In for a Penny, in for a Pound

Media Viciousness and Obfuscating the Meaning of “Natural Born Citizen”

By Zach Jones—— Bio and Archives--July 29, 2009

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(It’s a “Fukino” Teachable Moment)

Yesterday, Dr. Chiyome Fukino, director of the Hawaii State Department of Health, chose to weigh in on the Obama “Natural Born Citizen” controversy again.  This time Dr. Fukino went much further than she had before. This time Dr. Fukino held herself out as a Constitutional Law Expert by declaring that Mr. Obama is a “Natural Born Citizen.”  I was very surprised by her new statement considering the Supreme Court of the United States has never fully delineated the meaning of the term, “Natural Born Citizen”.

In Minor v. Happersett, decided in 1874, 6 years after the adoption of the 14th Amendment to Constitution, the Supreme Court expressly recognized that doubts (unanswered questions) concerning who is a “Natural Born Citizen” remain and that the Court must look outside the Constitution for its meaning because the phrase is not defined within its boarders.  These doubts remain today (Wong Kim Ark, 1898 notwithstanding, see here). Much to our current chagrin, the facts in Minor did not require the Court to address the unresolved “Natural Born Citizen” issues; so usual, the Court chose not to do so. That is really unfortunate for us. The Court could have saved millions of Americans tons of stress today had they, with perfect 20/20 foresight, simply addressed just a few possible situations.

Supreme Court in Minor stated:

..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 [88 U.S. 162, 168] 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…

So what can we learn from Minor v. Happersett? Contrary to what the media would have you believe, the decision in Minor v. Happersett illuminates several key considerations/unknowns regarding who can be a “Natural Born Citizen” that make today’s eligibility controversy an important and legitimate “legal issue” for millions of Americans; and especially, for those in the military who follow the “lawful orders” of the President. Speaking only for myself (though I suspect the same is true for the vast majority of others; especially attorneys, veterans, and military personnel), this has never been a “birther issue”, a “sore loser issue” nor a “racial issue”, it is and has been a legal issue.

And speaking of this as a legal issue—Anyone reading just the quoted paragraph from Minor v Happersett carefully and thinking about it would likely come away with several of the following insights:

  1. There is a difference in meaning between the terms “Citizen” and “Natural Born Citizen”. The Supreme Court would not have said, The Constitution does not, in words, say who shall be natural-born citizens.”
  2. It is necessary to look outside the Constitution to gleam the framers’ intended meaning. “Resort must be had elsewhere to ascertain that. At common-law, with the nomenclature of which the framers of the Constitution were familiar…” Note: one such reference with which the framers would have been familiar is The Law of Nations or the Principles of Natural Law (1758) by Emmerich de Vattel. See the work of Leo Donofrio for a more complete explanation of who can be a “Natural Born Citizen.” (Linking to Mr. Donofrio’s site just now, I discovered he is also writing about Dr. Fukino today I’ll read it later.)
  3. Given that Minor was decided 6 years after the adoption of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, using a 14th Amendment argument to make Mr. Obama a “Natural Born Citizen” seems disingenuous. If the 14th Amendment had been intended to modify the meaning of the term “Natural Born Citizen”, it would have mentioned it.
  4. There is no doubt that a person born to two “Citizens” of the United States in the United States is a “Natural Born Citizen.”… there have been doubts, but never as to the first.” This is the “first” situation the Court was talking about.>
  5. The possibility has not been ruled out (reading the above paragraph) that a person born outside the U. S. to parents who are both U.S. Citizens is not a “Natural Born Citizen”. This is similar to the McCain situation. This question certainly deserves clarification. My gut says such a person would be a “Natural Born Citizen” as long as there are not multiple citizenship possibilities involved.
  6. There is doubt that a person born in the United States to parents, one or both of whom are not “Citizens”, can be a “Natural Born Citizen”.Some authorities go further and include as citizens children born within the jurisdiction without reference to the citizenship of their [88 U.S. 162, 168] parents. As to this class there have been doubts, but never as to the first.” Again the issue of multiple citizenships/allegiances arises..
  7. Given the situation above (6), there would be doubts that a person born outside the United   States “without reference to the citizenship of their parents” can be a “Natural Born Citizen.”
  8. The Supreme Court in Minor (6 years post 14th Amendment) did not resolve these doubts. “For the purposes of this case it is not necessary to solve these doubts.”
  9. Therefore, even if Obama was born in Hawaii, his eligibility to serve as President has not been resolved, as his father was not a “Citizen” and multiple allegiances could be in play. (Kenya/Indonesia/Adoption/British Law)

