a person by the name of Charles Fremon. He was a French National, who was a servent in the house of Maj. John Pryor, an Revolutionary War hero. Anne Beverley Whiting was the wife of John Pryor. Frémont and Whiting had an affair, and when Pryor confronted them about it, they ran off together, creating a scandle in Richmond, Virginia.

  44. avatar
    NbC May 22, 2010 at 1:47 pm #

    WTF?: Doc, If “my view” didn’t exist before Obama, why did Chester Arthur keep the nationality of his father a secret?

    He did no such thing.

    That’s easy.

  45. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 22, 2010 at 4:30 pm #

    WTF?: Doc, If “my view” didn’t exist before Obama, why did Chester Arthur keep the nationality of his father a secret?

    Other than Aurthur (who kept it a secret), what other President was the child of parents who were not permanently domiciled in the U.S., or citizens of the U.S. before he was born?

    As others have commented, the story that Arthur keeping the nationality of his father a secret is a myth. Chester A. Arthur was a New York lawyer, and the Chancery Court of New York had previously declared:

    The term citizen, was used in the constitution as a word, the meaning of which was already established and well understood. And the constitution itself contains a direct recognition of the subsisting common law principle, in the section which defines the qualification of the President. “No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States at the time of the adoption of this constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President,” … The only standard which then existed, of a natural born citizen, was the rule of the common law, and no different standard has been adopted since. Suppose a person should be elected President who was native born, but of alien parents, could there be any reasonable doubt that he was eligible under the constitution? I think not.

    The court opined that this view was the general opinion of the legal community and the universal view of the public. So why would anyone lawyer or member of the general public think that Arthur needed to hide anything?

    For more on Arthur and the myths spun around him by the birthers see:

    http://www.obamaconspiracy.org/2008/12/the-assassination-of-chester-a-arthur/
    http://www.obamaconspiracy.org/2008/12/the-mysterious-mr-hinman/
    http://www.obamaconspiracy.org/2009/04/chester-a-arthur-rest-in-peace/

  46. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 22, 2010 at 4:35 pm #

    WTF?: I notice you left out what court you were citing, and failed to tell the readers why the opinion of Ankeny was obiter dictum.

    I wasn’t tying to prove legal precedent, just that you were putting forth a crank theory, one not shared by the legal community. Surely you know that there are dozens of properly cited examples on this web site saying the same thing. I’m not going to waste my time duplicating citations in comments that are documented in the main articles unless I think it is important for the particular situation.

    Citation here: http://www.obamaconspiracy.org/2009/11/indiana-appeals-court-defines-natural-born-citizen/

  47. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 22, 2010 at 4:44 pm #

    WTF?: Did Obama renounce allegiance to any foreign powers?

    How can one renounce what one does not have?

  48. avatar
    Granite1 May 26, 2010 at 4:54 am #

    I have always wanted to know whether the proponents of the two-US-parents plus born in the USA theory mean parents by marriage or if they mean the real DNA parents.

    If the former presumably a child born out of marriage would not be eligible. Moreover, the marriage connection makes little scientific sense since we know that most inheritance comes from DNA. The framers presumably knew about bloodlines too, if they followed racing, and several of them had had children out of marriage.

    But, if we accept that DNA is the real test of who the parents are, we get into the following situation. Say that president number 55 has been elected. She has been born in the USA and her mother was a US citizen. Her father also was thought to have been a US citizen, but three weeks after she has been sworn in a fellow calls from Russia and says that he was the real father. Let us presume that he really was the real father. Should the court nullify the election?

    In order to determine the real father of future presidential candidates, should their father’s DNA be tested? And if the fathers are dead, should their remains be tested?

    This sounds silly, but you can bet that if the two-US parent theory were ever to be tested in a court, the judges or justices would certainly ask whether the proponents of the theory were referring to parents by marriage or parents by DNA, and if the latter what about all the problems that that would raise.

