The Sonoran News, a right-wing news site in Arizona, has published a guest editorial by Lawrence Sellin, PhD (in physiology), in which he says that we should discount what the politicians and the journalists say about presidential eligibility, and listen to him instead. I might add that one would also have to ignore no less than 10 court decisions (plus appeals) over the past 7 years and a truck load of Civics books and legal commentary as well. Listening to him would be a big mistake, because Sellin is a crackpot on the topic.
Sellin is a Vattelist, saying:
The term “natural born citizen” was well-known during the time of the writing of the Constitution from Vattel’s “Law of Nations” (1758), which stated “natural-born citizens are those born in a country of citizen parents” (Volume 1, Chapter 19, Section 212).
Of course no Framer of the US Constitution ever said that the phrase was based on Vattel. In fact the edition of Vattel available to the Framers, didn’t even contain the words “natural born citizen” – that came a decade later. Vattel was never mentioned in the context of citizenship or eligibility for office in the debates of the constitutional convention, or the debates over ratification in the state legislatures. The Supreme Court says (US v. Wong) that the term comes from English Common Law. Sellin is just making stuff up.
Sellin then plays the second birther card, Minor v. Happersett, a voting rights case from the 19th century. He claims that this case defines “natural born citizen” when in fact it states unequivocally that it was only considering the status of persons born in the US to citizen parents, and not others. Judges (see Allen v. Obama) and law professors (e.g. Associate Professor Joseph Hylton of Marquette University Law School1) are both on record that the Minor decision does not define the term for all classes of persons.
So why does Sellin’s view get so little traction with the courts, the Congress, the news media, Law Professors and historians? Sellin offers a conspiracist explanation:
Why is there a controversy? Because, I repeat, politicians and journalists are driven by political expediency in order to protect and enhance their own financial interests.
You might attribute this motive to some politicians and journalists, but all of them? I think not. And what about the judges, historians and law professors? What about ones writing 100 years ago?
The conspiracy started, according to Sellin, with a disinformation campaign that started in February of 2008 with a “fake” controversy about John McCain started by Obama supporters. The controversy was hardly fake as it had arisen decades before when George Romney (born in Mexico) was considered a candidate for President. The Hollander v. McCain lawsuit was filed in March. 2008, but Fred Hollander stated that he was a McCain supporter just trying to settle the issue. Other McCain lawsuits (e.g. Robinson v. Bowen) were from third-party supporters who didn’t like McCain or Obama, and sued both. Sellin also repeats the false rumor that McCain was born in a Panamanian hospital, rather than his true place of birth on the Coco Solo Naval Base in the Canal Zone.
Sellin thinks that S. Res. 511, declaring John McCain eligible, was some sort of back-door deal where Democrats got a tacit waiver for Obama. Here Sellin breaks with birther tradition that says (falsely) that S. Res. 511 declares Obama ineligible (making the same mistake confusing sufficient with necessary conditions that they make with Minor). What Sellin doesn’t appreciate is that the question of McCain’s eligibility is not completely settled, while Obamas’ is. Cruz is in a weaker position than McCain because the Panama Canal Zone, while not an incorporated US Territory, was under some sort of US jurisdiction, and McCain had a US Citizen father unlike Cruz.
Sellin continues the disinformation campaign theme by saying:
Complicit with the Democrats in violating the Constitution, the Republicans joined them in a deliberate campaign of disinformation to hide the truth about Obama and the natural born requirement; an effort that continues to this day.
That disinformation campaign actually started at least as early as 1776. Historian George Bancroft writing in the 19th century about the period between the Articles of Confederation and the adoption of the US Constitution said:
Every one who first saw the light on American soil was a natural-born American citizen.
And it continued with the first major work of exposition of the Constitution by jurist, historian and confidant of Franklin and Washington, William Rawle, who wrote in his A View of the Constitution of the United States (2nd Ed. 1829):
…he who was subsequently born a citizen of a state became at the moment of his birth a citizen of the United States Therefore every person born within the United States its territories or districts whether the parents are citizens or aliens is a natural born citizen in the sense of the Constitution and entitled to all the rights and privileges appertaining to that capacity.
Mr. Sellin is the disinformation campaigner. What are his motives? He claims that racism is behind his imaginary disinformation campaign for Obama; perhaps that’s what is behind the real disinformation campaign against Obama. Or maybe he’s just repeating something he heard in a chain email.
