Patterico's Pontifications

2/27/2008

The New York Times: As Desperate As Hillary?

Filed under: 2008 Election,General,Media Bias — Patterico @ 8:53 pm

The answer is yes, if the story I discuss in this post is any indication.

The New York Times publishes Part Two in its series: Pathetic Attempts to Derail John McCain. Today’s installment is titled McCains Canal Zone Birth Prompts Queries About Whether That Rules Him Out:

The question has nagged at the parents of Americans born outside the continental United States for generations: Dare their children aspire to grow up and become president? In the case of Senator John McCain of Arizona, the issue is becoming more than a matter of parental daydreaming.

Mr. McCains likely nomination as the Republican candidate for president and the happenstance of his birth in the Panama Canal Zone in 1936 are reviving a musty debate that has surfaced periodically since the founders first set quill to parchment and declared that only a natural-born citizen can hold the nations highest office.

. . . .

Mr. McCain was born on a military installation in the Canal Zone, where his mother and father, a Navy officer, were stationed.

Simon at Stubborn Facts addressed this some time ago, in this post. The idea that McCain wouldn’t qualify is, quite simply, ridiculous. Even the New York Times can’t muster a single expert who really thinks McCain is likely to lose the issue in court — assuming it gets to court, which it won’t.

Next!

UPDATE: At Hot Air, commenter 29Victor has the perfect riposte:

Good thing McCain wasnt born on February 29th, theyd be debating whether or not he is over 35.

Good one.

UPDATE x2: Xrlq has more.

UPDATE x3: Gerald A: “Would the Times interpretation also rule out Cesarian section and induced labor births?”

Good one.

119 Responses to “The New York Times: As Desperate As Hillary?”

  1. Didn’t Rasmussen and Pew put out the results of polls today showing something like 66% and 57% of respondents thought the NY Times was wrong to run the first McCain story. Keller will probably express surprise again and say people obviously missed the point of the story or were too dumb to understand it.

    How about a story on Keller’s infidelity? It sounded juicy.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  2. I really hope “moderate” Republicans are watching this situation closely. The NYT’s betrayal of McCain is must be taught to Conservatives for many generations.

    Demetri (c3f397)

  3. I wonder what his birth certificate looks like.

    People born to U.S. military families in Britain – but delivered off base – are given dual citizenship.

    Looks like McCain was born on a U.S. military reservation within the Canal Zone, so he’s covered.

    steve (14d246)

  4. PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE — I beg the DNC or MoveOn or the ACLU — file a lawsuit in Federal District Court in New York or San Francisco seeking to bar John McCain — a decorated war hero and POW — from running for President because he was born in the Panama Canal Zone while his father was stationed there by the US Navy.

    If they did that, there is no way they would ever find 5 votes on the Supreme Court to define “natural born citizen” to exclude a military dependent born in a military installation overseas.

    If they were to file such a suit, I believe John McCain would receive about 95% of the military and retirmed military vote as well as their families.

    PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE.

    Do it. Just do it.

    WLS (68fd1f)

  5. This man was a major candidate for Prez in 2000. The GOP’s Hillary. The Silver medal. Is anyone really going to believe this issue had not long ago been looked at?

    And jeez that guy’s old. That was probably the actual intent of the story, to get folks to realize he was born during the great depression.

    Jem (4cdfb7)

  6. A child born of even ONE parent who is a US citizen is automatically a full US citizen from birth, and the geographical or geopolitical situation of their birth is irrelevant. Period.

    sherlock (b4bbcc)

  7. You guys don’t understand what is really going on here.

    We want all of you to go on record arguing that a US military base is soverign US territory. Thus you can undermine the whole legal cocoon that the Bush administration has built around Gitmo – with their absurd claim that it is not under US legal jurisdiction.

    You want McCain, then we own Gitmo.

    JoeCitizen (d2928e)

  8. The NYT gets to ask a perfectly legitimate legal question and watch conservatives get angry and defend McCain’s eligibility based on a million different “shoulds” while ignoring the obvious fact that McCain was naturally born in Panama.

    They love watching conservatives beat up on the Constitution, or at least beating up on the idea of “strict constructionism”.

    j curtis (5d5cd7)

  9. No wonder McCain is for amnesty for illegals! It’s his ticket in, LOL!

    Patricia (f56a97)

  10. The NEW YORK SLIMES has sen its better days it may never fold up but they have fewer readers now becuase of its left-wing slant

    krazy kagu (c6e87a)

  11. But… isn’t it?

    1. Embassy grounds are the legal territory of the country to whom it is embassy for. I would presume that the same is true of military installations.

    2. A natural born citizen of the USA should be born of two US citizens. Even if you added the necessity of being born on US grounds, see (1).

    Gregory (f7735e)

  12. As JoeCitizen correctly points out, the argument my co-blogger Simon makes potentially opens up a slippery slope, by pulling in Gitmo as “U.S. soil.” As I point out in a comment at that post, it’s not necessary to reach that conclusion in order to find McCain eligible to run. The simple fact is, he was a citizen from the moment of his birth, by virtue of the laws in effect at the time he was born. Thus, he is a natural-born citizen. The idea that children of military parents and ambassadors are citizens of their parents’ country is well-settled in the old British jurisprudence which the Supreme Court would rely on to establish the meaning of “natural born citizen” in litigation over this subject.

    I would point out to j curtis and others in this thread that, as you can see from the link at Stubborn Facts, this meme has mostly fomented on the far, far, FAR right of the blogosphere. The left knows full well it would be utter poison to their candidate to push this. It’s the McCain haters on the right who have an incentive to push this. They’re actually potentially shooting themselves in the foot, because they seem to be the same people who are trying to argue, in immigration debates, that the 14th Amendment does NOT mandate that the children of illegal immigrants must be citizens of the U.S., even though born on American soil.

    PatHMV (0e077d)

  13. #11 Your point 2 is incorrect.

    My own children were born in a foreign land, and not in any US enclave of any kind, and with only ONE parent who was a US citizen (me), but they are full natural born US citizens, and have the passports to prove it.

    sherlock (b4bbcc)

  14. I should add that while #11 is merely incorrect, those of you who are arguing that McCain is not a real US citizen, or that some geo-political real-estate trick is necessary to make him one, are totally full of horse-manure.

    sherlock (b4bbcc)

  15. So the North Vietnamese imprisoned and tortured a Panamanian citizen for five and half years?

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  16. As a military brat, I know that sons of American military personnel born in Germany were subject to the German draft if they returned to Germany after they were eighteen.

    Likewise, when I was attending High School in Holland for military dependents, two of my classmates received Turkish draft notices because they had been born at an American military base in Turkey.

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  17. 12

    Instead of a foot shot, it could be seen as a call for an amendment that would validate McCain’s presidential run while at the same time taking care of the anchor babies.