    Getting back to the parents by marriage approach, that also has its problems. In particular, where Obama is concerned there is the allegation that his father had been married before he married Obama’s mother. Would that mean that she was not legally married and hence a marriage to a foreigner did not affect Obama’s status. Would the children of one of the polygamous sects not be eligible for the same reason? If the parents were married by a justice of the peace whose license had expired, would that mean that the marriage was not valid and hence a foreign father would not affect the child’s eligibility?

    In short, the two-fer case might just get laughed out of court–if it ever got to court, which is highly unlikely.

    Although there is a proposed bill in Congress requiring future presidential candidates to prove that they were born in the USA, and several states have similar draft legislation, no one seems to have proposed legislation requiring future presidential candidates to prove that their parents were US citizens.

  49. avatar
    misha May 26, 2010 at 5:10 am #

    “no one seems to have proposed legislation requiring future presidential candidates to prove that their parents were US citizens.”

    That’s because the two-parent “requirement” was made from whole cloth.

  50. avatar
    Granite1 May 26, 2010 at 10:19 am #

    I agree with you. I’m just pointing out another way of looking at it.

  51. avatar
    WTF? May 26, 2010 at 12:17 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: Suppose a person should be elected President who was native born, but of alien parents, could there be any reasonable doubt that he was eligible under the constitution? I think not

    More from Lynch v. Clarke “The inconsistency of holding that Julia Lynch is a citizen here, when it is conceded on all hands that by reason of her parents being British subjects she is also a British subject; was strongly urged. This inconsistency, however, is nothing but the occurrence of a double allegiance, which exists in the tens of thousands of instances of our naturalized citizens, who were once subjects of the crown of Great Britain. We recognize its existence, because we adopt them as citizens, with full knowledge that by the law of their native country, they never can put off the allegiance which they owe to its government,”

    So, Doc; Can you demonstrate how permitting someone with double allegiance to hold the Office of Commander in Chief provides a “strong check” on foreign influence?

  52. avatar
    WTF? May 26, 2010 at 12:29 pm #

    “This inconsistency, however, is nothing but the occurrence of a double allegiance, which exists in the tens of thousands of instances of our naturalized citizens, who were once subjects of the crown of Great Britain.”

    And isn’t it that double allegiance that we found to be so natural that it cannot ever be completely overcome, that prevents naturalized citizens from becoming President? A double allegiance the applied to Jessica Lynch the same as it does to Barack Obama.

    Is it the same double allegiance that required an exception to the natural born citizen provision of Article II?

  53. avatar
    NbC May 26, 2010 at 12:29 pm #

    WTF?: So, Doc; Can you demonstrate how permitting someone with double allegiance to hold the Office of Commander in Chief provides a “strong check” on foreign influence?

    Remember the context of John Jay’s quote?

    Permit me to hint whether it would not be wise and seasonable to provide a strong check to the admission of foreigners into the administration of our national government ; and to declare expressly that the command in chief of the American army shall not be given to, nor devolve on any but a natural born citizen.

    John Jay and others were worried that various Europeans could become eligible to run for the Presidency. After all, naturalization in those days was trivial.

    While double allegiance is unfortunate, it is an inevitable outcome of the existence of different rules. Hence the eligibility clause includes other safe guards such as age requirement and residency requirements.

    After all, we would not want a child born to two US parents on US soil who soon after his birth move to a foreign country, to be able to run for the office of the President unless such person has had the opportunity to reside in the US for a significant period of time…

    And of course, then there is the electorate who has to be convinced that said person should become our President.

    Not a trivial achievement and I do not believe that the presence or absence of dual allegiance is in any form or manner a reliable indicator of the qualifications of a President.

    President Obama, who at an early age of 10 years old returned to the United States and continued to live there and contribute to the US by serving as State and Federal Senator, has shown a continued interest and dedication to the United States.
    His ‘dual allegiance’ at birth, expired at the age of 23 when he refused to meet the requirements laid out by the Kenyan Constitution. In addition, when he clearly chose to continue his birth right citizenship when and even before reaching the age of majority, he clearly outlined where his allegiance was to be found.

