A Certification is not a Certificate….

…but it’s just as good.

I’ve written on this topic before. Part of the problem with the language is that it is used imprecisely and terms with technically different meanings are used interchangeably. States are not fully consistent with the titles they put on their documents. I’ve done some research in consultation with professionals in the field, and want to give you, the reader, some guidance on using the terms correctly:

  • Birth certificate. This is an original document generated in most cases by a hospital, but possibly by others when a birth happens outside a hospital and not on the way to a hospital (if mother and newborn arrive in a taxi where the baby is born, the hospital completes the certificate).  Different jurisdictions have their own procedures for the creation of certificates for those born outside a hospital. (There are variations on the theme when the birth is registered later — delayed birth certificates, or in the case of a foreign-born adoption.) Certificates contain one important attribute, the signature of the person attesting to the event. The most common type of certificate is the Certificate of Live Birth for the timely registration of children born alive.Nowadays many births are reported electronically by hospital systems (as a stream of data), and there is no paper birth certificate. In this case, the birth certificate is the electronic data and the signature is electronic.
  • Certified Copy. Unless you work in a hospital or a vital records agency, chances are that you have never seen a real Birth Certificate. What you got from the State is a certified copy. A certified copy is a photocopy or digital image copy of the birth certificate. I will be signed by someone attesting that it is a true copy, and it should also be sealed (either in multiple colors or impressed) by the agency issuing it. Of course, with a paperless electronic system, there are no certified copies.
  • Certification of Birth. Modern vital records systems carry computer databases of birth registration information. Some may retain images of old records while newer records may never have had an electronic image. The Barack Obama Certification of Live Birth is an example of one of these.

Certified Copies and Certifications of Birth carry certain basic information, including the child’s name, date and time of birth, location of birth (city, state, county), the State File Number, Sex and the date the record was filed with the vital records agency. Some may contain more. The important thing is that from a legal perspective a Certified Copy carries equal weight as a Certification of Birth, and both are fully valid for obtaining a passport, joining the military, registering with Social Security, and getting a drivers license, and until the lunatics run the asylum, proving that you’re eligible to be President of the United States.

About Dr. Conspiracy

I'm not a real doctor, but I have a master's degree.
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27 Responses to A Certification is not a Certificate….

  1. AdrianInFlorida says:

    The irony of Orly’s ‘Vctory’ is, that even IF Judge Carter allows discovery in a case that seeks to determine eligibility, all that President Obama need submit is the same, exact, certification that he received from Hawaii and posted on the website last year.

    The birthers are expecting to have free run of all of President Obama’s personal records, but this case is about eligibility to be President, and the certification he provided last year, is all that he is compelled to provide this/that time, if ordered.

  2. sarina says:

    Can US citizenship be transmitted from grandparents?

  3. Greg says:

    I posted this in another thread, and I think it bears repeating here, to reinforce what you said about certified copies.

    Obama’s COLB carries this above a signature of the registrar:

    “I certify that this is a true copy or abstract of the record on file in the Hawaii State Department of Health.”

    It has a seal of the State of Hawaii on it.

    Blacks Law dictionary (7th Ed) defines “certified copy” as “A duplicate of an original (usu. official) document, certified as an exact reproduction usu. by the officer responsible for issuing or keeping the original.”

    The COLB, whatever else it is, is a certified copy of all the information it contains.

    It cannot be, in our present state of reality that Obama was born in Kenya and yet the registrar could certify that the COLB was a true and accurate copy or abstract of the information they have on their files!

    He could have written “Obama was born in Honolulu” on an eight-and-a-half by eleven sheet of lined Big Chief notepaper and by affixing that certification, his signature and the State Seal, it becomes a certified copy or abstract and everything that sheet of paper contains now has the weight of the State of Hawaii behind it.

    In short, it doesn’t matter whether this is a COLB, a Birth Certificate, a Certification of Live Birth, or a drivers licence. It is a certified copy or abstract of the records the State of Hawaii has on file, and everything in it is presumed true until controverted!

  4. Bob says:

    Under some circumstances, yes.

  5. misha says:

    No, my cat had to go through naturalization.

    But seriously folks, grandparents are distant relatives, so no. It can only be transmitted from parents.

  6. TRUTH says:

    Presumed True … Until Controverted?

