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The return of the birther bill

Now that President Obama has been re-elected, he will not be running for President again. While proposed legislation in a number of states would have added requirements of presidential candidates to prove eligibility in various (sometimes silly) ways, none became law. The supporters of these bills universally claimed that “this is not about Obama,” but of course it was.

Now it is a little easier to make an argument that the bills are not about Obama. They are, however, vindication of the validity of the concerns of the birthers, and so ultimately they are about Obama. To argue for the need for such a bill is to argue that things aren’t just fine the way they are. One might also argue that a presidential vetting bill is not vindication of birthers, but prevention of future birthers. That again falsely affirms that people who think like birthers respond to reason. In fact, the State of Arizona did verify the facts of Obama’s birth in Hawaii, and it made not wit of difference to birthers.

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Missouri, appropriately named “the show-me state,” has a bill, HB 41, that asks presidential candidates in the general election to show them a birth certificate, and to let the people of Missouri look at it too. It places the burden of proof of eligibility on the candidate. There is a question as to whether any state can make such requirements, essentially adding to the eligibility requirements in the Constitution. However, if this bill becomes law, I find it unlikely that any major party candidate will challenge it.

While the bill offers some small solace to the birthers, it also would be a big win for the Obots, because in addition to requiring documentation from the candidates, it also defines “natural born citizen” as:

…having been declared a national and citizen of the United States at birth under 8 U.S.C. Sections 1401 to 1409, as amended, or having been declared a national and citizen of the United States under federal law as it existed at the time of the nominee’s birth.

Read the bill:

HB 41 by samtlevin

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23 Responses to The return of the birther bill

  1. avatar
    Andrew Vrba, PmG March 7, 2013 at 10:07 pm #

    As a Missourian, my official statement on the matter is as follows:
    *head desk*
    *head desk*
    *head desk*
    *head desk*

  2. avatar
    y_p_w March 8, 2013 at 1:07 am #

    From a cursory reading of the bill, it doesn’t seem to mention “birth certificate”. I would think that a Consular Report of Birth Abroad or any of the previous documents with the same effect would suffice for someone born abroad.

    Of course John McCain’s situation would have been really interesting. Being born in the Canal Zone yields that one is at the least automatically a non-citizen US national by birth, although I found out that that status expired in 1979 when the Canal Zone was handed over to Panama. There were various laws that made someone born in the Canal Zone to at least one US citizen parent a US citizen at birth, but how is that documented. The documentation in a birth certificate is typically provided by the parents and probably isn’t vetted. At the very least a Consular Report of Birth Abroad required a State Dept employee to verify citizenship documents of the parents in effect at the time of a child’s birth, along with satisfaction that the requirements were met for citizenship at birth. However, the State Dept didn’t issue such documents for anyone born in the Canal Zone. They will however provide birth certificates for those born in the Canal Zone.

    I’d love to see what would happen if they had another Panama Canal Zone birth and what they would do with nothing but a Panama Canal Zone birth certificate. That would be fun.

  3. avatar
    The Magic M March 8, 2013 at 4:50 am #

    Here’s where the bill fails epically with regard to the Full Faith and Credit Clause:

    Such evidence shall be in the form of the most complete record of birth available
    by the controlling legal authority at the time of the nominee’s birth

    which is legalese for “for Obama, that would be the ‘long form’ vault document please” and is lifted verbatim from previous birther bills.

    In other words, such a law would tell Hawaii to take their official birth certificate (aka COLB) and shove it.

    I’m not really sure why this bill comes now. (In fact, the fact that no birther bills were pursued after Obama’s re-election was quite obvious proof that birther bills have always been only about Obama.) Whoever brought it must either be a die-hard birther or know that it won’t pass that way, or if it passes, would be struck down by SCOTUS at the latest, but brings it anyway to keep the propaganda machine alive.

    Of course, to the Vattelists, this bill is “treason” because it doesn’t mention citizen parents but basically says “native-born is OK”.

  4. avatar
    Gabe March 8, 2013 at 4:56 am #

    This bill is a joke to Conservatives, everyday hard working Americans and even the Progressives (though as they look thru their opaque glasses, they may relish in it). What it does is make a generic natural born citizen

    A natural born citizen is born of parents who themselves are citizens of the country at the time of the birth, their child is born in. Clear and concise.