    As for “old British jurisprudence”, I don’t think there is anything there regarding citizens. Weren’t they called “subjects”? It’s a strange idea that we begin looking at the exact tyrannical system we rebelled against to give us clues regarding the privileges of citizenship.

    j curtis (5d5cd7)

  18. Hey, any place that has a popularity rating 6% lower than Bush’s in a poll they conduct themselves is a place that really just deserves out pity…

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  19. PatHMV: Saying McCain, born of at least one U.S. citizen, is not a ‘natural born’ U.S. citizen because he was not born upon U.S. soil is not the same thing as saying a child born of illegals on U.S. soil is a citizen.

    Iow, the incorrect, “All ‘natural born’ U.S. citizens must be born on U.S. soil”, is not the same as, “Everyone born on U.S. soil is a U.S. citizen.”

    I don’t even see how the two issues are related, apart from the fact that McCain’s parents were U.S. citizens while the “illegal” parents of a child born on U.S. soil were not.

    J. Peden (a4d2b5)

  20. You want McCain, then we own Gitmo.

    The question of McCain’s citizenship status has absolutely nothing to do with Gitmo, no matter how much you want it to, Joe.

    J. Peden (a4d2b5)

  21. So? Hillary was born in America the daughter of an unholy mating between a jackal and Lucifer. Doesn’t really change her citizenship status. I don’t see the Times picking on her just because she’s the Antichrist, LOL!

    Or maybe that’s because they’re her dark minions.
    Now THERE’S a front page story I could believe! But would that be news to anyone, really?

    JohnnyT (69b050)

  22. It just occurred to me. Traitors are technically not recognized as citizens under the law, and the Times speaks treason fluently and often.

    Using that legal guideline, what right do Pinchy, Keller and the editorial staff of the Times have of even publishing a major newspaper in America? They should all be working for Al Qaeda or Hillary or something.

    Oh, I forgot. They ARE!

    JohnnyT (69b050)

  23. I think there will in fact be a lawsuit, but it will be a sideshow and get little notice.

    Or had you forgotten the Twelfth Amendment challenge to the simultaneous eligibility of George W. Bush as President and Dick Cheney as Vice President based on the allegation — effectively disproved — that they were both residents of Texas? Jones v. Bush, 122 F. Supp. 2d 713 (N.D. Tex), aff’d mem., 244 F.3d 134 (5th Cir. 2000), cert. denied, 531 U.S. 1062 (2001).

    That nice and (had it been mishandled) potentially catastrophic piece of constitutional litigation featured a former professor of mine at Texas Law School, the nationally renowned Sandy Levinson, squaring off as an Al Gore proxy on behalf of “concerned Texas voters,” against supposedly constitutional law know-nothing … (wait for it) … Harriet Miers.

    Given that there’s likely to be a lawsuit, ‘twould be best for McCain to force the issue and get it over with, IMHO. I’d go on the offensive and file for a declaratory judgment in an appropriate venue of my own choosing, were I him. There’s a handful of icky, tricky standing and party issues, but since it’s a DJ action and the point is to tag everyone who might make the contrary argument to the one you’re trying to establish preemptively, I’d start by considering suing the Democratic Party, the campaign organization of its nominee, the nominee, and maybe even (heh!) Dick Cheney, in his constitutional role in presiding over the receipt of the electoral votes.

    Beldar (098090)

  24. Non-legal, purely personal anecdote: One of my 85-year-old dad’s most vivid memories is set in the Canal Zone, from when the troop transport on which he was a junior officer, the USS Zeilin, was transiting the canal en route back to the Atlantic in early 1946 after “the Mighty Z’s” WW2 service in many of the greatest amphibious landings of the Pacific. They had some shore leave in the Zone — a semi-permanent assignment to which during non-wartime was famously good duty for a Navy man and his family (like McCain’s dad in the 1930s) to have drawn. My dad’s visit included watching the N.Y. Yankees in a spring training exhibition game at Balboa Stadium featuring (the just returned from the service) Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio. As TIME magazine described the game later that season:

    One good proof that DiMaggio had not lost any power since he played in the ’42 World Series was one terrible wallop he took at a ball in a Panama exhibition game—it landed 476 feet, 10 inches from homeplate and rolled another 101 feet.

    I wish I could say that my dad had the souvenir ball from that blast, but even without it, that game remains his all-time favorite.

    Beldar (098090)

  25. Beldar, I never heard about the lawsuit about Bush and Cheney… Could you point me to something that isn’t 75% legalese? :)

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  26. Scott: the Twelfth Amendment requires the electors making up the Electoral College to “meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves.” To the extent that Dick Cheney was “really” an inhabitant of Texas rather than Wyoming, that would have posed a problem for Texas electors, who would have been free to vote for Bush as President, or Cheney as Vice President, but not both.

    I knew the “natural born citizen” argument had been raised with George Romney, but didn’t know it went back to Goldwater. Like the notion that Bill Clinton can be Vice President, it seems to be one of those silly memes that just won’t die. I find it odd that while none of the individuals consulted in the story endorsed it, none would go on the record dismissing it as frivolous, either. Allow me.

    The whole theory is based on the notion that the U.S. Constitution only guarantees citizenship to those born in the U.S., not to those who acquire citizenship by other means (e.g., by being born to U.S. citizens). For one thing, it’s a slightly strained reading of Article II, Section 1, which says nothing about constitutional guarantees. For another, and more importantly, the original Constitution contained no provision for automatic citizenship for anybody. So if McCain is not a “natural born citizen” within the meaning of Article II, Section I, then neither was any President elected before the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified in 1868, and Presidents Tyler, Polk, Taylor, Fillmore, Pierce, Buchanan, Lincoln and Johnson were all impostors.

    Xrlq (62cad4)

  27. Would the Times interpetation also rule out Cesarean Section and induced labor births?

    Gerald A (862216)

  28. JoeCitizen,

    The NYT gets to ask a perfectly legitimate legal question and watch conservatives get angry and defend McCain’s eligibility based on a million different “shoulds” while ignoring the obvious fact that McCain was naturally born in Panama.

    You want McCain, then we own Gitmo.

    Uh, no. Gitmo is Cuban soil, leased by the Navy for $1 a year. The Panama Canal Zone was a territory of the USA from 1903 to 1979. See the Cuban-American Treaty and Hay-Bunau Varilla Treaty.

    You’ll get nothing and like it. But do be a dear and explain why you want Gitmo’s denizens to be on American soil….

    Gregory,

    1. Embassy grounds are the legal territory of the country to whom it is embassy for. I would presume that the same is true of military installations.

    Nope. Extraterritorial status is according to international law. Overseas military installations exist only by agreement with the host government. As for our Gitmo lease, it was blessed long in advance long before Castro.

    Pablo (99243e)

  29. PatHMV,

    I would point out to j curtis and others in this thread that, as you can see from the link at Stubborn Facts, this meme has mostly fomented on the far, far, FAR right of the blogosphere. The left knows full well it would be utter poison to their candidate to push this.

