For the thousandth time: Anyone born on US soil under the jurisdiction of the United States is a natural born citizen, period.

The usual Birther suspects have surfaced recently to push their nonsense theories about who is and is not a natural born citizen. The latest flurry of articles and comments seems to be related to the beginning of the 2020 presidential election campaign and especially candidate Kamala Harris. (Tulsi Gabbard is targeted by some of the same Birthers as being ineligible to serve but for different reasons.1 ).

Ms. Harris, who was elected in 2016 to represent California as junior Senator, was born in Oakland, California, on 20 October 1964. Her father was a Jamaican and her mother was from India. I have not seen a definitive date for naturalization for either of her parents it is probable they were not yet citizens at the time of Ms. Harris’s birth.

Since Harris was born on American soil and under the jurisdiction of the United States she is a natural born citizen. She meets the other presidential eligibility requirements too since she is over 35 years of age and has been a resident of the US since moving back to the country in 1992 after attending high school in Montreal, Quebec Canada.

Now some of the Birthers would disagree on the first item. Sometime late in 2008 an attorney from New Jersey named Leo Donofrio filed a lawsuit in New Jersey State court against then Secretary of State Nina Wells asking the court to stay the election. He claimed that neither Barack Obama nor John McCain were eligible, Obama because even though he was born in Hawaii his father was a British subject and McCain because he was born on a military base in Panama and not US soil. Previous lawsuits filed by Birthers like Phil Berg were based on claims that Obama was born in Kenya and not Hawaii.

Donofrio’s emergency application was denied and his appeal to the New Jersey Supreme Court was denied on October 31. He filed an application for stay pending writ for certiorari on November 3 to Justice Souter of the US Supreme Court. It was denied on November 6th and eventually denied by the full court on December 8, 2008.

As far as I can tell Donofrio is the first person to dredge up this definition of natural born citizen. He cited a Supreme Court case on women’s suffrage, Minor v Happesett from 1875 where the court in dicta said:

Additions might always be made to the citizenship of the United States in two ways: first, by birth, and second, by naturalization. This is apparent from the Constitution itself, for it provides that


“No person except a natural-born citizen or a citizen of the United States at the time of the adoption of the Constitution shall be eligible to the office of President, and that Congress shall have power “to establish a uniform rule of naturalization.”

Thus, new citizens may be born or they may be created by naturalization.

The Constitution does not in words say who shall be natural-born citizens. Resort must be had elsewhere to ascertain that. At common law, with the nomenclature of which the framers of the Constitution were familiar, it was never doubted that all children born in a country of parents who were its citizens became themselves, upon their birth, citizens also. These were natives or natural-born citizens, as distinguished from aliens or foreigners. 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. [Emphasis added] It is sufficient for everything we have now to consider that all children born of citizen parents within the jurisdiction are themselves citizens. The words “all children” are certainly as comprehensive, when used in this connection, as “all persons,” and if females are included in the last, they must be in the first. That they are included in the last is not denied. In fact, the whole argument of the plaintiffs proceeds upon that idea.

The holding in this case was that the rights and privileges guaranteed under the 14th Amendment to all citizens did not include the right to vote. The Court left in place a Missouri law that prevented women from voting. The opinion did not in obiter dicta define the term natural born citizen and as a matter of fact Justice Waite writing for the Court specifically said the Court was avoiding doing that. (See the emphasized portion.)

Other Birthers began adopting this misinterpretation of Minor v Happersett and the two citizen parent theory as it came to be known. Later a majority of the Birthers took up the theory and began citing Minor as defining precedent.

Attorney Mario Apuzzo from New Jersey, who had no experience in this area of the law, started a blog on the subject of natural born citizenship and filed a lawsuit in federal court around the time of President Obama’s first Inaugural on January 20, 2009 on behalf of Charles Kerchner. He was attempting to stay the Inauguration. Even though Apuzzo now mentions Minor v Happersett in almost every comment on his blog and many other places he didn’t even cite Minor in his first big case, Kerchner v Obama.

When I challenged Apuzzo on this fact in an earlier article on this blog he left a comment in which he lied and gave the excuse that attorneys don’t cite precedent cases in complaints. Of course he had cited more than 17 other cases in his complaint in Kerchner. Apuzzo is ubiquitous on comment streams on articles on natural born citizen. He has probably written a million words on the subject. The problem with Apuzzo is that when he gets cornered him on the Kerchner case he lies and claims victory. John Woodman came to the same conclusion: that Apuzzo is not just a fervent supportor of a position but an outright liar.

After Donofrio’s failed case was filed other Birther’s filed hundreds of challenges against President Obama in 2009 and during the 2012 election cycle trying to either remove him from office or keep him off ballots based on the flawed theory that he was not a natural born citizen.

All of these cases were dismissed on lack of standing, lack of jurisdiction, or failure to state a claim. In decisions where judges bothered to opine on whether Obama was a natural born citizen they said he was, that Minor did not define the meaning of the term, and that the USA v Wong Kim Ark (1898) case was the deciding case on who was a natural born citizen. (In that case the court by a majority decided that a California resident born on US soil to two Chinese parents was a citizen at birth and could not be deported. The court reasoned that the 14th Amendment had merely affirmed what had been in place under common law before its adoption, that the definition of natural born citizen had been inherited from the English term “natural born subject” and that anyone born on US soil and under its jurisdiction was a citizen at birth.)

Rather than repeat the points made in many, many articles that have been written on this subject I will briefly state the false claims made on Birther blogs, specifically Mario Apuzzo’s blog and the Post & Email blog and provide links to several good resources on the subject of who is a natural born citizen.

Here are some of the false claims that Birthers make on the subject of definition of the term natural born citizen:

Birther False Claims About the Meaning of NBC

  1. Claim: Minor v Happersett defined that natural born citizens must be born of two US citizen parents. No, the Court said these people were natives or natural born citizens but did not limit the term to mean only those people. The court said specifically that those born in the US to alien parents might also be natural born citizens but that it was not an issue in that case.
  2. Claim: The founders read Emer de Vattel and he defined a natural born citizen as the child of two citizen parents. No, de Vattel was a Swiss philosopher who wrote treatises on law in French. His most famous work was Le droit des gens (The Law of Nations). It was published in French in 1757 and first translated into English in 1760. His comments on citizenship were from the European perspective and those nations operated under the doctrine of jus sanguinis (Latin: “right of blood”). (See the expanded discussion on de Vattel below.)
  3. Claim: “Fourteenth Amendment Citizens” are citizens of the USA but are not natural born citizens. Wrong. This is an argument that Birthers like Apuzzo put forth frequently. The Supreme Court has always recognized only two types of citizens2, natural born and naturalized. When the Constitution was adopted it assumed that there were natural born citizens but did not provide any definition as to who these were. In Article I it gave Congress the the power to pass laws regulating who could become a naturalized citizen. The rules for who were natural born citizens of the states and the USA were inherited from English common law since all the original 13 colonies operated under English common law and their residents were natural born subjects unless they had become subjects through immigration and naturalization. This lack of a Constitutional definition caused some issues. Children of white Europeans born in the US were considered to be citizens. However, in 1857 a Supreme Court dominated by justices from pro-slavery states ruled that a black slave, Dred Scott was not and could never be a citizen even though he was born on US soil. The racist Court went even further and overturned the Missouri Compromise of 1821 by ruling that no state could abolish slavery. Many historians believe this case led directly to the Civil War, split the Democratic Party, and led to the election of the anti-slavery Republican Abraham Lincoln in 1860.
  4. Claim: The term “Law of Nations” used in Article I of the Constitution comes from de Vattel’s treatise, The Law of Nations, and meant that the founders adopted Vattel’s views on citizenship. This is not only wrong but preposterous. In Article I, Section 8 the Constitution lists the powers reserved for Congress including the power “To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations”. The “law of nations” was a concept of orderly conduct among nations that dated back to Roman times. Had the founders had any individual writer on the subject it mind it would have certainly have been William Blackstone whose Commentaries contained the principles of the law of nations. Every found would have read and been familiar with Blackstone’s work. Regardless, the law of nations has nothing to do with how the nation determined who were its citizens.
  5. Claim: By the time of the writing of the Constitution the US had developed a common law definition of “natural born citizen” that was different than the English definition for “natural born subject”. Again wrong. For there to have been a change in the common law definition of “natural born” would have required at least one case or piece of legislation to have changed the definition between the time of independence in 1776 and 1787. However, none have been found. John Woodman challenged attorney Mario Apuzzo to provide such evidence and he could not. Further evidence that the common law meaning of the term did not change was that the term “natural born subject” continued to appear years after the adoption of the Constitution in naturalization acts in Massachusetts, as in “all the rights and privileges as a natural born subject” being granted to a naturalized citizen. And finally if Birthers like Mario Apuzzo are correct there should be lots of records prior to the ratification of the 14th Amendment of children born to alien parents on US soil naturalizing later in life. However, such records do not exist.
  6. Claim: Dual citizenship at birth implies divided loyalty. Wrong. Citizenship at birth does not equate with allegiance. Birthers like to use this fallacy when they bring up John Jay’s letter to George Washington written on July 25, 1787. Jay said ” Permit me to hint, whether it would not be wise & seasonable to provide a strong check to the admission of Foreigners into the administration of our national Government, and to declare expressly that the Command in chief of the american army shall not be given to, nor devolved on, any but a natural born Citizen. ” Birthers use this letter to assert that Jay meant that the president could not have divided loyalty and could not therefore have ever been a citizen of another country. There are several things wrong with this. First Jay was referring to “Command in chief of the American army”. The concept of a president who was also a civilian commander in chief had not even been finalized and was not until weeks later in September 1787. Jay and Washington both would have recognized the equivalence of “natural born subject” with “natural born citizen”. Yes, Jay through Washington may have had some influence on the Convention’s adoption of the natural born citizen requirement but there is simply no evidence Jay would have precluded the child of aliens born on US soil. There is no evidence that just because anyone is born with dual citizenship that they have divided loyalties.

de Vattel’s The Law of Nations

Leo Donofrio may have been the first Birther to discover the writings of Emer de Vattel. He wrote about de Vattel on his blog as early as late 2008. As I mentioned earlier Vattel published Le droit des gens (The Law of Nations) in French in 1758. de Vattel’s treatise was about natural law. The first English translation appeared in 1760. This is the English edition that would have been available to the authors of the US Constitution. On citizenship de Vattel wrote:

[§212] The citizens are the members of the civil society: bound to this society by certain duties, and subject to its authority, they equally participate in its advantages. The natives, or indigenes, are those born in the country of parents who are citizens. Society not being able to subsist,and perpetuate itself, but by the children of citizens; those children naturally follow the condition of their fathers, and succeed to all their rights….The country of the fathers is then that of the children; and these become true citizens,merely by their tacit consent….I say, that in order to be of the country, it is necessary that a person be born of a father who is a citizen; for if he is born there of a stranger, it will be only the place of his birth, and not his country.

Another English translation was published in London in 1797. That edition replaced indigenes with “natural born citizen: “The natives, or natural-born citizens, are those born in the country, of parents who are citizens”. This is the translation that Birthers always quote even though it was published 10 years after the Constitution was written. When challenged on this fact Birthers claim that the 1797 London translation was influenced by the American use of natural born citizen in the Constitution. While this makes for a fine story there is exactly no evidence that it is true and there are tons of evidence that the term natural born citizen was the equivalent of the English natural born subject.

There are at least a couple of other issues with the Birther interpretation of Vattel. First Vattel himself admitted that other countries like England had different laws on citizenship. Vattel added that in England “being born in the country naturalizes the children of a foreigner.”

Then there is the question of whether Vattel meant that parents had to be citizens for their child to be a natural born citizen. Vattel wrote ” of parents who are citizens”. Unfortunately this phrase is imprecise in English. It is pretty clear Vattel was referring to the father(s) here. He wrote that “It is asked, whether the children born of citizens in a foreign country, are citizens? The laws have decided this question in several countries, and it is necessary to follow their regulations. By the law of nature alone, children follow the condition of their fathers, and enter into all their rights (§ 212); the place of birth produces no change in this particular, and cannot of itself furnish any reason for taking from a child what nature has given him . . . .” (again from the 1760 translation).

A French attorney posting under the name Lupin at a number of blogs wrote this about de Vattels Law of Nations”

I have frequently posted under the name of “Lupin” on Dr. Conspiracy’s blog. I am a French attorney with 30+ years’ experience, currently semi-retired and living in the South of France; amongst other things, I have edited translations of Vattel into English.
First, when tackling this issue, one has to decide (a) whether the term “natural-born citizen” is a correct translation of Vattel’s term “indigene” and “naturel”; and (b) whether Vattel has any relevance at all to the issue at hand.


Both of these propositions seem highly debatable to me, but not being an expert on U.S. law, this is not my place to comment.
When reading Vattel’s article on citizenship, often quoted by Mr Apuzzo, one must keep in mind the following:
(a) the terms “parents” actually means blood relatives, not just parents; this is easily verifiable: ask any Frenchman if the sentence “j’ai des parents en Amerique” means “my parents are in America” or “I have family in America” — he will answer
the latter.
(b) the term “parents” is used by Vattel as a group plural, ie: either parent, not both; as in “only children whose parents are club members may use the pool”; there is no ambiguity here.
(c) further on, Vattel mentions the father, but only as an illustration of his “jus sanguinis” approach to citizenship as stated above; he does not exclude the mother or indeed any relatives on either side; as a matter of fact, the mother is specifically included/added in a footnote the second edition;
(d) finally, Vattel mentions that other countries like England favor a “jus soli” method, and claims no universality.


So, if one were were to apply Vattel’s theory to the hypothetical case of a young Obama born in Switzerland at the time of Vattel’s writings from a visiting English student and a Swiss woman, it would be unambiguously clear that the child would be considered by the Swiss authorities to be a Swiss “indigene” from his mother’s side of the family.


Had his father hypothetically taken the child back to England to be raised there, he might ALSO be eligible to become a British citizen because of his father, but that would in no way impact his “quality” as a Swiss “indigene” in Switzerland.


As I have often pointed out, there is nothing in Vattel (even if he were deemed relevant) that bolsters the birthers’ agenda — quite the contrary.

Lupin’s comment on John Woodman’s blog.

Michael Ramsey analyzed the influence of de Vattel on the meaning of natural born citizen as used in the US Constitution in his paper that I cite in the Resources section below:

“The weight of the evidence, however, points strongly in the other direction. First, any connection between Vattel and the Eligibility Clause is pure speculation. Apparently no one at the time made the connection, or at least there is no surviving record if they did. To be sure, some individuals might have done so. But it seems clear—as clear as we can be about these matters—that no widespread public connection was drawn.

