Tag Archives: Constitution

‘Natural-Born’ Citizenship Explained Again Four Years Later

EDITOR’S NOTE: First published Aug. 10, 2012, the post below was written by Paul R. Hollrah, a resident of Oklahoma who writes from the perspective of a veteran conservative politico and retired corporate government relations executive whose life experience includes having served two terms as a member of the Electoral College. Even if you disagree with him, this piece will make you think long and hard. I share it again for the benefit of those who might disagree with Hollrah regarding the eligibility of four GOP presidential hopefuls.

Former Sen. Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-Okla.)

Former Sen. Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-Okla.)

Over the past two years, I have engaged in an ongoing debate with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) over the issue of Barack Obama’s eligibility to serve as president of the United States.  Although Senator Coburn is an exceptionally fine senator, one of the top three in the senate, his views on the issue are not unlike those of other members of Congress.  They are simply wrong.

In all of our exchanges, Senator Coburn has relied on the same “boilerplate” language, insisting that, “First and foremost, while I disagree with most of President Obama’s policy positions, I believe he is a natural-born citizen and eligible to be president of the United States.  My belief is based upon the fact that he was born in Hawaii, as the release of his long-form birth certificate proves, and his mother (was) a U.S. citizen.  My staff has not found any evidence that contradicts these facts beyond conspiracy theories.  I also believe this issue was solved in the 2008 election, when each of the 50 states placed candidate Obama on its ballot and certified its election results.  Individual states are responsible for determining the eligibility of their federal candidates, and all 50 states legitimized candidate Obama’s presidency in this way.”

There are at least three major errors and misconceptions in Senator Coburn’s response.

First, he accepts that Obama was born in Hawaii and that the long-form birth certificate released by the White House on April 27, 2011, provides proof of that claim.  If the senator would examine the extensive forensic evidence developed by Sheriff Joe Arpaio, of Maricopa County, Ariz., he would know that the document provided by Obama is simply a poorly-constructed forgery.

Sheriff Arpaio has made it clear that anyone who feels that his Cold Case Posse… a team of highly respected and experienced lawyers, detectives, and forensic experts… was mistaken in their conclusions, they are free to submit the posse’s work to examination by a team of experts of their own choosing.  To date, none of the doubters have been doubtful enough to accept Sheriff Arpaio’s challenge.  Consequently, it is only the credibility of the doubters that is found wanting.   Rather than allow themselves to be proven wrong, they simply deny the validity of the posse’s findings without ever attempting to support their opposing position.

Even if it could be shown, conclusively, that Obama was born in Hawaii, his forged birth certificate notwithstanding, he still cannot claim status as a “natural born” citizen because, by his own admission, his father was a citizen of Kenya.  The place of one’s birth is not the determining factor in who is and who is not a “natural born” citizen.  Just as hundreds of thousands of “native born” children born in the U.S. each year are not “natural born,” because their parents are not U.S. citizens, tens of thousands of “natural born” babies are born abroad to American parents each year.  These children are “natural born” citizens because both parents are U.S. citizens.  Senator Coburn makes a common mistake, assuming that to be “native born” is to be “natural born.”  It is not.  The two terms are not synonymous.

Barack Obama's alleged certificate of live birth.

Barack Obama’s alleged certificate of live birth.

Second, the senator argues that, “My staff has not found any evidence that contradicts these facts beyond conspiracy theories.”  The only thing to be said in response is that, when one fails to look for evidence, it is unlikely that one will find evidence.  Senator Coburn would be well advised to order his staff to utilize their own investigative resources and to take at face value the opinions of their friends on the Washington cocktail circuit who are armed with nothing more than inside-the-beltway “conventional wisdom,” which is almost always wrong.

Finally, the senator writes, “I also believe this issue was solved in the 2008 election, when each of the 50 states placed candidate Obama on its ballot and certified its election results.  Individual states are responsible for determining the eligibility of their federal candidates, and all 50 states legitimized candidate Obama’s presidency in this way.”

The senator must know that few states have laws requiring their state election board to certify the qualifications of candidates for president and vice president.  To the contrary, it is an implicit constitutional duty of the party nominating conventions to nominate eligible candidates and to certify the eligibility of candidates to the state election boards so that ballots can be printed.

For example, in 2008, all of the certifications provided to the 50 state election boards by the Republican National Convention contained language certifying that John McCain and Sarah Palin met all of the constitutional requirements for the offices of president and vice president.  The documents 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, which requires certification of constitutional eligibility, 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 49 states, which do not require a statement of constitutional eligibility, 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 documents were 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, all of the documents were absolutely identical… even to the misspelling of the word “through” in the second line of the certifications.  Clearly, Democrats knew when they nominated him that Barack Obama was not eligible to serve as president of the United States.  The question is, what did Nancy Pelosi know, and when did she know it?  She should be put under oath in a court of law and made to answer that question.

Contrary to Senator Coburn’s assertion, the obligation to properly vet candidates for president and vice president lies only with: a) the party nominating conventions, b) the members of the Electoral College, and c) the members of Congress, in joint session.  The party responsibility is implicit; the responsibilities of the Electoral College and the Congress are explicit.

In a Dec. 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.”  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.

In other words, the matter of Obama’s eligibility is still a matter before Congress because the Congress has not questioned and evaluated his eligibility, and in spite of the fact that the state election boards printed his name on the 2008 General Election ballot, the responsibility for vetting him is still on their collective plates.