    Though to support this truth would, would show Mr. Obama ineligible to hold the Office of President.

  5. avatar
    G March 8, 2013 at 5:29 am #

    Boy are you ignorant and gullible. Everything you say is just regurgitated nonsense that has no connection to reality or our actual laws. Sorry, but your crazy “citizen parent” nonsense was just made up in late 2008 and cannot be found in any actual laws or books.

    Natural Born Citizens are simply those citizens of this country who are not naturalized. Nearly anyone born in the US is NBC by virtue of their birth, regardless of their parentage. (The only exceptions are those which are clearly spelled out for children of foreign diplomats and invading armies and such…all of which are not applicable to Obama). The US citizenship of the parents only comes into play for children who are born outside of our country. Our laws recognize them as NBC as well.

    This isn’t rocket science and isn’t that hard. You only display your own foolish gullible ignorance when you spout such inanity.

    Sorry, but Obama is President and continues to serve as such each and every day, despite how difficult it is for you to accept it…

    Gabe: A natural born citizen is born of parents who themselves are citizens of the country at the time of the birth, their child is born in. Clear and concise.

    Though to support this truth would, would show Mr. Obama ineligible to hold the Office of President.

  6. avatar
    Majority Will March 8, 2013 at 5:35 am #

    Gabe:
    This bill is a joke toConservatives, everyday hard working Americans and even the Progressives(though as they look thru their opaque glasses, they may relish in it). What it does is make a generic natural born citizen

    A natural born citizen is born of parents who themselves are citizens of the country at the time of the birth, their child is born in. Clear and concise.

    Though to support this truth would, would show Mr. Obama ineligible to holdthe Office of President.

    Actually, the claim that you need citizen parents to be a natural born citizen of the U.S. is a lie and has no basis in U.S. law.

    Your birtherism runs deep.

    Why can’t you admit your true motive?

  7. avatar
    Welsh Dragon March 8, 2013 at 7:15 am #

    Dead in the water – not even allocated to a committee – nothing to see here folks.

  8. avatar
    ellen March 8, 2013 at 7:17 am #

    What is interesting about the bill, in addition to its ignoring the two-fer side of the birther myth, is that it imposes a new state burden on who can run for president. The Constitution does not impose any burden, not any at all, on who can run for president. A three-year old foreigner can run, a naturalized citizen can run, a corporation can run, anyone or anything can run. However, only Natural Born Citizens over the age of 35 and with 14 years residency can BE president. So, if a 12-year old ran and won, she or he could not serve—but she or he has the RIGHT to run.

  9. avatar
    ASK Esq March 8, 2013 at 7:34 am #

    ellen:
    What is interesting about the bill, in addition to its ignoring the two-fer side of the birther myth, is that it imposes a new state burden on who can run for president. The Constitution does not impose any burden, not any at all, on who can run for president. A three-year old foreigner can run, a naturalized citizen can run, a corporation can run, anyone or anything can run. However, only Natural Born Citizens over the age of 35 and with 14 years residency can BE president. So, if a 12-year old ran and won, she or he could not serve—but she or he has the RIGHT to run.

    On the other hand, as long as states don’t prevent those who meet the Constitutional qualifications for the office, there is nothing that prevents them from saying who can run. That is a right reserved to the states. They just can’t be more restrictive than the Constitution.

  10. avatar
    Northland10 March 8, 2013 at 7:41 am #

    Gabe:
    A natural born citizen is born of parents who themselves are citizens of the country at the time of the birth, their child is born in. Clear and concise.

    Stanley Ann Dunham was a citizen when Obama was born in Hawaii, not that it matters since the birth in country is sufficient.

  11. avatar
    The Magic M March 8, 2013 at 8:02 am #

    Gabe: A natural born citizen is born of parents who themselves are citizens of the country at the time of the birth, their child is born in.