To cite Minor v. Happersett as the definitive statement of the meaning of the phrase “natural born citizen” is to exhibit an unfortunate lack of understanding of the Supreme Court’s 1874 decision in that case.
I sent Sellin an email linking to the article and he says he will take a look at it. If he replies here, y’all be nice.
I take all of the motives that Sellin ascribes to others to be instances of projection on his part.
Sellin’s PhD is in physiology.
He is a retired Army Colonel who was sacked from the staff of Gen. Petraeus after publicly criticizing his superiors. The story says that he was a Green Beret, but I have my doubts about that.
Of late Sellin has been living in Finland, where he writes articles for Canada Free Press in which he advocates the overthrow of our government. He has written a Kindle book called “Restoring the Republic: Arguments for a Second American Revolution.”
The moral of the story is that idiots come from all walks of life. Sellin’s PhD just means that he’s an idiot with certification.
Patrick McKinnion chronicled Mr. Sellin’s descent into birtherism in this June 2011 piece on BadFiction
Of late he seems to be, as Rickey noted, advocating the overthrow of the U.S. government:
I’m not sure how a Masters in biology and a PhD in physiology would grant anyone expertise in Constitutional law. Perhaps Sellin will enlighten us on that point if he decides to respond to this thread.
He’s a piece of work. A CREEPY piece of work. I wrote a number of posts critical of him on Canada Free Press (I’m banned now, of course) and the guy actually stalked me for about 3 months, trying to “friend” me on LinkedIn and elsewhere. Very, very creepy. Be careful.
“Sea, I command you to come no farther! Waves, stop your rolling, and do not dare to touch my feet!”
We could put together a PowerPoint to demonstrate the argument. I’m sure he would appreciate that.
“February of 2008′
This may be based on several New York Times articles by Carl Hulse.
So speaking of Vattel, who was it who needed a particular edition of “… Law of Nations…” to compare the translations? I found every edition (I think) in the Australian National Library catalog on Tuesday when I was there, All of them are available online via services they subscribe to on behalf of their members (of which I am one). Some of those online services allow me to access them from offsite (where I am now).
If you are still missing it, are still interested in it, let me know which one it is and what exactly you want, and I’ll see what I can do.
(I should have anticipated this last week and been prepared to get the copies right then and there – sorry).
Would that make him a…
Never mind. Dr. Conspiracy said to be nice.
Thanks for the comments. I have updated the article with some of the new information.
A PhD, any PhD, regardless of vintage or species, is the royal flush of intellectual endeavor. Regardless of table or deal, it can’t be beaten, only tied.
Anyone (other than PhDs 😛 ) buying this?
It should be noted that William Rawle in the 1825 edition of “A View of the Constitution” also acknowledged the right of the state to withdraw from the Union.
“But in any manner by which a secession is to take place, nothing is more certain than that the act should be deliberate, clear, and unequivocal……..The people of the state may have some reasons to complain in respects to acts of the general government, they may in such cases invest some of their own officers with the power of negotiation, and may declare an absolute secession in case of their failure. Still, however, the secession must in such case be distinctly and peremptorily declared to take place on that event, and in such case–as in the case of an unconditional secession, the previous ligament with the Union, would be legitimately and fairly destroyed. But in either case the people is the only moving power.”
True, but it wasn’t until 1869 that the Supreme Court decided that states didn’t an inherent right to secede. The vote in Texas v. United States was 4-2. The Chief Justice was Salmon P. Chase, a member of Lincoln’s cabinet. He based his opinion on the Articles of Confederation. It was quite a stretch.
It is certainly plausible that the Supreme Court in Rawle’s time could have reached a different decision.
“It is certainly plausible that the Supreme Court in Rawle’s time could have reached a different decision.”
how do I get to your older posts ?? where nbc said the Xerox theory was new… great job by the way.. cheers.. amigo…..?…..
Wouldn’t it make more sense to go to nbc’s site?
“Republican involvement in SR 511 and the fear of being branded a “racist” by the liberal media prevented any meaningful vetting of candidate Obama after he secured the Democratic Presidential nomination in June 2008.”