As you can see—there are questions, legal questions, legitimate questions, important questions that affect not only Obama, but could affect the political ambitions of people of every party. (I’m thinking about Bobby Jindal, but I don’t know his history.)  It is past time for clarification from the courts.  Who is a “Natural Born Citizen”?


Why did the framers use the term “Natural Born Citizen” instead of the basic term “Citizen”? I believe it was to try, as best they could, to maintain the highest level of certainty that the person occupying the Oval Office would not have divided loyalties to other countries and would have a deep understanding of America values.  I think it was important to them then that the leader of America would not have a conflicted vision when looking out for America’s interests. I think it would be important to them now.

The situation in America today clearly shows that the framers of the Constitution were right in requiring an elevated level of citizenship in order to serve as President; and they were surely aware that, such systems are not fool proof. The framers did the best they could do and now it’s up to the Courts to keep that protection in place.

In my last article, I said as an example: “We would not want an arsonist to be able to become a fireman. If a person does not have a clean record regarding arson, he or she should not be allowed to be a fireman.  It’s not a guarantee that a fireman with no criminal record of arson is not an arsonist, but it’s a step that gives an added measure security.” These measures are entirely about trying to ensure the strongest allegiance to the Constitution and the United States possible. Citizenships are only indicators of allegiance, the red flags, and the criminal records.  Just to be clear, it’s not about xenophobia – it’s about non-conflicted allegiance. (I can hear the media spin now.) But, sometimes even people with all the right papers still want to destroy America. I’m not saying Obama has all the right papers, as that remains to be seen.  I’m saying the framers did their job. The rest, it’s up to a free and responsible media to do with proper diligence to keep all the arsonists out of the house.  It’s their job to discover the hidden agendas, the vulnerabilities, the warts.

And I am saying that wouldn’t it be less likely that Obama would be trying so hard to dismantle America and her economic systems, to be replaced with a socialist style system; trying so hard to cut our defenses; trying so hard to alienate our friends and embolden our enemies, and trample our Constitution had he not been so exposed to his fathers’ loyalties and connections in Kenya and Indonesia? Ordinga? Had he not been so exposed to the close circle of radicals his family was involved with? Had he not been so exposed to their loyalties to socialism? Had he not be so exposed to their loyalties to anti-American sentiments? Is there a reason he’s so hostile to Israel? Aren’t all these symptoms of a President with a “conflicted vision” (or worse) when looking out for America’s interests? I hope you all remember the media was completely absent about all this, AWOL, running from and covering up anything critical of Obama during the election. They were running from William Ayers, Tony Rezko, Gov. Blago, Rev. Wright, Farrakhan, the socialist mentor who was a pedophile—Frank somebody, questions about Obama fund raising, lack of patriotism, and ACORN. (Ask Larry Sinclair about how many media people approached him.) They didn’t look for the hidden agendas, the vulnerabilities, the warts. I guess now since they were in for a penny then, they might as well be in for a pound.

When I see the media and others viciously attempt to portray those (especially military personnel) with legitimate questions and concerns about Obama meeting the Constitutional requirements to serve as President of the United States as “fringe”, “zombie birthers”, “right-wing kooks”, “tin-foil hat wearing people”, “fictional nonsense”, “nut jobs” or any other derogatory terms; I find it very troubling.  Don’t people (right, left or center) realize what we are losing when we make it an offense to ask questions in America?

