Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Made it in Photoshop or found it in a box of Crackerjacks?
It's totally legal. No problem. I swear. Really.

All the President Obama fake birth cerificate hoopla this year has brought to the fore the answers to the following Constituional question:

Just exactly who is a natural-born citizen? In other words, who is a citizen at birth, such that this person can be President or Vice-President. ?

The 14th Amendment defines citizenship this way: "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." But even this does not get specific enough.

As usual, the Constitution provides the framework for the law, but it is the law that fills in the gaps. The Constitution authorizes the Congress to do create clarifying legislation in Section 5 of the 14th Amendment; the Constitution, in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 4, also allows the Congress to create law regarding naturalization, which includes citizenship.

Currently, Title 8 of the U.S. Code fills in the gaps left by the Constitution. Section 1401 defines the following as people who are "citizens of the United States at birth:

• Anyone born inside the jurisdiction of the United States. (1)
• Any Indian or Eskimo born in the United States (provided that being a citizen of the U.S. does not impair the person's status as a citizen of the tribe.)
• Any one born outside the United States, both of whose parents are citizens of the U.S., as long as one parent has lived in the U.S.
• Any one born outside the United States, if one parent is a citizen and lived in the U.S. for at least one year and the other parent is a U.S. national. (2)
• Any one born in a U.S. possession, if one parent is a citizen and lived in the U.S. for at least one year
• Any one found in the U.S. under the age of five, whose parentage cannot be determined, as long as proof of non-citizenship is not provided by age 21
• Any one born outside the United States, if one parent is an alien and as long as the other parent is a citizen of the U.S. who lived in the U.S. for at least five years (with military and diplomatic service included in this time)
• A final, albeit historical condition: a person born before 5/24/1934 of an alien father and a U.S. citizen mother who has lived in the U.S.

(1) Jurisdiction: There is an exception in this law — the person must be "subject to the jurisdiction" of the United States. (This would exempt the child of a diplomat, for example, from this provision.)

(2) U.S. Nationals: A "national" is a person who is considered under the legal protection of a country, while not necessarily a citizen. National status is generally conferred on persons who lived in places acquired by the U.S. before the date of acquisition. A person can be a national-at-birth under a similar set of rules for a natural-born citizen. U.S. nationals must go through the same processes as an immigrant to become a full citizen. U.S. nationals who become citizens are not considered natural-born.

BTW, these provisions also allow the children of military families to be considered natural-born.

Anyone falling into the above categories is considered "natural-born," and is eligible to run for President or Vice-President. Of course, why they'd ever want to is a totally different question!

CONCLUSION: In the Presidential/Vice-Presidential category, Obama does NOT qualify. End of story.