I Destroy MichaelN’s “Rebuttal” to the Open Letter to Mario Apuzzo

A poster who goes by “MichaelN” has written a response to my Open Letter to Mario Apuzzo.

In that letter, I pointed out the total falsehood of Mr. Apuzzo’s two major claims:

1) the claim that Minor v. Happersett created a “binding precedent” regarding the “definition” of natural born citizen, and

2) the claim that United States v. Wong Kim Ark did not.

I invited Mr. Apuzzo to join the side of the truth, writing:

“You have a choice at this point. I am inviting you to join the winning side. You can admit reality, end up salvaging a significant amount of your dignity, and go down in the history of this issue as the guy who helped bring reality back to America. Or, you can stick stubbornly to your guns and go unrelentingly and inevitably down with the sinking ship.”

“MichaelN” — who from other references on the internet is no stranger to the issue — attempts to shoot down the points that I’ve made. Michael’s response was posted on Apuzzo’s blog.

This is my response to his “rebuttal.” The following includes the entire text of MichaelN’s objections. I have also numbered his points for the sake of reference.

First, let me give a one-sentence executive summary.

The ONLY point Michael makes in his entire “rebuttal” that is true, significant AND relevant is his acknowledgement of the long-standing precedent that the children born on English soil, even of resident aliens, were “natural born subjects.”

Now, for those who might be at all skeptical of that statement — I present the specific, point-by-point demolition of MichaelN’s “rebuttal.”

1. Regarding the WKA court, what the English termed “natural born subject”, the US termed “citizen of the United States”, hence…

Michael, your very first statement is not true. What the English termed “SUBJECT,” the United States has termed “CITIZEN.”

Furthermore, the subjects of English society and common law were classified as either “natural born” or “naturalized” — just as citizens are in the United States. So your statement is doubly untrue. You can’t put the adjective with the noun — that is, attach “natural born” to “subject” — and claim that the whole entire phrase means “citizen.” It just doesn’t make any sense. At all.

It’s like claiming that “black cats” (and black cats only) are the same thing as “felines.” It just isn’t true. “Cats” and “felines” are the corresponding terms, just like “subjects” and “citizens” are the corresponding terms used in England and the United States.

But here — let’s take a more scholarly tone, and confirm our statement that “subjects,” from very far back in history, came in two varieties (natural born and naturalized):

“In 1608 in England (and indeed in the law of Great Britain until the mid-twentieth century), one was either a subject, an alien, or a denizen. Subjects, in turn, were either ‘natural-born’ or ‘naturalized.’ ”

Source: NATURAL LAW AND BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP IN CALVIN’S CASE (1608), Polly J. Price, Yale Journal of Law and the Humanities, Winter 1997

So you see, “natural born CITIZEN” is the corresponding term for “natural born SUBJECT.”

It’s a pretty bad sign when the very first point you make is false. That’s almost always a sign of other bad things to come.

2. …the decision in Wong Kim Ark, being based on the long-term domicile and dedicated business practices of WKA’s NON_CITIZEN parents, there was a similarity recognized in the English common law that recognized birth-right citizenship.

True.

3. In 17th century English common law, for a child born in the realm to be a “natural born”, the parent father had to be a “subject” and if that father was not a “subject”, then his child cannot be a “subject”, even if born in England.

The English deemed an alien-born, visiting England in friendship to be a “subject”, hence his child if born in England was a “natural born”, by “nature and birth-right”. The “subject” status of the parent father was THE MOST ESSENTIAL and PARAMOUNT factor in determining “natural born”.

We could debate this — and in fact the Yale Law Journal article quoted above clearly delineates “subjects” from both “aliens” and “denizens” — but it’s really not relevant to whether the Supreme Court did or did not find Wong Kim Ark to be a natural born citizen.

By the way, I note also that you have FULLY CONCEDED — and rightly so — that the child of alien parents, born in England, was considered to be a NATURAL BORN SUBJECT — which, as we have seen, is the equivalent of a NATURAL BORN CITIZEN in our own country. In so doing, you’ve already conceded most of your claim that the children of resident aliens here are something other than natural born, because you’ve already acknowledged the precedent that they are.

4. Basically everyone born in the English realm was a “natural born” save children of diplomats and enemies…

Correct! The Supreme Court agreed, and stated that the SAME RULE applied here — both in the English Colonies before the Declaration of Independence, and in the United States that was formed by the Declaration of Independence. Let’s give the Supreme Court’s exact quote on this:

“It thus clearly appears that, by the law of England for the last three centuries, beginning before the settlement of this country and continuing to the present day, aliens, while residing in the dominions possessed by the Crown of England, were within the allegiance, the obedience, the faith or loyalty, the protection, the power, the jurisdiction of the English Sovereign, and therefore every child born in England of alien parents was a natural-born subject unless the child of an ambassador or other diplomatic agent of a foreign State or of an alien enemy in hostile occupation of the place where the child was born.

