Never in American history has a national leader served under a darker cloud of suspicion than Barack Hussein Obama. Was he born in Hawaii or in Kenya? Did he become an Indonesian citizen in 1967? Where did he spend the summer of 1981? Did he actually attend classes at Columbia? Did he write Dreams from My Father? These are all interesting questions, but not the most critical ones. The most critical question relates to his eligibility. Is he eligible to serve as President of the United States, or is he a usurper? Let’s analyze what we know to be true.
First, we have the absolute and unequivocal requirements of Article II. Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution, which states that, “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.”
We know that Obama was not a citizen of the United States at the time the Constitution was adopted, we know that he was at least thirty-five years of age when he took office in January 2009, and we know that he has been a U.S. resident for at least fourteen years. But is he a “natural born” citizen? What is a “natural born” citizen, and how do we prevent an individual who is not a natural born citizen from ever becoming president or vice president?
To answer these questions we must examine how our political leaders, from the Founding Fathers through the present day, have defined the term “natural born;” we must understand U.S. government policy on dual citizenship; we must examine the circumstances of Obama’s birth and citizenship; and finally, we must examine the vetting process that was designed to prevent an ineligible person from ascending to the presidency or the vice presidency
What is a “Natural Born” Citizen?
In drafting the U.S. Constitution, the Founders relied on the work of Swiss philosopher Emerich de Vattel. In his 1758 legal treatise, The Law of Nations, Book One, Chapter 19, in a section titled “Of the citizens and natives,” Vattel defines the term “natural born Citizen” as follows:
“… The natives, or natural-born citizens, are those born in the country, of parents who are citizens… The country of the fathers is therefore 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 foreigner, it will be only the place of his birth, and not his country [emphasis added].”
When the Founding Fathers met in Philadelphia in September 1787 to approve the final draft of the U.S. Constitution, the physical scars of the War of Independence from Great Britain were still visible all around them and a deep-seated animosity toward all things British colored every aspect of their daily lives. So is it conceivable that, just five years and eleven months after the British surrendered at Yorktown, the Founders would have presented to the states for ratification a Constitution that would allow an individual with divided loyalties – e.g. an individual with dual US-British citizenship – to serve as president or vice president of the United States? Not likely.
Expressing the prevailing concerns of the time, and as an expression of the fear of foreign influence that gripped the hearts of the Founders, Alexander Hamilton wrote in the Federalist Papers, “These most deadly adversaries of republican government (cabal, intrigue, etc.) might actually have expected to make their approach from more than one quarter, but chiefly from the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils. How could they better gratify this than by raising a creature of their own (a “Manchurian candidate?”) to the chief magistracy of the Union?”
What is likely, even probable, is that the Founders drafted Article II, Section 1 so as to reflect Vattel’s definition of a “natural born” citizen. That is precisely why the Framers found it necessary to include in Article II, Section 1 the often overlooked and little understood words, “or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution…”
At the time the Constitution was adopted there were three types of citizens: 1) The former British subjects who, having renounced all foreign allegiances and having pledged to each other their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, became citizens of a sovereign American nation when the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776; 2) The post-Declaration children of those who became U.S. citizens on July 4, 1776, the first “natural born” citizens of the United States, and all less than twelve years old at the time the Constitution was ratified on June 21, 1788; and 3) A class of citizens comprised of those who were naturalized citizens by act of law, requiring a loyalty oath and renunciation of all foreign allegiances, and those who were dual citizens by automatic operation of foreign laws.
To fully understand the importance of the words, “or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution…,” it is necessary to recognize three significant dates. Those dates are: 1) July 4, 1776, the date on which the Declaration was signed, making all citizens of the thirteen colonies citizens of the United States; 2) June 21, 1788, the date on which ratification by the State of New Hampshire made the Constitution the official law of the land; and 3) July 4, 1811, the date on which the first “natural born” citizens… those born to U.S. citizens after the signing of the Declaration on July 4, 1776… became thirty-five years of age. (It was not until the thirty-fifth anniversary of the signing of the Declaration that the first natural born citizens became eligible to serve as president or vice president of the United States.)