    Ummmm…. New. York. Times.

    Pablo (99243e)

  30. The writer in that NYT piece should be ashamed of trying to claim that McCain is some foreigner. If he wasn’t a decorated, POW hero, it would be more understandable. But this is nonsense. It would be a transvestite of justice if McCain couldn’t run for president on a technicality such as this. He is as American as they come.

    Psyberian (d18acc)

  31. Betsy at Betsy’s Page draws our attention to
    TITLE 8 > CHAPTER 12 > SUBCHAPTER III > Part I > § 1403
    § 1403. Persons born in the Canal Zone or Republic of Panama on or after February 26, 1904

    (a) Any person born in the Canal Zone on or after February 26, 1904, and whether before or after the effective date of this chapter, whose father or mother or both at the time of the birth of such person was or is a citizen of the United States, is declared to be a citizen of the United States.

    That seems to say it all.

    kimsch (2ce939)

  32. Geez, kimsch, you’d think that the professional journalists at the NYT could dig that up instead of leaving that bit of legwork to some stupid crabgrass blogger.

    Pablo (99243e)

  33. A child born of even ONE parent who is a US citizen is automatically a full US citizen from birth, and the geographical or geopolitical situation of their birth is irrelevant. Period.

    Can I find this in the law somewhere? I know someone who his entire life has believed, to his chagrin, that he is ineligible to become president.

    aunursa (499b81)

  34. Having been born out the US in a US Army hospital, I can tell you that the court order that declared me to be a “natural born” US citizen and allowed the State Department to issue me a “Certificate of Citizenship” when I was 6 years old, also allowed me to become President of the United States (should millions of my fellow citizens agree).

    Much like the old joke about the man released from a mental hospital ..
    Just how many of you have a “Certificate of Citizenship” ?

    Neo (cba5df)

  35. JoeCitizen (comment #7) – if you click through to my post at SF that Patterico links, you’ll see that I explicitly address and differentiate Guantanamo. My thesis is essentially that when determining whether someone is a natural-born citizen (as opposed to having citizenship from birth conferred by statute pursuant to Congress’ naturalization power), one looks to the sovereignty of the soil under the base, not the flag flying over the base. Guantanamo is under the sovereignty of Cuba; the canal zone was at the time under the sovereignty of the United States (so I contend, at least). That thesis isn’t a slam-dunk, by any means, and Pat’s alternative view – which, I should emphasize, reaches the same result from much the same premises by a somewhat different route – is worth reading, also at the link.

    J Curtis (comment #12) – we look to English practice contemporaneous with the adoption of the Constitution because for an originalist, the touchstone in construing legal documents is the original public meaning of its text, and in those formerly-English colonies, English practices and common law formed much of the background assumptions of the colonists. So, for example, Article III vests “the judicial power” in the Supreme Court and such inferior courts as Congress ordains and establishes. But it doesn’t say what “the judicial power” is – and nor would it need to:

    the Constitution presupposed an historic content for that phrase and relied on assumption by the judiciary of authority only over issues which are appropriate for disposition by judges. … Both by what they said and by what they implied, the framers of the Judiciary Article gave merely the outlines of what were to them the familiar operations of the English judicial system and its manifestations on this side of the ocean before the Union. Judicial power could come into play only in matters that were the traditional concern of the courts at Westminster and only if they arose in ways that to the expert feel of lawyers constituted ‘Cases’ or ‘Controversies.’ It was not for courts to meddle with matters that require no subtlety to be identified as political issues. And even as to the kinds of questions which were the staple of judicial business, it was not for courts to pass upon them as abstract, intellectual problems but only if a concrete, living contest between adversaries called for the arbitrament of law.

    Coleman v. Miller, 307 U.S. 433, 460 (1939) (opinion of Frankfurter, J.) (footenote omitted).

    Simon (23aca9)

  36. Kimsch (comment #31) – it doesn’t say it all, actually. No one disputes that Congress has the power to provide broad rules for naturalization. There is a dispute over whether the Constitution’s use of the term “natural born” citizens, and differentiation of them from naturalized citizens, recognizes a category of citizen that are beyond Congress’ power to create, antecedent to the powers granted in the Constitution itself. My argument is that the phrase “natural-born citizen” has fundamentally the same meaning as did “natural-born subject” at common law.

    Simon (23aca9)

  37. Since citizenship in Mr. McCain’s case is bestowed at birth, with no other hurdles to be met (such as residency length, civil tests, sponsorship, the taking of the oath, etc with naturalization) I would be that difference between natural born and naturalized.

    Years ago I was in Long Beach (Olympics time, the torch was being run through southern CA and I kept getting stuck behind it in traffic) at the Queen Mary and the oath was being administered to a group of about 100 new citizens. That was quite a moving ceremony. I will never forget those people and the pride that showed on their faces that they were now American Citizens. The culmination of a lot of hard work and a long time. They earned it.

    kimsch (2ce939)

  38. Kimsch – I’m not disparaging naturalized citizens for a moment. But the Constitution does differentiate for this singular purpose. Cf. Art. I Sect. 2 (“No person shall be a Representative who shall not have … been seven years a citizen of the United States”) and Sect. 3 (“No person shall be a Senator who shall not have … been nine years a citizen of the United States”) with Art. II Sect. 1 (“No person except a natural born citizen… shall be eligible to the office of President”). The Constitution authorizes Congress to set rules for naturalization, and it permits citizens who have completed the naturalization process defined by Congress to be elected to Congress. But I think it’s pellucidly clear that it does not permit naturalized citizens to seek the Presidency, a fortiori given that it has been understood to bear that meaning for the duration of the history of the Republic. There’s reasonable argument to be made over what it means to be a natural born citizen as Art. II uses that term, but in my view, it’s very clear that persons who are citizens by virtue of laws made pursuant to Congress’ naturalization power are not eligible to the office.

    Simon (23aca9)

  39. Simon, McCain is not naturalized, he was a citizen at birth.
    TITLE 8 > CHAPTER 12 > SUBCHAPTER III > Part I > § 1401

    The following shall be nationals and citizens of the United States at birth:

    Anyone born in the US falls under subsection (a), McCain falls under subsection (e). He is, without question, a natural born citizen of the US.

    Pablo (99243e)

  40. Pablo, let me try to walk you through this. First, answer this question: under which of Congress’ enumerated powers was 8 U.S.C. 1401 passed?

    Simon (23aca9)

  41. 39

    McCain is a US citizen at birth. That doesn’t mean he’s a “natural born” citizen.

    Lafayette’s male descendants are also considered “US citizens at birth” but those descendants of Lafayette’s who are born in France aren’t “natural born” US citizens.

    j curtis (5d5cd7)

  42. Simon,
    Article 1, Section 8

    To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

    j curtis, you’ll note that McCain wasn’t born in France, but in a US territory. You might want to read subsection (e) at the above link. You’ll also note that 1401 makes no mention of Lafayette.