    Isn’t that more or less what people have attempted to do, asking that someone do the very simple task of showing that document that they used to make the “certified copy” you refer to? Which is what really bewilders me, aside from the lefties weak excuse that even after it is shown something else will come up, that they don’t at least attempt to end the controversy by showing it. And THEN if your birthers continue to complain “THEN” you’ll have ground to say “nothing will satisfy you”. But AS OF NOW, nobody has any right to say that because it is just an idea…or, maybe its an excuse.

  7. dunstvangeet says:

    There has to be actual admissible evidence to controvert it.

    All you have is hearsay (Sarah Obama’s tape, unless you’re going to fly Sarah Obama to the United States to testify that Obama was born in the United States).

    A document that is admitted to be a forgery…

    A document and affidavit which came from a guy who has been convicted of, wait, here’s it, forgery!

    And a bunch of supposition that isn’t supported by any sort of evidence.

    So, it’s not like you can make a forgery on your computer, testify in court that this is a Kenyan Birth Certificate, and expect the original birth certificate to be declared invalid.

    Show me the evidence actually contradicting it, and then maybe you can go have a case.

    As far as Birthers being convinced on that, did you not already see them move the goalposts? Did you not see the long list of other documents, all which have nothing to do with presidential eligibility that they are demanding, including his records from kindergarten? Did you not see that Mario Apuzzo and Leo Donfrio, as well as Orly Taitz have already declared him ineligible based upon de Vattel, or dual citizenship?

    There will be a few that will be satisfied. However, the majority of them will just say, “Doesn’t prove that he’s eligible. You have to have two parents who are citizens in order to be eligible. We already know Obama has a father who was not a citizen, and therefore, there is no way he’s eligible.”

    These people are out of the box. Much like the people who believed, despite no evidence, that Vince Foster was killed by the Clintons for knowing too much. Much like the people who believe that 9/11 was an inside job orchastrated by President Bush to get us into Iraq. Much like the people who believe that the Holocaust was a Jewish plot to create sympathy, and eventually take over the world.

    This is a conspiracy theory, plain and simple. No amount of evidence will ever get these lunatics to believe anything else.

  8. Heavy says:

    EXACTLY! That is what we’ve all been saying for some time now. Just show the damn thing.

  9. dunstvangeet says:

    Should we also show his Kindergarten records? That is the thing that the Birthers have requested.

    Should we also show his College transcripts? They’ve also requested those.

    There is absolutely no way that the birthers will be satisfied with any documentation.

  10. TRUTH says:

    and again, the same sarcastic Empty pathetic “Excuse” of an answer.

    You reference a “long list of documents” that THEY want to see. dungstxxxx…..did it EVER OCCUR to you that is like ONE or TWO NUTCASES?!..ok, maybe 10, asking to see the STUPID unneeded things? Ummm…NOOOOo. THings like that don’t occur to you leftists. SOON as you see one idiot make a leftist style of comment you JUMP on it and claim ALL people wanting to see the B.C. are the same. I can’t even read all the rhetoric crap you typed, after a couple paragraphs it’s all the same…excuse, excuse, whine whine, Excuse. ONE piece of paper ..just ONE, but your actually “scared” of it being seen is the bottom line because there is the “slightest” possibility it makes you wrong.

    Slick, your party isn’t any less of a whining complaining group. Democrats are saying it is terrible republicans didn’t want their kids to hear an Obama speech. When it wasn’t the speech, it was the rules they initially passed out WHICH they corrected. But Conservatives made a mistake and assumed the speech would be as politicized as the rules. When in fact it wasn’t and was a half decent speech minus his referring to himself continually. YET..it was the Democrats that wanted Bush SR. investigated because he gave the same speech to school kids when he was in office…Hypocrites. And, I’d bet my paycheck he Changed his speech, as per Rham Emanuals suggestion, to be less politicized and come out looking like the good guy. You can smoke THAT in your Conspiracy pipe.

    I LOVE the new rating checks in here now. I think its great my message has to be Clicked on to be Seen. That way it makes more people want to see what it says that haven’t read it yet. GREAT Item to add Doc.

  11. dunstvangeet says:

    I’ve referenced 3 leaders of the lawsuits in the Birther movement, TRUTH.

    Each one of these have basically stated that they want a long list of documents, including Obama’s Kindergarten records in order to prove his eligibility? This isn’t just a few from the birther movement. This is the main core of the birther movement.