Second, there is evidence that the founding generation, at least in some instances, used “natural born citizen” and “natural born subject” inter-changeably. For example, Massachusetts continued the English practice of legislative acts naturalizing particular named individuals. These acts recited that the naturalized individuals would have all the rights of (in some cases) “natural born subjects” of the state97and (in others) “natural born citizens.”98As far as the historical record reflects, no difference was intended; the phrases appear to be used interchangeably to convey the same meaning. In particular, the state Acts referred to “natural born subjects” during the Confederation period immediately before and during the drafting and ratifying process, suggesting that revolutionary Americans did not change their terminology from citizen to subject in the wake of the Revolution

Similarly, Zephaniah Swift’s treatise on Connecticut law, published in 1795, repeatedly used the phrase “natural born subject” in connection with post-independence inhabitants of Connecticut. Swift began his discussion by saying that “[t]he people are considered as aliens, born in some foreign country, as inhabitants of some neighboring state of the union, or natural born subjects, born within the state.”99Later he added that the children of aliens, “born in this state, are considered as natural born subjects, and have the same rights with the rest of the citizens.”100As a result, there is little reason, on this ground, to think Vattel is a better source of the clause’s meaning than English law: Americans did not broadly reject the word “subject” and instead used it interchangeably with “citizen.”Third, post-ratification evidence indicates that the Framers were using an English-law influenced definition of citizenship, not a Vattel-influenced definition. As described above, an early post-ratification discussion of citizenship was Madison’s comment in the Smith controversy (in which there was some question whether Representative Smith was a citizen and thus eligible to Congress). Madison wrote, “It is an established maxim that birth is a criterion of allegiance. Birth, however, derives its force sometimes from place, and sometimes from parentage; but, in general, place is the most certain criterion; it is what applies in the United States….”

Birthers have elevated de Vattel to the status of sainthood but the reality is that there is just no evidence that authors of the Constitution used anything other than the English term “natural born subject” as a synonym for “natural born citizen”. There is certainly no evidence that they ditched the meaning they had known for the term natural born for all their lives and embraced a meaning that Birthers wrongly ascribe to de Vattel.

Resources:

The following is a list of resources I have found useful on the definition of “natural born citizen” as used in the US Constitution:

Jack Maskell, an attorney for the Congressional Research Service, wrote three reports on presidential eligibility. The Congressional Research Service (CRS) is a non=partisan division of the Library of Congress that provides legal and policy research on various subjects for members of the House and Senate of both parties. These reports are normally confidential but can be made public by the Congressional members who requested the research.

The first of these reports was dated April 3, 2009:

In his first report Maskell explains why Barack Obama was not obligated under federal law to produce his “long form” birth certificate or any birth certificate for that matter and that the presidential election is conducted by the states who have no such requirement either. He also covers the history of the inclusion of the natural born citizen requirement for the office of president in the Constitution and what the likely understanding of the meaning was by the authors of that section.

In November 2011 Maskell updated his report to provide a more rigorous and documented explanation of the meaning of the term “natural born citizen”.

Maskell meticulously lays out the case that the Supreme Court had ruled that terms not defined in the Constitution were to be interpreted in light of English common law and that under English common a person born to alien parents on US soil was a natural born citizen.

A third report was written in January 2016:

In this third and final update on presidential eligibility Maskell reviews all the court cases that had been filed against Barack Obama and John McCain and the outcomes. He also discusses the eligibility of persons born abroad to one or two United States citizens and whether they are eligible. This had become an issue in the 2016 election cycle with the candidacy of Texas Senator Ted Cruz. By this time some lawsuits had already been filed.

Unlike the status of person born to one or two alien parents on US soil the status of persons born US soil abroad has generated disagreement among legitimate Constitutional scholars at least as far back as 1968 when George Romney, who was born to Mormon US citizen parents in Mexico, was running for the Republican nomination for president.

Other resources:

A blogger posted the results of a Google Book search of books that define the term “natural born citizen. BOOKS ON GOOGLE BOOKS THAT DEFINE “NATURAL BORN CITIZEN Notably, not a single one of these hundreds of books defines a natural born citizen as only one who was born of two citizen parents. Birthers have claimed in blog posts that they recall reading such a statement in their Civics books but to date not a single book has been produced.

An attorney named “Tes” on her “What’s Your Evidence” blog posted a compendium of Supreme Court cases that mentioned the term “natural born”. The results can be found here. She also compiled a list of all cases at both the state and federal level that addressed the meaning of the term “natural born citizen”. Finally, she assembled a list of cases filed against Barack Obama and others concerning presidential eligibility and release of documents in a “Birther Scorecard” that documents the outcomes of the so called Birther cases beginning with the Phil Berg cases in 2008 through August 2015. Over 200 cases are listed and none succeeded.

A number of these cases claimed that Obama was not eligible based on the fact his father was a British subject and therefore not a natural born citizen. While none of the cases ruled directly on this claim several judges who commented on this claim noted that precedents like the Wong Kim Ark case made the Supreme Courts position clear that anyone born on US soil and subject to the jurisdiction of the United States was a natural born citizen.

From December 2008 and continuing for 8 years the go to blog for following all the Birther claims and activities was the Obama Conspiracy blog. A good place to start reading is Dr. Conspiracies article The Debunker’s Guide to Obama Conspiracy Theories, which contains a section debunking claims that President Obama was not a natural born citizen.

Another blog that I recommend is John Woodman’s Investigating the Obama Birth Mysteries. Mr. Woodman is a conservative and the author of the book Is Barack Obama’s Birth Certificate a Fraud? in which he debunked the conspiracy theories that erupted that the Obama Hawaiian long form birther certificate that was published in April 2011 was a forgery. Mr. Woodman later did some excellent research into the meaning of the term natural born citizen and the Birth claims that Obama was ineligible. A good place to start reading is this series of articles.

Finally, several excellent papers have been written on the meaning of natural born citizenship over the years:

  1. The Original Meaning of ‘Natural Born’ by Michael D. Ramsey, University of Pennsylvania, 2016
  2. On the meaning of “Natural Born Citizen” by Neal Katyal and Paul Clement, Harvard Law Review, 2015
  3. The Natural-Born Citizen Clause and Presidential Eligibility: An Approach for Resolving Two Hundred Years of Uncertainty J. A. Pryor, Yale Law Journal, 1988
  4. Who can be President of the United States, the Unresolved Enigma, Charles Gordon, Maryland Law Review, 1968

Readers are invited to leave comments as long as they abide by this blogs comment policy. If you have suggestions for additional resources I would be happy to add them to the article if they are from legitimate sources.

1Tulsi Gabbard was born in American Samoa to parents who were US citizens. American Samoa is considered an unincorporated US territory and children born there are not citizens at birth under the 14th amendment. They are citizens at birth only if at least one of their parents is a citizen at the time of birth (like Gabbard). Others are considered US nationals instead. US nationals from American Samoa may apply for US citizenship after 3 months residency in the United States. This means Gabbard is probably not a natural born citizen by jus soli but would fall into the category of a citizen born “abroad” to US citizen parents, e. g., Ted Cruz. Since Gabbard is a long shot for either position on the Democratic ticket I doubt that her status will become an issue.

2Some attorneys believe that a Supreme Court decision in Rogers v Bellei in 1971 created a third class of US citizens, namely those who are citizens by virtue of being born abroad to at least one US parent. From Wikipedia:

The appellee, Aldo Mario Bellei, was born in Italy to an Italian father and an American mother. He acquired U.S. citizenship by virtue of section 1993 of the Revised Statutes of 1874, which conferred citizenship upon any child born outside the United States of only one American parent (known as jus sanguinis). Bellei received several warnings from government officials that failure to fulfill the five-year residency requirement before age 28 could result in loss of his U.S. citizenship. In 1964, he received a letter informing him that his citizenship had been revoked under § 301(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952.
Bellei challenged the constitutionality of this act. The three-judge District Court held the section unconstitutional, citing Afroyim v. Rusk, and Schneider v. Rusk.
The Supreme Court reversed the decision, ruling against Bellei.

This ruling seemed to separate that class of citizens from those born on US soil and those naturalized while living in the US. The law that was upheld in the case was repealed a few years later. Note that many scholars still consider those who are citizens at birth while born abroad to be natural born citizens. No court ruling has been issued to the contrary. Judges who dismissed cases filed against Ted Cruz in 2016 seemed to be leaning towards the conclusion that those of Cruz’s circumstances are eligible.

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58 Responses to For the thousandth time: Anyone born on US soil under the jurisdiction of the United States is a natural born citizen, period.

