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MittFlop v. The Obummer

Harry Potter called Voldemort by his name, and I thought that was cool. I can appreciate the entertainment value of calling someone a funny name, but I try to resist the temptation because it’s a distraction and a barrier to being taken seriously.

Not my party

I watched the gavel-to-gavel coverage of the Republican National Convention live on Monday (I think that was about 4 minutes total) and that pretty much met all my Republican needs for the week. I’m not a news junkie and I don’t think watching the RNC just in case someone releases a flight of “Where’s the microfilm birth certificate?” balloons is worth the time.

Slow news day

Birther things are really dull. Mitt Romney is so wooden that even his “birther joke” was a flop. It’s hard to get excited about the birthers losing cases number 143 and 144. I’ve been arguing with David Farrar (same old same old) over at Foreign Policy magazine, where I wrote up and dumped the “seven cases” on natural born citizenship since 2008:

Hollander v. McCain (New Hampshire 2008) ruling: "Those born “in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof,” U.S. Const., amend. XIV, have been considered American citizens under American law in effect since the time of the founding, United States v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649, 674-75 (1898), and thus eligible for the presidency,

Ankeny v. Governor of Indiana (Indiana 2008 – Appellate Court) ruling: "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."

Tisdale v. Obama (Virginia federal court 2012) ruling: "It is well settled that those born in the United States are considered natural born citizens."

Purpura v. Obama (New Jersey 2012) ruling: "No court, federal, state or administrative, has accepted the challengers’ position that Mr. Obama is not a “natural born Citizen” due to the acknowledged fact that his father was born in Kenya and was a British citizen by virtue of the then applicable British Nationality Act. Nor has the fact that Obama had, or may have had, dual citizenship at the time of his birth and thereafter been held to deny him the status of natural born. It is unnecessary to reinvent the wheel here. … The petitioners’ legal position on this issue, however well intentioned, has no merit in law. Thus, accepting for the point of this issue that Mr. Obama was born in Hawaii, he is a ‘natural born Citizen’ regardless of the status of his father."

Voeltz v. Obama (Florida 2012) ruling: "However, the United States Supreme Court has concluded that ‘[e]very person born in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, becomes at once a citizen of the United States. ‘Other courts that have considered the issue in the context of challenges to the qualifications of candidates for the office of President of the United States have come to the same conclusion. [The judge cites Hollander and Ankeny]

Allen v. Obama (Arizona 2012) ruling: "Most importantly, Arizona courts are bound by United States Supreme Court precedent in construing the United States Constitution, Arizona v. Jay J. Garfield Bldg. Co. , 39 Ariz. 45, 54, 3 P.2d 983, 986(1931), and this precedent fully supports that President Obama is a natural born citizen under the Constitution and thus qualified to hold the office of President. … Contrary to Plaintiff’s assertion, Minor v. Happersett, 88 U.S. 162 (1874), does not hold otherwise"

Farrar (et al.) v. Obama (Georgia 2012) ruling: "In 2009, the Indiana Court of Appeals (“Indiana Court”) addressed facts and issues similar to those before this court. [Ankeny] v. Governor, 916 N.E.2d (Ind. Ct. App. 2009). … The Indiana Court rejected the argument that Mr. Obama was ineligible, stating that children born within the United States are natural born citizens, regardless of the citizenship of their parents. … This Court finds the decision and analysis of [Ankeny] persuasive."

Mostly I’ve been watching old episodes of Warehouse 13.

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17 Responses to MittFlop v. The Obummer

  1. avatar
    Jim August 28, 2012 at 10:03 pm #

    “I asked Mr. Choper about the language in Article II, “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…” Mr. Choper responded that “natural born” simply meant “not naturalized.”

    When in doubt, it helps to consult an expert.”

    http://www.examiner.com/article/constitutional-law-scholar-on-natural-born-issue

    Their desire to make this so much more complicated for their needs than it really is continues to amaze me.

  2. avatar
    Thomas Brown August 28, 2012 at 10:27 pm #

    If we really must maintain parity in the childish last-name-based epithetic moniker arms race, I prefer “Mitt-Wit.”

  3. avatar
    Atticus Finch August 28, 2012 at 10:33 pm #

    It was Blackstone’s influence and not Vattel’s influence that was the source of the natural born citizen term in the Constitution.

    Blackstone wrote in his Commentaries the following:

    The first and most obvious division of the people is into aliens and natural-born subjects. Natural-born subjects are such as are born within the dominions of the crown of England, that is, within the ligeance, or as it is generally called, the allegiance of the king; and aliens, such as are born out of it. (Commentaries of the Laws of England (1765)

    Blackstone further noted the difference between Civil Law and Common Law regarding children born of aliens in England:

    The children of aliens, born here in England, are, generally speaking, natural-born subjects, and entitled to all the privileges of such. In which the constitution of France differs from ours; for there, by their jus albinatus, if a child be born of foreign parents, it is an alien. Id.

