Many people in this country are only recently beginning to disentangle two separate issues having to do with President Obama's eligibility to be President of the United States. The first has to do with whether or not President Obama was born in Hawaii. This is the controversy shoved down our throats by the media since it helps polarize us via the portrayal of fringe groups hell bent on proving a conspiracy theory about Obama's birth certificate being forged. As of last week, this particular controversy includes sworn testimony in a Georgia Court from several officials who claim President Obama's records/documents are forgeries. I AM NOT INTERESTED IN THIS ISSUE. I believe President Obama was born in Hawaii and that Hawaii has released his birth certificate. But the Georgia court did not convene for the sole purpose of examining birther conspiracies about birth certificates, passports and social security numbers. It also convened to attempt to answer the question as to whether or not President Obama is a natural born citizen as required by the constitution.
|Supreme Court Oldy|
The media for it's part has portrayed only one issue--the birth certificate /conspiracy theory issue. They have done nothing to cover the Natural Born Citizen issue. Therein lies the problem.
If you cruise around the web and try to educate yourself on this topic, you will quickly find many negative comments about birthers. It is as if the birthers are to blame for this situation.
Case in point. Observe how determined CNN's Anderson Cooper is to prevent the Natural Born Citizenship issue from overtaking the birth certificate and records issue in this December 2010 interview. Pay close attention to how Cooper cuts off Texas Representative Leo Berman when the issue of Obama's Kenyan father arises? What does Cooper do? He goes back to the conspiracy theory and throughout the rest of the interview, we never hear anything more about the dual citizenship President Obama was born with due to his father being a citizen of Kenya, part of the British Empire at the time. Instead, Cooper ends the interview by suggesting that the entire eligibility issue is based purely on politics and conspiracy theories.
Here's the problem. Guys like Anderson Cooper are painting this NBC issue as a non-issue by suffocating it in the birth certificate conspiracy hatched by Internet rumor mongers. The fact is that our very own Congress recognized long ago that this NBC ISSUE is a REAL ISSUE with very big stakes and which could lead to legal catastrophe of biblical proportions if not addressed. But did Congress solve the problem? Did Congress clarify the law around this issue so that controversies such as this cannot occur in the future? No and no. As much as the Anderson Cooper's of the world try to pin this problem on birthers, what he should be doing is working with his producers (people presumably smarter than he is) to figure out how our democracy actually works. Congress creates the laws. The Courts settle disputes arising from disagreement about the meaning of those laws. Birthers are not a division of our government. They do not create ambiguous rules which allow controversial lawsuits to disrupt the governing of our nation.
|Anderson Cooper Contemplating The Insignificance of The Birth Certificate|
1) More than 2 dozen constitutional amendments have been introduced BUT NOT PASSED in Congress to clarify the meaning & significance of the Natural Born Citizen requirement for Presidential Eligibility. (USA Today-Martin Kasendorf)
If the NBC issue is so cut and dry, why has Congress tried to change it 24 times? The media makes it sound like everyone with a birth certificate from the USA entitles one to hold office. Anyone holding a contrary view is a conspiracy theorist.
2) Why has Congress tried to change the NBC clause in the Constitution? For many of the reasons described in this article.
Whether you agree with that position or not, it's a simple fact that the EXISTENCE of the NBC requirement requires a Constitutional Amendment to repair. Let's examine the public record to learn more.
4) In 2003, Senator Orin Hatch introduced the "Equal Opportunity to Govern" Amendment which would have removed the Natural Born Citizen requirement for becoming President of the United States. On October 5, 2004, the full Senate Judiciary Committee (20 USA Senators) held a hearing on this very topic. Expert witnesses were brought in to testify and provide written submissions. Sadly, this hearing has been removed from CSPAN's archives. I wonder why. Instead of informed discussion on the topic, CSPAN perhaps begrudgingly held a call in program asking the President should be a natural born citizen to demonstrate to people like me that Americans do not understand the issue.
|Yeah, No Kidding.|
5) In 2005, another attempt via an AMENDMENT proposed by Republican Dana Rohrabacher.
|Confused but smoking hot.|
Again, this was unconstitutional, however.
