Saturday, July 26, 2008

Article 2, Section 1, Clause 5, US Constitution

This began as a comment to this Thursday post from M. Simon at his Power and Control blog and has been extensively edited and added to. Go there for background and further thoughts on this issue.

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.

There is a determinedly ignored and/or dismissed question regarding Sen. Barack Obama's status as regards the qualification for the office of President of the United States. The requirement is that one must be born a US citizen. Some actual experience with this circumstance may prove useful to advancing the discussion.

My son was born in Munich in the then-Federal Republic of Germany. Much as in the US (and most other countries as far as I know), being born in Germany makes one a potential German citizen. He had until his 18th birthday (if I recall correctly) to register such a claim with German officialdom.

His mother being British, he can also provide documentary evidence of their relationship to claim British subject status, with no time/age limit on his doing so.

After his arrival home from the krankenhaus (one of the few German words I remember how to spell correctly - hospital), his mother and I took him, my passport, her passport, our marriage certificate, his certificate of live birth from the Munich hospital and a few US dollars to the US consulate in Munich. They copied the forms, kept the money and provided we three with a US certificate of citizenship in our son's name, issued by the US Department of State. Thus, my son was not born a resident of any state, but a Citizen of the United States. I, for example, am a born resident of California and thereby a natural born US citizen, so we both meet this primary qualification for the Presidency, if by two different mechanism's.

Thus endeth the anecdotal lesson.

Presuming Obama's mother wasn't on US military active duty (as a dependant spouse, say), a foreign-posted Department of State FSO or some other category offering specialised mechanism for registration of birth, then she did something very like the same for her son. If so, then finding a copy of his State Department-issued certificate of citizenship shouldn't prove too burdensome. Nor should proving it's provenance.

There remains the possible alternative that she failed to do these fairly straightforward things and she or Grandma subsequently "acquired" a document for registration purposes, being fairly confident none of normal officialdom (schools, motor vehicles, etc) makes much if any effort to confirm a proffered document's legitimacy.

I would think that a quite straightforward background search (by US law enforcement - nobody has a right to privacy from them :)) into this issue would positively resolve this question within a few days at most. Since there is a constitutional requirement to satisfy in this case, I would also think (IANAL) there ought to be grounds for some interested body to file an action in the US courts to obtain such final resolution on that basis, whatever Mr. Obama's desires on the issue might be.

Without delving too deeply into the conspiracy fever swamps, I have to wonder why no-one has filed such an action with regard to Sen. Obama's legal citizenship status. To the best of my knowledge, the act of registration via the State Department is the established mechanism for meeting this constitutional requirement for citizens born outside the US and it's territories. I think it quite unlikely that a legal definition of the phrase "Citizen of the United States" hasn't long since been formally determined by the US courts, along with the legal requirements and procedures for establishing same. I also strongly suspect that this will not prove to be a status that can be successfully asserted very long after the fact, either.

Were it to be proven that Obama doesn't satisfy this citizenship requirement (for whatever reason), then his US Senatorial election comes into question also:

No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have
attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen
of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be
an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen. Article 1, Section 3, Clause 3, US Constitution

Specifically, "... and been nine years a Citizen of the United States,".

If Mr. Obama doesn't meet the constitutional requirement for office via the mechanism(s) as established by US law and treaty, then he would necessarily have committed an act of fraud at the very least to have attained his current office, never mind that for which he is presently campaigning. And I know of no mechanism by which such a legal background check to verify legitimacy is performed as part of the normal procedure for achieving elective office. A candidate swears under penalty of perjury that s/he meets the established qualifications and provides documents that state the same. It's up to any opponents or other third-parties to dis-prove such a claim or call it sufficiently into question for the court to insert itself into the elective process. If Mr. Obama was born in Hawaii as he asserts, then he needs to resolve this question with an original document or other State-certified copy of same, but an original document not some electronic "copy". If he was born in Kenya (or Canada, or wherever else proves to be the case) then he needs to provide the US government document(s) that assert his American citizenship. Should Obama continue to refuse to do either, then the US courts should be resorted to and his legal status determined that way.

I'm not willing to blatantly speculate about how or why such a legal motion hasn't been filed to date; maybe the cited "document expert" is an early step in the process of doing precisely that. I am concerned, deeply worried actually, over how this country will react if such a ruling should occur after an Obama election victory this November.

Vice-President Gore and the DNC initiated a Constitutional crisis in November 2000 and wide-spread violence as a result was only narrowly avoided. National political discourse has only deteriorated since then and Obama injects racial and religious issues, along with his campaign rhetoric, that threaten to incite passions even further than the essentially purely political dispute of eight years ago did.

If we're gonna do this, t'were best done sooner.


Anonymous said...

Why would you think he was born out of the states? He was born in Hawaii, which last time I checked, was the 50th state. Seems to me you're grasping here....and there's nothing there to take hold of.

Will Brown said...

Which is sort of the point isn't it? If there is nothing to the story - and frankly, I don't have any idea what the truth is - then why this elaborate effort to not definatively dis-prove the accusations? Responsibility for the narrative of his own story rests firmly with Mr. Obama, not his critics or political opponents. What purpose of his does continuation of this speculation serve?

Whether or not Barack Obama has anything to hide, his conduct in this matter at the very least presents the appearance of such. In the presence of determined disembling, the absence of something to take hold of is itself cause for suspicion.

Which I regard as a healthy attitude to take toward any politician, regardless of nationality or party affiliation.