III. The same rule was in force in all the English Colonies upon this continent down to the time of the Declaration of Independence, and in the United States afterwards, and continued to prevail under the Constitution as originally established.”

5. …these [the children of foreign diplomats and enemies] are the equivalent to US 14th Amendment “citizens of the United States”

They are not. Once again you put forth a clearly FALSE statement. The rule in England, from at least the early 1600s, was that the children of foreign diplomats in England were not subjects. And as for the United States, the 1995 State Department Foreign Affairs Manual states:

“The immunities of diplomatic agents extend to the members of their family forming part of their household. For this reason children born in the United States to diplomats to the United States are not subject to U.S. jurisdiction and do not acquire U.S. citizenship under the 14th Amendment or the laws derived from it.

As for children of armies occupying a part of either England or the United States, there is nothing to suggest that they would be considered “the equivalent to US 14th Amendment ‘citizens of the United States.’” They would be far less welcome as potential citizens than the children of diplomats.

6. The English did not have any other form of born subject, but the US does, as can be seen by the choice of wording in the 14th Amendment.

According to you, Donofrio and Apuzzo, and virtually nobody else who even pretends to credibility.

The 14th Amendment says, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

No court has ever held that the 14th Amendment, in calling people born in the United States “citizens,” meant that it intended in any way to exclude any such persons from being “natural born.” On the contrary, as the court in Ankeny v. Governor of Indiana stated:

“…we conclude that persons born within the borders of the United States are “natural born Citizens” for Article II, Section 1 purposes, regardless of the citizenship of their parents.”

And the ruling in Tisdale v. Obama said just the same:

“It is well settled that those born in the United States are considered natural born citizens.”

Note the court’s language: “well settled.”

7. US doesn’t automatically deem alien-born visitors to be citizens/subjects, so a child born in US to a visiting alien (since WKA court ruling by interpretation of the 14th Amendment) is at best a “citizen of the United States.

According to you, Donofrio and Apuzzo, and virtually nobody else who even pretends to credibility.

I’ve already quoted the court ruling from Ankeny. Here, let’s quote Frederick van Dyne, the scholar that Leo Donofrio falsely claimed supported his position.

First, let’s look at Donofrio’s FALSE claim. Donofrio wrote, “In his famous treatise, “Citizenship of the United States” (Lawyers Co-Operative Publishing Co., 1904), Van Dyne only went so far as to state that such persons were “native-born citizens”. (See Van Dyne’s treatise at pgs. 6-7.)”

But in that exact work, van Dyne writes:

“After an exhaustive examination of the law, the court [in Lynch v. Clarke] said that it entertained no doubt that every person born within the dominions and allegiance of the United States, whatever the situation of his parents, was a natural-born citizen; and added that this was the general understanding of the legal profession, and the universal impression of the public mind.

The executive departments of our government have repeatedly affirmed this doctrine.”

Donofrio’s claim is false.

8. John why do YOU suppose, that with all the talk about “natural born” that took place in the WKA court that the court did not use the words “natural born” in the decision for Wong Kim Ark?

First, the question they were asked was not whether Wong Kim Ark was a natural born citizen for the purposes of Presidential eligibility. He wasn’t running for President and being denied access to a ballot on the grounds that he was not natural born. He was seeking to return home from China and was arrested and officially denied entry on the claim that he was not a citizen.

Secondly, as I have shown, they DID use the words “NATURAL BORN” to describe Wong Kim Ark. They stated clearly that the allegiance of foreigners residing in the United States was, “in the words of Lord Coke in Calvin’s Case, ‘strong enough to make a natural subject, for if he hath issue here, that issue is a natural-born subject.’”

So as I have noted, the Supreme Court was “irresistibly” led to the “CONCLUSION” that Wong Kim Ark was “NATURAL BORN.”

9. Why do YOU suppose, that the 14th Amendment used the wording “citizen of the United States” to describe the born citizens, rather than “natural born”.

Because the intent of the 14th Amendment was not to make black people eligible to run for President. They were not running for President and being denied access to a ballot on the grounds that they were not natural born. They were being denied ALL the rights of citizens, on the grounds that (according the US Supreme Court in the infamous Dred Scott ruling) they were not, and never could become, CITIZENS of the United States.