7) Infamously in 2008, another group of legislators got together to fix the problem Senator McCain had as a result of being born to military serving in Panama...where he was born. They passed another non-constitutional non-binding resolution recognizing not that those born to military personnel serving abroad are NBC's but merely Senator McCain was an NBC. How do you like those apples military folks everywhere? Of course, it should be noted that both Hillary Clinton and Senator Obama added their names to this bill. I wonder why.
|Definition of NBC Being Recorded In Invisible Ink|
9) After 2008, you will not see any more significant discussion of NBC in Congress. I wonder why. It's because they are all hiding and hoping it isn't as bad as it really is. In 2009, 2010 and 2011, you will only find records of lawsuits about NBC. I have to point out one of my favorites filed by David Harris. Who do you think he wanted to sue? CONGRESS!!! :-) He wanted to sue Congress so he could vote for Jennifer Granholm (who was born in Canada). "Plaintiff asks the court to invalidate Article II and declare Granholm eligible for president because he intends to vote for her in the next presidential election."
10) Before, I move on, I'm going to present yet another example of Congressional research on this matter because I think it represents uniquely the strongest cases both for and against removing the NBC clause from the constitution.
Here is the transcript of the hearing.
Before you get the impression that I am a research genius, let me debunk that by pointing out that none of the above was difficult to identify due to the search engine installed at gpo.gov or at CSPAN. Try it yourself. You will find discussions, debates, confusion, speculation and lack of action over decades related to the Natural Born Citizenship issue.
|Confused in 1960s|
|More 1960s Confusion|
I've proven that the media has used the birth certificate issue to cloud the issue of NBC (yes, Anderson Cooper represents all media--show me counter-examples if you don't believe me). Now I'm going to prove to you that Congress has done the same thing in the same vein. In 2004, when the full Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings on this topic, the controversy was well understood as having everything to do with the Constitution and nothing to do with a Hawaiian birth certificate. Let's take a quick look at who sat on that committee.
|Committee On the Judiciary United States Senate 108th Congress 2004|
|Senate Judiciary Committee Busy Thinking|
When constituents of these Senators started asking questions about the NBC issue in 2008 & 2009, how do you think these fine upstanding folks responded? Yes, EXACTLY like Anderson Cooper at CNN. Underplay and ignore the NBC issue and focus entirely on the birth certificate. Guess what folks--these are Republicans AND Democrats who held hearings on the NBC issue but suddenly in 2008, their memories are a little foggy. (yet another reason for congressional term limits) Let's enumerate and examine their responses on this issue as recorded here.
|Senator Jon Kyl|
|Senator John Cornyn|
and I will hold the President-elect accountable as Congress works to quickly identify and eliminate inefficient, ineffective, and outdated federal programs.” He didn’t respond to the eligibility issue.
|Senator Charles Schumer|
|Senator Saxby Chambliss|
|Senator Arlen Specter|
certificate after numerous claims were made about his eligibility to hold the office of President. The released copy created additional questions, because it contained a blacked out department file number and was apparently missing a seal, and it was impossible to detect raised text, a common characteristic of
official documents. There were satisfactory answers to such questions, however: the department file number had been blacked out to prevent hackers from breaking into the Health Department’s system, and the State places the seal on the back of the certificate. The website Factcheck.org investigated the matter and provided high-resolution photos taken at multiple angles that revealed the raised text and the seal on the back of the document. … Accordingly, it has been concluded that President Obama has met the constitutional qualifications to be President of the United States.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, R-Pa.: "Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution specifies the qualifications for this executive office. It states that no person except for a natural born American citizen is eligible to run for President of the United States. Also, the candidate must be at least thirty-five years of age and have resided in the United States for at least fourteen years.