I disagree. The same attorneys ( Laurence H. Tribe and Theodore B. Olson) who vetted Senator John McCain’s eligibility in SR-511 also clearly stated in their March 19, 2008 letter to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary regarding Senator McCain that “…Senator Barack Obama was born in Hawaii on August 4, 1961–not long after its admission to the Union on August 21,1959. We find it inconceivable that Senator Obama would have been ineligible for the Presidency had he been born two years earlier ” The letter for Senator McCain said that Senator Obama, was eligible for the Presidency. Both McCain and Obama were considered eligible to run for the Presidency. Congressional Record Senate, April 30, 2008.
I sent the following email to Dr. Sellin:
Dear Dr. Sellin:
A friend of mine drew my attention to your recent editorial published in the Sonora News:
In particular, to the following sentence:
“from Vattel’s “Law of Nations” (1758), which stated “natural-born citizens are those born in a country of citizen parents” (Volume 1, Chapter 19, Section 212).”
I am a 59-year-old French lawyer and scholar who, among other credits, have edited translations of Vattel into English. I am somewhat on an expert on the subject.
There seems to be a recent, popular misconception amongst American scholars claiming that Vattel required a child to be born of TWO citizen parents in order for that child to inherit said citizenship.
This is entirely mistaken. In fact, in 200+ years of Vattel scholarship in the French lanmguage, you will not find a single source that will confirm that erroneous interpretation.
I am not an expert on the US Constitution; therefore, I have no informed opinion on whether your founders relied on Vattel’s treatise or not; neither do I have an oipinion on whether Vattel’s terms “indigenes” and “naturels” can be faithfully equated with your own term “natural-born citizen”. My personal opinion is that theit can’t, but I will leave this to American experts to debate. I also have no opinion as to whether your President is/was legitimately qualified or not to run.
What I am an expert in is what Vattel wrote and meant in the original French. I would hope that you will do me the courtesy of believing what I say, even if it happens to contradict what you might have read elsewhere, from non-French sources.
1. The word “parens” (no “t” to respect the original spelling) actually does not just mean “parents” as you understand it in English (ie: father, mother) but includes all blood relatives (grand-parents, uncles, aunts, etc.) so the child could actually inherit citizenship from any of his relatives, which then, logically, leads to…
2. The excerpt you quote (“natural-born citizens are those born in a country of citizen parents”) is a group plural, meaning ANY parent, not ALL parents. You have the same turn of phrase in English when saying, “only children whose parents are club members may use the pool”. There is no ambiguity about this, but this is further supported by…
3. The next couple of sentences in the same article that state that citizenship is inherited from the father, not the mother. (Such discrimination against women was of course common at the time.) Note that in the second edition [should be 1863 French edition. Doc.], a footnote was added to that article to specify that, in case the child was born out of wedlock, then the citizenship would be inherited from the mother. Obviously, such clauses became moot in 20th century when women got equal rights with men in that respect.
4. Finally, I feel I must mention that Vattel was only describing the way things worked in France, Germany and Switzerland. He specifically mentions the British system of acquiring citizenship through jus soli (as opposed to jus sanguinis) and is fine about it.
I’m far from certain that such notions can be effectively applied to your present Presidential system. It is important to keep in mind that in Vattelist countries, NATURALIZED citizens had the same rights & privileges as the Indigenes, whereas your Constitution renders them ineligible to run from President. For example, the French writer Emile Zola was naturalized because his father was Italian and his mother French — but he could run for public office.
I’ll also add that James Madison was a dual citizen, having been granted French citizenship (which he enthusiastically accepted) before he ran for President. So potential dual citizenship ought not to be an obstacle to one’s political career.
Finally, let me put it this way: if Mr Obama had been born in Zurich in the 18th century from a visiting English scholar and a native Swiss woman, Vattel would have considered him an Indigene. If married, the child would have had dual British-Swiss citizenship; if not, Swiss citizenship.
I hope these few precisions will help with your research,
Don’t confuse him with the facts.
According to my version of Google, the first person to use words like ‘revelation’ on this blog in regards to NBC’s work was … you, scott! You’re chasing your own tail!
Of course, I could be wrong … google returns a lot of spurious hits from blogs with ‘recent comments’ features.
