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Constitution, Natural born citizen, Certification of Live Birth

Obama’s ineligibility for dummies


By —— Bio and Archives--March 31, 2011

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imageOn August 28, 2008, Representative Nancy Pelosi, then Chair of the Democratic National Convention signed an official Certification of Nomination verifying that Barack Obama was legally qualified to serve as President of the United States under the provisions of the United States Constitution.

I would like to know what Constitutional criteria were used by Rep. Pelosi to make that determination and what evidence she provided to support her contention.

The issue of Barack Obama’s eligibility must be resolved now before the 2012 election. It is incumbent on those, who authorize his place on the ballot to cite the legal bases for making such a claim.

Let me begin by asserting that the Certification of Live Birth, which mysteriously appeared without verification by the State of Hawaii and may be a forgery, or newspaper clippings, are not adequate proof of eligibility.

Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution states:

“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.”

Traditionally, “natural born” refers to ancestry describing a child born in the United States (or areas such as US military bases), whose parents are US citizens at the time of birth.

I hasten to add, however, that nowhere in the Constitution or in its Amendments is the term “natural born” defined.

Nevertheless, there is a legal paper trail supporting that description. Much of what I write below is taken from a superb report by Leo Donofrio found here (link).

The definition of “natural born” originates from John Armor Bingham, a Republican congressman and abolitionist from Ohio and principal framer of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution.

In 1862 and 1866, respectively, Bingham stated on the floor of the House of Representative:

“All from other lands, who by the terms of [congressional] laws and a compliance with their provisions become naturalized, are adopted citizens of the United States; all other persons born within the Republic, of parents owing allegiance to no other sovereignty, are natural born citizens.”

“Every human being born within the jurisdiction of the United States of parents not owing allegiance to any foreign sovereignty is, in the language of your Constitution itself, a natural born citizen.”

No Representative took issue with these words.  The underlying issues within those Congressional debates were hotly contested. Yet Bingham’s definition of “natural born citizen” (born in the US of citizen parents) was never challenged on the floor of the House.

In the concurring opinion in Duncan v. Louisiana, 391 U.S. 145 (1968), United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Hugo Black, emphasized his reliance on the statements made by Representative Bingham and Senator Howard in Congress which pertain to the drafting and adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment.  Justice Black stated that “it is far wiser to rely on” the words of Bingham and Howard when analyzing the 14th Amendment. The relevant passage is as follows:

“Professor Fairman’s “history” relies very heavily on what was not said in the state legislatures that passed on the Fourteenth Amendment. Instead of relying on this kind of negative pregnant, my legislative experience has convinced me that it is far wiser to rely on what was said, and, most importantly, said by the men who actually sponsored the Amendment in the Congress. I know from my years in the United States Senate that it is to men like Congressman Bingham, who steered the Amendment through the House, and Senator Howard, who introduced it in the Senate, that members of Congress look when they seek the real meaning of what is being offered. And they vote for or against a bill based on what the sponsors of that bill and those who oppose it tell them it means.”

As best as I can ascertain from the Constitution and its history, Barack Obama is not eligible to be President of the United States.

That is my argument, Rep. Pelosi. Please tell us yours?



Lawrence Sellin -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Lawrence Sellin, Ph.D. is a recently retired colonel with 29 years of service in the US Army Reserve. He is a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq.

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