    The problem is that your only source for this is Vattel, and to claim that some obscure Swiss author gets to decide who can be your President is, well…

    I can only imagine how I would react if someone unearthed some lost Goethe book (and *he* wasn’t obscure and dealt with many things apart from fiction) and claimed its definitions somehow define the meaning of words in the German Constitution.

    Gracefully glossing over the fact that even Vattel does not say “natural born citizen”, nor requires *two* citizen parents, nor even requires *parents* at all, nor does or can the “law of nations” prescribe whom a country deems its citizens, natural born or not…)

    The entire pseudo-religious (because they often refer to “God-given” laws* or rights) birther babble about what “natural” allegedly means is crap anyway – nature does not know about “citizenship” because states and borders are not “natural” at all.

    ____
    (*) Most religious zealots, and by extension many conspiracy believers, love to point to some (God-given) “natural law” that allegedly supersedes any man-made law, including any Constitution, should it come in the way of what they want (sound familiar?) and that of course always says what they like it to say (sound familiar?).

  12. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy March 8, 2013 at 8:32 am #

    Clear, concise and wrong.

    Gabe: A natural born citizen is born of parents who themselves are citizens of the country at the time of the birth, their child is born in. Clear and concise.

  13. avatar
    Jim March 8, 2013 at 8:42 am #

    Welsh Dragon:
    Dead in the water – not even allocated to a committee – nothing to see here folks.

    Reminds me of a bill they tried a few years ago which required the “Long-form” BC…until someone quietly pointed out that Missouri only uses the short form (as with most states) and that the President’s COLB would have been sufficient to prove his eligibility and the effect of the bill would be to disqualify people from Missouri from running for President in Missouri.

  14. avatar
    DaveH March 8, 2013 at 8:48 am #

    Doc C says that you’re clear, concise and wrong. I have to take exception. You are right. A natural born citizen IS a person that is born of two American Citizens. You just missed the others that are also Natural Born Citizens. Anyone born on US Soil is a Natural Born Citizen and that includes President Obama. Provided the child is not a part of an invading army or the child of a diplomat. It also includes the so called “anchor babies”. If a pregnant Mexican woman swam across the Rio Grande and immediately had her baby and that baby’s first breath was on US soil, that child is a Natural Born Citizen.

    And here I thought birthers couldn’t learn anything. Gabe did get it right. Just neglected to name others that are also NBC.

    [EDIT: ooops! I was wrong. Gabe still thinks President Obama isn’t eligible. Major fail on my part. I guess he hasn’t learned anything. Doc C was right, and I was wrong.]

    Gabe:
    This bill is a joke toConservatives, everyday hard working Americans and even the Progressives(though as they look thru their opaque glasses, they may relish in it). What it does is make a generic natural born citizen

    A natural born citizen is born of parents who themselves are citizens of the country at the time of the birth, their child is born in. Clear and concise.

    Though to support this truth would, would show Mr. Obama ineligible to holdthe Office of President.

  15. avatar
    The Magic M March 8, 2013 at 9:07 am #

    DaveH: You are right. A natural born citizen IS a person that is born of two American Citizens.

    Your formulation is wrong, it makes the same mistake birthers make.

    In common English, saying “A is B” means “A is an element or subset of B” (“John is drunk” means John is an element of the set of drunk people).

    “Michael Jackson is dead”, “Dirk Nowitzki is a loser”, “my wife is one of those who love cats more than children”.

    It does not imply equality unless specifically clarified (“2 is the (only) solution to the problem” vs. “2 is a solution to the problem”).

    Therefore, “a person that is born of two American Citizens is an NBC” is correct (people born of two citizen parents are a subset of the NBC category, assuming you implied “in the country”) whereas “an NBC is a person that is born of two American Citizens” (natural born citizens are a subset of the set of people who are born to two citizen parents) is wrong.

    Birthers always claim equality when it suits their purpose (e.g. Minor vs. Happersett), thereby conflating necessary and sufficient conditions.

    Or, to paraphrase Bill C, it depends on what the understanding of “is” is. 😉

  16. avatar
    donna March 8, 2013 at 9:35 am #

    Gabe et al (2 parent birthers):

    try reading 8 USC 1401 cited in the bill

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/8/1401

  17. avatar
    ScottRS March 8, 2013 at 9:51 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    Clear, concise and wrong.