As I watch Lou Dobbs continue to be vilified daily by Obama supporters, I wonder if there are any arenas in America politics where differences can be resolved with civility.  Lou Dobbs has been a respected member of the press for decades.  But let him make one statement that does not conform to the group speak of the left; he is immediately eviscerated in the public square.

I find myself asking, why did Dr. Fukino feel compelled to expand her original statement from October 2008 to include a place of birth for Obama and a legal term describing him as a “Natural Born Citizen”?  Why is she crawling out on this limb?  For months the media has been misrepresenting her October statement to include both assertions as fact. Was crawling further out necessary? Was pressure applied?  Why was pressure applied? Is the pressure directed at U.S. District Judge David O. Carter, presiding judge in Dr. Orly Taitz’s case Alan Keyes, et al. v Barack H. Obama, et al., who has indicated that he will hear this issue on the merits? Is it to the Judge in Kerchner v. Obama? Is it pressure to back off or be ruined?

Here’s Dr. Fukino’s original statement:

For Immediate Release: October 31, 2008 08-93

“Therefore, I as Director of Health for the State of Hawai’i, along with the Registrar of Vital Statistics who has statutory authority to oversee and maintain these type of vital records, have personally seen and verified that the Hawai’i State Department of Health has Sen. Obama’s original birth certificate on record in accordance with state policies and procedures.”

Obviously, she could have stated that Obama was born in Hawaii then, but she didn’t. Why not?  Not quite comfortable?

Here’s Dr. Fukino’s statement from yesterday:

“I, Dr. Chiyome Fukino, director of the Hawaii State Department of Health, have seen the original vital records maintained on file by the Hawai’i State Department of Health verifying Barrack Hussein Obama was born in Hawaii and is a natural-born American citizen. I have nothing further to add to this statement or my original statement issued in October 2008 over eight months ago”....

This is a very different statement from the one in October 2008.  Additionally, it has been reported that Dr. Fukino denied CNN President Klien’s recent statement that CNN had investigated and found that the originals of Obama’s birth certificate had been discarded in 2001.  Does anyone wonder why the media is not trusted? Why politicians are not trusted? And they keep doubling down with more misinformation—in for a penny, in for a pound.

CNN got caught spinning this time.  But let me be clear (as Obama says), the media in general is always spinning, riding their BOcycles.  Obama is spinning.  Robert Gibbs is trying to spin.  Is Dr. Fukino also spinning? By including the phrase “Natural Born Citizen”, it certainly seems so.

All of the players appear to be involved in trying to obfuscate and blur the meanings of the terms “Citizen” and “Natural Born Citizen” to shape public opinion and to make it unacceptable to ask questions critical of the Obama Administration.  In for a penny, in for a pound! I do believe people will eventually see through this slight of hand trick and start paying more attention.

They say that everything has a good side. It’s probably true here too. With the media’s exaggerated negative reporting and spin, regular people are more likely to recognize it for what it is and look for places expressing the rest of the story. I bet Lou Dobbs’ ratings have gone up.  When the media takes tones that are unbecoming for professional reporters and journalists; and resorts to name calling, more people read articles like this one. When they make it personal with name calling, people ask why?  That’s a real good question.

Whatever the answer is—it’s when I get to try to explain that this eligibility issue is really just a legal issue, albeit one of great consequence.  It’s when people try to find Dr. Orly Taitz on internet radio explaining her positions.  It’s when the lawyers such as Philip Berg, Leo Donofrio, Apuzzo, Stephen Pidgeon and many others find the opportunity to explain the legal issues and why they matter.

It sure would be nice if the media could refrain from hurling insults, do their jobs, and aid in finding out why Obama is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep so many relevant documents secret.  It sure would be nice if the media were in for a penny and in for a pound for our freedoms.

Oh well, I’ll dream on about that.  But please remember, this is an important issue.  Important to millions of Americans, important to the health and well being of our Constitution and it is vitally important to the members of our military.

Zach Jones publishes “The BOPAC Report” & Larry Sinclair’s Allegations” – ZachJonesIsHome. Zach can be reached at: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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