In 2008, the delegates to the Democratic National Convention failed us, the 365 Democratic members of the Electoral College failed us, and the 535 members of the U.S. Congress failed us.  In order to clarify the issue and to avoid a future constitutional crisis over presidential eligibility, the Congress should take immediate steps to establish, by law, the definition of the term “natural born Citizen.”  To clarify the intentions of the Founding Fathers, the term should be defined as: “an individual born to parents, both of whom were United States citizens at the time of the birth, and neither of whom owed allegiance to any foreign sovereignty at the time of the birth.”

The American people will come to know that, between Jan. 20 2009, and Jan. 20, 2013, the man who occupied the Oval Office was not eligible to sit in that chair.  And while it would be all but impossible to reverse four years of presidential acts and appointments, by codifying the definition of “natural born Citizen” the people can be satisfied that we will never again suffer the likes of Barack Obama.  But the wrong that has been done to the American people will not soon be forgotten.  The delegates to the 2008 Democrat National Convention, the Democrat members of the 2008 Electoral College, and the members of the 111th Congress, of both parties, will carry the shame of their treachery to their graves.

SEE ALSO: Other pieces by Hollrah

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Joe Biden Misses Opportunity for Another ‘Big F—in Deal’

EDITOR’S NOTE: Below is a guest post by Paul R. Hollrah, a resident of Oklahoma who writes from the perspective of a veteran conservative politico and retired corporate government relations executive whose life experience includes having served two terms as a member of the Electoral College. Even if you disagree with him, this piece will make you think long and hard.

On Friday evening, the Fox News Channel interrupted regular programming for a short newsbreak. In one of the news briefs, the Fox reporter announced that Barack Obama had arrived in Kenya, “his ancestral home,” where he would be reunited with family relatives… uncles, aunts, cousins, etc.

In that brief announcement, Fox News… and I assume every other major network… overlooked what was potentially one of the biggest news stories of the year. For the first time since March 30, 1981, when John Hinckley, Jr. attempted to assassinate Ronald Reagan outside the Washington Hilton Hotel, the reliance on Section 3 of the 25th Amendment was an absolute necessity.

President Barack Obama delivers a health care address to a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Sept. 9, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama delivers a health care address to a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Sept. 9, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Section 3 of the 25th Amendment reads as follows:

“Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.”

The basis for the applicability of the 25th Amendment during Obama’s recent visit to Kenya is contained in official regulations of the Consular Affairs Division of the U.S. Department of State, which read 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…

“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 (emphasis added).

Chapter VI, Section 87(3), Subsection 1 of the 1963 Kenyan Constitution provided as follows:

“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.)

Subsection 2 of Chapter VI, Section 87(3) provided as follows:

“Every person who, having been born outside Kenya, is on 11th December, 1963, a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies 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 Dec. 12, 1963, through automatic operation of Kenyan law, Barack Obama acquired dual U.S.-Kenyan citizenship. Obama did not actively seek dual US-Kenyan citizenship; it was his by “automatic operation” of Kenyan law and “by descent” from his Kenyan father and his American mother. And since there is no known evidence that Obama ever took steps to renounce his American citizenship in favor of Kenyan citizenship, he automatically lost his Kenyan citizenship under provisions of Chapter VI, Section 97(1) of the Kenyan constitution on Aug. 4, 1984, his twenty-third birthday.

However, that was not the end of Obama’s official ties with Kenya, the country of his father’s birth. During fiscal year 2010, the Obama administration spent some $24 million in USAID funds in Kenya in support of a “yes” vote on a new Kenyan Constitution. Chapter 3, Section 14 of the 2010 constitution provides as follows:

A person is a citizen (of Kenya) 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).

That constitution, adopted Aug. 4, 2010 (Obama’s 49th birthday) reinstates him as a citizen of Kenya “by birth.” It also puts to rest forever the question of whether or not Obama currently holds dual U.S.-Kenyan citizenship.

What interest Obama may have had in the outcome of the Kenyan constitutional referendum… a level of interest that would cause him to spend some $24 million of U.S. taxpayer funds in support of a “yes” vote… remains to be seen. He has chosen not to enlighten us on that subject. However, given the fact that he became a “citizen of Kenya by birth” upon ratification of the 2010 constitution, and given the fact that the rules of the U.S. State Department require him to obey the laws of Kenya anytime he visits that country, we are faced with the rather knotty question of whether or not he can serve as president of the United States while on Kenyan soil. Further, is it even possible to simultaneously obey the laws of two countries?

I would suggest that Obama’s ability to serve as president of the United States while on Kenyan soil is highly problematic and could have been resolved by invoking Section 3 of the 25th Amendment, making Joe Biden Acting President during the two days of Obama’s stay in Kenya. It is a question that should keep legal scholars awake at night.

Biden may on occasion slip into the Oval Office when Obama is on the golf course, just to sit in the big leather chair behind the Resolute Desk. Regardless, Obama’s trip to Kenya was Biden’s big chance to go down in history as one of only two men, along with George H.W. Bush, who have served as Acting President of the United States. Unfortunately, Obama’s desire not to contribute to the question of his own constitutional eligibility blew Biden’s big moment.

The mainstream media and Washington politicians may not think it’s anything to worry about, but I disagree. To quote Biden, himself, “This is a big f _ _ _ ing deal.”

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