Natural Born Citizen Defined by SCOTUS

‘No person except a natural-born citizen…shall be eligible to the office of President,’ …
Is Barack Obama a natural born citizen? That question is not being asked by anyone in Congress, nor the press nor broadcast media, nor academia.  Even though the answer is “No”.  That question has been  assumed to have  never arisen in any previous Supreme Court case and been adjudicated.  But the answer to it has been hidden in a case that’s 135 years old and has now finally been brought to light by Leo Donofrio, Esq.  He demonstrates how it clearly answer the question and that that answer indicates that the current President is ineligible for the office.

In it he disproves the common belief that the Supreme Court has never defined who is (and isn’t) a “natural born citizen” -which is required of the President and Vice-President.  The resulting conclusion is that Barack Obama is not eligible to be the U.S. President according to the Supreme Court decision in Minor v Happersett.

following is a condensation of an analysis by Leo Donofrio, Esq. posted on his blog  Natural Born Citizen in June, 2011

It is here in PDF format on 5 screen pages:

 Natural Born defined by Minor.pdf 



[Note: One who is born to naturalized parents, or parent, is, by Naturalization law, "Natural-ized" automatically upon birth via naturalization statute, as well as being deemed a US citizen by the 14th Amendment if the parent(s) are permanent U.S. residents, and not foreign diplomats/military/visitors, but they are NOT deemed to be natural born citizens.]

LeoD. When Justice Gray in Wong Kim Ark failed to state that he was citing the dissent from Dred Scott… a big red flag went up. Another big red flag went up when I noticed that Gray wrongfully attributed Justice Waite’s analysis of the citizenship issue in Minor to a construction of the 14th Amendment, but Waite construed Article 2 Section 1 to define Minor’s citizenship, not the 14th Amendment. That Gray was trying to obscure that fact made me very suspicious and then the light just went on. It was a very big AHA moment for me. Gray’s obfuscation triggered my BS detector and then I realized that he was blowing smoke on precedent from Minor. You have to recall that Chester Arthur became President not long after Minor was decided… and he would have known that the Minor decision held him ineligible. He then goes on to obscure his parental heritage via lies, especially to the Brooklyn Eagle newspaper. Gray is then appointed by Arthur. This requires us to scrutinize every word written by Gray. – Leo

If Obama had been born a natural born Citizen of the United States, under Article II Section 1, then he never would have needed the 14th Amendment to claim U.S. citizenship.
… And yet he did claim his citizenship was based on the 14th Amendment!
The Obama campaign initially claimed Obama:
“became a citizen at birth under the first section of the 14th Amendment”:    The truth about Barack’s birth certificate
Lie:    Obama Is Not a Natural Born Citizen
Truth:    Senator Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961, after it became a state on August 21st, 1959. Obama became a citizen at birth under the first section of the 14th Amendment

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.
Why did the Obama campaign take a “14th Amendment” defense, but then scrub all references to the 14th Amendment?

Perhaps because they realized that claiming “Obama became a citizen at birth under the first section of the 14th Amendment” OUTED HIM AS NOT A NATURAL BORN CITIZEN!

LeoD. Their scrubbing is very telling. At the very least, you have to take notice that so called “Factcheck” seems to change their facts quite a bit. – Leo

I quote the United States Supreme Court, in Minor v. Happersett:

“The Fourteenth Amendment did not affect the citizenship of women any more than it did of men. In this particular, therefore, the rights of Mrs. Minor do not depend upon the amendment. She has always been a citizen from her birth and entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizenship. The amendment prohibited the state, of which she is a citizen, from abridging any of her privileges and immunities as a citizen of the United States, but it did not confer citizenship on her. That she had before its adoption.”

Someone who is a “natural born citizen” does not need the 14th amendment to claim U.S. citizenship.

The only reason for the Obama campaign to claim that “Obama became a citizen at birth under the first section of the 14th Amendment” is because he was not, and is not, a natural born citizen.

In Boyd, the Court lists another case which refers to Waite, but this one is properly cited to include the case name, whereas the case name is omitted from the citation pointing to Minor :
“In United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S. 542, 92 U. S. 549, Mr. Chief Justice Waite, delivering the opinion of the Court, said:

‘Citizens are the members of the political community to which they belong. They are the people who compose the community, and who, in their associated capacity, have established or submitted themselves to the dominion of a government for the promotion of their general welfare and the protection of their individual as well as their collective rights.’


