I’ve been reading the comments over at the Columbus Ledger Enquirer. I got entangled with ksdb, someone I seem to recall is banned here. ksdb was arguing that Minor v. Happersett was a precedent making Obama ineligible, because his father wasn’t a citizen, and also said that Virginia Minor was ruled NOT a 14th Amendment citizen by the Court. I replied:
The court didn’t say Minor wasn’t a 14th amendment citizen. That’s absurd. What they said was that the 14th amendment, didn’t create a right to vote. Before the 14th Amendment, the Constitution was silent on who was and who was not a citizen (except through the definition of natural born citizen based on English Common Law, which the Court in Smith v Alabama said was where to look for definitions of terms not defined in the Constitution, common law that said natural born subjects were those born in the country without regard for the status of the parents).
If you read Minor, the court said that based on the Constitution there were exactly two classes of citizen: natural born and naturalized. The court said that it was unquestionably so that those born of citizen parents in the country were natural born citizens. It then said that whether the children of aliens born in the country were citizens or not was in dispute. Since it was not necessary to consider the case of the children of aliens, the court didn’t go there. However, the distinction remains, either natural born or naturalized. Virginia Minor was natural born because she met the undoubted criteria of being born in the country to citizen parents.
[The] Supreme Court, in US v Wong in 1898 decided that the children of aliens born in the country ARE US citizens, and so by the two citizenship classes [in] Minor, they must be natural born, since they aren’t naturalized.
I guess that I must mention that every legal scholar in history has said the same thing. Before the crank theory of Leo Donofrio, no one in the history of the United States ever said that someone born a citizen in the United States was not a natural born citizen. Some, before Wong, argued that they were not citizens, but all understood that if they were, they could run for President.