    Pablo (99243e)

  43. Pablo, that’s incorrect. Note the terms of the sweeping clause: “[t]o make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof” (emphasis added). It isn’t an independent grant of power; for an exercise of Congressional authority to be valid under the sweeping clause, it has to be related to some other power vested in the federal government.

    Try again. Here’s a hint: you’re in the right section.

    Simon (23aca9)

  44. Re: JoeCitizen

    Nope, but McCain was born in the Canal Zone, which was specifically created as an US territory. You can thank James Earl Carter for giving the Canal Zone back to Panama, but we would have to have own it to be able to give it back.

    BigFire (71927b)

  45. Simon, I assume you’re looking for this:

    To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

    …and if so, no, that’s not it. This isn’t a matter of naturalization, this is a matter of defining what a natural born citizen is.

    I’ve got to go commit capitalism shortly, so let’s cut to the chase. Your argument seems to either that 1. Congress has no Constitutional authority to pass Title 8, Chapter 12, Subchapter III, Part I, § 1401 (and § 1403, for that matter) and 2. the Executive had no authority to sign it into law and 3. that such definition can therefore only be done by Constitutional amendment. Is that about right?

    If so, you know what has to happen next, right? I can’t wait to see the brief.

    Or is your argument that if Congress’ authority to pass such a law relies on it’s power to establish a uniform rule of naturalization, and therefore any legislation enacted under it is a matter of naturalization? If so, it would seem that anyone covered by subsection (a) (a person born in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof;) would also then be a naturalized citizen, in which case no one can be POTUS. A sticky wicket, that.

    Pablo (99243e)

  46. You’ll also note that 1401 makes no mention of Lafayette.

    Precisely. More evidence that those who compile the code for the reference books shouldn’t be the final arbiter.

    j curtis (5d5cd7)

  47. Pablo, that is indeed it. Congress has the power to pass laws establishing rules for naturalization. That power is broad by itself, yet more so factoring in the sweeping clause. It is certainly broad enough to pass 8 U.S.C. 1401; Congress can provide, should it so choose, that every person born anywhere on Earth to American parents is a naturalized citizen of the United States. But what it cannot do (in my view) is change what it means to be a natural born citizen, any more than it can redefine the meaning of the “judicial power” ostensibly in the exercise of its power to ordain and establish inferior courts in which to vest that power.

    My point is precisely, as you well put it, that “Congress’ authority to pass [8 U.S.C. 1401] … law relies on it’s power to establish a uniform rule of naturalization, and therefore any legislation enacted under it is a matter of naturalization.” And precisely because Congress lacks the authority to change the definition of “natural born citizen,” your conclusions about subsection (a) don’t follow.

    Simon (23aca9)

  48. but in my view, it’s very clear that persons who are citizens by virtue of laws made pursuant to Congress’ naturalization power are not eligible to the office.

    Comment by Simon

    Simon, does PatHMV, who reaches the “same conclusion”, now call you both RW “haters” who are “fomenting” in respect to the view that McCain is not elegible to run for the Presidency?

    Or are you both excluded from such name-calling merely because you say so?

    J. Peden (d6d70c)

  49. You say that as if it’s their only power in anything to do with defining citizenship. It is not. And good luck challenging the Constitutionality of 1401. Again, I can’t wait to see the brief.

    Gotta run!

    Pablo (99243e)

  50. Good Lord. Ancestry-based citizenship is as old as civilization. Territory-based citizenship is the add-on. The Fourteenth Amendment extended citizenship to those who could not claim it by ancestrry, it did not limit it to those born within the jurisdiction of the United States.

    nk (669aab)

  51. P.S. I have a dim memory of a debate in Germany whether children born in Germany to immigrant parents could be citizens without having at least one German citizen grandparent (and I believe that it is the rule in other European countries as well).

    nk (669aab)

  52. Just like to note that none of the guys who originally wrote that restriction were themselves born in the US. Nor were several of our early Presidents.

    teqjack (54fa41)

  53. Simon:

    There’s reasonable argument to be made over what it means to be a natural born citizen as Art. II uses that term, but in my view, it’s very clear that persons who are citizens by virtue of laws made pursuant to Congress’ naturalization power are not eligible to the office.

    By that logic, no one was a natural born citizen until 1868, as no part of the original Constitution guaranteed citizenship, natural born or otherwise, to anybody. Then again, one could further argue that “natural born” citizens don’t exist now, either, as the drafters of the original Constitution could not have intended “natural born citizen” to have a definition that would not exist for almost a century afterward, and nothing in the Fourteenth Amendment evidences an intent to change that.

    Either the whole argument is crap, or every President since Tyler was illegitimate. Which is it?

    Xrlq (b71926)

  54. Pablo – just to clarify, I’m not challenging the constitutionality of 1401. In fact, my comment above explicitly stated that Congress had the power to pass it. My point is that 1401 is a statute passed pursuant to Congress’ naturalization power; Congress can declare a person a naturalized citizen, but it cannot change the definition of natural born citizen (a distinction, I reemphasize, that makes no difference in any context other than the instant one). At any rate, we can table this, it’s fine. To paraphrase Firefly: “Have good capitalism!”

    Xrlq, I don’t think that argument holds water in light of my original post that Patterico linked above, so my answer is to read that post.

    Simon (23aca9)

  55. Fine, Simon, but contradict my assertion that if your parents were citizens you are a citizen no matter where you were born. Just one little, tiniest bit of a quote of a law? From anywhere in the world?

    nk (669aab)

  56. NK – read my post that Patterico linked to, I’m really not going to bother repeating myself. You’re entirely backwards as to the understanding of the anglo-American common law – the common law rule was jus soli; it was jus sanguinas that was the limited statutory add-on. Now maybe the rule in some other countries was different. But I don’t think we should be using foreign law to construe the meaning of our constitution; what is relevant are the understandings and legal traditions of the anglo-American society and the common law that informed and are presupposed by the Constitution. Here’s a friendly suggestion: when you’re arguing with William Blackstone over what the common law said on a given issue in the founding era, quit digging.

    Simon (23aca9)

  57. Well, I’ll tell you, Simon, your post was so long that by the time I got to the last part I could not remember the first part and as a consequence could not understand any part.

    You wanna hep (sic) an illustrated (sic) guy like me with a simple quote from anywhere in the world that having parents who are citizens does does not make you a citizen if you were not born in yore (sic) country of citizenship?

    nk (669aab)

  58. There isn’t any, right? And you’re no lawyer, right? You take dicta which illustrate the opposite of the ruling and turn them into law. Just like the tax protesters and such. And poor stef got grief in the other thread for pointing out what a bullshitter you are.

    nk (669aab)

  59. At common law, “[n]atural-born subjects are such as are born within the dominions of the crown of England….” 1 W. Blackstone Commentaries on the Laws of England 354 (1765). That was the common-law understanding of “natural born,” which leaving only the question (as I explain in the post) of what it means to be born within the “dominions” of the crown.