Brianroy Says:
July 1, 2011 at 1:05 AM

The Act of January 29, 1795 sought to “complete” the intent of what lay in the term “natural born citizen” as it was used in what we now call the US Constitution’s Article 2.1.5 clause, and should be cited as Original Intent and “in pari materia.”

That in 1795, the naturalization neo-clarification of 1790, instructed us that “natural born citizens of the United States” were:
1) only born to a US Citizen Father at the time of their birth who had only one nationality and allegiance at the time of the child’s birth;
2) that the clear and obvious intent of the language of the statute was that the child also never have a dual nationality or any other legience than that of the United States for their entire existence from birth to the grave (it seems to me).

In Section 1, any citizen that naturalized to the United States and who was to have any natural born son was required to “forever [be free of] all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty whatever.”
This was so important it was repeated that he be someone who “absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty whatever”. He was also to be “a man of a good moral character, attached to the principles of the constitution of the United States, and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the same.”

In Section 2, any citizen that naturalized to the United States and who was to have any natural born son was required to “support the constitution of the United States; and that he does absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty whatever”.

Just one year after the above-cited Act of 1795,
in Ware v. Hylton, 3 U.S. 3 Dall. 199 (1796)
we find how that we are supposed to read the US Constitution, in its literal context.
“When we collect the intention from the words only, as they lie in the writing before us, it is a literal interpretation, and indeed if the words and the construction of a writing are clear and precise, we can scarce call it interpretation to collect the intention of the writer from thence. The principal rule to be observed in literal interpretation is to follow that sense, in respect both of the words and the construction which is agreeable to common use.”
“…This principle is recognized by the Constitution….”

“The expression ‘citizen of the United States occurs in the clauses prescribing qualifications for Representatives, for Senators, and for President. In the latter, the term ‘natural born citizen’ is used and excludes all persons owing allegiance by birth to foreign states.”
The New Englander and Yale Law Review, Volume 3 (1845)

“…at the time of his birth, Barack Obama Jr. was … a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies (or the UKC) by virtue of being born to a father who was a citizen of the UKC.”

Justice Waite cited Article 2 Section 1, affirming the clear language that none but a natural-born citizen may be President. Waite pointed to that clause as well as the Naturalization clause empowering Congress as evidence that new citizens may be created by birth or naturalization. Clearly, persons who gain their citizenship from a naturalization statute are thereby NATURALIZED.

At the time of their birth, naturalized persons under the Naturalization Act of 1790 were entitled to US citizenship BECAUSE they were simultaneously naturalized by the statute at the time of their birth.

Hence, they are not natural born. They require a statute to grant them citizenship.
see it here

In 1795, Congress repealed the words “natural born” from that statute and those words never returned. So, in 1875 when Minor was decided, the current naturalization act did not contain the words “natural born”, which had been previously repealed in 1795. It simply made those born abroad “citizens”.

Justice Waite also stated:“These provisions thus enacted have, in substance, been retained in all the naturalization laws adopted since.”

The key words here are, “in substance”. While the words, “natural born” were repealed in 1795, the following naturalization statutes granted “citizenship”, and “citizenship” is the “substance” of all naturalization acts of the US, not Presidential eligibility.

That was the only time in our national history where a federal statute contained the words “natural born citizen”.
Congress does not have the power to amend the Constitution or to define any term therein by statute. This may only be done by an Amendment,

Justice Waite stated that citizens may be born, citing Article 2 Section 1 for that authority. Chief Justice Waite also noted that new citizens may be naturalized by federal statute. Persons, who at their birth, require a naturalization statute are not natural born, but they are “born citizens” due to their naturalization at birth. Therefore, while there are only two paths to citizenship, birth or naturalization… some persons who are not “natural-born citizens” are “born citizens” due to having received their citizenship by virtue of a statute such as the naturalization statute of 1790, 1795, etc.

