April 12, 2012
By Colonel (Ret) Lawrence Sellin
As members of the military, we took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. We went to war overseas to do so. Now we are back home to do the same.
The United States is facing a Constitutional crisis that will gut our founding legal documents and, if allowed to stand, will permanently undermine the rule of law and endorse endemic political corruption in Washington, D.C.
Will we allow politicians to continue to violate the Constitution and flout the rule of law?
Article II, Section I, Clause 5 of the Constitution states:
“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.”
Note, as written, the authors of the Constitution made a deliberate and clear distinction between the term “natural born citizen” and the word “citizen” exclusively in regard to the eligibility requirements for the office of President.
Unlike “citizen,” which Congress has the power to determine who can become a citizen and the procedures for doing so as in the naturalization acts and the 14th Amendment; “natural born citizen” is the distinct and enduring term envisioned by the Founders to prevent an individual with dual or divided allegiance from becoming President.
The Twelfth Amendment (1804) to the Constitution added the same requirements for the office of Vice President:
“No person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.”
The Founding Fathers’ understanding of the term “natural born citizen,” originated from the 1758 book “The Law of Nations” by Emerich de Vattel, who wrote:
“… natural-born citizens, are those born in the country, of parents who are citizens. … children naturally follow the condition of their fathers, and succeed to all their rights. … The country of the fathers is therefore that of the children…”
The reason for requiring the President and Vice President to be natural born citizens or second generation Americans was allegiance to the republic and to prevent a usurper from attaining the highest office in the land.
On July 25, 1787, John Jay wrote to George Washington, presiding officer of the Convention:
“Permit me to hint whether it would not be wise and seasonable to provide a strong check to the admission of Foreigners into the administration of our national Government, and to declare expressly that the Command in chief of the American army shall not be given to, nor devolve on, any but a natural born Citizen.”
Although understood, but not explicit in the Constitution, the term “natural born citizen” was defined by the U.S. Supreme Court in the binding precedent of Minor v. Happersett (1874) as being a U.S. citizen born of two citizen parents:
“The Constitution does not, in words, say who shall be natural-born citizens. Resort must be had elsewhere to ascertain that. At common-law, with the nomenclature of which the framers of the Constitution were familiar, it was never doubted that all children born in a country of parents who were its citizens became themselves, upon their birth, citizens also. These were natives, or natural-born citizens, as distinguished from aliens or foreigners.”
There was no dissension or opposition among the Justices as to the findings and the Supreme Court decision and the definition contained in Minor vs. Happersett (1874) have never been superseded.
Attorney Mario Apuzzo provides an excellent legal objection to the candidacy of Barack Obama’s for President.
The Law of Nations and the American common law definition of a natural born citizen have also been recognized and accepted by as early as 1814 in The Venus, 12 U.S. (8Cranch) 253, 289 (1814), confirmed by Inglis v. Sailors’ Snug Harbor, 28 U.S. 99 (1830) and Shanks v. Dupont, 28 U.S. 242, 245 (1830). It was again confirmed in Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. 393 (1857).
The original American “common-law” definition of a natural born citizen was not changed by either the Fourteenth Amendment or U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649 (1898), which only address the issue of “citizen of the United States,” not a natural born citizen.
The same original definition of a natural born citizen was also confirmed in lower federal court in ex parte Reynolds, 20 F.Cas. 582 , 5 Dill. 394, No.11, 719 (C.C.W.D.Ark1879) and United States v. Ward, 42 F.320 (C.C.S.D.Cai.1890).
Finally, this same definition was implicitly confirmed by Slaughter-House Cases, 83 U.S.36 (1872), Elk v. Wilkins, 112 U.S. 94 (1884), Perkins v. Elg, 307 U.S. 325 (1939) and Schneider v. Rusk, 377 U.S. 163 (1964).
Despite politically-based arguments to the contrary, there is no ambiguity.
The Constitution requires that candidates for the office of President and Vice President be natural born citizens; that is, second generation Americans, US citizens born of citizen parents at the time of birth.
Politicians and the mainstream media are lying to the American people.
It is a plain fact, not a political position, to state that Barack Obama, Marco Rubio and Bobby Jindal are not eligible for the offices of President or Vice President.
For those who do not like the natural born requirement of Article II, Section I, Clause 5, the Constitution provides means for it to be amended, not simply ignored for the purpose of political expediency.
The Democrat and Republican establishments now have a choice, adhere to the Constitution and the rule of law or be considered “domestic enemies.”
Lawrence Sellin, Ph.D. is a retired colonel with 29 years of service in the US Army Reserve and a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq. Colonel Sellin is the author of “Afghanistan and the Culture of Military Leadership“. He receives email at firstname.lastname@example.org