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Judge Jeff Masin gets second crack at “natural born citizen”

Administrative Law Judge Jeff Masin is known to readers here as the judge who heard the 2012 challenge to Obama’s primary ballot position in New Jersey from Nicholas Purpura and Theodore Moran. The video of that hearing, with Mario Apuzzo representing Purpura and Alexandra Hill representing Obama, provided a few great moments of entertainment as certain weighty issues were debated such as the eligibility of Mickey Mouse to appear on the New Jersey Ballot, and whether Judge Masin had a coffee mug with Obama’s birth certificate on it (he didn’t, but I do).

In the end, Judge Masin ruled that Obama’s nomination petition was not defective, Obama had no obligation to prove his eligibility, and that in general the children of aliens born in the United States were natural born citizens.

Judge Masin had no trouble determining Obama eligible if born in the United States, citing Ankeny v. Governor of Indiana and the Supreme Court’s decision in US v. Wong Kim Ark. As birthers try to revive their anti-Obama arguments, we might do well to remember Judge Masin’s citation from Wong:

[The] law of England for the last three centuries, beginning before the settlement of this country, and continuing to the present day, . . . every child born in England of alien parents was a natural-born subject, unless the child of an ambassador or other diplomatic agent of a foreign state, or of an alien enemy in hostile occupation of the place where the child was born. The same rule was in force in all the English colonies upon this continent down to the time of the Declaration of Independence, and in the United States afterwards, and continued to prevail under the constitution as originally established.

But it’s 2016, and a new presidential candidate, Ted Cruz, is challenged in New Jersey, and Judge Masin is assigned to the case.

Of the challengers Philly.com writes:

One of the challenges was brought by three South Jersey citizens, and the other by a law professor who lives in Maryland and is running for president as a write-in candidate in New Jersey. Both parties argued that because Cruz was born in Canada, he is not a natural-born citizen, making him ineligible for the presidency.

Professor Williams said that he was motivated to bring the challenge after reading about the unresolved candidacy of Mexican-born George Romney.

This time around Judge Masin does not have “several decisions that could be cited” nor the clear precedent from the Supreme Court in US v. Wong Kim Ark. Obama was born in the US and Cruz in Canada. The Ankeny decision specifically did not address persons like Cruz, saying in a footnote:

We reiterate that we do not address the question of natural born citizen status for persons who became United States citizens at birth by virtue of being born of United States citizen parents, despite the fact that they were born abroad. That question was not properly presented to this court. Without addressing the question, however, we note that nothing in our opinion today should be understood to hold that being born within the fifty United States is the only way one can receive natural born citizen status.

The only direct citation would be in the recent case in Pennsylvania by Judge Pellegrini, which Masin noted was the only case he knew of. I for one an looking forward to what he decides. The “final decision” rests with the New Jersey Secretary of State, Kim Guadagno. The final decision is subject to review by the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division.

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19 Responses to Judge Jeff Masin gets second crack at “natural born citizen”

  1. avatar
    Dave B. April 11, 2016 at 4:48 pm #

    I don’t think he’s going to reinvent the wheel this time either.

  2. avatar
    gorefan April 11, 2016 at 5:15 pm #

    It should be interesting as to what he relies on. Will he be like Judge Pellegrini and use law review articles and the CRS memo?

    I hope if not a video at least a transcript is made available. Would love to hear or read Mario’s arguments before ALJ Masin. Did Masin acknowledge Mario’s second appearance?

  3. avatar
    Scientist April 11, 2016 at 5:28 pm #

    Why wouldn’t Mickey Mouse be eligible to run for President? He is certainly more than 35 in both human and mouse years. He has lived in the US for more than 14 years and he was born in the US, so is unquestionably a natural born citizen. Nowhere in the Constitution does it specify that one must be a Homo sapiens to be President.

  4. avatar
    The Magic M (not logged in) April 12, 2016 at 5:49 am #

    The video of that hearing, with Mario Apuzzo representing Purpura and Alexandra Hill representing Obama provided a few great moments of entertainment

    That was the one birthers used to claim “Obama’s attorney admitted he is not eligible” about, right?

    Scientist: Nowhere in the Constitution does it specify that one must be a Homo sapiens to be President.

    Original intent. Besides, was Mickey Mouse even “born” in the sense the Founders understood it? Alternatively, I will just claim Walt Disney made his first sketch of the mouse while on vacation in Canada and challenge Mickey to prove otherwise. 😉

  5. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 12, 2016 at 6:15 am #

    That’s the one, but even Apuzzo has denied that rumor.

    The Magic M (not logged in): That was the one birthers used to claim “Obama’s attorney admitted he is not eligible” about, right?

  6. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 12, 2016 at 7:15 am #

    Mickey Mouse is a puppet of corporate interests.