    Explain to us why you believe the laws of other countries can take away the birth right citizenship of US citizens? The only alternative is that they can never become citizen, because if they are a citizen by birth, under US Constitution, they are a natural born citizen.

  54. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 26, 2010 at 1:02 pm #

    WTF?: So, Doc; Can you demonstrate how permitting someone with double allegiance to hold the Office of Commander in Chief provides a “strong check” on foreign influence?

    I think that a foreign government imposing an unenforceable theoretical allegiance upon an unwilling American citizen exerts no “foreign influence” whatever. We would be surrendering our sovereignty if we let foreign governments decide which of our citizens was eligible to be president.

    You seem to imply by asking this question that the natural born citizen clause of the Constitution should guarantee the absence of foreign influence. That is impossible since foreign influence can come from a variety of factors unrelated to parentage or citizenship. In the same way the age requirement does not guarantee that a presidential candidate has sufficient life experience and maturity to lead the country.

    The Constitution sets a minimum bar for presidential eligibility, not a guarantee of suitability. Framer Charles Pinckney said that the natural born citizenship clause was there to insure an “attachment to the country.” Someone born a citizen in the United States who lived here for 14 years can be said to have an attachment to the country. It is up to the voters to decide whether the natural born citizen is suitable to be president.

    Obama citizenship denialists seem to be saying that the Constitution must protect the country from the voters in every case. The Constitution cannot be expected to exclude each and every “undesirable” presidential candidate.

  55. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 26, 2010 at 1:08 pm #

    WTF?: Is it the same double allegiance that required an exception to the natural born citizen provision of Article II?

    No. That exception was for persons not born in the United States like Alexander Hamilton. The historical record (as cited by others here) is clear on this point. Washington, Jefferson and Jay all considered themselves natural born citizens of the United States.

  56. avatar
    Greg May 26, 2010 at 1:18 pm #

    I think birthers aren’t getting the reality of “dual allegiance.” It is only dual in a theoretical sense. When you are in the US, you are considered, by the US (and Britain) to be a full US citizen. You can be tried for treason. You cannot avail yourself of the British consulate or any other rights of a British citizen. When you are in the UK, you are considered, by Britain (and the US) to be a full British citizen, you can be tried for treason against the UK and you cannot avail yourself of the US consulate.

    Let’s see. The US election happened…yes…in the US. So, for the purposes of US law, Obama is a full US citizen, fully under the jurisdiction of the US.

    When Obama runs for President from Britain, we might have a problem.

  57. avatar
    WTF? May 26, 2010 at 1:26 pm #

    nbc said; “His dual allegiance’ at birth, expired at the age of 23 when he refused to meet the requirements laid out by the Kenyan Constitution.”

    We don’t know that. Obama has never said anything about it. -One way or the other.

    Is it possible that Obama took the steps necessary to maintain his Kenyan citizenship?

  58. avatar
    WTF? May 26, 2010 at 1:32 pm #

    Doc said; “Washington, Jefferson and Jay all considered themselves natural born citizens of the United States.”

    Can you provide us with some documentation that would support that claim? I find it hard to believe that anyone could consider themself to be a natural born citizen of something that did not exist when they were born.

    There is no way to ensure loyalty. There are only methods that decrease the chances of having multiple loyalties.

  59. avatar
    SFJeff May 26, 2010 at 1:35 pm #

    “We don’t know that. Obama has never said anything about it. -One way or the other.”

    Wow- President Obama never bothered to say that he never bothered to do something. Somehow I am not concerned about this. Do you have any evidence that suggests he has a dual allegiance with the United States and Kenya?

    Perhaps you can show President Obama vastly increasing support for the country of Kenya since taking office?

    “Is it possible that Obama took the steps necessary to maintain his Kenyan citizenship?”

    It is possible that Obama landed on earth after his birth planet Krypton exploded. Almost anything is possible. Do we have anything to suggest that this happened- and the answer is no.