So, under the 1790 act, while those persons might be “considered as” natural born citizens, such consideration derives via statue, not from the Constitution. Hence, regardless of the statutory terminology, those persons are naturalized and therefore do not meet the qualifications to be President. Justice Waite did not say that naturalized persons were eligible to be President. He noted that the Constitution provided citizenship to natural-born citizens and to naturalized citizens, but in his opinion he states directly that only natural-born citizens may be President.


wyzwurd Says:
July 1, 2011 at 12:02 PM

Excellent article? Yes!
Important Information? Yes!
Matters to every American? Yes!
Important for Law? Yes!
Should courts or congress listen? Yes!
Will courts or congress listen? No!
Why? Because they’re effin’ morons.

Being under the rule of morons is like being stuck in between two walls of concrete that are too high to climb over and moving at you slow enough that you have time to think of ways out but at the same time you realize there’s no way out. Just like the two walls, they’re not intelligent, they don’t care, and they’re controlled by other forces.

Your reference to the Panama Canal Zone being “rented US territory” is correct, and that is what makes McCain not a natural born citizen. Panama, not the US, was the sovereign of the Canal Zone. If we were the sovereign, we would not have been paying Panama an annual rent. Furthermore, the treaty with Panama said that the US was to administer the Canal Zone as if it were sovereign.

Now, it can be argued that McCain was born free of a foreign allegiance, which is the same condition as a natural born citizen (born in the US to US citizen parents), since Panama did not give citizenship to children born in Panama to foreigners. Now, Panamanian law does give these children the option of becoming Panamanian citizens at the age of majority, but it can be argued that this does not constitute a foreign allegiance at birth.

So, if the question of McCain’s eligibility had gone to the US Supreme Court, and if the court were to have ruled as to the intent of the natural born citizen clause (having Presidents who were born free of foreign allegiance), McCain could have been ruled eligible to be President, despite not being a natural born citizen. But I don’t think McCain wanted to take a chance that the US Supreme Court would rule per the intent of the Founding Fathers (where he could be ruled eligible) as opposed to the letter of the law (where he would be ruled ineligible).

Leo is right about McCain. McCain knew he was not a natural born citizen and he did not want to chance his eligibility. He put his own interests ahead of that of our nation, and by so doing, he shut off the public scrutiny that would have exposed Obama’s ineligibility.

ed. Regardless, SCOTUS in order to find for McCain being eligible, would have been required to expand the “class” of those defined as nbc in Minor, they would have had to expressly overrule Minor on that point because in that case the definition was set to be nbc= born in US to citizen parents… and McCain does not fit that description. – Leo

What a July 4th! The fireworks show I saw with my daughters was spectacular, yet there were no patriotic speeches, nothing to distinguish the day from any other, except for some patriotic music and songs containing the word `America` among the pop culture morass. Will it be our last 4th as a Republic – or has our republic already ended?

Today, despite our nation’s debt-riddled condition, Obama is actually calling for more government spending and higher taxes to “cure” the economic crisis. His theory is that we can “spend and tax our way to prosperity.” Following Obama’s logic, America’s obesity epidemic can be solved by raising the benchmark weight ceiling, or simply declaring “Eat More/Weigh Less!” We can solve the DUI problem by raising the blood alcohol ceiling. Obama can solve the question of his re-election by raising the poverty ceiling to increase the number of welfare dependents.


Jus Sanguinis was clarified in that decision as being the principle of how citizenship is naturally transmitted.  It was the principle that led the United States government to oppose conferring citizenship on Wong Kim Ark who believed he was a citizen based on the 14th Amendment.  He did not believe he was a natural born citizen, and he wasn’t, even though the court found that he was a citizen per the 14th Amendment and that jus sanguinis didn’t apply in the cases of children of resident immigrants.  But such cases are only a fraction of a fraction of the births in America.  All the rest are citizens by birth to citizens.

The  belief that children born to Americans are NOT citizens by natural citizenship inheritance from their parents is out of sync with the rest of civilization, with British tradition, with history, and with natural law.   The conceptual delusion that nationality is naturally connected to the border of the national government within which one is born is preposterous, and the framers were NOT suffering from that delusion when they added the requirement that a President must be no one who is not a natural born citizen.

