The Citizenship Conundrum
The Obama Conundrum:
~Why he might be a natural born citizen regardless of his foreign father~
The assumption that Barack Obama does not qualify to be President because he is not a “natural born citizen” rests on a definition that does not yet exist, not by act of Congress nor by ruling of any court. It rest solely on the common language description of the phase, which, while descriptive, is not definitive because to be definitive, by law, means that all of the possibilities have to be addressed by including them or excluding them. This kind of exactness is not a part of common language descriptions.
“Natural born citizen” describes, but does not define, such citizens. The description is that they are Americans born in the United States to American parents. That accurately describes 99.999 % of American children because they are born where their American parents live. But the description does not carry with it the exclusion of that tiny percent of exceptions that fall outside the common description. Think of the definition of what a sheep is; a four legged herbivore with white wool. That is accurate 99.999% of the time, but occasionally there is a black sheep. Is it to be defined as not a sheep just because it doesn’t match the common description? No. It is a sheep, regardless of how the white sheep or the shepherd feel about it.
So it is with the description “a natural born citizen”. There are exceptions to the norm and they must be defined as being within or without the decided meaning of the phrase. That decision can only be made by the courts since the Congress doesn’t have final say on the interpretation of the Constitution.
What are the exceptions to the norm that might pass muster as being a legitimate part of its description? There are many.
But first let’s look at the subconscious assumptions regarding the phrase. The first is that the child that is born a natural citizen is not only born in the United State, like 99.999% are, but is also raised in the United States, as 99.999% also are. The result of such “upbringing” is a citizen that is loyal to the nation of his citizenship and the land of his birth. So he is loyal both because of what he is and because of where he is. He has no competing allegiances.
The other presumption is that his citizenship is inherited from his parents, that it is something he is born with, it’s his by nature, by birth. What is not presumed, since it is a clear fact, is that this is true 99.999% of the time, American children become citizens by birth to American parents. But the exception to the rule, which is outside the norm, is births to single American woman. Not birth to two American parents but just to one. Now let’s look at some examples.
1. A single American woman gives birth via envitro fertilization. Her offspring has no known father, yet it’s a natural born American citizen with no competing allegiance due to a foreign father.
2. A single American woman is raped in N.Y. City, or Washington D.C., both international cities with many foreign visitors. She doesn’t know if the rapist was foreign or American. If she doesn’t have an abortion when she becomes pregnant, will the baby be a natural born citizen? It would not have dual citizenship nor competing allegiances so it can’t be excluded on that basis. If she is married to an American and he accepts the baby, does that make any difference?
3. An American woman has a one night stand with a foreign stranger and has his baby in the States, but has no connection to him and doesn’t even know his full name. Is her baby’s citizenship, less than natural born American citizenship?
4. A single American woman has an affair with a foreign man and has his child in the US but doesn’t marry him nor live with him. She is not under his care nor jurisdiction. What is the nature of her child’s citizenship? Is it not solely American, born in America to an American? Is her lover’s citizenship not irrelevant?
5. An American woman marries a foreigner and becomes pregnant. They divorce before the child is born and have no further connection. Does her citizenship not qualify her child to be considered to have been born as a natural American (or to be naturally born as an American)? No dual-citizenship nor competing allegiance.
6 A single American woman is impregnated by a foreign man and marries an American man before the child is born. Is her off-spring not a natural born citizen?
7. An American woman is pregnant by a foreign man who dies before the child is born. What is it’s citizenship? Is it not fully American by reason of her citizenship? Is it not born to an American parent in the United States?
8. An American couple working in a foreign embassy deliver the American woman’s baby while there, then return to the States. Is the child not a natural born American citizen simply because it was not born within the US borders?
9. A pregnant American woman married to an American man visits Canada or Mexico and while there she goes into labor and delivers her baby 10 feet outside the US border. Is her baby not a natural born American? Or is it Mexican, or Canadian?
10. A pregnant American woman is married to an American who shortly before their child is born renounces his American citizenship to become say… Australian, and right after the birth he divorces her and leaves the country for good. What is the citizenship status of her child?
There may be more that I haven’t yet thought of but these will suffice to demonstrate that the “black sheep” can’t just capriciously be defined as not being sheep because they don’t fit the description of the vast majority.
So the conundrum of the courts is to decide whether or not to make the common description of natural born citizen into the legal definition, or to expand it to include “all the sheep”
The true nature of Obama’s citizenship is like Churchill’s description of communism; “a mystery wrapped in a riddle inside an enigma”. No one knows if his parents were married or not, whether they lived together or not, whether the baby Barack was ever under the national jurisdiction that flowed from that of his father. So no one really knows if Obama Jr. ever had dual-citizenship or only American citizenship. Without answers to those questions it is impossible to determine the nature of his citizenship. Without knowing that, one can’t claim that he wouldn’t qualify as a natural born citizen under the definition that the Supreme Court might some day give, (but will never give if it can avoid it). A.R. Nash
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? wrote: “”In addition, from the 1790 Act to SR511, ‘place of birth’ is not a contributing factor to presidential eligibility . . . that is a major distinction.” (I guess you meant to say “distraction”.)
That statement seems to obfuscate the issue somewhat. Place of birth was never a factor because ALL presidential candidates were born in the US, and were natural born citizens (with the exception of Chester Arthur).
To say it was not a factor ignores the fact that it was and is an element in the description of a natural born citizen, which is in essence “a native born child of US citizens” though I prefer that such a description not be taken as holy writ when it comes to American children born outside our borders.
As I’ve been saying, jus soli and jus sanguinis citizenship conditions describes 99.99% of US citizens and I don’t know of any historical basis to argue that the framers didn’t have both native birth AND citizen parents in mind when they used the term “natural born citizen”. So IF Obama wasn’t born in Hawaii, that could be one more element of natural born citizenship that he fails to meet. Of course the problem is that the only way to prove that he wasn’t born in the US is to prove that he was born somewhere else. That hasn’t happened and isn’t likely to happen. And even if one considers his weird-ass Hawaiian digitized ABSTRACT replication of a birth certificate to be a counterfeit, such a crime doesn’t demonstrate that he wasn’t born somewhere in Hawaii or Washington, only that it wasn’t in a hospital. So his alien father is really the only issue that is irrefutable.
I wrote: “That might work, but them being married….disqualifies him (from being President).”
The Magic M wrote:
No, “natural born” has nothing to do with marriage. There is not one indication from the Founders’ days that points to them considering (legal) wedlock in that regard.”
That is true only when both parents are US citizens. But if the father is an alien and recognized by the US government to be the legal father due to marriage, then it absolutely has everything to do with the child not meeting the description of what a natural born citizen is in regard to Article II eligibility. Why? Because it is through the legal process via the recognition of marriage, (and children that result from it) that the non-resident alien father is established as a co-imparter of citizenship. Otherwise he and his nationality are invisible to the US Federal government and his child is just another baby born to an unwed mother. If the father is a legal resident, then his child by an American mother is a US citizen via the 14th Amendment, but not a natural born citizen because the
father is not a citizen. But the government has no avenue nor purpose (aside from the Presidency eligibility) to ever deal with nor recognize any citizenship that would officially be considered to be natural born. It is only in regard to the unique office of the President and Commander in Chief that natural born citizenship is mentioned.
Aside from that it is as if it does not exist. AN