  60. avatar
    WTF? May 26, 2010 at 1:38 pm #

    I thinks it’s kind of funny how we have no problem applying our laws outside of our jurisdiction, but choose to ignore the laws of other nations in a reciprocating manner. i.e. children born of U.S. citizens, outside the U.S. are U.S. citizens, but the children of aliens born in the U.S. are not citizens of the aliens country.

    Dual character and dual allegiance presents a natural choice when a conflict is presented. We know that an alien on temporary sojourn in this country has a duty to help defend this country, except against his own country. That kind of personal conflict should never exist in the Office of President. It’s a conflict of interest that must be avoided.

  61. avatar
    WTF? May 26, 2010 at 1:41 pm #

    SFJeff: “We don’t know that. Obama has never said anything about it. -One way or the other.”Wow- President Obama never bothered to say that he never bothered to do something. Somehow I am not concerned about this. Do you have any evidence that suggests he has a dual allegiance with the United States and Kenya? Perhaps you can show President Obama vastly increasing support for the country of Kenya since taking office? “Is it possible that Obama took the steps necessary to maintain his Kenyan citizenship?”It is possible that Obama landed on earth after his birth planet Krypton exploded. Almost anything is possible. Do we have anything to suggest that this happened- and the answer is no.

    Why do we perform background checks before granting a security clearance?

    Would it benefit Obama to maintain his Kenyan citizenship? Sure. It would permit him to inherit the land of his father. Maybe he already has.

  62. avatar
    Scientist May 26, 2010 at 1:42 pm #

    WTF?: There is no way to ensure loyalty. There are only methods that decrease the chances of having multiple loyalties.

    Do you have actual data that natural born citizens are more loyal than naturalized citizens?

  63. avatar
    Greg May 26, 2010 at 1:50 pm #

    WTF?: Can you provide us with some documentation that would support that claim?

    Jefferson said, in 1777, that only natural born citizens should be appointed to ambassadorships. He didn’t put in any grandfather clause.

    Either he was suggesting that only 1 year-olds should be ambassadors or that the US should not have any ambassadors until the precocious 10 year-olds could be readied to represent us abroad.

    I find it hard to believe that anyone could consider themself to be a natural born citizen of something that did not exist when they were born.

    Because you’re not getting how the Founders saw themselves. They saw themselves as members of the colonies AND of England. Massachusetts did not cease to exist with the Declaration of Independence. Neither did New York or any of the other colonies.

    The founders recognized the difference between those born in Massachusetts and those born in the West Indies who came to America and were naturalized some time before 1776!

    There’s a reason, WTF, that no historian in the 220 year history of our nation has thought that the grandfather clause applied to everyone in the United States whether born here or naturalized.

  64. avatar
    Sef May 26, 2010 at 1:52 pm #

    Scientist: There are only methods that decrease the chances of having multiple loyalties.

    Actually, I think it would be easier to show the converse: that naturalized citizens are more loyal. They have experienced the alternative to American citizenship & have made a choice. Other than for military service & elective offices natural born U.S. citizens are never asked to affirm their loyalty. (The pledge of allegiance doesn’t count) Plus all this birther crap, to me, is proof positive of disloyalty.

  65. avatar
    SFJeff May 26, 2010 at 1:53 pm #

    “Why do we perform background checks before granting a security clearance?”

    Using your own logic- how do we know that Obama hasn’t already passed security clearances?

    “Would it benefit Obama to maintain his Kenyan citizenship? Sure. It would permit him to inherit the land of his father. Maybe he already has.”

    Whew- huge speculation here- do you even know that his father had any land? Do you know whether inheritance in Kenya is dependent upon citizenship/

    So- to recap- you speculate that President Obama might possibly have chosen to claim his kenyan citizenship- and then you speculate that President Obama might have done so to claim an inheritance of land that you speculate that his father owned, based upon Kenyan law that you speculate would require citizenship to inherit.

    And this is all to establish that President Obama might not be as loyal to the United States as someone like Timothy McVeigh.

