According to attorney Gary Kreep, speaking before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, they did. I have seen claims that these hearings happened, and that they didn’t. I present this article, and solicit comment, to arrive at an answer.
An April 2, 2008, exchange between Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy and Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff is claimed to be part of the hearing. S. Res. 511 would not be introduced until April 10, the following week. As one can see from the full context, the exchange was not made during a consideration of Senate Resolution 511, but as part of the oversight of the Department of Homeland Security:
Chairman Leahy: … I would mention one other thing, if I might, Senator Specter. Let me just ask this: I believe–”and we have had some question in this Committee to have a special law passed declaring that Senator McCain, who was born in the Panama Canal Zone, that he meets the constitutional requirement to be President. I fully believe he does. I have never had any question in my mind that he meets our constitutional requirement. You are a former Federal judge. You are the head of the agency that executes Federal immigration law. Do you have any doubt in your mind–”I mean, I have none in mine. Do you have any doubt in your mind that he is constitutionally eligible to become President?
When Senator Leahy introduced the bill to the Senate on April 10, he said, referring to the preceding exchange:
I ask unanimous consent that the relevant excerpt from the Judiciary Committee hearing where Secretary Chertoff testified be made a part of the RECORD. [Emphasis added]
Obviously this cannot refer to a hearing on S. Res. 511 because the resolution is only being introduced at this point. According to the Congressional web site, Thomas.gov, S. Res. 511 was then assigned to the Judiciary Committee.
When the Senate debated S. Res. 511 on April 30, 2008, Senator Leahy included the “Tribe/Olson” report as part of his statement. The Judiciary Committee made no written report.
The following statement appeared on FreeRepublic.com, but I was unable to determine where it was supposed to have come from:
There were hearings. On April 30, 2008, “Senate S.Res.511 – A resolution recognizing that John Sidney McCain, III, is a natural born citizen,” was passed after appropriate hearings on the matter of his eligibility.
After extensive searches at the Government Printing Office, I conclude that that S. Res. 511 was discussed by the Senate Judiciary Committee both before and after the Resolution’s introduction on April 10, but no hearings were specifically held on it.
The actual question of John McCain’s eligibility is beyond the scope of this web site. I mention it here only in the context of birther claims based on this supposed hearing.