Doc is far more chaste, far more conservative; you’re projecting what you expect to see onto him. Look to his 6/24/13 article for an example of just how ahyperbolic the man is. No need for hyperbole when this conclusion was a long time coming, and a conclusion reached long ago in this community, as Doc documented on 6/24/13.
Nope, not providing that link for you, scott, leading you by the hand while hitting you over the head would be cruel. It’s easily found with the tools provided on this blog.
Scholars? It keeps a respectful tone he may actual read, but it must have been difficult to write.
Use the search box in the right sidebar. The use of the box is described in the Visitor’s Guide:
From the birther reactions I read here, it seems scott has a new tail to chase – “some Obots said it was new, others said it was old”. As if that had any meaning whatsoever. But it keeps his mind distracted, lest he’d have to actually think about all the refutations he’s been exposed to. He’s like the guy I knew at university who finished his diploma thesis and then spent nearly 9 months “optimizing” and “modifying” its layout to pixel perfection, just so that he didn’t have to hand it in and face the music, “pass or fail”.
I don’t have an editor, so I’m not always consistent, but I try not to overstate the case–no need to, even it if were ethical. NBC has been very careful in his own claims, and I’m following his lead as well.
The search box on the blog, unless the query is complex, is the best way to search the articles (not comments). If you use multiple words not in quotes, then it will select articles containing all of the words, but not necessarily together, so typing — Xerox revelation — would return all articles with those words. The earliest was my article, “Cold Case Posse: The clock is ticking” from August 15.
I use the word “revelation” simply to denote something that was not known before, but made known. It’s not intended to indicate information with eternal consequences.
Let’s see, a used copier salesman as a forensic electronic document expert
A used-car salesman as a lead investigator
A handwriting analyzer as a document expert
An I-don’t-know-what as an expert in how states keep their records
Fits right in with the birthers! 😆
Ahhh, Mr Sellin…….
Railing against the President and all of his works, particularly that Ebil Obamacare and yet see’s no issues with living in Finland and using their socialized medical system, one he never ACTUALLY paid into……
Exactly … scott introduced that term re NBC and Xerox on 7/30, in an attempt at disparagement.
And now, just over a month later, he’s spent several days asking who claimed “revelation”, and when! 😀
Scott’s argument is basically: “You disagree with me so I must have something right.”
Plus, an article of Birther faith is that it’s treason for US courts to rely on any foreign law.
Yup, more projecting on his part. The intellectually dishonest neither understand, nor even recognize, intellectual integrity. He assumes everyone is as dishonest as he is.
Well, yes, we both realize this. “Misconception” is also too kind a word.
But my admittedly Quixotic task is to try to stomp out faux-Vattelism wherever it sprouts, and I thought I should start out being nice.
I wonder if he was even doing that. My French is not good enough to be sure but his contemporary Pothier seems to indicate, in “des Personnes” that Jus Soli applied to those born in France and its dominions. A requirement for citizen parents seems to have come in later.
Anything before Napoleon gets tricky and is full of special cases and loopholes. You almost can’t make generalizations.
That said, you are entirely correct: The French revolution made it possible for a child born of two foreigners on French soil to obtain French citizenship at a certain age and under certain circumstances, which technically was a different process than naturalization.
As we didn’t / don’t discriminate between naturalized citizens and indigenes, the difference was immaterial.
Oh yeah? Well top THIS one:
And if memory serves me correctly, the price on that one’s gone way down, too.
And this one’s not so shabby, either:
yeah right… lol
in the good “doctor’s” own words…
“Meanwhile the Cold Case Posse itself has remained in the bunker for 71 days without responding to the revelation that the Xerox WorkCentre 7655 explains what birthers claim are marks of forgery in the President’s form birth certificate, and that their investigation in the end has produced nothing.”
you guys had better sharpen your pencils for what’s ahead.
Respect is earned, scott.
Except he didn’t why do you keep lying?
I thought so… I did try the search, I do remembering asking nbc point blank… “is this new”. asked and answered…..it’s here somewhere… doc doesn’t scrub, which is awesome.
point corrected, I also carefully looked up the word revelation… thank you,
Give us a preview, scott. What lies ahead? If it’s anything like what lies behind it should be amusing….at least.
Which is … what?
The misguided fixations of PDF Madness have been explained for nearly 2 years now. Those afflicted with PDF Madness have ignored the obvious all along. The explanation has been increasingly thoroughly documented and demonstrated as time as gone by, making the ignore-ance ( 😛 ) increasingly more ridiculous.