Their focus wasn’t on where a candidate was born but to whom he was born.  No taint of foreign nationality could be allowed to be in the President’s immediate background.  He must be 100% American.  That didn’t exclude children born to foreigners but they first had to utterly disengage from and reject their former citizenship.  Why such a strong rejection of foreign allegiance? Because of the position of the United States that an immigrant’s U.S. citizenship and allegiance must be absolutely undivided and not in competition with any other allegiance.  Foreign un-naturalized fathers cannot produce natural-born citizen children because without an American father there exists the taint of foreign allegiance -even if none actually exists.  AN

PR wrote: “”you’re missing the key element upon which every republic depends – an acceptance of the fact that you can’t “get your way” if your way is contrary to what is officially the Law. Your legal reality is delusional”

What’s delusional is believing that if enough people believe a false impression, that makes it true. Truth by consensus. The majority opinion is always the Truth?  That is the basis of racist beliefs and prejudices of all kinds.  If all around you believe something, then it must be true? That is inherently false logic.
As to “the key element upon which every republic depends” the most fundamental key is the ability of WE, THE PEOPLE to think!  And NOT accept unquestioningly every common conception inside and outside of the government.  Washington lives in a bubble, as does the concepts of immigration law based on misinterpretation of cases like Wong Kim Ark.  Jus soli may be the governing principle in administering immigration law and regulations, but it doesn’t follow that its basis is founded on an infallibly correct understanding of the fundamental principles of citizenship, principles that have existed in all societies except those within the subject colonies of Empires.  AN

There are basically three types of citizens; those who are legal citizens by statutory decree, those who are natural citizens by inheritance of the citizenship of their progenitors, and those who are natural-ized citizens who must be transformed through a discreet process from being aliens, or immigrants, into imitation natural citizens.  Natural citizens are children born to citizens, just as in nature every off-spring embodies the traits and “nature” of their parents.  Where their off-spring are born is immaterial. Animals reproduce their own kind, and citizens reproduce their own kind.
Your reply demonstrated your total confusion about the case.  You claimed the court did not settle the issue of who is a natural born citizen when anyone who can think can read the plain wording that states that what they didn’t settle was the issue of citizenship of those who are not natural born citizens but are children of residents who lacked citizen parents.
Then you went on to strongly argue points that I’ve always agreed with.  Why? But drawing some erroneous conclusions.  You fail to grasp the fact that a natural born citizen is not defined by jus soli nor jus sanguinis but by BOTH!  One MUST be born in the U.S. to CITIZEN PARENTS.  Any deviation results in something other than a natural born citizen.

Quotes from: Leo Donofrio Esq. website: Natural Born Citizen

“the Supreme Court in Minor did not hold that all women born in the US were citizens.  Only those born to citizen parents in the US were deemed to be citizens by the Court in Minor.

Since the Court was not required to construe the 14th Amendment – as to Mrs. Minor’s citizenship – the Court refrained from doing so.  Instead, the Court construed Article 2 Section 1 as an independent ground by which the Court determined that Mrs. Minor was a natural-born citizen since she had been born in the US to parents who were citizens.

Those outside the natural-born citizen “class” were subject to doubt regarding US citizenship.  And the Court in Minor exercised judicial restraint by avoiding that issue.  When Wong Kim Ark was decided in 1898, some of those doubts were resolved in favor of US citizenship for those persons not in the class of natural-born citizens.  But that case DID NOT open the class of natural-born citizens to include persons born in the US WITHOUT citizen parents.



4 Responses to Natural Born Citizen Defined by SCOTUS

  1. arnash says:

    The court’s finding regarding the citizenship of Virginia Minor was not incidental to the case because the entire argument that she had a right to vote because she was a citizens rested on whether or not she really was a citizen according to the Constitution. Under U.S. law, it was considered that women, like slaves, were not “persons” for constitutional purposes and didn’t have equal rights with men under the Constitution. So first the court had to determine whether daughters of Americans could be considered to be citizens and it found that they were because they fit the description of being natural born Americans -just like men. That finding was the first part of the case. The second was that being a citizen did not give them the right to vote. So the issue of citizenship was not incidental to the case. If she was not a citizen, then they would not have to decide if she had a right to vote. So the second decisions depended on the first. Two rulings.

  2. arnash says:

    Minor v. Happersett, 88 U.S. 162, 165-166 (1874).
    The Supreme Court ruling in the case of Minor v Happersett includes this statement:
    “The very idea of a political community, such as a nation is, implies an association of persons for the promotion of their general welfare. Each one of the persons associated becomes a member of the nation formed by the association…For convenience it has been found necessary to give a name to this membership,… Citizen is now more commonly employed, and as it has been considered better suited to the description of one living under a republican government, it was adopted by nearly all of the States upon their separation from Great Britain, and was afterwards adopted in the Articles of Confederation and in the Constitution of the United States. When used in this sense it is understood as conveying the idea of membership of a nation, and nothing more.”