Since the Founders intended that only “natural born” citizens should ever serve as president or vice president… excluding naturalized citizens and those with a history of dual nationality… it became necessary to provide an exemption of limited duration covering those who were born prior to July 4, 1776. For example, presidents Washington, J. Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, J.Q. Adams, and Jackson were all “citizens,” but not “natural born” citizens because they were born prior to July 4, 1776. All were “grandfathered” and made eligible under the phrase, “or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution…” Martin Van Buren, born to U.S. citizens on December 5, 1782, became the first “natural born” U.S. president.
It was the simplest and easiest way of creating a body of candidates during the earliest years of the republic, unconstrained by the requirement that they be “natural born” citizens, at least 35 year of age. Every U.S. president since Van Buren… with the exception of Chester A. Arthur, whose father was a British subject at the time of his birth, and Barack Obama, whose father was also a British subject at the time of his birth… has been a “natural born” U.S. citizen.
The Constitution limits candidates for president and vice president to “natural born” citizens and to those who were citizens of the United States at the time the Constitution was adopted. There can be no exceptions… not even for Barack Obama.
In 1866, John A. Bingham, chief framer of the 14th Amendment, which granted citizenship to the freed slaves, wrote as follows: “Every human being born within the United States of parents not owing allegiance to any foreign sovereignty [emphasis added] is, in the language of the Constitution itself, a natural born citizen.”
In subsequent years, as modern transportation systems were developed and international travel became commonplace, the term “natural born Citizen” evolved to include those who were born to American parents outside the continental limits of the United States… as was the case with former Michigan Governor George W. Romney (born in Mexico to American parents) and Senator John McCain (born in Panama to American parents.)
Clearly, those who drafted the U.S. Constitution and subsequent amendments knew what it meant to be a “natural born” citizen, but what of our political leaders of today?
In the early months of 2008, at a time when Hillary Rodham Clinton was the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination and only those in the “tin foil hat” brigade of the party were taking Barack Obama seriously, a number of lawsuits were filed questioning whether Senator John McCain, having been born in the Panama Canal Zone, was a natural born U.S. citizen.
Former U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olson, a conservative Republican, and Harvard Law professor Laurence H. Tribe, a liberal Democrat, were assigned the task of researching the issue. In a March 19, 2008 memorandum, Olson and Tribe concluded that, “based on original meaning of the Constitution, the Framers’ intentions, and subsequent legal and historical precedent, Sen. McCain’s birth, to parents who were U.S. citizens serving on a U.S. military base in the Panama Canal Zone in 1936, makes him a ‘natural born Citizen’ within the meaning of the Constitution.”
Weeks later, in an April 10, 2008 statement, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said, “Based on the understanding of the pertinent sources of constitutional meaning, it is widely believed that if someone is born to American citizens anywhere in the world they are natural born citizens. Because he was born to American citizens, there is no doubt in my mind that Senator McCain is a natural born citizen [emphasis added].”
This was followed by an April 30, 2008 Senate resolution, approved by a vote of 99-0 (Senator John McCain abstaining). The resolution declared: “Whereas John Sidney McCain, III, was born to American citizens on an American military base in the Panama Canal Zone in 1936: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That John Sidney McCain, III, is a ‘natural born citizen’ under Article II, Section 1, of the Constitution of the United States.”
It is important to note that all four references… the 1866 Bingham statement, the Olson-Tribe Memorandum, the Leahy statement, and the U.S. Senate Resolution… all utilize the plural terms “parents” or “American citizens,” strongly suggesting that the “natural born” question rests, in large part, on the necessity of both parents being U.S. citizens.
While the Constitution itself does not define the term “natural born Citizen,” the legal precedent referred to in the Olson-Tribe memorandum cited above is taken from Minor v. Happersett, 88 U.S. 162(1875), the only defining precedent established by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court concluded in Minor 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.”
