Arizona state representative Carl Seel is the sponsor of the “birther bill” (HB2177) that recently passed the Arizona legislature. He claimed in an interview with a Phoenix TV station that his bill was constitutional because it is modeled after Department of Defense rules for a top secret clearance, and would withstand a challenge from the conservative bogey man, the ACLU.
Below, I compare the Arizona bill to the federal statute on top secret clearances. While reading, note the bold-faced sections.
First, the Arizona bill:
1. A certified copy of the presidential candidate’s long form birth certificate that includes at least the date and place of birth, the names of the hospital and the attending physician, if applicable, and signatures of any witnesses in attendance. If the candidate does not possess a long form birth certificate as required by this paragraph, the candidate may attach two or more of the following documents that shall take the place of the long form birth certificate if the candidate swears to their authenticity and validity and the documents contain enough information for the secretary of state to determine if the candidate meets the requirements prescribed in article II, section 1, constitution of the United States:
(a) Early baptismal or circumcision certificate.
(b) Hospital birth record.
(c) Postpartum medical record for the mother or child signed by the doctor or midwife or the person who delivered or examined the child after birth.
(d) Early census record.
The lists these criteria for proof of citizenship:
a. For individuals born in the United States, a birth certificate is the primary and preferred means of citizenship verification. Acceptable certificates must show that the birth record was filed shortly after birth and it must be certified with the registrar’s signature. It must bear the raised, impressed, or multicolored seal of the registrar’s office. The only exception is if a state or other jurisdiction does not issue such seals as a matter of policy. Uncertified copies of birth certificates are not acceptable. A delayed birth certificate is one created when a record was filed more than one year after the date of birth. Such a certificate is acceptable if it shows that the report of birth was supported by acceptable secondary evidence of birth. Secondary evidence may include: baptismal or circumcision certificates, hospital birth records, or affidavits of persons having personal knowledge about the facts of birth. Other documentary evidence can be early census, school, or family bible records, newspaper files, or insurance papers. All documents submitted as evidence of birth in the U.S. shall be original or certified documents.
b. If the individual claims citizenship by naturalization, a certificate of naturalization is acceptable proof of citizenship.
c. If citizenship was acquired by birth abroad to a U.S. citizen parent or parents, the following are acceptable evidence:
(1) A Certificate of Citizenship issued by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS); or
(2) A Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States of America (Form FS-240); or
(3) A Certificate of Birth (Form FS-545 or DS-1350).
d. A passport, current or expired, is acceptable proof of citizenship.
e. A Record of Military Processing-Armed Forces of the United States (DD Form 1966) is acceptable proof of citizenship, provided it reflects U.S. citizenship. 2-208. Letter of Notification of Personnel Clearance (LOC). An LOC will be issued by the CSA to notify the contractor that its employee has been granted a PCL. Unless terminated, suspended or revoked by the Government, the LOC remains effective as long as the employee is continuously employed by the contractor.
So the Arizona law does have some basis in US law, but it changes the criteria so as to exclude (at least in a birther’s mind) the otherwise acceptable proofs that President Obama has already shown to the public, namely his Certification of Live Birth and his passport1. There is nothing in the US Code about “long forms” or “witnesses” or “hospitals” or “attending physicians.” Also the Arizona would accept two very weak secondary sources of evidence, whereas the US Code only allows them as supplements to a delayed birth certificate.
For example a Canadian mother could move to the US shortly after the birth of her infant, have the infant baptized and examined by a doctor; this would fully meet the Arizona bill, even though neither the baptism certificate nor the medical record would say where the child was born. Fortunately the Arizona bill gives the Secretary of State enough discretion to stem the otherwise certain flood of presidential candidates from Canada.
Update: The hyperlink previously provided to the CIPA, and subsequent text actually comes from National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual (NISPOM). The title has been corrected in the article.
1US Passports contain the date and location of birth as well as a citizenship.