  66. avatar
    Sef May 26, 2010 at 1:58 pm #

    SFJeff: Whew- huge speculation here- do you even know that his father had any land? Do you know whether inheritance in Kenya is dependent upon citizenship/

    Here’s an interesting fact for you: I have a friend who immigrated from Denmark. He still owns the family farm back in Denmark. If he were to become a naturalized U.S. citizen he could no longer own the farm. He goes back periodically to check on things.

  67. avatar
    Scientist May 26, 2010 at 2:06 pm #

    WTF?: Would it benefit Obama to maintain his Kenyan citizenship? Sure. It would permit him to inherit the land of his father. Maybe he already has

    Obama Sr. left a miniscule estate,considerable debts and a large number of heirs. Assuming he even owned land, why would he leave it to a son he only saw a few times in his life who lived 10,000 miles away?

    Obama Jr. made $5.5 million in 2009 and $2.6 million in 2008. He will doubtless make untold millions on the lecture circuit after he leaves office.

  68. avatar
    Bovril May 26, 2010 at 2:12 pm #

    Yes, security, being born in the US and/or background checks really helps out

    Robert Hanssen
    Aldrich Ames
    Lawrence Franklin
    Benjamin Church
    Edward Bancroft
    Michael H Allen
    William H Bell
    David Sheldon Boone
    Christopher John Boyce
    William Kampiles
    Andrew Dalton Lee
    etc
    etc
    etc

  69. avatar
    Scientist May 26, 2010 at 2:22 pm #

    Dual citizenship is hardly a big deal in the world. Here are some past/present world leaders who are/were dual citizens:

    Nicolas Sarkozy’s father was a Hungarian citizen who acquired French citizenship well after Nicolas was born. Hungary follows jus sanguinis, so President Sarkozy would have a claim to Hungarian citizenship.

    Toomas Hendrik Ilves, President of Estonia was born in Sweden, but grew up in the US and is a naturalized US citizen

    John Turner, Prime Minister of Canada, was born in England and so would have been a dual British/Canadian citizen. Andrew Bonar Law, Prime Minister of Britain was born in Canada and so would have been a dual British/Canadian citizen. The current Governor General of Canada (the legal Head of State) Michaelle Jean

    Ingrid Betancourt was the leading candidate for President of Colombia, when she was kidnapped by guerillas. She is a dual French/Colombian citizen.

    That is really only a small sample. It’s a big world. The birthers need to get out more.

  70. avatar
    WTF? May 26, 2010 at 2:47 pm #

    Bovril: Yes, security, being born in the US and/or background checks really helps outRobert HanssenAldrich AmesLawrence FranklinBenjamin ChurchEdward BancroftMichael H AllenWilliam H BellDavid Sheldon BooneChristopher John BoyceWilliam KampilesAndrew Dalton Leeetcetcetc

    Are you suggesting that background checks are useless, and should therefore be eliminated?

  71. avatar
    WTF? May 26, 2010 at 2:49 pm #

    Scientist: Dual citizenship is hardly a big deal in the world. Here are some past/present world leaders who are/were dual citizens:Nicolas Sarkozy’s father was a Hungarian citizen who acquired French citizenship well after Nicolas was born. Hungary follows jus sanguinis, so President Sarkozy would have a claim to Hungarian citizenship.Toomas Hendrik Ilves, President of Estonia was born in Sweden, but grew up in the US and is a naturalized US citizenJohn Turner, Prime Minister of Canada, was born in England and so would have been a dual British/Canadian citizen. Andrew Bonar Law, Prime Minister of Britain was born in Canada and so would have been a dual British/Canadian citizen. The current Governor General of Canada (the legal Head of State) Michaelle JeanIngrid Betancourt was the leading candidate for President of Colombia, when she was kidnapped by guerillas. She is a dual French/Colombian citizen.That is really only a small sample. It’s a big world. The birthers need to get out more.

    Thanks for the collection. Are any of them holding office in violation of the laws of their country?

