Senators Introduce Resolution To Make Clear Senate's Position On Candidate's Status


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WASHINGTON (Thursday, April 10, 2008)—Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) today introduced a resolution expressing the sense of the U.S. Senate that presidential candidate and current Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) is a ‘natural born Citizen,’ as specified in the Constitution and eligible to run for President.

 

WASHINGTON (Thursday, April 10, 2008) ‚Äì Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) today introduced a resolution expressing the sense of the U.S. Senate that presidential candidate and current Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) is a ‚Äònatural born Citizen,’ as specified in the Constitution and eligible to run for President.

   

In February, The New York Times [a well-known liberal propaganda rag] published a report calling into question the legality of McCain’s presidential run. McCain was born to American citizens stationed on an American Naval base in the Panama Canal Zone. He has since served in the U.S. Navy, and, since 1983, has served in the U.S. Congress.

   

“Because he was born to American citizens, there is no doubt in my mind that Senator McCain is a natural born citizen,” said Leahy. “I expect that this will be a unanimous resolution of the Senate.”

   

“It is silly for anyone to argue that Senator McCain is not eligible to become president,” said McCaskill. “I would hope that this is something we can all agree on, for goodness sakes.”

   

At a Judiciary Committee hearing on April 3, Leahy asked Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, himself a former Federal judge, if he had doubts that McCain was eligible to serve as President.

   

“My assumption and my understanding is that if you are born of American parents, you are naturally a natural-born American citizen,” Chertoff replied.

   

“That is mine, too,” said Leahy.

   

The text of the resolution and Leahy’s remarks follow.

     

# # # # #

     

110TH CONGRESS

2D SESSION

     

S. RES. __

     

Recognizing that John Sidney McCain, III, is a natural born citizen.

_______________

     

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

     

Mrs. MCCASKILL (for herself and Mr. LEAHY, Mr. OBAMA, Mr. COBURN, Mrs. CLINTON, and Mr. WEBB) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on

_______________

RESOLUTION

Recognizing that John Sidney McCain, III, is a natural born citizen.

   

Whereas the Constitution of the United States requires that, to be eligible for the Office of the President, a person must be a ‚Äò‚Äònatural born Citizen’’ of the United States;

Whereas the term ‚Äò‚Äònatural born Citizen’‘, as that term appears in Article II, Section 1, is not defined in the Constitution of the United States;

Whereas there is no evidence of the intention of the Framers or any Congress to limit the constitutional rights of children born to American citizens serving in the military nor to prevent those children from serving as their country’s President;

Whereas such limitations would be inconsistent with the purpose and intent of the ‚Äò‚Äònatural born Citizen’’ clause of the Constitution of the United States, as evidenced by the First Congress’s own statute defining the term ‚Äò‚Äònatural born Citizen’‘;

Whereas the well-being of all citizens of the United States is preserved and enhanced by the men and women who are assigned to serve our country outside of our national borders;

Whereas previous presidential candidates were born outside of the United States of America and were understood to be eligible to be President; and

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 ‚Äò‚Äònatural born Citizen’’ under Article II, Section 1, of the Constitution of the United States.

   

Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.),

Chairman, Committee On The Judiciary,

On The Introduction Of A Senate Resolution

April 10, 2008

     

Today I join Senator Claire McCaskill in introducing a resolution to express the common sense of everyone here that Senator McCain is a “natural born Citizen,” as the term is used in the Constitution of the United States. Our Constitution contains three requirements for a person to be eligible to be President ‚Äì the person must have reached the age of 35; must have resided in America for 14 years; and must be a ‚Äò‚Äònatural born Citizen’’ of the United States. Certainly there is no doubt that Senator McCain is of sufficient years on this earth and in this country given that he has been serving in Washington for over 25 years. However, some pundits have raised the question of whether he is a “natural born Citizen” because he was born outside of the official borders of the United States.

     

John Sidney McCain, III, was born to American citizens on an American Naval base in the Panama Canal Zone in 1936. Numerous legal scholars have looked into the purpose and intent of the “natural born Citizen” requirement. As far as I am aware, no one has unearthed any reason to think that the Framers would have wanted to limit the rights of children born to military families stationed abroad or that such a limited view would serve any noble purpose enshrined in our founding document. 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.

     

It is interesting to note that another previous presidential candidate, George Romney, was also born outside of the United States. He was widely understood to be eligible to be President. Senator Barry Goldwater was born in a U.S territory that later became the State of Arizona so some even questioned his eligibility. Certainly the millions of Americans who voted for these two Republican candidates believed that they were eligible to assume the office of the President. The same is true today.

     

Because he was born to American citizens, there is no doubt in my mind that Senator McCain is a natural born citizen. I recently asked Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, a former Federal judge, if he had any doubts in his mind. He did not. I ask unanimous consent that the relevant excerpt from the Judiciary Committee hearing where Secretary Chertoff testified be made a part of the record.

   

I expect that this will be a unanimous resolution of the Senate and I thank the Senator from Missouri for working with me on this.

     

# # # # #

     

EXCERPT OF SECRETARY CHERTOFF TESTIMONY FROM APRIL 2, 2008:

     

***

   

Chairman Leahy. We will come back to that. I would mention one other thing, if I might, Senator Specter. Let me just ask this: I believe—and we have had some question in this Committee to have a special law passed declaring that Senator McCain, who was born in the Panama Canal, that he meets the constitutional requirement to be President. I fully believe he does. I have never had any question in my mind that he meets our constitutional requirement. You are a former Federal judge. You are the head of the agency that executes Federal immigration law. Do you have any doubt in your mind—I mean, I have none in mine. Do you have any doubt in your mind that he is constitutionally eligible to become President?

Secretary Chertoff. My assumption and my understanding is that if you are born of American parents, you are naturally a natural-born American citizen.

Chairman Leahy. That is mine, too. Thank you.



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