    Simon (23aca9)

  60. Although I add, in caveat to Simon’s #59, that the common law definition appears to have also been well-settled that children of ambassadors and the like were also natural born subjects of the crown, regardless of where their mother happened to be at the onset of labor.

    PatHMV (653160)

  61. Simon, the relevant portion of Blackstone’s is this later passage (I’ve fixed the “s”/”f” obnoxiousness):

    WHEN I say, that an alien is one who is born out of the king’s dominions, or allegiance, this also must be understood with some restrictions. The common law indeed stood absolutely so; with only a very few exceptions: so that a particular act of parliament became necessary after the restorationy, for the naturalization of children of his majesty’s English subjects, born in foreign countries during the late troubles. And this maxim of the law proceeded upon a general principle, that every man owes natural allegiance where he is born, and cannot owe two such allegiances, or serve two masters, at once. Yet the children of the king’s embassadors born abroad were always held to be natural subjectsz: for as the father, though in a foreign country, owes not even a local allegiance to the prince to whom he is sent; so, with regard to the son also, he was held (by a kind of plftliminium) to be born under the king of England’s allegiance, represented by his father, the embassador. To encourage also foreign commerce, it was enacted by statute 25 Edw. III. ft. 2. that all children born abroad, provided both their parents were at the time of the birth in allegiance to the king, and the mother had passed the seas by her husband’s consent, might inherit as if born in England: and accordingly it hath been so adjudged in behalf of merchantsa. But by several more modern statutesb these restrictions are still farther taken off: so that all children, born out of the king’s ligeance, whose fathers were natural-born subjects, are now natural-born subjects themselves, to all intents and purposes, without any exception; unless their said fathers were attainted, or banished beyond sea, for high treason; or were then in the service of a prince at enmity with Great Britain.

    THE children of aliens, born here in England, are, generally speaking, natural-born subjects, and entitled to all the privileges of such. In which the conftitution of France differs from ours; for there, by their jus albinatus, if a child be born of foreign parents, it is an alienc.

    Notice the bolded section. “Yet the children of the king’s embassadors born abroad were always held to be natural subjects.”

    PatHMV (653160)

  62. For some ridiculous reason, to which, however, I’ve no desire to be disloyal,
    Some person in authority, I don’t know who, very likely the Astronomer Royal,
    Has decided that, although for such a beastly month as February, twenty-eight days as
    a rule are plenty,
    One year in every four his days shall be reckoned as nine and twenty.
    Through some singular coincidence I shouldn’t be surprised if it were owing to the
    agency of an ill-natured fairy
    You are the victim of this clumsy arrangement, having been born in leap-year, on the
    twenty-ninth of February;
    And so, by a simple arithmetical process, you’ll easily discover,
    That though you’ve lived twenty-one years, yet, if we go by birthdays, you’re only five
    and a little bit over!

    Polybius (14e4f1)

  63. At common law, “[n]atural-born subjects are such as are born within the dominions of the crown of England….”

    That would pretty much settle this issue, if you apply this to the United States. Since the Canal Zone was US territory, it was “within the dominions” of the US. And anyone born in the Canal Zone would be a natural-born citizen of the US.

    Steverino (e00589)

  64. My father-in-law was born in early 1946 in England. He and his mother immigrated to the United States at age 3 months. His father was an American soldier serving in England. His mother was a British citizen. His parents were married at the time of his birth. Would he be eligible to be President?

    aunursa (1b5bad)

  65. Note: his father had been sent back to the United States at the time of his birth. His mother was not allowed to travel during and as a result of her pregnancy.

    aunursa (1b5bad)

  66. Steverino, that’s the point made by Simon in his post. My additional point (and I agree with Simon’s conclusion about the status of the PCZ) is that the sovereignty of the Canal Zone doesn’t matter, for the reason I gave in my post #61.

    PatHMV (653160)

  67. So why are we furthering this discussion? No matter which way you slice it — by birth location or his parents’ citizenship — McCain is a natural-born US citizen. It’s a dead issue, and The Times should be ashamed for publishing the article.

    Steverino (e00589)

  68. Simon, I’ve read the article and don’t find it remotely persuasive. “Citizen” is not a synonym for “subject” (were antebellum slaves “natural born citizens” eligible for the Presidency, too?!), and even if it were, there has never been such a thing as common-law citizenship in this country (assuming there is any federal common law at all, a doubtful proposition in itself). Nor is there any truth to your claim that 8 U.S.C. 1401(c) defines as “naturalized citizens at birth” anyone born to U.S. citizens abroad. You simply made that crap up. Here’s what the statute in question actually says:

    § 1401. Nationals and citizens of United States at birth

    The following shall be nationals and citizens of the United States at birth:
    (a) a person born in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof;

    [...]

    (c) a person born outside of the United States and its outlying possessions of parents both of whom are citizens of the United States and one of whom has had a residence in the United States or one of its outlying possessions, prior to the birth of such person;
    [...]

    From the text of that statute, there is no more basis for labeling a citizen “naturalized” under subsection (c) than there is for any other subsection, including (a). So I guess in your quaint little world, we’re all “naturalized” citizens, unless we would be considered the king’s subjects at common law, in which case we are “natural born” citizens even if the U.S. Code, the U.S. Constitution and the U.S. Department of State all agree that we’re not citizens at all. Right?

    Xrlq (b71926)

  69. Xrlq, you misunderstand the relevance of the English common law. The Supreme Court has held, many times for many years, that when the Framers of the Constitution used a term which had an understood meaning in the common law of England, then that is the meaning which is to be applied to that term, because it is the meaning that the Framers would have had in mind when they used it. We follow in this case the common law of England not because there is a federal common law, but because the phrase “natural born” means the same thing for the purposes of the Constitution as it did in the English common law. For these purposes, there is no distinction between “subject” and “citizen.”

    The statute you cite is not legally relevant to the determination of what the Constitution meant by “natural born citizen.” As I noted elsewhere, if Congress passed a statute declaring that a police officer entering your home and rummaging through your desk and closets was an “inspection” rather than a “search” or a “seizure,” we would clearly recognize that Congress cannot arbitrarily redefine words used in the Constitution. Congress can’t redefine a word in the Constitution to make it mean something else instead.

    PatHMV (653160)

  70. “Natural born.” I’ve got to ask. Were any of them (McCain, Obama, Clinton) born via caesarean section?

    htom (412a17)

  71. htom:

    Gerald A beat you to it.

    I put his comment in an update to the post.