  72. avatar
    misha May 26, 2010 at 2:50 pm #

    WTF?: Are you suggesting that background checks are useless, and should therefore be eliminated?

    A background check did not catch Spiro Agnew. He was exposed by a private citizen after impeachment proceedings started. I’m not saying they are worthless, just not 100% as believed.

  73. avatar
    misha May 26, 2010 at 2:54 pm #

    Dual loyalty: that’s been flung in our faces for centuries.

    Please birthers: come up with something else.

  74. avatar
    misha May 26, 2010 at 2:56 pm #

    Scientist: Do you have actual data that natural born citizens are more loyal than naturalized citizens?

    Like Timothy McVeigh and John Walker Lindh?

  75. avatar
    WTF? May 26, 2010 at 3:07 pm #

    misha: Dual loyalty: that’s been flung in our faces for centuries.Please birthers: come up with something else.

    You must be much older than I would have thought. 🙂

  76. avatar
    Scientist May 26, 2010 at 3:22 pm #

    WTF?: Are any of them holding office in violation of the laws of their country?

    No. And nothing in US law forbids US citizens from holding office in other countries (inless those countries are at war with the US). Nor does US law forbid those who might hold or be entitled to other citizenships from holding office in the US. You might wish otherwise, but that is what the laws say.

  77. avatar
    JoZeppy May 26, 2010 at 3:27 pm #

    WTF?: I thinks it’s kind of funny how we have no problem applying our laws outside of our jurisdiction, but choose to ignore the laws of other nations in a reciprocating manner. i.e. children born of U.S. citizens, outside the U.S. are U.S. citizens, but the children of aliens born in the U.S. are not citizens of the aliens country.Dual character and dual allegiance presents a natural choice when a conflict is presented. We know that an alien on temporary sojourn in this country has a duty to help defend this country, except against his own country. That kind of personal conflict should never exist in the Office of President. It’s a conflict of interest that must be avoided.

    It is no different than what every other country does. Most nations (particularly the jus sanguinis nations) give their citizenship with out consideration as to another country’s laws. Under Polish law, my daugher is a citizen of Poland, although both my wife and me were born in the US, and my wife is not a Polish citizen (I have my Polish citizenship from my parents who were citizens). It comes down to which country’s protections you avail your self of. If my daughter never applies for a Polish passport, travels there on her US passport, and has no dealings with the country, even while in Poland, she will arguably be treated as a US citizen. Just as President Obama was arguably born with dual citizenship, what has he ever done to be considered anything but an American citizen?

    When it comes down to it, all that matters is US law. Just because another nation may confer citizenship upon someone born in the US does not rob them of their rights as American citizens. What if Kim Jong Ill suddenly decided that he wanted to confer North Korean citizenship on everyone born in the US? Is it now impossible for the US to ever have a president again? Does everyone born in the US suddenly have dual alliances? Of course not. It’s just a silly quirk of international law. That is why for purposes of governs the United States, we look no further than what is the law of the United States. There is no debate among true constitutional scholars that all natural born citizenship requires is birth in the US, so we need to look no further than to where President Obama was born to determine he is a natural born citizen.

  78. avatar
    WTF? May 26, 2010 at 3:38 pm #

    Scientist: No. And nothing in US law forbids US citizens from holding office in other countries (inless those countries are at war with the US). Nor does US law forbid those who might hold or be entitled to other citizenships from holding office in the US. You might wish otherwise, but that is what the laws say.

    Funny thing about the law; just because one doesn’t cite it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

    “accepting employment with a foreign government if (a) one has the nationality of that foreign state or (b) an oath or declaration of allegiance is required in accepting the position (Sec. 349 (a) (4) INA)”

    As you can plainly see, Scientist, if a U.S. citizen accepts employment with a foreign government, they can lose their U.S. Citizenship. If a dual national, having U.S. citizenship and citizenship in that foreign government, they can lose U.S. citizenship by merely accepting the position. A U.S. citizen can lose their citizenship if the accept the job and take an oath of allegiance to that country.