It is also important to note that, during the past decade, a number of resolutions have been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives aimed at amending Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution, completely altering the traditional interpretation of the term “natural born Citizen.” For example, in support of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s stated presidential ambitions, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), introduced House Joint Resolution 104 on September 15, 2004. The resolution proposed to amend Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution by adding the following language:
“A person who is a citizen of the United States, who has been a citizen of the United States for at least 20 years, and who is otherwise eligible to hold the Office of the President, is not ineligible to hold that Office by reason of not being a native born citizen of the United States.”
H.J.R. 104 was referred to the House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on the Constitution, where it remained through the end of the 108th Congress. Then, early in the 109th Congress, on February 1, 2005, Rohrabacher made a second attempt with the introduction of H.J.R. 15, which contained essentially the same language as the failed H.J.R. 104 of the previous Congress. And while it is understandable that Rohrabacher would attempt to amend the Constitution to make it possible for his own governor, a naturalized citizen, to seek the presidency, similar attempts by Democrats during the same decade are not so easily understood or explained.
For example, on June 11, 2003, during the 108th Congress, Rep. Vic Snyder (D-AR) introduced H.J.R. 59 which would have totally eliminated the “natural born Citizen” requirement in Article II, Section 1 by substituting the following language:
“A person who has been a citizen of the United States for at least 35 years and who has been a resident within the United States for at least 14 years shall be eligible to hold the office of
President or Vice President.”
The Snyder proposal was followed by H.J.R. 67, introduced on September 3, 2003 by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI). The Conyers proposal would have added the following substitute language to Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution:
“A person who has been a citizen of the United States for at least 20 years shall be eligible to hold the Office of President.”
On January 4, 2005, early in the 109th Congress, Conyers made a second attempt with the introduction of H.J.R. 2, proposing the same language as contained in H.J.R. 67 of the 108th Congress. And on April 14, 2005, Rep. Vic Snyder made yet another attempt, introducing H.J.R. 42, containing amendatory language identical to his H.J.R. 59 of the 108th Congress.
All of the above resolutions, proposing to send constitutional amendments to the states for ratification, suffered the same fate. All died in committee without being acted upon.
Any member of Congress is free to introduce a resolution proposing an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. However, what distinguishes Rep. Rohrabacher’s resolutions from those of his Democratic colleagues is that his motive was clear… he was interested in making it possible for his governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, to seek the presidency. The motivations of his Democrat colleagues, on the other hand, are a mystery; they only serve to raise important questions.
In other words, if the “natural born Citizen” requirement had not represented a major problem at any time in U.S. history, why were Democrats suddenly concerned about it in 2003, 2004, and 2005 when a young black man, the son of an American mother and an African father, was emerging as a rising star in the Democratic Party?
So the question arises, what did Congressmen Snyder and Conyers know that caused them to offer proposed constitutional amendments in the House of Representatives? More specifically, what did they know about Obama’s presidential ambitions and his inability to meet the “natural born Citizen” standard, and when did they know it?
U.S. Government Policy on Dual Citizenship
The official U.S. government policy regarding dual citizenship is found in publications of the Consular Affairs Division of the U.S. Department of State, as follows:
“The concept of dual nationality means that a person is a citizen of two countries at the same time. Each country has its own citizenship laws based on its own policy. Persons may have dual nationality by automatic operation of different laws rather than by choice…
“U.S. law does not mention dual nationality or require a person to choose one citizenship or another. Also, a person who is automatically granted another citizenship does not risk losing U.S. citizenship. However, a person who acquires a foreign citizenship by applying for it may lose U.S. citizenship…
“The U.S. Government recognizes that dual nationality exists but does not encourage it… because of the problems it may cause. Claims of other countries on dual national U.S. citizens may conflict with U.S. law… However, dual nationals owe allegiance to both the United States and the foreign country. They are required to obey the laws of both countries…”
It is incomprehensible that any person who has held allegiance to any foreign sovereignty should be allowed to serve as President or Vice President of the United States.