    Patterico (4b609d)

  72. MacBeth was from his mother’s womb untimely ripped…

    Sometimes I wish I could come up with the funny lines, like Gerald A and commenter Victor, instead of the dry, serious stuff…

    PatHMV (653160)

  73. Simon,

    My point was that McCain is a citizen without naturalization – naturalization has hurdles to overcome by the one so naturalized (learn the language, have a sponsor, be in the US for a certain amount of time, pass a test, take an oath). McCain had no hurdles to overcome. He is a citizen by virtue of his birth.

    kimsch (2ce939)

  74. kimsch, that’s essentially the debate I’ve been having with Simon. I think the best interpretation of “natural born citizen” is “citizen from the moment of one’s birth, by virtue of the laws in effect at the time of ones’ birth.” Thus, the statutes passed by Congress in effect at the time of McCain’s birth would be relevant and, since he has been a citizen from birth under those laws, he is a “natural born citizen.”

    PatHMV (653160)

  75. That’s right Pat, I agree with you completely. Especially with section 1403 (See comment 31) specifying that one born in the PCZ after 2/26/1904 is a citizen.

    kimsch (2ce939)

  76. Yes, kimsch, but it still depends on the definition of “natural born citizen” in the Constitution. The mere fact of the statute by itself doesn’t settle the issue. One must first determine the meaning of the constitutional phrase. It’s still possible that I could be right, but not because of the provisions of section 1403, but only because English common law would have considered McCain a natural born citizen because his parents were citizens.

    This is important because it tells us whether Congress could enact a different rule. If McCain is a natural born citizen because of the meaning given to the phrase by the English common law, than Congress can’t change that in the future. Suppose they changed 1403 to say: “children born abroad of parents who were both citizens shall be considered naturalized, but not natural born, citizens.” If 1403 is relevant at all to the discussion of McCain’s status, than Congress could take away that status in the future, potentially. If the Constitution contains its own, ready- made definition, then Congress can’t change the rule, and some future person in McCain’s status will be considered “natural born” regardless of what Congress does in the meantime.

    PatHMV (653160)

  77. It is my understanding, that having been born a citizen of the United States (granted I was born in a suburb of Chicago – well after Illinois achieved statehood) my citizenship can not be revoked. It is also my understanding that one considered naturalized can have citizenship revoked under certain circumstances.

    Tim McVeigh couldn’t have his citizenship revoked even with the heinous crime he committed. Naturalized citizen Sean McPatrick, had he committed a similarly heinous crime, could have his citizenship revoked and be deported (if he weren’t sentenced to death in the first place for a crime like that).

    kimsch (2ce939)

  78. I would consider McCain’s citizenship irrevocable, whereas a naturalized citizen’s citizenship is revocable.

    kimsch (2ce939)

  79. That is correct, Kimsch. My hypothetical was not to suggest that Congress could strip McCain and others already born of their citizenship, but to point out that if one doesn’t rely on the English common law definition, Congress might be read to have the power to say that those born in the future under circumstancse like McCain’s would not be considered “natural born.”

    PatHMV (653160)

  80. All roads lead back to natural born citizenship. What I have learned is that the NY Times is shameless. Why in the hell would they endorse a crooked, womanizing Panamanian for President?

    JD (388d32)

  81. I understand.

    For the record, I consider John McCain to be a natural born citizen of the United States and I believe that that is what the Founders meant when they wrote the Constitution.

    Otherwise couldn’t anyone not born in the “several states” that then existed be considered not natural born? What of Alaskans or Hawaiians born before the midpoint of the last century?

    kimsch (2ce939)

  82. Well, the “several states” issue is resolved by the fact that Congress has explicit power to add more states to the Union. We’d have to look closer to determine the status of the pre-statehood Alaskans and Hawaiians.

    PatHMV (653160)

  83. Naturalized citizenship can be revoked only if obtained through fraud. Not for any subsequent act.

    nk (b63350)

  84. Thanks nk. I appreciate the clarification.

    kimsch (2ce939)

  85. Simon, I don’t mind that you had to go before the 14th century for your authority. I do mind that PatHMV was the one to show the whole relevant quote from Blackstone, that the law had changed by 1377. You should have done that yourself.

    nk (b63350)

  86. I was born on February 29, 1972. I thought I turned 35 years old last year. I was really hoping to run for President this year now that I’m constitutionally eligible.

    Now, you’re telling me that the Democrats will sue to keep me off the ballot claiming I’ll only be 9 tomorrow? Do I really have to wait another 104 years before I run for President?

    Ben Pugh (1527b3)

  87. Congress can declare a person a naturalized citizen, but it cannot change the definition of natural born citizen (a distinction, I reemphasize, that makes no difference in any context other than the instant one)

    Simon, that is precisely what 1401 does. So, if your argument is that Congress (and the Executive) cannot do that, then 1401 is unconstitutional. Which strike a path to the SCOTUS to clear that up.

    Pablo (99243e)

  88. At common law, “[n]atural-born subjects are such as are born within the dominions of the crown of England….” 1 W. Blackstone Commentaries on the Laws of England 354 (1765). That was the common-law understanding of “natural born,” which leaving only the question (as I explain in the post) of what it means to be born within the “dominions” of the crown.

    And the Panama Canal Zone was a “dominion” of the USA, it being a territory.

    Pablo (99243e)

  89. Anyone happen to know where Obamessiah was born?

    Lord Limp of Lancaster (ec60fa)

  90. Hawaii – two years after statehood.

    kimsch (2ce939)

  91. Congress can declare a person a naturalized citizen, but it cannot change the definition of natural born citizen (a distinction, I reemphasize, that makes no difference in any context other than the instant one)

    This is the United States, congress can change the definition of anything that the supreme court lets them.
    It’s always in the constitution, just below the right to privacy.

    Taltos (4dc0e8)

  92. Lots of noise and smoke on this issue.

    Sen. McCain’s U.S. citizenship is not at issue. He is unquestionably a U.S. citizen since birth.

    The question is whether he is eligible for the presidency under Art. II, Sec. 1 of the U.S. Constitution, which requires he be a “natural born citizen.”

    This will either become a matter for the courts, which could cause a devastating political against the Democratic candidate, or go unchallenged, in which case it should suffice as a historical precedent that resolves the issue in favor of U.S. citizens who are born abroad of U.S. parents.

    The comments about Panama being a U.S. territory or people being U.S. citizens because they were born on U.S. bases or in U.S. embassies are so much uninformed b.s. People in those situations who are U.S. citizens from birth are entitled to such citizenship because of their U.S. citizen parent(s) or they are not entitled to U.S. citizenship at all.

    Disclaimer: I am myself a U.S. citizen born abroad of U.S. parents.

    Consul-At-Arms (3a6220)

  93. Regarding lose of U.S. citizenship, while it’s easier to have one’s naturalized U.S. citizenship revoked, it is indeed possible, if unlikely, for someone born a U.S. citizen to lose their citizenship.