  1. Frank Arduini says:

    A timely and well assembled summary, RC!! You haven’t lost a step.

  2. rantalbott says:

    I’ll second Frank’s compliments: as a layman, that looks to me like a law review article.

    I think I spotted a mistake, though: you wrote about Gabbard that “are only automatically citizens unless one of their parents is a citizen”. I think that should be either “only … if” or “not … unless”.

    Where are the birfoons spewing these day? I thought even WorldNutDaily would be afraid to be associated with them by now.

    • Thank you for the kind words. I wanted to write a well documented article.

      Maybe I could have worded that more clearly but I think that what I wrote is correct. As I understand the current law persons born in American Samoa are not automatically US citizens but are instead considered US nationals. However, Samoans are citizens at birth if either parent is a US citizen at the time of their birth. Tulsi Gabbard fails into the latter category.

      A group of American Samoan citizens residing in Utah have filed a case challenging the current law and claiming that they are citizens via birth in the US under the 14th Amendment. A previous lawsuit filed in 2012 ultimately failed.

    • Oh and the Birfoons like Mario Apuzzo, Robert Laity, and the ususal suspects like Kerchner at the Post & Email are still sticking to the two parent citizen nonsense.

    • I rewrote the section on Gabbart and American Samoa to hopefully be clearer.

  3. Ike says:

    [Insult removed]

    [Insult removed] has spotted a false standpoint in your claim for Tulsi Gabbard.

    From 2 well-known Leftist sites [Insult removed]

    Buzz Feed:
    “In Gabbard’s case, the debate is rooted in the fact that most people born in American Samoa would be disqualified from being president of the United States, since the US does not grant birthright citizenship to those born in the territory — instead they are given the unique status of “non-citizen US nationals.” American Samoans can become US citizens by moving to the states and going through an expedited version of the naturalization process that foreign-born nationals go through to gain US citizenship.

    Gabbard’s office did not respond to multiple requests for comment for this story.

    Because American Samoans are not granted birthright citizenship, they can’t vote for president, serve on a jury, or run for office, and they’re not eligible for certain federal jobs. This is not true for the other US territories — people born in Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Guam, or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands are all citizens at birth.”

    Wikipedia:
    “As of April 2019 the population of American Samoa is approximately 55,689 people.[1][6][7] Most of them are “nationals but not citizens of the United States at birth”; as well as birthright citizenship not applying on the islands, American Samoans cannot vote in the American Presidential elections.[8][7][6]”

    I’m sure you [Insult removed] know that anyone naturalized is automatically disqualified from the presidency.

    [I removed the frivolous insults that violated the comment policy. I approved the rest for discussion purposes. Cut it out or I will not be so generous next time. RC]

    • As I mentioned in the article that you apparently failed to read Gabbard was a US citizen at birth because her parents were citizens when she was born. She was never an American national. I equated her situation (worst case) to Ted Cruz. Cruz was sued in several lawsuits filed in 2016 but was not ruled to be ineligible in any of them. Experts disagree on whether people born citizens abroad are natural born. Jack Maskell provides are good case that they are eligible in his report issued in 2016. My personal opinion was that by 1776 the English common law definition of natural born subject included children born abroad to British subjects. This is the definition that the authors of the US Constitution would have been familiar in 1787.

  4. Ike says:

    The problem is with the Buzz Feed wording, if they have it right. It states “the US does not grant birthright citizenship to those born in the territory” and “Because American Samoans are not granted birthright citizenship”. Tulsi states she is American Somoan.

    <br />Now for the real reason I posted: Where did you find that footnote by Vattel?: 
    
    "(c)...(Vattel) does not exclude the mother or indeed any relatives on either side; as a matter of fact, the mother is specifically included/added in a footnote the second edition;"
    
    I don't believe you have any footnote by Vattel stating that.
    

    The American founders were familiar with Vattel’s Law of Nations, since the circumstances according to Franklin, made it necessary to frequently consult it at the time of the Declaration. Franklin also said that Vattel’s book, “has been continually in the hands of the members of our Congress now sitting”.

    It means the American founders read ‘CHAP. XIX. § 212. Citizens and natives’ many times.

    • Ike says:

      Clearing up that middle part. i don’t know why it did that:

      Now for the real reason I posted: Where did you find that footnote by Vattel?:

      “(c)…(Vattel) does not exclude the mother or indeed any relatives on either side; as a matter of fact, the mother is specifically included/added in a footnote the second edition;”

      I don’t believe you have any footnote by Vattel stating that.

    • You didn’t provide a link to the Buzzfeed article, something you seem to be wont to do. However I found it and you left out this part:

      A “natural-born citizen” is not explicitly defined by the Constitution, but it is generally thought to mean someone “who was a US citizen from birth, who never had to go through the naturalization process,” according to University of Hawaii political science professor Colin Moore, who spoke to BuzzFeed News.

      Gabbard’s mother, Carol Gabbard, was born in Indiana, and her father, Hawaii state Sen. Mike Gabbard, was born in American Samoa to a father who was a US citizen, making Tulsi Gabbard a US citizen from birth under federal law.

      Still, there has never been a ruling by the US Supreme Court to determine whether the term “natural-born citizen” includes people born outside the US, since a candidate known to have been born in a territory or abroad has never won the presidency. Moore called this “a gray area.”

      If you note that is almost exactly what I wrote.

      You need to ask Lupin about the footnote from de Vattel’s second edition. I was quoting a comment Lupin left at John Woodman’s blog and please note I provided a link to his comment and made it clear what I was quoting.

      Saying that the authors of the Constitution read de Vattel is an interesting historical piece of trivia but just saying that they the read his work has nothing to do with the meaning of natural born from English common law. That means they would have also read the part where de Vattel said that countries like England followed different laws on citizenship. The authors read and quoted Blackstone much more frequently than de Vattel. Until you can find that the authors of the Constitution documented where they ditched English common law and adopted some other definition of “natural born” you have nothing. The Supreme Court in US v Wong Kim Ark (1898) provided the path to understanding the definition of natural born citizen. All you have to do is read the majority opinion.

      Also, the discussion on Gabbard is academic only since she is nothing more than a fringe candidate at this point.

  5. Commenter Ike took the same leap of faith without a basis in fact that Mario Apuzzo does. They both inferred that just because some of the authors of the Constitution were familiar with the works of de Vattel they changed the meaning of the term “natural born” to something other than what it had been for hundreds of years in English common law.

    As John Woodman pointed out in his series of articles for common law to have changed there has to be either a record in case law or legislation to change it. This does not exist in colonial or US records before 1787. Apuzzo insists that de Vattel magically became common law when the Constitution was written.

    Of course his and the other Birthers’ interpretation of de Vattel’s Law of Nations is arguably wrong too. The two citizen parent theory was crafted by Donofrio to make then candidate Obama appear to be ineligible. No judge or real legal scholar has ever taken it seriously and for good reasons.

  6. Apparently Ike is away cataloging all those sources showing that the authors of the Constitution had modified the English common law definition of natural born in favor of something he ascribes to de Vattel. I hope he is also finding all those Civics books that said both your parents have to be citizens before you can be natural born too.

    I haven’t seen trader jack in a while. Has he given up or passed on?

    • Ike says:

      Nothing for me to research. I’ve been over this with you obots in the past. When you can’t hang in debate you throw tantrums and do your typical banning. You can’t stand facts getting in your way.

      I found a good number of errors in your article but it would be useless to try and debate you on them. It’d be a trip into futility.

      I was interested in maybe by some quirk you did find something showing Vattel stated something separate for mother or relatives. I dubunked Lupin on that 3 years ago. I think he found something added in a mid-19th century French edition that had it in a footnote, which of course had nothing to do with Vattel. You also have the term ‘parens’ wrong. It was define at the time as father & mother in French. It’s an exclusive proper subset for the French term ‘parent’.