    When the leaders of the movement are demanding this stuff, then you can basically say that the movement is demanding it. The birthers have already moved past the birth certificate. They’re claiming that Dual Citizenship isn’t possible for being Natural Born. Or they’re doing the two-parent theory.

    I’ve read all of the lawsuits. All of them reference that even if Obama was born in Hawaii, he’d still be ineligible, Truth. JTX and Mario Apuzzo are on here all the time, saying that even if Obama was born in Hawaii, he’d still be ineligible.

    The Birthers have already stated that the birth certificate doesn’t actually matter. He’s ineligible whether or not he was born in Hawaii. So, my question is why show the birth certificate to a bunch of people who have already decided that he’s ineligible either way? This isn’t about documentation. This is about people not liking the President, and are calling him ineligible because they can’t deal with the fact that their side lost big during the November Election.

  12. capricorn says:

    TRUTH: Presumed True … Until Controverted?Isn’t that more or less what people have attempted to do, asking that someone do the very simple task of showing that document that they used to make the “certified copy” you refer to?

    Two things to remember: First, Obama’s eligibility has already been determined by the Electoral College voting him President and Congress ratifying it; second, because the only parties to which the Constitution gives the authority to determine a President’s eligibility have declared – by electing him and ratifying that vote – that he IS the President, the burden of proof rests on those attempting to challenge his eligibility.

    That means that Obama doesn’t have to produce ANYTHING. Not one single piece of paper. Those challenging his legitimacy, however, do have to produce evidence – actual, factual and verifiable evidence – to show that he isn’t qualified.

    Both the EC and Congress were aware that some had raised questions about Obama’s legitimacy prior to the Electoral College’s meeting to elect Obama President. Had one Senator and one Representative felt that there was any substance to those questions they could have issued a challenge to Obama’s election, and each Chamber would have met separately to review the issues raised by the challenge.

    That didn’t happen, so Obama is President now, duly elected, confirmed eligible and sworn-in. He’s done what he had to do. Anyone who wants him out of office is going to have to be able to come up with the evidence to show why.

  13. NBC says:

    Things are even worse, since the courts cannot address the issue since the Constitution places that ‘burden’ on Congress, plaintiffs will continue to lack standing. And since the Courts cannot remove a President, plaintiffs also lack in providing a way for the courts to resolve the issue.

    From a Constitutional perspective, plaintiffs stand no chance in court.

    It’s really that simple, and it should not come as much of a surprise that this is waht the lawyers have been consistently arguing.
    Which explains why lawsuits have been consistently denied and dismissed.

  14. Bob says:

    More “proof” from Donofrio that people didn’t know about Arthur’s eligibility “problem.”

    (And, in the comments, jtx calls Dr. Conspiracy a “fabricator.”)

    [Fixed the Link: Doc C.]

  15. Greg says:

    More than anything else, these “finds” Leo trumpets show that he hasn’t read the material very carefully that he cites.

    This decision was cited by the dissent in Wong Kim Ark. It was one of several Executive Branch decisions cited by the two opinions in that case.

    And, it’s distinguishable from Arthur’s case, so it doesn’t even provide the proof that Leo thinks it does. Richard Greisser’s father was domiciled in Germany at the moment of Richard’s birth. While Arthur’s dad wasn’t naturalized in the states, he was clearly domiciled here.

  16. Donofrio totally misrepresents my article. I posted this on Donofrio’s blog:

    The article says: “For some reason I have yet to comprehend, they argue Bayard was aware of Chester Arthur having been born a British subject.”

    No one, certainly not me (and it is my article which cites the letter) has ever so much as hinted that Senator Bayard was aware of Chester Arthur’s father being British. I expect a retraction.

    What I said is that the letter suggests strongly that A. P. Hinman knew it, else why would he ask the question of Bayard as to whether the naturalization of a father (which happened to Arthur’s father) would make the child (Arthur) a natural born citizen.

  17. richCares says:

    As I understand it, official Kenyan records are maintained by the government (not by hospitals), though a hospital may issue souvenir certificates, they are not official and would not be certified by anyone. In all cases souvenir certificates are not filed or maintained. So a government official was bribed to release and certify a BC record that does not exits. What to you call that?

  18. Thanks hugely. That bit is what I needed to top off the article I’ve been fuming about all day.

  19. kylie says:

    Dr C,
    I presume you are a lawyer, of what state have you been admitted to the bar?

