By Alden L. Benton
While roaming through cyberspace looking for something interesting to write about, I came upon an item headlined “SCOTUS Rules Obama Ineligible.”
OK, another internet hoax, or the birthers again, but curiosity got the better of me and I opened the link. The link directed me to an article on The National Patriot titled “U.S. Supreme Court Has Ruled on Obama’s Eligibility!!” posted November, 2011.
What? I follow the news closely and I think even the Left Bank Media would have at least attacked such a decision, but there was nothing. So I did what any good journalist would do — I looked up the case to which the story referred.
In the Supreme Court ruling The National Patriot referred to, the Court was asked whether a woman born in the United States whose father was a citizen was indeed a citizen herself.
The Supreme Court heard and ruled on this issue — in 1875. The Court, in Minor v. Happersett (88 U.S. 162), defined what constitutes a “natural born” citizen.
The court 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.” (Minor v. Happersett (88 U.S. 162))
Translated, the ruling says that to be a “natural born” citizen both of an individual’s parents must have be citizens. This 137-year-old decision has serious implications today regarding the legitimacy and eligibility of a sitting president.
The Minor v. Happersett decision clarified the definition of natural born citizen by stating that birth in the United States is not the single determinant of citizenship. The current reasoning of the fact of simply being born here begets natural born citizenship is incorrect.
In 2012, the question on many minds is whether B. Hussein Obama is eligible to be president. The so-called birthers challenge whether the president was actually born in the United States. Considering the Minor v. Happersett decision, the birther argument is pointless.
The eligibility requirements for the presidency are enumerated in Article 2, Section 1, Clause 5, of the United States Constitution:
“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.”
Minor v. Happersett created three distinct and discrete classes of people: natural born citizens, aliens or foreigners, and children born within the jurisdiction without reference to the citizenship of the parents.
According to the Natural Born Citizenship blog, these distinctions are important:
“Had this third class been contemplated as having any claim to being natural-born citizens, the distinction employed by the court would not make sense. The distinction was employed to more specifically identify the class of persons who were natural-born citizens under Article 2, Section 1, Clause 5. The two classes discussed are in direct polar opposition to each other. Had this distinction not been employed, it might be argued that those born in the country of one citizen parent were also natural-born. But the distinction leads to the necessary conclusion that the Court in Minor was identifying a two-citizen parent rule.”
The Liberty Legal Foundation has filed three lawsuits challenging Obama’s eligibility. Read more about their efforts here.
The bottom line is simple: Obama’s mother was a citizen when he was born. Obama’s father was Kenyan, a subject (citizen) of the United Kingdom. Obama was born in Hawaii. President Obama is a citizen, but not a natural born citizen and is therefore ineligible to be president of the United States.
The precedent is clear and, despite Obama’s lack of understanding of the role of the Supreme Court, they have the power to prevent him from running again, or to remove him from office.
© 2012 Alden L. Benton/Independence Creek Enterprises
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