    The process is called renunciation and may involve expatriating acts. What always surprised me about the John Walker Lindh case was that his citizenship wasn’t lost.

    Consul-At-Arms (3a6220)

  94. This issue was resolved over 100 years ago, when General George Meade (the victor of Gettysburg) was touted for the Presidency. Meade was born in Spain, where his parents (both U.S. citizes) were then living (his father being there on business, As the the child of U.S. citizens, he was a U.S. citizen by birth, and so is McCain.

    It is amusing that this question would be raised on behalf of Obama: his first political office was gained by disqualifying the other candidates. Here he goes again…

    Rich Rostrom (7c21fc)

  95. The comments about Panama being a U.S. territory or people being U.S. citizens because they were born on U.S. bases or in U.S. embassies are so much uninformed b.s. People in those situations who are U.S. citizens from birth are entitled to such citizenship because of their U.S. citizen parent(s) or they are not entitled to U.S. citizenship at all.

    By what definition of “natural born citizen” could one possibly be a citizen at birth (of the US, and nowhere else), and yet not be a natural born citizen?

    Did we need SCOTUS to tell us what the meaning of “is” is?

    Pablo (99243e)

  96. PatHMV:

    Well, the “several states” issue is resolved by the fact that Congress has explicit power to add more states to the Union.

    Not if we buy into the theory that “natural born citizen” has a fixed constitutional meaning that Congress can’t alter without a constitutional amendment. Under that theory, one could just as easily argue that only those born in the original 13 colonies and DC are “natural born citizens,” while the rest of us native Americans are “naturalized citizens at birth” by virtue of 8 U.S.C. 1401(a). It’s a goofy theory, of course, but only marginally goofier than the one your co-blogger is peddling.

    Xrlq (b71926)

  97. #95 My younger sister was born in Japan when my father was station in Japan (both parents were Americans). Since I was about six at the time, I don’t remember the details, but when we returned to the states, we went before a federal judge to make my sister an American citizen.

    In the 60s, it was probably a military brat urban legend, but in elementary school, kids born outside the USA (and there were lots of them) were teased because they could not ever become President.

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  98. The whole “what did natural born citizen mean at the time of the constitution’s writing” argument is a tad silly considering that within 14 years congress passed a law stating…

    “the children of citizens of the United States that may be born beyond Sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born Citizens”

    Yes I’m aware that it was later repealed, though for reasons having nothing to do with the above portion.

    Taltos (4dc0e8)

  99. Yes I’m aware that it was later repealed, though for reasons having nothing to do with the above portion.

    Comment by Taltos — 2/29/2008 @ 1:29 pm

    Do you think they were unaware of what they were doing? Wouldn’t they have read what they were to repeal and said: “gee, if we repeal it, won’t it be, gone?”

    They repealed it deliberately and the way we know that is that they redefined that precise status, McCain’s status, as not being natural born.

    It actually includes another example which they give the same status. The foreign born children of alien parents who become naturalized US citizens. The children get parented in and given the same naturalized status.

    Congress passed it Jan 29, 1795.

    j curtis (c84b9e)

  100. They repealed it deliberately and the way we know that is that they redefined that precise status, McCain’s status, as not being natural born.

    No, not McCain’s status. McCain was born in a US territory.

    Pablo (99243e)

  101. The act of 1795 was drafted specifically to change the rules for naturalization ie. longer residency period, requiring an affirmative declaration to seek citizenship, etc.

    The point I was trying to make is that the 1790 act was passed by the first congress and signed into law by Washington, making it rather clear that at the time of the constitution’s founding the notion that a child born to citizens outside the country was a natural born citizen was common.

    Taltos (4dc0e8)

  102. J Curtis:

    They repealed it deliberately and the way we know that is that they redefined that precise status, McCain’s status, as not being natural born.

    Source, please? I’m not aware of any federal statute that defines anyone born into citizenship as “not being natural born.” 8 U.S.C. § 1401(c) certainly doesn’t, any more than 8 U.S.C. § 1401(a) defines those born on U.S. soil that way.

    Xrlq (62cad4)

  103. 102

    Those who are natural born don’t need to have their citizen status determined by statute. Congress only bothered to clarify the status in 1795 because it was their opinion that the Constitution didn’t address the citizen status of someone like McCain. If the status was seen to be natural born, the Constitution would have covered it and they wouldn’t have been wasting their time.

    Here is your source

    http://rs6.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=llsl&fileName=001/llsl001.db&recNum=538

    j curtis (c84b9e)

  104. Heh! Over at Volokh one commenter made the point that it’s the Ronulians who are the most strident about this, not the Kossacks. I guesss it figures — the Wrongbots share their fuhrer’s view of the Constitution.

    nk (7b0075)

  105. Those who are natural born don’t need to have their citizen status determined by statute.

    Yes, they do. Citizenship is a legal status, not something that exists in nature. If the laws say you’re a citizen, you are. If they don’t, you’re not. The only exception is those born on U.S. soil, and that only because of the Fourteenth Amendment, not any law that existed (or was even contemplated) in 1789.

    The statute you linked to do does not provide any support for your claim that that citizens abroad were not “natural born citizens” in 1795, in 1936, or at any other time in U.S. history. All it says is that “the children of citizens of the United States, born out of the limits and jurisdiction of of the United States, shall be considered as citizens of the United States.” How the hell do you get from there to “they redefined that precise status, McCain’s status, as not being natural born?”

    Xrlq (62cad4)

  106. @ Pablo (#95),

    You missed my point. Those people who are U.S. citizens from birth but are born outside of the U.S. are entitled to their citizenship not due to the location of their birth (14th Amendment citizenship), but because one or both of their parents were legally able to transmit U.S. citizenship to them.

    U.S. military bases and diplomatic missions do not (under current law) count as far being born in the United States.

    Consul-At-Arms (f9696f)

  107. @Pablo (#100),

    Neither the Canal Zone nor any part of the Republic of Panama is or was U.S. territory. Congress wrote specific legislation to cover the eligibility for U.S. citizenship for persons born there; see 8 U.S.C. 1403 (Section 303 of the Immigration and Nationality Act).

    Consul-At-Arms (f9696f)

  108. Following up on Gerald A’s question about induced labor and Caesarean sections, what are the implications for naturalized citizens who were born by natural childbirth? If Arnold Schwarzenegger can show that he was naturally born, and that he is a citizen, is that good enough? How about Tony Blair? After all, it doesn’t say you have to be a natural born citizen of this country, only that you have to be a natural born citizen, full stop.

    Xrlq (62cad4)

  109. CAA, the Canal Zone was a US Territory from 1903-1999. Ten miles on either side of the Canal. See the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty. It remained a US territory until Carter gave it away.

    Those people who are U.S. citizens from birth but are born outside of the U.S. are entitled to their citizenship not due to the location of their birth (14th Amendment citizenship), but because one or both of their parents were legally able to transmit U.S. citizenship to them.