Barack Obama’s Citizenship Status
Barack Obama tells us that he was born in Hawaii on August 4, 1961, to an American mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, and to Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., of Kenya, a British colony.
Part 2, Section 5(1) of the British Nationality Act of 1948, the controlling legal authority on who is British and who is not, reads, in part, as follows: “Subject to the provisions of this section, a person born after the commencement of this Act shall be a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies by descent if his father is a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies at the time of the birth…”
Obama’s father, a Kenyan, was a British subject at the time of his birth. Therefore, under British law, it is indisputable that Obama was born with dual US-British citizenship “by descent” from his Kenyan father and his American mother. However, following Kenya’s independence from Great Britain on December 12, 1963, Kenya’s newly-adopted Constitution went into effect.
Chapter VI, Section 87 of the Kenyan Constitution provided as follows: “(1) Every person who, having been born in Kenya, is on 11th December, 1963 a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies (Barack Obama, Sr,)… shall become a citizen of Kenya on 12th December 1963. Provided that a person shall not become a citizen of Kenya by virtue of this subsection if neither of his parents was born in Kenya. (Both of Obama’s paternal grandparents were born in Kenya.)
“(2) Every person who, having been born outside Kenya, is on 11th December, 1963 a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies (Barack Obama, Jr.)… shall, if his father becomes, or would but for his death have become a citizen of Kenya by virtue of subsection (1), become a citizen of Kenya on 12th December, 1963.”
In other words, on December 12, 1963, through automatic operation of Kenyan law, Obama acquired Kenyan citizenship, presumably giving him, at least temporarily, dual US-British and dual US-Kenyan citizenship. Obama did not actively seek British or Kenyan citizenship; they were his by “automatic operation” of British and Kenyan law and “by descent” from his father. And since there is no known evidence that Obama ever took steps to renounce his American citizenship, he automatically lost his Kenyan citizenship under provisions of Chapter VI, Section 97(1) of the Kenyan Constitution on August 4, 1984, his twenty-third birthday.
However, to complicate matters even further, the constitution adopted by the people of Kenya on August 4, 2010, brought Obama back into the fold by creating a category of Kenyan citizenship called a “citizen by birth.” Chapter 3, Section 14 of the 2010 constitution provides as follows: “A person is a citizen by birth if on the day of the person’s birth, whether or not the person is born in Kenya, either the mother or father of the person is a citizen (of Kenya).
What this tells us is that, since August 4, 2010, as Barack Obama sits in the Oval Office, he has been reinstated as a citizen of Kenya “by birth,” a dual citizen of the United States and Kenya.
The Vetting Process for President and Vice President
The process established for the selection of a president and vice president provides three vetting opportunities. The first occurs immediately following the nominating conventions when the parties certify their candidates to the state election boards so that ballots can be printed.
All of the documents provided to the fifty state election boards by the Republican National Committee in 2008 contained, verbatim, the following affirmation:
“We do hereby certify that (at) a national convention of Delegates representing the Republican Party of the United States, duly held and convened in the city of Saint Paul, State of Minnesota, on September 4, 2008, the following person, meeting the constitutional requirements for the Office of President of the United States, and the following person, meeting the constitutional requirements for the Office of Vice President of the United States, were nominated for such offices to be filled at the ensuing general election, November 4, 2008, viz;”
The documents contained the names and home addresses of John McCain and Sarah Palin and were signed by John A. Boehner and Jean A. Inman, Chairman and Secretary, respectively, of the 2008 Republican National Convention, and notarized by Sheila A. Motzko.
However, certifications provided to the state election boards by the Democratic National Committee were not uniform. The certification provided exclusively to the State of Hawaii, pursuant to Hawaii Revised Statutes §11-113, contained the following affirmation:
“THIS IS TO CERTIFY that at the National Convention of the Democrat Party of the United States of America, held in Denver, Colorado on August 25 though (sic) 28, 2008, the following were duly nominated candidates of said Party for President and Vice President of the United States respectively and that the following candidates for President and Vice President of the United States are legally qualified to serve under the provisions of the United States Constitution.”
