THE EXPRESS LANE TO NATURAL BORN CLARITY.
**RED ALERT UPDATE**
UPDATED 11:16 AM – Justia.com is censoring references to US Supreme Court cases which cite Minor v. Happersett as precedent for the citizenship issue. I have briefed this issue in full in my comments to this report. I have include links and screenshots. Please archive the information and images before Justia.com can fix it.
The US Supreme Court definition of an Article 2 Section 1 natural-born citizen as stated in Minor v Happersett is strictly limited to those persons born in the United States to parents who were citizens. Below, I will make this crystal clear with stealth to reduce the complexities of the issue into a refined exposition and mantra the average citizen will easily comprehend.
NATURAL BORN CLARITY
The Supreme Court in Minor specifically avoided construing the 14th Amendment as to the issue of whether Virginia Minor was a US citizen. Instead, the Court looked no further than the natural-born citizen clause in Article 2 Section 1. The Court held that Minor was a member of the “class” of persons who were natural-born citizens. They defined this class as those born in the US to “parents” (plural) who were citizens. (For more detailed analysis of this issue, see my two previous reports, here and here.)
The Court also noted that the “citizenship” of those born to non-citizen parents was subject to doubt. Since Virginia Minor was in the class of natural-born citizens, that doubt didn’t need to be resolved. The Court exercised judicial restraint and thereby avoided construction of the 14th Amendment as to the citizenship issue.
Such avoidance and restraint were called for. In order for the Court to act, there must be a genuine controversy with regard to the laws in question. Since there was no controversy before the Court involving a 14th Amendment citizenship issue, the Court decided the issue on other grounds, specifically Article 2 Section 1.
Now we turn to US v. Wong Kim Ark. In that case, the US Supreme Court held that (some) persons born in the United States of alien parents were “citizens”. In doing so, the Court stated that it was specifically construing only the 14th Amendment. And here lies the rub of clarity:
If Wong Kim Ark had been a natural-born citizen, the Supreme Court would never have reached the 14th Amendment issue (just as it didn’t reach it in Minor.)
That statement is a perfectly true mantra. Read it again… and again, until it sinks in. Then share the mantra. There is no antidote for it. There is never an antidote for truth.
THE NATURAL BORN CITIZEN CLAUSE HAS NOT BEEN AMENDED OR REPEALED.
Minor and Wong Kim Ark were both decided years after the 14th Amendment had been adopted. Minor avoided construing the 14th Amendment, while Wong Kim Ark required it. Since Wong Kim Ark was not a natural-born citizen under Article 2 Section 1, the Supreme Court looked to the 14th Amendment to grant him citizenship.
The 14th Amendment did not repeal or amend Article 2 Section 1 (but it did repeal part of Article 1 Section 2). Furthermore, while other parts of Article 2 Section 1 have been amended (by the 12th and 25th Amendments), the natural-born citizen clause has never been amended.
The official US Constitution is hosted at archive.gov where it highlights those sections of the Constitution which have been repealed or modified. The archive.gov site states:
“The Constitution of the United States: A Transcription
Note: The following text is a transcription of the Constitution in its original form. Items that are hyperlinked have since been amended or superseded.”
Go to the link provided for the official Constitution and you will see that the natural-born citizen clause is not hyperlinked because it has not been amended or superseded.
Neither the Court in Minor nor Wong Kim Ark alleged that the 14th Amendment superseded Article 2 Section 1. If the 14th Amendment had superseded the natural-born citizen clause, the Court in Minor would have been required to construe the 14th Amendment.
In US v. Wong Kim Ark, the US District Attorney argued that Ark was not a citizen because his parents were aliens. Ark was a person from the other “class” discussed in Minor whose citizenship was in doubt. Since Wong Kim Ark was not a natural-born citizen, his citizenship could not be determined by Article 2 Section 1. Therefore, the Supreme Court looked to the 14th Amendment to grant Wong Kim Ark US citizenship.
Again, if Wong Kim Ark had been a natural-born citizen, the Supreme Court would never have reached the 14th Amendment issue (just as it didn’t reach it in Minor.)
The Court determined Wong Kim Ark was a “citizen” under the 14th Amendment, but in doing so the Court did not expand the “class” of persons who were eligible to be President. This is because the Court specified clearly that it was only construing the 14th Amendment, not Article 2 Section 1. Article 2 Section 1 and the 14th Amendment are mutually exclusive sections of the US Constitution.
ONLY NATIONAL LAW MAKES BINDING PRECEDENT.
The Supreme Court’s definition of the natural-born citizen clause in Minor is not common law, natural law, or international law. Vattel is not cited by the Supreme Court in Minor. And Vattel does not make US law. The Court’s holding in Minor is national law. It is United States law.
Those other sources may have been consulted, but when the Court held that Minor was a citizen under Article 2 Section 1 because she was born in the US of citizen parents, that definition became national law. Therefore, Minor supersedes all other sources on this point. It is a direct Constitutional interpretation and definition.
The other sources are not necessary. Relying upon them actually weakens the authority of Minor. There is no need for insecurity in the face of supporting Supreme Court precedent.
On November 22, 2008, Justice Scalia addressed the Federalist Society, stating:
“Natural law has nothing to do with originalism. I mean, I believe in natural law, but unfortunately I have no way to show or demonstrate that my understanding of it is the same as yours, or is the same as anybody else’s. I don’t enforce natural law. I suppose God enforces natural law. I enforce United States law. United States law should not contravene natural law, but that’s not my problem… I worry about, ‘What does this text mean?’ ” (Emphasis added.)
Earlier in that same speech, Justice Scalia stated:
“What has happened can only be compared to the naive belief that we used to have in the common law… Erie Railroad, you know, blows that all away… and we sort of chuckle at how naive the world could have been ever to have thought there was a common law…”
Do not get sidetracked by extraneous theoretical sources. We have United States Supreme Court precedent which defines a natural-born citizen – under Article 2 Section 1 – as a person born on US soil to parents who were citizens. Neither Obama nor McCain fit that definition. Neither are eligible to be President.
While some may argue McCain was eligible based upon a reference to Vattel, McCain simply does not fit the strict US Supreme Court definition of natural-born citizen as defined in Minor. To fashion an exception for McCain not found in the actual text from Minor is purely partisan and unfair.
Unlike others commenting on eligibility, I have always maintained that both McCain and Obama were not eligible. I brought my law suit all the way to the Supreme Court – prior to the election – arguing against both candidates’ eligibility. I was the first person to raise this issue with the American people. And I hold them both accountable for the damage done to our Constitution as a result of neither having more concern for the nation than they did for themselves.
Leo Donofrio, Esq.