      You want to be useful? Go to that Canadian website where your buddy Dr Conspiracy left a false claim and correct it: “Free Republic is the same forum where the original Born in Kenya rumor started way back in 2008.”

      The rumor started in 1991 and continued on to 2007 when Obama’s literary agents sent out thousands of promotional brochures to people in the publishing industry claiming he was born in Kenya, and it appeared in 2004 when newspapers affiliated with AP made the claim.

      Here’s the addy:

      https://www.coastmountainnews.com/news/obama-was-born-at-b-c-hospital-conspiracy-theorists-say/

      • Sorry your research efforts for sources that confirmed the authors of the Constitution changed the common law definition of natural born came up empty. I knew they would and I knew you would change the subject to something else.

        • Ike says:

          I’m not changing anything other than correcting your errors. First off, show some sincerity by correcting what I’ve already pointed out, then we can move on to correcting some of the others in your article.

          I think you have enough cognition to realize Dr Conspiracy made a false claim on that Canadian website.

          Then correct Lupin’s misleading claims in your article. If you need physical proof I’ll provide it. I’m guessing on this your mind is having problem retrieving the correct info that was provided to both you & Lupin in the past.

          On Gabbard I’m not sure. What Buzz Feed presented is open to more than 1 interpretation.

          About a year ago I sent you a message on 1 of your errors, got sidetracked and didn’t follow up on it. Did you correct that one?

          • There is no need for me to correct anything. What Kevin Davidson posted is correct. The “Obama was born in Kenya” rumor did start at Free Republic in the spring of 2008 as Loren Collins has documented. See Loren Collins’ http://birthofanotion.com/home/the-secret-origin-of-the-birthers

            The publisher’s brochure that incorrectly listed author Barack Obama’s birthplace as Kenya didn’t inspire any rumors at all much less the Birther movement. It lay undiscovered for over 20 years until well after the Birther movement was underway. The author admitted to making the mistake herself. It is a complete non-sequitur. If you can provide direct evidence that a mistake in a bio in a brochure printed in the early 1990’s led to the Birther movement then I will be happy to publish it. Like your claim on the meaning of natural born citizen the facts don’t support your claims.

            • Ike says:

              As I’ve previously stated, for me this is a trip into futility. You’re too closed-minded. You view everything connected to Obama through partisan lenses instead of looking at it objectively. Remember, we been over this before.

              How do you explain Collins contradicting himself at least twice in his article? The Yahoo Answers.com was a long unfriendly heated discussions in 2007 on the ‘Obama born in Kenya’ claim. Though Yahoo was my home page, was heavy into Yahoo gaming, and had my DSL through them at the time, I don’t remember seeing that then.

              What I do remember, as I’ve previously stated, is seeing some blog sites in late January 2008 discussing Kenyan-born or foreign-born but I don’t remember the sites. It’s possible it was that Yahoo site but I can’t say that for fact.

              Here’s another interesting bit of info from a Time Mag article:

              “In 2008, TIME explained how that happened:

              For more than a year, Obama relied on conventional means to confront the blogosphere’s superheated rumor mill—to little effect. The “fact-check” feature on his website, for instance, only seemed to spawn more, and wilder, rumors. A mention there of Obama‘s birth certificate spurred National Review Online to demand that he produce it to dispel groundless reports that Obama was actually born in Kenya and therefore would be constitutionally ineligible to be President;”

              For more than a year would put it back into 2007.

              Another question is how many people in the publishing industry, book retailers, & those buying Obama’s books seen the bio in that promotional brochure over the 17 years that he was listed as Kenyan-born? Normally the author of the book submits the Bio to their agent/publicist. Obama had to know what the brochure stated.

              Unless it changed I believe I was the last commenter asking a question on the The Volokh Conspiracy article Collins references. What influenced the commenter on Volokh Conspiracy to come up with that hypothetical? Was it rumors that they had heard/seen online? I also posted up the Lamb article in a forum after it came out. I was following it at the time – didn’t know anything about Obama.

              The claim on natural born citizen is easy. That was influenced by Vattel. Born a citizen was rejected by the American founders for the office of president.

              • Recall that when Obama released a copy of his birth certificate in June 2018 it was to combat rumors that his middle name was “Mohammed” and not “Hussein”. It was not to establish he was not born in Kenya. You didn’t provide a single link for anything so that is really all I have to say. I trust a researcher like Loren Collins over your rambling memories not supported by a single link any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

                • Ike says:

                  Here’s a good example about what I mean when I call you “closed-minded”.

                  Right, Obama released a copy of his birth certificate in June 2018. And when does Collins claim the Born in Kenya rumor started? Think, McFly, think!

                  Links aren’t needed if you’ll open your mind & think. It explains itself.

                  What prompted/triggered the Blue State blog & Yahoo Answers site to state & ask about the Born in Kenya? That wasn’t something they both magically pulled out of the air.

                • “Here’s a good example about what I mean when I call you “closed-minded”.

                  Right, Obama released a copy of his birth certificate in June 2018. And when does Collins claim the Born in Kenya rumor started? Think, McFly, think!

                  Links aren’t needed if you’ll open your mind & think. It explains itself.

                  What prompted/triggered the Blue State blog & Yahoo Answers site to state & ask about the Born in Kenya? That wasn’t something they both magically pulled out of the air.”

                  If you go back and look at the news articles from the time the reason that the Obama campaign published his birth certificate in 2008 (not 2018) it was to debunk rumors that his middle name was Mohamed. Without links your assertions about Yahoo Answers and Blue State are nothing.

              • I will give you one small thing Ike. You may be wrong about just about everything but at least you have the courage to comment here unlike cowards like Robert Laity, Charles Kerchner, Cody Robert Judy and others who have to hide behind Sharon Rondeau’s iron fisted moderation of any fact based comment.

                • Ike says:

                  Lmao at you. Talking smack while blocking my comments.

                  If you done to the people you’ve named what you’ve been doing to me, it’s understandable why they’d want nothing to do with you.

                  You’re a lowlife.

                • I am not intentionally blocking your comments. For some reason 3 comments went to trash. I can’t find any reason that they did. Certain words will trigger a filter to do that but I didn’t see anything in your comments that would cause it to trigger. I will keep an eye out for that. Since you have posted previous comments your comments should not be moderated. I apologize that you had difficulty getting some comments posted.

          • The Buzzfeed article could have been better written but I don’t think it can be interpreted in any other way than to say that Gabbard was a citizen at birth. Her eligibility then rests on the notion that citizens at birth born abroad are eligible. While some bona fide legal scholars believe those persons are not eligible the lack of success of lawsuits against Ted Cruz in 2016 established some precedents on the side of the broader interpretation.

            Your disagreement with Lupin is no concern of mine and what de Vattel wrote on citizenship has nothing to do with the interpretation of the term natural born citizen in the US.

            • Ike says:

              I’m going to withold by opinion on Gabbard for now until I see more discussion on it. I’m not convinced either way. As for Harris & Cruz, neither are natural born.

              Now it gets laughable. My disagreements with Lupin? Better check your Intense Debate log at 139/140 weeks. You, along with many others of your ilk, were swallowing everything he said as absolute irrefutable fact. That’s what got me following him in the beginning. He was claiming to be an expert on Vattel so I followed along to see what I could learn from it. Eventually I began to see he was changing up from what he had previously claimed. Then it turned into some of his claims being completely absurd. At some point I started calling him out for it.

              Here’s a good one, and it’s ironic Woodman’s here – he might remember it. I was reading Lupin’s comments along some others (including Woodman’s) on Dr Conspiracy’s site at the time. Posted at Birther Report, “Woodman’s a super-spinner”, it was meant for Lupin. I’ve done that before being in a hurry reading too many issues & comments at one time and got them confused.