    Which is to say that they come by citizenship naturally, via birth. Again, if you’d like to offer a definition of “natural born citizen” that doesn’t include everyone who is a citizen at birth, I’d sure like to hear it.

    Pablo (99243e)

  110. @Pablo (#109),

    I refer you to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C.

    Title III – Nationality and Naturalization

    Chapter 1 – Nationality at Birth and by Collective Naturalization

    Section 301, 8 U.S.C. 1401 – Nationals and Citizens of the United States at Birth

    The following shall be nationals and citizens of the United States at birth:

    (a) a person born in the United State, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof;

    (b) a person born in the United States to a member of an Indian, Eskimo, Aleutian, or other aboriginal tribe: Provided, That the granting of citizenship under this subsection shall not in any manner impair or otherwise affect the right of such person to tribal or other property;

    (c) person born outside of the United States and its outlying possessions of parents both of whom are citizens of the United States and one of whom has had a residence in the United States or one of its outlying possessions, prior to the birth of such person;

    (d) a person born outside of the United States and its outlying possessions of parents one of whom is a citizen of the United States who has been physically present in the United States of one of its outlying possessions for a continuous period of one year prior to the birth of such person, and the other of whom is a nation, but not a citizen of the United States;

    (e) a person born in an outlying possession of the United States of parents one of whom is a citizen of the United States who has been physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for a continuous period of one year at any time prior to the birth of such person;

    (f) a person of unknown parentage found in the United States while under the age of five years, until shown, prior to his attaining the age of twenty-one years, not to have been born in the United States;

    (g) a person born outside the geographical limits of the United States and its outlying possesions of parents one of whom is an alien, and the other a citizen of the United States who, prior to the birth of such person, was physically present in the United States or its outlying possessions for a period or periods totalying not less than five years, at least two of which were after attaining the age of fourteen years: Provided (the remainder can be looked up by the reader);

    (h) a person born before noon (Eastern Standard Time) May 24, 1934, outside the limits and jurisdiction of the United States of an alien father and a mother who is a citizen of the United States who, prior to the birth of such person, has resided in the United States.

    The following definitions may make this clearer (from INA Section 101(a), 8 U.S.C. 1101):

    Outlying possessions:

    (29) the term “outlying possessions of the United States” means American Samoa and Swains Island.

    United States:

    (38) The term “United States”, except as specifically herein provided, when used in a geographical sense, means the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands of the United States.

    Nowhere therein will you find Panama or the Canal Zone.

    Consul-At-Arms (f9696f)

  111. 105 xrlq

    The Constitution gave Congress the power to establish rules for Naturalization. Isn’t that what Congress was doing in 1795, naturalizing? Natural Born citizens don’t need to be naturalized so surely those rules established in 1795 weren’t regarding anyone who Congress considered to be natural born citizens. Do you believe there is some previously unknown category of naturalized natural born citizens?

    Congress gave the exact same status to foreign born children of parents who were later naturalized and I can’t believe they’d consider those children “natural born” either.

    j curtis (c84b9e)

  112. @Pablo (#109),

    The relevent section for Panama and the Canal Zone is Section 303, 8 U.S.C. 1403 – Persons Born in the Canal Zone or Republic of Panama on or Afer February 26, 1904:

    (a) Any person born in the Canal Zone on or after February 26, 1904, and whether before or after the effective date of this Act, whose father or mother or both at the time of the birth of such person was or is a citizen of the United States, is declared to be a citizen of the United States.

    (b) Any person born in the Republic of Panama on or after February 26, 1904, and whether before or after the effective date of this Act, whose father or mother or both at the time of the birth of such person was or is a citizen of the United States employed by the Government of the United States or by the Panama Railroad Company, or its successor in title, is declared to be a citizen of the United States.

    There’s no doubt that Sen. McCain is a U.S. citizen.

    Consul-At-Arms (f9696f)

  113. CAA, you’ll note that I linked that in my #39. I’ll let the content of that stand as my response. And I’ll add that when you look at 1101, you’ll need to remember that the Canal Zone is no longer a territory, thanks to Carter. That doesn’t change the fact that it once was. Circa 1903, IIRC.

    Pablo (99243e)

  114. There’s no doubt that Sen. McCain is a U.S. citizen.

    I don’t doubt that in the slightest, nor do I doubt that he is and always has been a natural born citizen.

    Pablo (99243e)

  115. The Constitution gave Congress the power to establish rules for Naturalization. Isn’t that what Congress was doing in 1795, naturalizing?

    Only if you define the term “naturalization” to include all laws relating to citizenship, as opposed to the specific laws relating to “naturalization” of former non-citizens.

    Natural Born citizens don’t need to be naturalized so surely those rules established in 1795 weren’t regarding anyone who Congress considered to be natural born citizens.

    Nonsense. Prior to ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment, no one was guaranteed citizenship by the Constitution or anything else. Either the statutes said you were a citizen – natural born or otherwise – or they didn’t. And if you were a slave or Indian born on U.S. soil, you weren’t.

    Do you believe there is some previously unknown category of naturalized natural born citizens?

    Again, no, unless you want to play silly semantic games on the meaning of “naturalization.” If you became a citizen by being born, in accordance with the laws in force at that time (or arguably, any laws passed retroactively later on), then you are a natural born citizen. If you weren’t, you aren’t, even if you did become a naturalized citizen later. No one is “naturalized” at birth.

    Xrlq (62cad4)

  116. @Pablo (#113),

    Panama was never either the United States nor is it considered to be an outlying possession of the United States, which is what keeps everyone born there from being an American citizen from birth.

    Anyone qualifying for U.S. citizenship there, from birth, does so not because of where they were born (indeed, in spite of it), due to the U.S. citizenship of one or both of their parents.

    Consul-At-Arms (f9696f)

  117. 115 xrla

    Nonsense. Prior to ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment, no one was guaranteed citizenship by the Constitution or anything else. Either the statutes said you were a citizen – natural born or otherwise – or they didn’t.

    Why do you think Congress wasn’t addressing the citizen status of people born in the US to US parents? Their status was not in question.

    By your logic, those who were foreign born to US parents were the only US citizens back in 1795 because they were the only kind of citizens who had it spelled out by Congress.

    There was no question about the citizen status of American born people back in 1795. I’m not sure why you are confused about their status.

    j curtis (c84b9e)

  118. Why do you think Congress wasn’t addressing the citizen status of people born in the US to US parents?

    Possibly because the statutes were silent on the matter, more likely because you cited a statute that covered one but not the other. Why do you think today’s statute, 8 U.S.C. § 1401, does address the citizen status of people born in the U.S.? If their status wasn’t in question in 1795, even without the benefit of the 14th Amendment, it really isn’t in question now.

    Xrlq (62cad4)

  119. I’ve quoted you and linked to you here.

    Consul-At-Arms (f9696f)


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