The knowledge that a Xerox WorkCentre was involved in the workflow is not new; look at a Xerox MRC PDF, look at the WH LFBC PDF, conclusion reached. The only part missing was the bow that would tie it altogether, markup in the file that screams, “I WAS SCANNED ON A XEROX WORKCENTRE ####”. Due to a trip through Preview, it wasn’t there.
What’s new is NBC taking the time to demonstrate at a deeper level, and in multiple ways, that the WH PDF is indeed structured exactly like a Xerox MRC PDF. He has demonstrated that not only does the WH PDF look like a Xerox MRC PDF file, it walks like one, talks like one, smells like one, sounds like on, quacks like one. It is a Xerox MRC PDF. Form and function.
I hope that clears it up, and encourage you to visit NBC’s blog. As if you haven’t already 😛
BTW, how was your response, “In the good Doctor’s own words…” in anyway a response to my comment regarding your “questions”? Yet another birfer master of the non-response? 😉
It really ties the room together.
Anyone else feel like this guy has worn out his welcome?
He has yet to give a straight answer to a single question, and just regurgitates the same old lies that all birthers do.
Hell I could program a random phrase generator in Basic that does the same thing. Yes Scott, I just likened you to something that can be thrown together in a 30+ year old programming
language. That is how unintelligent your responses have been.
Need it spelled out in a simpler way? Lets try one word sentences, maybe your brain can process those easier.
Put. Up. Or. Shut. Up. You. Idiot.(I should probably break this last one up as it is three syllables, and Scott is likely unable to understand it.)
You can get ’em made into a rug? Cool!
How about encased in a bowling ball?
You can get ’em made into a rug? Cool!
How about encased in a bowling ball?
A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The frog asks, “How do I know you won’t sting me?” The scorpion says, “Because if I do, I will die too.”
The frog is satisfied, and they set out. But in midstream, the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown, but has just enough time to gasp “Why?”
Replies the scorpion: “It’s my nature…”
A troll’s gotta do what a troll’s gotta do.
We’ve been listening to variations on that theme for five years.
Any day now.
Be sure to check in with us in January, 2017 when Obama completes his second term.
Sorry about the confusing post above.
I got fooled by the back button, I guess.
Radio talk show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger also has a Ph.D. in physiology from Columbia University.
Would Dr. Laura have unique insight into the issue of presidential eligibility?
I would argue that she would not.
Of course he has. His act is stupid, childish and maddening. But hope springs eternal and we persist in the naive anticipation he will change.
It’s not hope on Scott e’s part or Carl Gallup’s part or Field Marshall Mike Zullo’s part; they know there was never a legitimate case to make against Obama’s eligibility or the legality of the informational PDF likeness of his birth certificate. They were all just hoping for a snowballing misinforming publicity campaign to turn citizens against Obama. It didn’t work.
So now, because they have neither the social maturity, nor the intellectual integrity to admit they know they are wrong, as their unbroken string of legal losses aptly demonstrates, they are left with nothing to do except take advantage of the Internet’s capacity to amplify their empty threats and spotlight their false bravado.
I’ve been having two brief exchanges of emails with Col. Sellin who, on the one hand, agrees that Vattel only “provides useful historical perspectives” but, on the other hand, thinks that Apuzzo’s “relevant arguments are based on Constitutional law and Supreme Court holdings, not Vattel.”
I think the Colonel is trying to have his cake and eat it too.
How does Sellin square the circle if you quote stanza 214 which explicitly states that in England, the country which actually provided the fundamental legal bedrock for the US and its Constitution, Jus Soli is the law……. 😎
Thats easy. Vattel only really wrote one paragraph, and that in english
He doesn’t. On the one hand, he must realize that arguing with my aboiut Vattel is DOA, so he retrenches behind the Constitution; OTOH he can’t explain how Apuzzo et all have a Consitutional case WITHOUT the notorious twofer misquote.
That is a perfect summary of what they are doing. It is not all a scam though, as they truly are deluded themselves – deluded in believing their fantasy “snowballing misinformation publicity campaign” stunt could ever work…and even more laughable, thinking it still can. Dope springs eternal with these folks…