              In the strongest terms I totally disagree with you on “what de Vattel wrote on citizenship has nothing to do with the interpretation of the term natural born citizen in the US”.

            • Ike says:

              I’m going to with hold by opinion on Gabbard for now until I see more discussion on it. I’m not convinced either way. As for Harris & Cruz, neither are natural born.

              Now it gets laughable. My disagreements with Lupin? Better check your Intense Debate log at 139/140 weeks. You, along with many others of your ilk, were swallowing everything he said as absolute irrefutable fact. That’s what got me following him in the beginning. He was claiming to be an expert on Vattel so I followed along to see what I could learn from it. Eventually I began to see he was changing up from what he had previously claimed. Then it turned into some of his claims being completely absurd. At some point I started calling him out for it.

              Here’s a good one, and it’s ironic Woodman’s here – he might remember it. I was reading Lupin’s comments along some others (including Woodman’s) on Dr Conspiracy’s site at the time. Posted at Birther Report, “Woodman’s a super-spinner”, it was meant for Lupin. I’ve done that before being in a hurry reading too many issues & comments at one time and got them confused.

              In the strongest terms I totally disagree with you on “what de Vattel wrote on citizenship has nothing to do with the interpretation of the term natural born citizen in the US”.

            • Ike says:

              Reposting it again. Will the 3rd time be a charm?

              I’m going to withhold by opinion on Gabbard for now until I see more discussion on it. I’m not convinced either way. As for Harris & Cruz, neither are natural born.

              Now it gets laughable. My disagreements with Lupin? Better check your Intense Debate log at 139/140 weeks. You, along with many others of your ilk, were swallowing everything he said as absolute irrefutable fact. That’s what got me following him in the beginning. He was claiming to be an expert on Vattel so I followed along to see what I could learn from it. Eventually I began to see he was changing up from what he had previously claimed. Then it turned into some of his claims being completely absurd. At some point I started calling him out for it.

              Here’s a good one, and it’s ironic Woodman’s here – he might remember it. I was reading Lupin’s comments along some others (including Woodman’s) on Dr Conspiracy’s site at the time. Posted at Birther Report, “Woodman’s a super-spinner”, it was meant for Lupin. I’ve done that before being in a hurry reading too many issues & comments at one time and got them confused.

              In the strongest terms I totally disagree with you on “what de Vattel wrote on citizenship has nothing to do with the interpretation of the term natural born citizen in the US”.

  7. John M. Woodman says:

    Hi RC,

    Thanks for your kind words regarding my writing. However, I have a small correction for you, or at least an update.

    It’s completely accurate to say, “During the period when he wrote regarding Obama’s birth certificate and presidential eligibility (April 2011 through late 2012) John Woodman was a staunch conservative of more than 30 years.”

    However, it wouldn’t be accurate to say, in 2019, “Mr. Woodman is a conservative.”

    Since writing about the technical aspects of Obama’s birth certificate and the legal, Constitutional and historical meaning of the term “natural born citizen” I’ve spent years researching and studying public policy, economics, and related issues. I’m not sure precisely when I stopped being a conservative, but I can tell you when I officially left the Republican Party. That was in 2016, around the time Donald Trump became that party’s nominee for President.

    Leaving the Republican Party was a difficult change for me after (at that time) more than 35 years. In retrospect, I wish I had done so far earlier.

    I didn’t do so because, like most of us, I hadn’t chosen my political affiliation by making a deep, detailed, independent study of the policies of each party and their effects in the real world. Instead, I had relied on voices I trusted (including a very intelligent and principled PhD physicist uncle during my young adulthood) to orient my political understanding, and I generally accepted what they had to say. I am sorry to say that I never deeply considered things from multiple points of view.

    If my uncle were still alive today (he died well over 30 years ago) I would not be surprised to find him making the same shift I have.

    It’s important to note that I didn’t leave the Republican Party just because of Donald Trump, although a detailed study of his history, character, and actions was the trigger that officially pushed me out the door. I was working on understanding what our greatest political problems were, and I concluded that at the very top, there were three:

    The political system is badly rigged, to the point that our political and governmental system no longer remotely serves the best interest of ordinary Americans. Instead, it serves the elites.
    Our economy is badly rigged, to the point that the middle class has barely advanced over the past 40 years, and roughly half of Americans haven’t received a raise during that period of time. This is closely related to the first problem. Instead, the economy has been largely reengineered to serve the elites.
    Our politics is gridlocked by automatic, bitter, partisan deadlock.
    There is far too much misinformation and propaganda out there, swaying and leading far too many of us astray. This is much the same problem that we both worked on in regard back in 2011 and 2012.

    These are issues that affect both major parties, and probably even the minor parties as well. After significant reflection, I realized that the Republican Party in particular is too far gone. There would appear to be reason to hope regarding the Democratic Party. I can see no such reason to hope for the GOP.

    For this reason, I am no longer a Republican. After a short stint as an independent, I decided to switch to the Democratic Party.

    As for the label “conservatism,” first of all, I don’t like labels very much, because it seems to me that too often, they serve only as a prompt for who to embrace and who to hate.

    However, to the degree that conservatism is embracing pre-existing values, it no longer seems to be supporting the values that gave rise to and nourished the American Dream in the 1940s, 50s, 60s, and 70s. It is instead embracing more recent values — ones that are far too supportive, or at least accepting, of some of the major problems listed above.

    For these reasons, I can no longer accept the label of “conservative.”

    At this point if I have to have a lable, I would more readily call myself a “solutionist” — because it seems to me that what we desperately at this point in our history is some actual solutions, particularly to the problems named above.

    • Thank you John. That was a great comment. I appreciate you stopping by. I like the term “solutionist”. We surely need more of them.

    • Northland10 says:

      Hi John…It’s great to “see” you again. Wonderfully written comment.

    • John M. Woodman says:

      It’s good to “see” both of you as well.

      I should’ve said “four problems” — I started with three, but then realized that widespread misinformation / disinformation should also be included in the list. But I failed to update the number.

      Of course, you know there are only three kinds of people in the world —

      Those who can count, and those who can’t.

    • John M. Woodman says:

      Incidentally, where are the birthers when there is real evidence of massive and corrupting foreign influence on our nation and our democratic republic at the most fundamental level?

      • They want to put the whistle-blower and the Democrats like Adam Schiff in prison for 40 years for being mean to poor widdle Donnie. Just read what people like Robert Laity have to say at the Post & Email. It’s like they live in an alternate universe.

        Of course if Donald had consensual oral sex in the White House they would be all over it wouldn’t they? Right?

        • John M. Woodman says:

          The thing I find remarkably hypocritical is the absolute lack of concern regarding foreign influence, when that was supposedly the entire foundation of their years-long rants regarding President Obama’s supposed eligibility.

          No foreign influence? Well. Where are they now?

          The past 8 years — yes, our acquaintance dates back 8 years now — has massively reinformed my perspective on a lot of things.

          And yes, that includes my perspective on the impeachment of President Clinton. Yes, he committed a crime (lying under oath about his sex life). But anything Clinton might have done doesn’t pale in comparison, it outright vanishes in comparison to the words and deeds of the current occupant of the White House.

  8. Ike says:

    Ike: Obama released a copy of his birth certificate in June 2008. And when does Collins claim the Born in Kenya rumor started?

    Links aren’t needed if you’ll open your mind & think. It explains itself.

    What prompted/triggered the Blue State blog & Yahoo Answers site to state & ask about the Born in Kenya? That wasn’t something they both magically pulled out of the air.

    RC: If you go back and look at the news articles from the time the reason that the Obama campaign published his birth certificate in 2008 (not 2018) it was to debunk rumors that his middle name was Mohamed (Muhammad). Without links your assertions about Yahoo Answers and Blue State are nothing.