    As such, Blackstone recognized and affirmed Chief Justice Lord Coke’s opinion in Calvin’s Case in 1608 that children born of aliens within the dominions of England were natural born subjects.

    The natural born citizen language in the Constitution is derived from its English Common Law counterpart natural born subject. This idea is based on courts understanding that the term citizen is analogous with term subject. “The term `citizen,’ as understood in our law, is precisely analogous to the term `subject’ in the common law, and the change of phrase has entirely resulted from the change of government.”). Rather, the terms are meant to encompass persons living under distinct forms of government: “A monarchy has subjects; a republic has citizens.” Matimak Trading Co. v. Khalily, 118 F. 3d 76 , 85 (2nd Cir. 1997)

    The court in Smith v. Alabama, 124 U. S. 465, 478 (1888) stated in clear and concise language the common law’s influence in the Constitution:
    “The interpretation of the Constitution of the United States is necessarily influenced by the fact that its provisions are framed in the language of the English common law, and are to be read in the light of its history.”

    Vattel’s “Law of Nations” in which he described the Civil Law’s concept of citizenship that only natural born citizens are born to citizens of a country; nevertheless, Vattel himself acknowledged the difference between CIVIL LAW and English COMMON LAW regarding natural born citizenship when he wrote in Law of Nations: “Finally, there are countries, such as England, in which the mere fact of birth within the country naturalizes the children of an alien.”

    The Constitution does not defined Natural Born Citizen. As such, when language in a statute does not define a common law term, courts are “guided by the principle that where words are employed in a statute which had at the time a well-known meaning at common law or in the law of this country they are presumed to have been used in that sense unless the context compels to the contrary.” Standard Oil Co. of NJ v. United Sates, 221 US 1, 59 (1911)

    That at the time of the drafting of the Constitution Blackstone’s Commentaries including his definition of natural born subjects was available to the founding fathers. Justice Stone observed: “It is noteworthy that Blackstone’s Commentaries, more read in America before the Revolution than any other law book.” CJ Hendry Co. v. Moore, 318 US 133 , 151-152 (1943) . Similarly, the court in United States v. Green, 140 F. Supp. 117, 120 (SD NY 1956) noted: “ Blackstone, whose Commentaries probably did much to influence the thinking of American lawyers at and before the time of the framing of the Federal Constitution.”

    In addition the court in Reid v. Covert 354 U.S. 1 (1957) stated “that two of the greatest English jurists, Lord Chief Justice Hale and Sir William Blackstone—men who exerted considerable influence on the Founders” id at 26.

    Moreover, “As with many other elements of the common law, it was carried into the jurisprudence of this Country through the medium of Blackstone, who codified the doctrine in his Commentaries. Benton v. Maryland, 395 US 784 795 (1969)

    Finally, the court in Briehl v. Dulles, 248 F.2d 561 (DC Cir. 1957) noted that: “Professor Crosskey refers to the [Blackstone’s] Commentaries as “that great `best-seller’ of the eighteenth century” and points out that some of the members of the Constitutional Convention were on the subscription list of the original American edition in 1772. Politics and the Constitution, Vol. 1, p. 411, and Vol. 2, p. 1326, n. 3 (1953). Id. at fn 88

    As such, it is inconceivable for the framers of the Constitution to “import” a foreign idea of citizenship based on the bloodline of fathers and not based on the Jus Soli doctrine as enunciated by Lord Coke in Calvin’s Case and reaffirmed by Blackstone in his Commentaries whose books were required readings by lawyers in colonial America.

  4. avatar
    John Potter August 29, 2012 at 12:58 am #

    Still on the warehouse 13?

    With so much excitement offline (football season starting for all ages, replacing electronics, fall nature & sports photography, building a new ‘pimped’ PC, break in the heat wave, resumption of home improvement, new exercise routines) ….. de birfers just can’t compete. With so much to do, they have to up their game to get a place at the table! 😀

  5. avatar
    Andrew Vrba, PmG August 29, 2012 at 1:13 am #

    Yeah, I hear tat

    John Potter:
    Still on the warehouse 13?

    With so much excitement offline (football season starting for all ages, replacing electronics, fall nature & sports photography, building a new ‘pimped’ PC, break in the heat wave, resumption of home improvement, new exercise routines) ….. de birfers just can’t compete. With so much to do, they have to up their game to get a place at the table!

    I hear that. I’ve been getting caught up on my Wii games. And lets be honest, though they are stupider, birthers just can’t compete with the Raving Rabbids’ fun factor.

  6. avatar
    Keith August 29, 2012 at 3:54 am #

    John Potter:
    Still on the warehouse 13?

    With so much excitement offline (football season starting for all ages, replacing electronics, fall nature & sports photography, building a new ‘pimped’ PC, break in the heat wave, resumption of home improvement, new exercise routines) ….. de birfers just can’t compete. With so much to do, they have to up their game to get a place at the table!