    The part about being at war with a foreign country only applies to taking a position in their military.

    A dual U.S./Canadian citizen would probably lose U.S. citizenship if they became the Prime Minister of Canada because they would take an oath of allegiance.

    Obama is in luck. He only swore to do his best to support and defend the Constitution. 🙂

  79. avatar
    Bovril May 26, 2010 at 3:41 pm #

    WTF?: Are you suggesting that background checks are useless, and should therefore be eliminated?

    Nope,

    Simply that your [Personal attack deleted, Doc.] faith in them is patently value free.

    Unless there has been a real double blind series of peer reviewed tests run on whether they perform any valid function, then that faith in them is simply that …..faith.

    They prove nothing and plainly have an unacceptable failure rate (acceptable would be zero).

    There is no proof or methodology to demonstrate whether an individual who does not have a background check is more or less likely to be a traitor/unreliable etc.

    It’s like those asinine questions you get on for example the N-400 naturalization form asking if you are member of an organization advocating the overthrow of the US or if you were a Nazi concentration camp guard.

    It is somewhat unlikely that someone applying would say yes.

    This takes us back to Birfer land when absence of evidence is equated as evidence of absence.

  80. avatar
    misha May 26, 2010 at 3:43 pm #

    WTF?: You must be much older than I would have thought.

    Funny you should mention that. I’m 2000 years old.

  81. avatar
    nbc May 26, 2010 at 3:54 pm #

    WTF?: “accepting employment with a foreign government if (a) one has the nationality of that foreign state or (b) an oath or declaration of allegiance is required in accepting the position (Sec. 349 (a) (4) INA)”

    Just because a law exists does not mean that it was not overridden by the Courts 🙂

    Once a 14th Amendment citizen, you cannot lose your citizenship unless voluntarily done so.

  82. avatar
    SFJeff May 26, 2010 at 3:59 pm #

    Come on WTF- I really expect better than that of you- giving a partial quote in order to support your position, while leaving out the part that doesn’t

    ….U.S. citizens are subject to loss of citizenship if they perform certain specified acts voluntarily and with the intention to relinquish U.S. citizenship…

    Briefly stated, these acts include: “accepting employment with a foreign government if (a) one has the nationality of that foreign state or (b) an oath or declaration of allegiance is required in accepting the position (Sec. 349 (a) (4) INA)”

    Note ‘with the intention to relinquish U.S. Citizenship.

    They further have to affirm to their intent to relinquish their U.S. citizenship before losing it.

    http://travel.state.gov/law/citizenship/citizenship_778.html

    “As you can plainly see, Scientist, if a U.S. citizen accepts employment with a foreign government, they can lose their U.S. Citizenship. If a dual national, having U.S. citizenship and citizenship in that foreign government, they can lose U.S. citizenship by merely accepting the position. A U.S. citizen can lose their citizenship if the accept the job and take an oath of allegiance to that country.”

    Actually, Scientist was plainly right. They can’t lose citizenship merely by accepting the position.

  83. avatar
    WTF? May 26, 2010 at 4:00 pm #

    nbc: Just because a law exists does not mean that it was not overridden by the Courts Once a 14th Amendment citizen, you cannot lose your citizenship unless voluntarily done so.

    nbc, I wasn’t implying that accepting the job, or taking an oath of allegiance was not a voluntary act.

  84. avatar
    Sef May 26, 2010 at 4:05 pm #

    WTF?:
    Funny thing about the law; just because one doesn’t cite it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.“accepting employment with a foreign government if (a) one has the nationality of that foreign state or (b) an oath or declaration of allegiance is required in accepting the position (Sec. 349 (a) (4) INA)”As you can plainly see, Scientist, if a U.S. citizen accepts employment with a foreign government, they can lose their U.S. Citizenship. If a dual national, having U.S. citizenship and citizenship in that foreign government, they can lose U.S. citizenship by merely accepting the position. A U.S. citizen can lose their citizenship if the accept the job and take an oath of allegiance to that country.The part about being at war with a foreign country only applies to taking a position in their military.A dual U.S./Canadian citizen would probably lose U.S. citizenship if they became the Prime Minister of Canada because they would take an oath of allegiance.Obama is in luck. He only swore to do his best to support and defend the Constitution.