President Obama meets these constitutional requirements. If you were not already aware, on April 27, 2011 the White House released a copy of President Obama’s long form birth certificate. He was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on August 4, 1961. According to the Fourteenth Amendment, all persons born in the United States are considered citizens of the United States. Under these criteria, President Obama, a 47-year old U.S. citizen, who has resided in the United States for longer than fourteen years, is eligible to be President."
|Senator Dianne Feinsten|
Chief among the skeptics at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing was Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who said she was very reluctant to support changes to the Constitution's Article 2, Section 1. It sets the requirements for serving as president -- a minimum of 35 years of age, 14 years continuous residence in the country and being a "natural-born citizen.''
"I don't think we should move precipitously,'' Feinstein said. She said the Constitution's ban on immigrants serving as president created a "reserved right of birth for the presidency. It may not be a bad thing. It may be a strengthening thing,'' a way of holding the country together by allowing immigrants to meld into American society and permitting their children to run for president.
"I've never had anyone approach me and say you have to do this because it's so important,'' Feinstein said. Besides, she added, "I think this amendment will have a very hard time'' getting the needed two-thirds votes in both houses of Congress and approval from three-fourths of the states.
Sen. Larry Craig, R-Pa.: An adoption advocate, Craig said Americans bring home 25,000 foreign children annually for adoption, and "to suggest those children would be denied that right (of serving as president) is a tough one."
At this point, I'm sick to my stomach and really don't want to keep going on and on. But I have to post one more post-2008 remark from a Senator who absolutely knew what the NBC issue was all about but again painted it as a birth certificate / citizenship issue. I'm talking about Senator Orrin Hatch...the guy who called the hearings and proposed the Amendment to eliminate the natural born citizenship clause. His remarks take the cake. The interviewer had a good idea. Find out what Congress thinks about this controversial issue. But since the media wasn't doing it's job, she wasn't aware that Senator Hatch actually held hearings on the topic. The interviewer asks the Senator...rather awkwardly...what is a natural born citizen? His response is an answer to a different question: what is a citizen? The man held hearings on the NBC topic but can't put it all together. But then suddenly he snaps out of it and recalls that the constitution says you have to be a natural born citizen "and that means born to a Citizen of this country." Not a British National. Then he ends with this, "my understanding of the law is that if one of the parent's is a citizen, then the child of that parent will be naturally born."
|Senator Orrin Hatch|
This restriction has become an anachronism that is decidedly un- American. Consistent with our demo- cratic form of government, our citizens should have every opportunity to choose their leaders free of unreason- able limitations. Indeed, no similar re- striction bars other critical members of government, including the Senate, the House of Representatives, the Su- preme Court, or the President’s most trusted cabinet officials."
So you say, well, set aside what Congress thinks and what the media thinks about this issue. What do legal scholars say about this issue? Unfortunately, there's not much to say other than to admit the central push of this article: it is an unsettled matter of law that Congress could have fixed but now the courts have to address. Temple Law Professor Peter Spiro. Note that Prof Spiro said there was a good argument that Senator John McCain was not a NBC. Neither of his parents were foreign nationals.
|Dude Afraid to Learn More|
|Reader Recognizing Length Issue With This Article|
|"Alien offspring can't be POTUS you dopes!|
Can't you read your own laws?" -Xipizi
This damage to our democracy and our democratic election process is entirely the fault of Congress and the Media. Make sure you let them know how you feel about that.
One thing the Obama administration could do right now to fix this is to file for a declatory ruling with the Supreme Court. (I'm sort of making this part up.) If the Obama Campaign is so certain he is a Natural Born Citizen as prescribed by the Constitution, I think he owes it to his constituents to seek this relief. Don't worry, no need to produce the birth certificate!
What do you think the courts want to do with this issue? They want to toss it back to Congress or they want to say that individuals do not have a right to enforce this clause in the Constitution. Note especially too how CSpan describes this video: "Wiley Drake, a former vice presidential candidate in 2008 and former presidential candidate Alan Keyes, are two of the lead plaintiffs challenging the validity of President Obama's birth certificate. " But watch the case. It's about the NBC issue!
PPS Note in the above court case how the plaintiff mentions the laws in 26 states barring electors from voting outside of the popular vote. But the electors are supposed to validate the candidates.... do you see how this game is played? Around and around it goes.....
They are stealing your democracy and you are letting them do it. Yes, you!