    Therefore, when the Court uses the words, “citizen” or “citizenship”, no other meaning may be imputed other than, “membership of a nation”. But Jack Maskell [Congressional Research Service] believes he can overrule this specific holding of the Supreme Court by inserting the words “natural-born” where they do not appear. ”Natural-born” only pertains to a requirement for the municipal office of President. Those who are natural-born meet that qualification, but all who are citizens, natural-born, naturalized abroad, naturalized here, at birth or later in life, are members of our nation. The word citizen – according to the Supreme Court in Minor – refers to “membership of a nation, and nothing more“. It’s the “nothing more” that Maskell fails to recognize.

    In Maskell’s CRS memo, he alleges that the following statement from Minor left open the issue of whether persons born of aliens could be considered as natural-born citizens:

    “Some authorities go further and include as citizens children born within the jurisdiction without reference to the citizenship of their parents. As to this class there have been doubts, but never as to the first. For the purposes of this case it is not necessary to solve these doubts. It is sufficient for everything we have now to consider that all children born of citizen parents within the jurisdiction are themselves citizens.” Id. at 167-168. (Emphasis added.)

    Reading this passage in light of the definition of “citizen” from pg. 166 of Minor’s unanimous opinion, it becomes evident that what is referred to here is membership in our nation, and nothing more. Any attempt to insert the words – “natural-born” – into this passage to imply that the court left open the issue of whether those whose citizenship was in doubt might also be eligible to be President would be in direct opposition to the Court’s very holding of the case. This expression of doubt must be limited to the political status of the person, not to their eligibility to hold a municipal office. Political status is a legal term of art which means, “membership in a nation, and nothing more”. Presidential eligibility relates to municipal status. Leo Donofrio Esq.

  3. arnash says:

    The Indiana decision, besides being from a state and not a federal court, let alone the US Supreme Court, is a joke. One of its claims is that because Chester Arthur, born to a British Subject father, was allowed to become president, precedence was created. In fact, there is no evidence that anyone discovered the truth about Chester Arthur’s father’s naturalization when Chester was 14, until it was uncovered in early 2009 by Leo Donofrio and his sister, digging through what remained of Arthur’s personal effects. Arthur lied, as has Obama, about his parents, and had his personal papers burned while he was on his death bed. He created false doubts about where he was born, just as Barack has created a fertile environment for doubts about his birthplace, doubts which could always have been allayed by opening his personal records.

    Finally. Try to find any law student who doesn’t know about Justia and Findlaw, both founded by Soros associated entrepreneur Tim Stanley, is by far the most frequently returned URL by Google from queries for Supreme Court cases. Lexis and Westlaw are fee-for-service sites, and quite expensive. Justia seemed a good idea except that its founder chose to use his influence as the largest provider of access to archives of Supreme Court cases to protect his patron. It is clear that several law schools know of Justia’s corruption of documents, but, to date, they only warn their students to check presumably reliable sources (called Shepardizing their citations). The eligibility issue is too politically charged, and law schools are too beholden to federal largess to talk openly.

    Stanley’s partner in crime, Carl Malamud, CEO of, which clearly implies an association with the government, is working with prominent law schools, and performing a similar function. Since Malamud’s association with Cornell, one of the most important early cases citing Minor v. Happersett, Ex Parte Lockwood, was edited to remove a whole paragraph because it explicitly referred to Minor as precedence for natural born citizenship. (See Leo Donofrio’s site for screen captures of the corrupted documents, along with clear explanations)

    Born to a dual citizen, since Stanley Ann became a British Subject by marrying Barack Senior, and an alien, Barach Sr., there is simply no path to natural born citizenship for Barack, nor did he ever claim to be a natural born citizen. He said “I am a native born citizen of the U.S.” You can bet he knows the difference; he simply doesn’t care. He doesn’t believe it matters.
    comment by Leo Donofrio under blog screen name

  4. Fuz T. Was says:

    President Obama is, might be, or has been a citizen of four countries. The United States, United Kingdom, Kenya and Indonesia. If that’s what’s required to be a natural-born Citizen, how did those prior Presidents fool everyone?

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