    Once again you do not quote the relevant passage. From http://travel.state.gov/law/citizenship/citizenship_778.html we learn:

    the actions listed above can cause loss of U.S. citizenship only if performed voluntarily and with the intention of relinquishing U.S. citizenship. The Department has a uniform administrative standard of evidence based on the premise that U.S. citizens intend to retain United States citizenship when they obtain naturalization in a foreign state, subscribe to a declaration of allegiance to a foreign state, serve in the armed forces of a foreign state not engaged in hostilities with the United States, or accept non-policy level employment with a foreign government.

    The premise that a person intends to retain U.S. citizenship is not applicable when the individual:

    1. formally renounces U.S. citizenship before a consular officer;
    2. serves in the armed forces of a foreign state engaged in hostilities with the United States;
    3. takes a policy level position in a foreign state;
    4. is convicted of treason; or
    5. performs an act made potentially expatriating by statute accompanied by conduct which is so inconsistent with retention of U.S. citizenship that it compels a conclusion that the individual intended to relinquish U.S. citizenship. (Such cases are very rare.)

    So, a person who became a Canadian PM would probably lose his U.S citizenship. Taking a simple job with a foreign government would not create a problem.

  85. avatar
    Greg May 26, 2010 at 4:11 pm #

    misha:
    A background check did not catch Spiro Agnew. He was exposed by a private citizen after impeachment proceedings started. I’m not saying they are worthless, just not 100% as believed.

    There is evidence that Spiro’s dad was not a citizen when he was born. Regardless, Greek law at the time would have viewed him as a Greek citizen despite his father’s naturalization.

  86. avatar
    Scientist May 26, 2010 at 4:11 pm #

    Actually, Mr Ilves, the President of Estonia formally renounced his US citizenship when he became Foreign Minister of Estonia in 1993. Taking even that high-level job did not automatically forfeit his US citizenship.

    The US makes it extremely difficult to lose citisneship. Why? Very simply, because the US taxes citizens even if they leave the US permanently with no intent to return. Andf if you try to renounce citizenship to avoid taxes, they won’t let you.

  87. avatar
    WTF? May 26, 2010 at 4:17 pm #

    State Department policy is subject to change at any time. If you want to ensure that you don’t lose your citizenship, don’t put yourself in a position where you’re in violation of the INA.

  88. avatar
    G May 26, 2010 at 4:45 pm #

    SFJeff: Come on WTF- I really expect better than that of you- giving a partial quote in order to support your position, while leaving out the part that doesn’t

    LOL! Are you really surprised by that? Pretty typical & standard birther tactic. They have to quote out of context, because reality and facts are always against them.

  89. avatar
    SFJeff May 26, 2010 at 5:17 pm #

    “State Department policy is subject to change at any time. If you want to ensure that you don’t lose your citizenship, don’t put yourself in a position where you’re in violation of the INA”

    Oh thats right- that State Department is tricksy- wouldn’t want to find myself in violation of the INA….

    so I guess i should go right to the act itself

    http://www.uscis.gov/ilink/docView/SLB/HTML/SLB/0-0-0-1/0-0-0-29/0-0-0-10428.html

    (a) A person who is a national of the United States whether by birth or naturalization, shall lose his nationality by voluntarily performing any of the following acts with the intention of relinquishing United States nationality-

    Operative word again- intention of relinquishing U.S. nationality. Hence once again- Scientist was right, you were wrong.

  90. avatar
    granite May 27, 2010 at 8:46 pm #

    TellerIP seems to be doing well on this site (http://althouse.blogspot.com/2010/05/more-he-talked-more-he-got-upset-he.html) , but he may welcome some comments from some others who are knowledgeable on the subject of Natural Born Citizen status.