  20. Bob says:

    As Dr. C. will readily admit, he’s not a lawyer; just a quick study.

  21. My legal and academic credentials are here:


  22. When I was a teenager, my father and a friend were discussing whether I should be taught what to do in a bar fight. My father rightly said that I had enough sense not to get into a bar fight.

  23. Gordon says:

    I made mention before that only 5 US Presidents were born in hospitals, Carter was the first, then Bush one, Clinton, Bush Two. and Obama. Reagan was born over a store in Tampico Ill. 1911, 5 years before Ill started mandatory registration of birth certificates. So I was sure that at some point in his life Reagan had to get a birth certificate. Reagan’s original birth certificate is displayed in the Reagan Library. At the top it says CERTIFICATE OF BIRTH. On the right it has a year of 1942, probably the year he went to the Army Film Unit and possibly the first time he needed one.

    Ronald Reagan was born in an apartment over a store in Tampico, Ill in 1911. Illinois had no registration of birth certificates until 1916. Here is a copy of Reagan’s birth certificate in the Reagan Library. Notice the date, 1942, when his arse had to go play Army for the Film Division. He may have lived 31 years without one.


  24. Alvin Ambers says:

    On your contention that a Certification of Live Birth is “just as good” as a Certificate of Live Birth (full birth certificate), there were notices in Hawaii as late as June of 2009 which were meant to advise and assist people who tried to use a Certification for some purpose for which it was rejected. The notice advised people concerned how they could obtain a copy of their full birth certificate. Hawaii has at other times declared that a Certification is NOT a birth certificate.
    It should be elementary that if there was no difference between them, one or the other would not be issued. AND, the fact that a Certification could be and was issued for children KNOWN to have been born elsewhere speaks directly to the reasonable question of whether or not Obama acquired a Certification instead of a Certificate for this reason.
    Then of course there are the other factors which are suspicious to a reasonable mind, such as the first presentation having no fold-lines as from mailing, and no embossed seal. Both of which, when questioned, suddenly appeared on a second presentation. The excuse that the embossed seal simply didn’t show on the first “scan” being totally disingenuous in that a speck of fly feces will show in a modern digital scan. The first scan was good enough for the very slight bleed-through of ink from the rubber date-stamp which was affixed to the back-side of the document, in the same general area as the embossed seal later “appeared”.
    In the case of Hawaii, with their policy of issuing Certifications for children KNOWN to have been born elsewhere, including other countries, to the issue of Obama’s eligibility there is absolutely no reason to accept that a Certification is proper verification. It’s entirely possible that Obama could have been born ANYWHERE and still have a Certification of Live Birth from Hawaii, so to equate one with a full birth certificate is erroneous and/or disingenuous. Why should “we” NOT be suspicious of Obama’s refusal to reveal his full birth certificate? Not to mention his Selective Service records. Who except soemone with something to hide refuses to allow a single valid document from their past to be revealed?
    Of course his supporters can dismiss and deny the reasonable questions….it only serves to reveal their bias or perhaps collusion. “We” want the real truth to be revealed, and no fair, ethical mind can fault a desire for the unrevealed truth.

  25. Black Lion says:

    Have you been to this site before? If you had you would know that all of your so called issues were already debunked here on this site. So you are just trolling. Are you sure you are not one of those individuals tha changes their screen name? First of all a COLB that might have been issued to someone born outside of HI says it. For instance if Obama was born in Toronto, the COLB would say Toronto where it asks for the city of birth. And please provide where the state of HI says that the COLB is not suffcient. Because they have never said that. As usual the birthers make stuff up and think that we are just dumb enough to believe it. You will have to try better than that.

  26. Alvin Ambers: AND, the fact that a Certification could be and was issued for children KNOWN to have been born elsewhere speaks directly to the reasonable question of whether or not Obama acquired a Certification instead of a Certificate for this reason.

    Hawaii does not issue Certifications that say people are born in Honolulu to people who are not born in Honolulu.

    Your misdirecting and dishonest comments cannot get beyond that indisputable fact.

  27. SFJeff says:

    ““We” want the real truth to be revealed, and no fair, ethical mind can fault a desire for the unrevealed truth.”

    Who is “We”? Is the President of the United States supposed to be obligated to individually satisfy the curiousity of every malcontent in the United States?

    And to quote Jack Nicholsen- You can’t handle the truth.

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