    Ike: Have you actually read Collins’ article? Those aren’t my assertions. Collins makes the claim for ‘Born in Kenya’ for Blue State & Yahoo Answers in 2007. I’ll repeat what I’ve already stated: Something prompted/triggered both sites to address the ‘Born in Kenya’ rumor. Same can be said about Volokh Conspiracy commenter with the hypothetical.

    Obama published that short-form substitute birth document to counter not only the claims on his middle name but also the claims on his foreign birth for both Kenya & Indonesia. Isn’t it strange how a document that states in print at the bottom it is evidence in any court of law was never used by Obama as proof in all those court cases over a 34 month period?

    • John M. Woodman says:

      Why do you even care? Not that anyone on the birther side has ever made one single claim that would stand up under scrutiny — I personally examined 108 different birther claims and every single one fell apart when placed under the microscope — but, really. It’s 2019. Don’t you have better things to do than keep pushing various discredited ideas?

      Let’s talk about foreign influence. The current presidency is eaten up with it. The current president has been actively soliciting foreign interference in the most fundamental and important democratic process in the American republic — our presidential election. What are you prepared to do about that?

      • Yep, if you ever wanted proof that being a natural born citizen alone has anything to do with the ability to be president or loyalty to the country one needn’t look past the current resident of the White House.

    • What Collins proposes is the the born in Kenya rumor didn’t begin with the obscure posts on Blue State and Yahoo Answers. It began with the FARS post on Free Republic. I quote from the earliest Politifact article from May 2, 2008. There is no mention then of rumors that Obama was born in Kenya.

      “Pants on Fire!
      Chain email
      “His true name is Barak Hussein Muhammed Obama.”

      — Chain email on Friday, April 18th, 2008 in
      No Muhammed or Mohammed in Obama’s name

      By Amy Hollyfield on Friday, May 2nd, 2008 at 12:00 a.m.

      A chain e-mail that originates with a letter from American missionaries working in Kenya warns about Sen. Barack Obama’s ties to Kenya and its opposition party, encouraging readers “not to be taken in by those that are promoting him.”

      Among the many allegations is one about Obama’s name: “By the way. His true name is Barak Hussein Muhammed Obama. Won’t that sound sweet to our enemies as they swear him in on the Koran! God bless you.”

      The e-mail reads like a bad game of “telephone,” its claims drawn from assorted people and sources that have been stitched together. And yet, because it is signed by real people, who have a life in Africa, it somehow carries more credence than your average blog posting — and it’s spreading rapidly. ( Read the e-mail here. )

      Let’s be clear: The senator from Illinois who is running for president of the United States is named Barack Hussein Obama Jr. His campaign has insisted that is his full name (no Muhammad). We’ve checked this before and found it to be blatantly wrong. But since the rumor persists, we decided to dig deeper.

      We have now searched every public record we can access and find nothing to support the notion that Obama has a second middle name of “Muhammed” or “Mohammed.” Only in the ether of chain e-mails does this allegation fly.

      We have a copy of Obama’s marriage certificate from the Cook County Bureau of Vital Statistics in Illinois. Barack H. Obama married Michelle L. Robinson on Oct. 3, 1992, in Chicago. (And, yes, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. officiated.)

      We looked at Obama’s driver’s license record in the state of Illinois, and the name reads: Barack H Obama. (Senator, just a reminder that your license is up for renewal this year).

      We searched property records for Obama and found listings under the names Barack Hussein Obama and Barack H Obama.

      We also found Obama’s registration and disciplinary record with the Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court of Illinois. ( You can see it here. ) Barack Hussein Obama was admitted as a lawyer by the Illinois Supreme Court on Dec. 17, 1991. (By the way, Obama has no public record of discipline.)

      We tried to obtain a copy of Obama’s birth certificate, but his campaign would not release it and the state of Hawaii does not make such records public. (UPDATE: On June 12, 2008, the Obama campaign e-mailed to PolitiFact a copy of the senator’s birth certificate. It confirms our findings. See it for yourself here.)

      Loren Davis, whose wife Celeste wrote the e-mail, says he can’t substantiate the claim.

      “That was what we heard there (in Kenya),” Davis said in an interview with PolitiFact. He says they’ve lived and worked in Kenya for the past 12 years and this was a personal letter “never intended to be forwarded or sent out to the Web.”

      Regardless, it’s time to ground this charge once and for all. His name is Barack Hussein Obama. There is simply no evidence anywhere to support the allegation that his name is something else. We’re going to rule the way we have before. Pants on Fire!”

      There is no mention then of the born in Kenya rumors. None of this matters anyway because it was all false. Every birther claim was and is completely false garbage. I have to question the sanity of any person who continues to bring them up.

      But back to the main issue. Did the Birther movement start with the erroneous publisher’s brochure in the early 90’s? Absolutely not.

      • John M. Woodman says:

        Hard to believe anyone has to say this in 2019:

        “Every birther claim was and is complete false garbage.”

      • Ike says:

        You’ve provided a red herring that has nothing to do with the chronological timeline for the rumor/claim/assertion of Obama being Born in Kenya. If we’re to believe Collins, he shows 4 that predates your Politifact article from May 2, 2008.

        I don’t know anything about Blue State other than Collins stating it was a pro-Hillary blog. Yahoo Answers was hugh back then and would guess its following in the hundreds of thousands. Both were in 2007. The question is what prompted both sites to address Obama being Born in Kenya? I have my theory. -Grin

        I question the sanity of someone who only a couple months ago was thouroughly spanked on a birther attorney’s blog later posting up an article with previously debunked facts.

        I see you still haven’t removed the Lupin lunacy. You listing of (a) (b) (c) for Lupin are all incorrect.

        I have to correct 1 for myself I had wrong. Took awhile for my memory to kick in: I wasn’t on that 1st Volokh Conspiracy where the hypothetical was presented. I was on a follow up where Obama’s eligibility was debated, I was the last commenter and asked a question.

        John Woodman wants to know why you even care, and, “don’t you have better things to do than keep pushing various discredited ideas?”

        I also need to commend you on how you handled my 1st comment by removing the smears before releasing it. I shouldn’t have done it. That’s a result of my turbulent history on the pro-Obama sites. I never expected you to post it.

        For Woodman: John, it would futile to engage you on current politics. Based on our histories after about a couple rounds of me bring the facts on your new party and the American Left you’d lose control, revert back to your true self and go ballistic. There’s an old adage that fits: “We’ve been to well one too many times.” I can now predict the outcome. You’re already antsy and going ad hominem.

        • John M. Woodman says:

          Lol.

        • Northland10 says:

          Ike said, “You’ve provided a red herring…”

          Now there’s irony meter shrapnel everywhere. The horror. The horror.

          • LOL Indeed. This is the guy who says [apparently while being serious] that I should correct Doc C. because the Birther movement really started in the early 90’s.

            • Ike says:

              You seem to have a penchant for misleading & making stuff up.

              What I stated in the past was, without proof, I believe there was a good possibility or even a probability the the Birther Movement and the Born in Kenya rumor/claim got its initial start around the time Obama released his book ‘Dreams…’ & started his political career. That puts it in the middle of the 1990s. And, that promotional brochure from his book agency helped start it. Call it speculation; an opinion lacking evidence.

              At least I shoot straight and not habitually sending out crooked arrows like you. Case in point:

              From above: RC: “What Collins proposes is the the born in Kenya rumor didn’t begin with the obscure posts on Blue State and Yahoo Answers. It began with the FARS post on Free Republic. I quote from the earliest Politifact article from May 2, 2008. There is no mention then of rumors that Obama was born in Kenya…There is no mention then of the born in Kenya rumors.”

              You don’t how see you continue to show you have a cognition problem? You’re agreeing with the Collins claim that the Born in Kenya rumor started on March 1st/2nd, 2008 at Free Republic by commenter FARS. Then you quote from a Politifact article 2 months later (May 2, 2008) that there was no rumor at that time.