    Heck, I’ve got so much time on my hands I’ve almost got my Wine Bottle Database program to the point where I’m not embarrassed to show it to other folk. Almost.

  7. avatar
    The Magic M August 29, 2012 at 4:26 am #

    Actually, I watched parts of the GOP convention (I happened to stumble across a link to the C-SPAN live feed which started around 2000 local time, then I watched some TV, then switched to CNN to see the roll call) for the first time ever because usually I miss this kind of stuff.
    It was an odd feeling (maybe because I’m not used to such things from my country). I thought “gee, even the band that’s playing has no-one under 60”.
    I admit I was waiting for some kind of scandal – a birther remark, an outburst of the Ron Paul supporters, anything… Pretty much the only things I noticed was during the roll call when one state representative (don’t remember which) said something about “restoring the rule of law in Washington” and another said some things that amounted to “only we are the real Americans”. Well, duh…

  8. avatar
    Sam the Centipede August 29, 2012 at 5:21 am #

    I am rather disappointed that the evangelical loonies in the Republican Party have not given us their insight into why their God might be preventing the RNC from taking place on schedule in decent weather with no competition for news coverage. They were happy to give us their analysis of why God hates liberals so sent Hurricane Katrina to smite those evil folk in New Orleans.

    But the right wing nut job evangelicals are silent when God sends a message that can only be interpreted as “Republicans: you are nasty, nasty people, please shut up and go away and learn something about being decent honest human beings”.

    Republican Christians: accept it, God hates you!

  9. avatar
    Lupin August 29, 2012 at 12:19 pm #

    What we heard here (I haven’t had time to search for the source news) was one racist convention goer throwing peanuts at a black CNN reporter and calling her an “animal” and the presumably brown-skinned Puerto Rican delegate being booed on stage.

    If I were the RNC this would not the be the kind of news I’d want to export.

  10. avatar
    PaulG August 29, 2012 at 12:33 pm #

    What happened to RMoney and RAyn? I liked those. Oh well, back to Fallout: New Vegas.

  11. avatar
    G August 29, 2012 at 2:15 pm #

    Well, I hope Doc C isn’t just getting the chance to enjoy the older episodes of Warehouse 13, but also able to fit in keeping current with the new season as well. I love that show. Plays on SyFy channel on Mondays, but the new episodes are also shown at other points throughout the week, like Fridays as well. Good stuff! I’ve really been enjoying this years new plot twist, which adds the talents of Brent Spiner’ to the mythology… 🙂

    John Potter: Still on the warehouse 13?

  12. avatar
    Jim August 29, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

    GOP…The party of the people!

    http://news.yahoo.com/race-incident-sees-republican-convention-expulsions-155400054.html

    At least if you’re a white, male people.

  13. avatar
    donna August 29, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

    Jim: At least if you’re a white, male people.

    republican strategist ed rollins: GOP bunch of old, fat, white guys

  14. avatar
    Keith August 29, 2012 at 5:59 pm #

    G:
    Well, I hope Doc C isn’t just getting the chance to enjoy the older episodes of Warehouse 13, but also able to fit in keeping current with the new season as well.I love that show.Plays on SyFy channel on Mondays, but the new episodes are also shown at other points throughout the week, like Fridays as well.Good stuff!I’ve really been enjoying this years new plot twist, which adds the talents of Brent Spiner’ to the mythology…

    For about 2 years I seriously thought there was only one episode of W13. Couldn’t figure it out.

    That one episode must have played 2 dozen times before the Australian SciFi channel played a different episode. As a result, I don’t have any continuity at all.

    I’ll have to do what Doc is doing and watch the DVD’s. Or something.

  15. avatar
    G August 29, 2012 at 7:30 pm #

    Wow…that’s pretty messed up that your station just kept playing the same episode over and over and over again…LOL!

    We’re in Season 4 now. Here is a good article on the show, including availability of different regional DVD releases:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warehouse_13

    Keith: For about 2 years I seriously thought there was only one episode of W13. Couldn’t figure it out. That one episode must have played 2 dozen times before the Australian SciFi channel played a different episode. As a result, I don’t have any continuity at all. I’ll have to do what Doc is doing and watch the DVD’s. Or something.

  16. avatar
    Greenfinches August 29, 2012 at 7:35 pm #

    Lupin: the presumably brown-skinned Puerto Rican delegate

    A phenomenally wealthy (can give Rmoney change) middle aged Puerto Rico delegate it was….. brown, I don’t know, I don’t have the same sensors for brownness that the GOP do so I can’t judge.

    TV here in England is rather fuller of the Paralympics, thanks be, without having to ask our head of state to get into a parachute again. All in all, better TV than any gathering of politicians!.

  17. avatar
    Keith August 29, 2012 at 8:16 pm #

    Sam the Centipede: I am rather disappointed that the evangelical loonies in the Republican Party have not given us their insight into why their God might be preventing the RNC from taking place on schedule in decent weather with no competition for news coverage.

    Interference from the black Baptist churches maybe?