    My old mathematics teacher was fond of saying that every complex, intractable problem has a simple, easy-to-execute wrong answer. Maybe we should call this Gabe’s Law.

  18. avatar
    Arthur March 8, 2013 at 9:58 am #

    So is “Gabe” actually Gabor Zolna? How ill white hairs become a fool.

  19. avatar
    DaveH March 8, 2013 at 10:39 am #

    Well, I admitted I was wrong in my edit. It is possible that I temporarily got birther cooties on me. Ooooooh!

    The Magic M: Your formulation is wrong, it makes the same mistake birthers make.

    In common English, saying “A is B” means “A is an element or subset of B” (“John is drunk” means John is an element of the set of drunk people).

    “Michael Jackson is dead”, “Dirk Nowitzki is a loser”, “my wife is one of those who love cats more than children”.

    It does not imply equality unless specifically clarified (“2 is the (only) solution to the problem” vs. “2 is a solution to the problem”).

    Therefore, “a person that is born of two American Citizens is an NBC” is correct (people born of two citizen parents are a subset of the NBC category, assuming you implied “in the country”) whereas “an NBC is a person that is born of two American Citizens” (natural born citizens are a subset of the set of people who are born to two citizen parents) is wrong.

    Birthers always claim equality when it suits their purpose (e.g. Minor vs. Happersett), thereby conflating necessary and sufficient conditions.

    Or, to paraphrase Bill C, it depends on what the understanding of “is” is.

  20. avatar
    The Magic M March 8, 2013 at 11:31 am #

    ScottRS: My old mathematics teacher was fond of saying that every complex, intractable problem has a simple, easy-to-execute wrong answer.

    Reminds me of the only time I ever wrote a math test that was personally corrected by the professor who later became my supervising tutor for my diploma thesis. The test had one problem which looked deceptively simple but was worth almost 20% of the point total. I came up with a simple answer, double-checked with a guy who I knew always got straight 0.7’s (the equivalent of an A+), was relieved to see he had the same answer – then two days later I met my prof and he said “I was very disappointed to see you failed to solve this problem, I thought you’d be one of the few who could do it”. I couldn’t even pretend to understand the correct solution, though I realized where I had been wrong, but it was highly non-obvious (everyone taking the test missed it).

  21. avatar
    Dave March 8, 2013 at 11:51 am #

    So this won’t become law, but it would be kind of interesting if it did. I’d expect that candidates would go ahead and jump through its hoops, and everything would go smoothly as long as no SoS declared a filing inadequate. If one ever did, the candidate would take it to court and MO would lose.

  22. avatar
    sfjeff March 8, 2013 at 12:06 pm #

    Gabe: A natural born citizen is born of parents who themselves are citizens of the country at the time of the birth, their child is born in. Clear and concise.

    Gabe- since you don’t seem to be going away yet- when did you start believing this?

    The reason I ask is that I grew up in America- and in America we all learned that anyone born in the United States was blessed with the potential to grow up and be elected President. I learned it in middle school from my VERY conservative social studies teacher.

    All Americans know this Gabe- that is why no one has taken seriously these nutjob Birther claims- it is the reason why voters knew that Barack Obama was eligible, and it is the reason that neither McCain or Romney ever jumped up and down and cried foul.

    So Gabe- if you show up on these boards again- tell me please- where did you first ‘learn’ that natural born citizen required two citizen parents?

    Because I had not heard that particular form of sedition until after Obama was elected in 2008.

  23. avatar
    AlCum March 9, 2013 at 4:41 pm #

    Gabe:
    This bill is a joke toConservatives, everyday hard working Americans and even the Progressives(though as they look thru their opaque glasses, they may relish in it). What it does is make a generic natural born citizen

    A natural born citizen is born of parents who themselves are citizens of the country at the time of the birth, their child is born in. Clear and concise.

    Though to support this truth would, would show Mr. Obama ineligible to holdthe Office of President.

    You are incorrect. There is not nor has there ever been a requirement for natural born citizens to have citizen parents. In fact, the Founders stated this was not necessary. You are fabricating this assertion.