              Then there’s your article loaded with misleading & false info. At this point I have to give it ‘4 Pinocchio’. As I’ve already stated I’m willing to help you correct them. I’m nice like that.

              You were there about 4 years ago at Dr Conspiracy’s Gerbil Report where I explained at the time how Lupin had it wrong on his claim that Vattel meant father only, or mother only, or any relative, and not just 1 citizen father & 1 citizen mother. The problem is in the French wording; Parents vs Parens. In the original Vattel, the edition that he supervised the printing of 1200 copies of at Neuchâtel, Switzerland & dated 1758 Londres (London) has Parens Citoyens. Parens an exclusive proper subset of the French term Parent to only mean 1 father & 1 mother (pere & mere in French).

              That was used for the whole 18th century by the French, in their dictionaries, and the translating dictionaries the English were using. The American founders had them in their libraries, and Franklin had numerous editions of them that dated from 1694 to the time of his library inventory in 1781. It covered all of Vattel’s life and the whole American founding period. If you need links for proof I have them.

              Lets get that corrected in your article then we can move on to some of the others.

              I expect your rebuttle to be along the lines ‘it’s immaterial since the American founders didn’t use Vattel’. That would be another false statement from you.

              • Vattel had no influence over the English Common Law definition of natural born. He admitted that England and other countries followed different laws. The Supreme Court ruled that for the definition of terms not explicitly defined in the Constitution we must refer to English Common Law. Go read the majority opinion in US v Wong Kim Ark again.

                • John M. Woodman says:

                  I’ve studied Vattel to a certain degree, as well as a whole boatload of these cases.

                  That would be correct.

                • Ike says:

                  Lots of opinions, everybody has one, even the Black Robes.

                  It’s claimed because Justice Gray was beholden to Chester Arthur it influenced the opinion.

                  Yale Law Journal (1898): “Although hopelessly in the minority, Chief Justice Fuller, with whom Mr. Justice Harlan agrees, dissents from this opinion, and, upon what appears to be the better view, holds that the common law of England does not control the question under discussion.”

                  Vattel was incorporated into American Common Law which grew from American Colonial Common Law.

                  The influenced opinion stated “Wong was a U.S. citizen from birth”. Gray didn’t claim Wong was a natural born citizen.

                  Born a citizen was passed over by the American founders for the office of president in favor of natural born citizen.

                • Ike says:

                  Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England

                  Section the Fourth: Of the Countries Subject to the Laws of England
                  Page 105

                  “And therefore the common law of England, as such, has no allowance or authority there (American colonies); they being no part of the mother country, but distinct (though dependent) dominions.”

                  Samuel Adams
                  [Boston Gazette, October 28, 1771]

                  “…according to the usual sayings of the learned in the law, the laws of England were bounded within the four seas, and did not reach America.”

              • The idea the Birther movement started in the 90’s just nonsense. It started because lying conservatives who didn’t give a shit about the truth wanted to paint presidential candidate Obama as a foreigner during the 2008 election cycle.

                • John M. Woodman says:

                  That would be correct.

                • John M. Woodman says:

                  Not that you need my help.

                • Ike says:

                  So we’re moving away from the Born in Kenya rumor/claim only to the Birther Movement. That opens it up to all foreign born rumors & claims.

                  Do you know for a fact that his 2 book agencies were conservative? The ones that listed Obama as being born in Kenya in their promotional brochures from 1991 to at least April 3rd, 2007.

                  2006: We know Tammy Duckworth, who claimed both her & Obama were foreign born, is not a conservative.

                  2006: I doubt Will Hoover from the Hawaiian Newspaper who interviewed Duckworth was a conservative. He claimed Obama was born in Indonesia.

                  2007: Blue State, a pro-Hillary blog, says Obama born in Kenya, definitely not conservative.

                  2007: Yahoo Answers argues over Obama being born in Kenya. Most all seem to be liberal Obama supporters.

                  Dec. 18th, 2007: Chris Matthews (definitely not conservative) plays a clip of former Dem Senator Bob Kerrey claim he had been watching the blogs say you can’t trust Obama because he spent time in Indonesia (possibly the same ones I was seeing more that 6 weeks later). Then Matthews connects Hillary (definitely not conservative) to the born in Indonesia claim.

              • There is a good discussion whether de Vattel could have had any influence on meaning of “natural born citizen” as used in the eligibility clause in Michael Ramsey’s article on the meaning that I cited above. While Ramsey to me gives an overblown version of de Vattel’s influence he comes to the following conclusion:

                “The weight of the evidence, however, points strongly in the other direction. First, any connection between Vattel and the Eligibility Clause is pure speculation. Apparently no one at the time made the connection, or at least there is no surviving record if they did. To be sure, some individuals might have done so. But it seems clear—as clear as we can be about these matters—that no widespread public connection was drawn.

                Second, there is evidence that the founding generation, at least in some instances, used “natural born citizen” and “natural born subject” inter-changeably. For example, Massachusetts continued the English practice of legislative acts naturalizing particular named individuals. These acts recited that the naturalized individuals would have all the rights of (in some cases) “natural born subjects” of the state97and (in others) “natural born citizens.”98As far as the historical record reflects, no difference was intended; the phrases appear to be used interchangeably to convey the same meaning. In particular, the state Acts referred to “natural born subjects” during the Confederation period immediately before and during the drafting and ratifying process, suggesting that revolutionary Americans did not change their terminology from citizen to subject in the wake of the Revolution

                Similarly, Zephaniah Swift’s treatise on Connecticut law, published in 1795, repeatedly used the phrase “natural born subject” in connection with post-independence inhabitants of Connecticut. Swift began his discussion by saying that “[t]he people are considered as aliens, born in some foreign country, as inhabitants of some neighboring state of the union, or natural born subjects, born within the state.”99Later he added that the children of aliens, “born in this state, are considered as natural born subjects, and have the same rights with the rest of the citizens.”100As a result, there is little reason, on this ground, to think Vattel is a better source of the clause’s meaning than English law: Americans did not broadly reject the word “subject” and instead used it interchangeably with “citizen.”Third, post-ratification evidence indicates that the Framers were using an English-law influenced definition of citizenship, not a Vattel-influenced definition. As described above, an early post-ratification discussion of citizenship was Madison’s comment in the Smith controversy (in which there was some question whether Representative Smith was a citizen and thus eligible to Congress). Madison wrote, “It is an established maxim that birth is a criterion of allegiance. Birth, however, derives its force sometimes from place, and sometimes from parentage; but, in general, place is the most certain criterion; it is what applies in the United States….”

                I have added this quote to the original article in the de Vattel section because it clearly indicates the lack of evidence that the authors of the Constitution used de Vattel’s civil law view on citizenship.

          • Ike says:

            When it comes to red herrings, RC is an amateur compared to you. You’re still the King.

  9. Northland10 says:

    Reality Check: “I have added this quote to the original article in the de Vattel section because it clearly indicates the lack of evidence that the authors of the Constitution used de Vattel’s civil law view on citizenship.”

    I recall various birthers trying to use an explanation that we had just kicked out the English so we would naturally not want to continue to use English Common law but look to the continent for our law. One needs only to look at the negotiations running up to the Treaty of Paris to realize that assumption is flawed.

    During the war, we used France for our own benefit, as France was similarily doing with us. After our dislike of their treaty recommendation, we decided to cut them and Spain out and negotiate directly with England. England, tired of war, decided that if we were not to be their colony, we should be a strong trading partner. Therefore, we got a pretty good deal out of it as England recognized we would need sufficient resources to grow our trade. If we were kicking them completely to the curb, we would have stayed working with France.

    Most remarks I have found regarding Vattel were regarding the relationship between states and nations, which given our recent independence, necessitated getting up to speed quickly.

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