The remaining forty-nine states received the following certification:
“THIS IS TO CERTIFY that at the National Convention of the Democrat Party of the United States of America, held in Denver, Colorado on August 25 though [sic] 28, 2008, the following were duly nominated as candidates of said Party for President and Vice President of the United States respectively:”
Affixed were the names and home addresses of Barack Obama and Joe Biden. The document was signed by Nancy Pelosi and Alice Travis Germond, Chairman and Secretary, respectively, of the 2008 Democratic National Convention, and notarized by Shalifa A. Williamson.
The phrase, “… and that the following candidates for President and Vice President of the United States are legally qualified to serve under the provisions of the United States Constitution” was purposely omitted. Other than that, the two documents were identical… even to the misspelling of the word “through” in the second line of the certifications.
This tragic anomaly of American political history was first reported by writer JB Williams in a September 10, 2009 article, titled, “The Theory is Now a Conspiracy and Facts Don’t Lie.” Immediately upon publication of Williams’ article, Obama-doubters across the country began contacting their state election boards, requesting copies of the Democrat and Republican Party candidate certifications, and the full scale of the Democrats’ deception was exposed.
So why would the Democrats eliminate the language certifying that Obama and Biden were both eligible to serve “under provisions of the U.S. Constitution?” Is it not reasonable to assume that they knew when they nominated him that Barack Obama was ineligible to serve by virtue of the fact that he is not a “natural born” U.S. citizen? So the question arises, what did Nancy Pelosi know, and when did she know it? And is it Pelosi’s certification of Obama’s eligibility that the State of Hawaii has relied upon in refusing to disclose details of his long form birth certificate?
The second vetting opportunity occurs on the Monday after the second Wednesday in December when the Electoral College meets to elect a president and vice president. Between November 4, 2008, the date of the General Election, and December 15, 2008, the date on which the Electoral College met to cast their votes, most Democratic electors were made aware of serious questions relating to Obama’s eligibility. None of the Democratic electors raised a serious question about Obama’s eligibility prior to casting their electoral ballots… a violation of their oath of office and a complete and total subversion of the very purpose of the Electoral College.
The third and final vetting opportunity occurs in early January following each election when the Congress meets in joint session to certify the votes of the Electoral College. As the final fail-safe step in the electoral process, the members of Congress have the duty to insure themselves of the qualifications of the candidates selected by the Electoral College.
So if, in fact, the Democratic National Committee knowingly certified a candidate for the November ballot who was ineligible to serve, the Democrat members of the Electoral College failed to vet the men they elected, and no member of Congress questioned his qualifications, what are the possible alternatives? Is it possible, as some suggest, that we simply ignore the Constitutional requirements of Article II, Section 1?
In a December 8, 2008 discussion of the congressional certification process, Edwin Viera, Jr., Ph.D., J.D., a leading authority on the Constitution, argues that, “… the question of Obama’s eligibility vel non is not within the discretion of Congress to skirt or decide as its Members may deem politically or personally expedient.
“Even by unanimous vote, Congress cannot constitutionally dispense with the requirement that Obama must be ‘a natural born citizen,’ by simply assuming that he is such, or by accepting what lawyers refer to as the ‘best available evidence,’ (Obama’s published certificate of live birth, versus a certified Hawaiian birth certificate).”
But what if the members of Congress fail in their responsibility? Dr. Viera argues that, if no objection is made on the basis that Obama is not a natural born citizen… “the matter cannot be said to have been settled to a ‘constitutional sufficiency’[emphasis added],” because Congress has no power to simply waive the eligibility requirement.
When members of Congress are sworn into office they solemnly swear to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic;” and to “bear true faith and allegiance to the same.” So, one might ask, why have members of Congress not questioned Obama’s eligibility to serve as president when they were obligated to do so and when he clearly does not meet the “natural born” standard?