    Scientist: Why wouldn’t Mickey Mouse be eligible to run for President?

  7. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 12, 2016 at 7:39 am #

    I have updated the article with a citation from Ankeny, and fixed some grammar. I also added a Facebook Share button just to see if it would work. If readers would like Facebook Share to appear on articles in general, please say so.

  8. avatar
    Scientist April 12, 2016 at 9:15 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy: Mickey Mouse is a puppet of corporate interests.

    No doubt, but that makes him even more eligible.

  9. avatar
    Dave B. April 12, 2016 at 2:34 pm #

    How it actually went:

    Judge Masin pointed out that testimony regarding the authenticity of something that hadn’t been presented as evidence in the first place was irrelevant.
    Mario then said,
    “That’s perfectly fine with our position, provided that counsel is willing to stipulate that whatever’s on the internet will not be considered as evidence of a birth certificate either by your honor or the Secretary of State.”

    Judge Masin then discussed the Secretary of State’s role, and reiterated that such testimony was irrelevant. The exchange continued–

    Mario: Can we have a clear stipulation that that internet birth certificate is in no way evidence in any shape or form whether or not…

    Judge Masin: In this case.

    Mario: Yes, in this case.

    Judge Masin: It’s not before me. It’s not in the record.

    Mario: Can we have a stipulation?

    Judge Masin: Miss Hill?

    Alexandra Hill: I’m not– I’m not presenting it in this case, no.

    Mario: The internet image…

    Alexandra Hill: I don’t have it. Sorry, I don’t have it.

    Judge Masin: It’s not here. I can assure you, I’ve never seen it; I haven’t looked at it; I’m certainly not going to look at it in regard to deciding this case. It has not been offered; it’s not in the record and if the Secretary– and, and my understanding of the law, and I’ve been doing this for a long time, is the Secretary of State can’t suddenly look at the internet and say “Oh, there’s the birth certificate, ” because that would be outside the record of this case.

    Mario then agreed that his witness was not needed–

    Mario: Again, that’s based on the stipulation that that internet image is nonexistent…

    Judge Masin: Well, it’s not that it’s nonexistent– it is not in the record of this case.

    Mario: This case…

    Judge Masin: And that’s all I can decide this case on, is the record of this case. I could not look here anywhere and say “Ah! somebody gave me the birth certificate of Barack Obama.” It’s not here.

    From about 28:30 here:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHKJQ__W_4k

    The look on Masin’s face about 28:48 just kills me.

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    That’s the one, but even Apuzzo has denied that rumor.

  10. avatar
    Dave B. April 12, 2016 at 2:49 pm #

    That’s about 42:20

    Dave B.: Mario then said,
    “That’s perfectly fine with our position, provided that counsel is willing to stipulate that whatever’s on the internet will not be considered as evidence of a birth certificate either by your honor or the Secretary of State.”

  11. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 12, 2016 at 3:04 pm #

    Call me old fashioned; call me bigoted, but I am not going to vote for a cartoon–not Mickey nor Donald.

    Scientist: No doubt, but that makes him even more eligible.

  12. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 12, 2016 at 3:40 pm #

    The problem with the entire Cruz eligibility controversy is that there is no clear precedent. There is no clear historical record. There is no assurance that even if the Supreme Court should issue a unanimous decision on the topic, that a resurrected James Madison he would not say: “that’s not what we meant.”

    — Dr. Conspiracy
    — Comment at The New American

  13. avatar
    Dave B. April 12, 2016 at 7:13 pm #

    I’m seeing reports Judge Masin ruled in favor of eligibility.
    http://www.northjersey.com/news/judge-ted-cruz-eligible-to-be-on-n-j-primary-ballot-1.1543279

  14. avatar
    gorefan April 12, 2016 at 8:05 pm #

    Dave B.:
    I’m seeing reports Judge Masin ruled in favor of eligibility.
    http://www.northjersey.com/news/judge-ted-cruz-eligible-to-be-on-n-j-primary-ballot-1.1543279

    The decision

    http://media.philly.com/documents/Judge's+ruling+Ted+Cruz+to+remain+on+NJ+ballot.pdf

    Under New Jersey law they had standing.

  15. avatar
    Dave B. April 12, 2016 at 8:52 pm #

    That sly dog has been sandbagging that one.

    gorefan: The decision

    http://media.philly.com/documents/Judge's+ruling+Ted+Cruz+to+remain+on+NJ+ballot.pdf

    Under New Jersey law they had standing.

  16. avatar
    Arthur B. April 12, 2016 at 8:55 pm #

    Dave B.: That sly dog has been sandbagging that one.

    It’s gotta be a trip for an ALJ.

  17. avatar
    Dave B. April 12, 2016 at 9:04 pm #

    The guy should have his own TV show.

    Arthur B.: It’s gotta be a trip for an ALJ.