In the days following the joint session of Congress on January 8, 2009, when not a single member of Congress, Republican or Democrat, chose to honor their oath of office, the members were inundated with demands that they justify that dereliction. A great many members sought guidance from the Congressional Research Service (CRS), a division of the Library of Congress. Jack Maskell, a CRS attorney, drew the “short straw” and was assigned the task of drafting a response. His April 3, 2009 memorandum, provided to all members of Congress, read, in part, as follows:
“Concerning the production or release of an original birth certificate, it should be noted that there is no federal law, regulation, rule, guideline, or requirement that a candidate for federal office produce his or her original birth certificate, or a certified copy of the record of live birth, to any official of the United States government; nor is there a requirement for federal candidates to publicly release such personal record or documentation. Furthermore, there is no specific federal agency or office that ‘vets’ candidates for federal office as to qualifications or eligibility prior to return.”
It is that memorandum, the now infamous Jack Maskell Memorandum, that members of Congress have been hiding behind since April 3, 2009.
What Dr. Viera asserts, and what any sixth-grade student would understand, is that it is not within the power of Congress to waive the eligibility requirements of Article II, Section 1 by simply ignoring them… as they have attempted to do since January 8, 2009, the Maskell Memorandum notwithstanding. Nor is it within the power of the people, the states, or the courts to waive the eligibility requirements… short of a constitutional amendment.
That being the case, and assuming that Obama could not be convinced to voluntarily evacuate the White House, what are the alternatives? Is it possible to impeach a usurper president or vice president when the impeachment process is designed to apply only to individuals who are fully qualified, legally elected, and officially inaugurated? And if the House of Representatives proceeded to impeach him, would that action legitimize his illegitimate presidency?
The most likely answer lies in the Nixon model, in which leaders of his own party would go to the White House to demand his resignation. In Obama’s case… he being less of a gentleman and less of a patriot than Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton, or Richard Nixon… that is unlikely to happen until a substantial majority of Americans become convinced that he is a usurper and his approval rating drops below 20%. Then, and only then, can we expect Democrats, in the interest of salvaging their own political careers, to demand that he leave. And that will occur only after some courageous American, such as Lt. Col. Terry Lakin or New York real estate developer Donald Trump, is able to force Obama to produce his bona fides.
With each passing day, the damage that Obama does makes the future of our constitutional republic more and more problematic. Will the nation be able to survive two more years of his destructive social and economic tinkering? If consensus can be reached on the questions surrounding Obama’s dual citizenships and the definition of the term “natural born,” then all of the remaining questions about his origins and his true identity will become academic… mere fodder for the history books.
What cannot wait for the judgment of history are answers to the following questions:
- Since no Democratic presidential candidate in history has ever been in danger of failing to meet the “natural born Citizen” standard, why did congressional Democrats make four attempts to eliminate that requirement from the U.S. Constitution… twice while Obama was in his second term in the Illinois state senate and twice during his first fourteen weeks in the U.S. Senate?
- Since the Chairman and Secretary of the 2008 Democratic National Convention, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Alice Travis Germond, purposely dropped language from certifications sent to forty-nine of the fifty states, certifying that Barack Obama was eligible to serve under provisions of the U.S. Constitution, when was Pelosi first made aware that Obama was ineligible to serve, how widely was that known within the hierarchy of the Democratic Party, and who participated in the deception?
- Since Barack Obama’s former OMB director has suggested that the U.S. government would be better if it were less Democratic, and since Governor Beverly Perdue of North Carolina, an Obama ally, has called for a two year suspension of congressional elections, the American people deserve to know the source of those trial balloons and who instructed those individuals to float them.
Since the three foregoing questions are critically important. They appear to be elements of a grand plan to establish a socialist dictatorship in the United States, with a dedicated Marxist serving as its leader. Is there a direct relationship between the three foregoing questions and, if so, who are the co-conspirators? The American people deserve to know.