10. Do you really think that if it was of such paramount importance to make it so clear, the drafters of the 14th Amendment and the Wong Kim Ark court just plain forgot to write ‘natural born’ into their definitions?

Again, the newly-freed slaves were not running for President. Wong Kim Ark was not running for President. And although that was the case, the Court STILL found — as an “irresistible” “conclusion” — that Wong Kim Ark was “NATURAL BORN.”

11. There is no precedent to be found in any English common law to do with presidential eligibility in a republic.

True! And totally irrelevant. The Founding Fathers decided that the status of a natural born citizen here would be one of the qualifications for our office of President.

12. The term “natural born” used by the framers was a criteria for a highest office and commander in chief, which was selected INSTEAD OF “native born” because it meant one who would be MOST likely to be free from any foriegn influence, allegiance and claim.

If the Founding Fathers had intended for candidates for President to be free from ANY foreign influence, allegiance and claim WHATSOEVER they would NEVER have phrased the Presidential qualifications for office the way they did.

How do we know this? The very YOUNGEST person to be elected President over the next 50 years was 55 years old. The average age of our first 10 Presidents on their inauguration was 59. The Founding Fathers had to have a very good idea how old the typical President would likely be.

And yet the Constitutional requirement for actual residency in the United States, prior to being elected President, was a mere FOURTEEN YEARS. Total.

That meant that ANY ONE of our first 10 Presidents could theoretically have been born a US citizen and spent up to 40 years living abroad before being elected President.

So the suggestion that the Founding Fathers intended an absolute bar to any foreign influence whatsoever is ridiculous.

13. The term “natural born” in English common law was a term to describe anyone born in the realm to a “subject” and was NOT an eligibility criteria for any high office. Chalk and cheese.

True! And totally irrelevant. The Founding Fathers decided that the status of a natural born citizen here would be one of the qualifications for our office of President.

14. John, your entire argument is based on a silly ABSURDITY that the framers were derelict in their duty of responsibility to protect and secure the office of POTUS from any foreign influence, allegiance and claim, they were simply not that stupid.

You claim that the Founding Fathers would have been “derelict in their duty” IF they had created a system in which it was possible for someone who was born an American, on US soil, whose parents were foreign citizens living here, to become President.

Please explain how they were NOT “derelict in their duty” in creating a system in which a child could be born here of two citizen parents, spend all but 14 years of his life living abroad, and then return to the United States and be elected President.

YOU CAN’T. So that entire line of your argument falls apart completely.

And you’ve not only been shot down on that particular point — you’ve been shot down on all of your points. At least, all of the points that support your basic claim.

You did, as I noted, acknowledge the clear and long-standing precedent that even the child of resident aliens had long been regarded as NATURAL BORN. As you said:

“Basically everyone born in the English realm was a ‘natural born’ save children of diplomats and enemies.”

And on that one point, you are entirely correct.

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31 Responses to I Destroy MichaelN’s “Rebuttal” to the Open Letter to Mario Apuzzo

  1. Pingback: An Open Letter to Mario Apuzzo | Investigating the Obama Birth Certificate Mystery

  2. John Woodman says:

    There’s been a bit of further discussion with Michael over at the Reality Check radio blog. You can read the entire conversation there; I’d like to share just an excerpt from it here.

    I am responding to some of Michael’s posts and arguments:

    The “logic” would lead you to realize that without citizen parents, one cannot be “natural born”. It was the same in 17th century English common law, when Lord Coke stated that a child born in England could not be a subject if his father was not a subject… that’s why your entire politically biased argument is absurd and is an epic failure.

    I love the birther technique of making absurd, politically biased arguments that are epic failures… and then proclaiming the opposite to be absurd, politically biased arguments that are epic failures. It’s kind of cute, really.

    The “logic” would lead you to realize that without citizen parents, one cannot be “natural born”. It was the same in 17th century English common law…

    Which is precisely why English common law proclaimed that even the children of non-citizen resident aliens were “natural born.” Right?

    What is it about the fact that the term “natural born Citizen” was a unique construct of the framers without ANY precedent, that you don’t get?

    If “natural born citizen” had been a “unique construct of the framers without ANY precedent,” don’t you think they would have given us a definition for it? The fact that they gave no definition is a sure sign that a definition, or at least a precedent for its meaning, already existed. And it wasn’t the birther Vattel definition, as no such term existed from Vattel at the time. The term LATER referred to in Vattel as “natural born citizens” at the time read indigenes — the indigenous.

    But there WAS exactly such a term — “natural born” — that had existed and been used in legal circles for CENTURIES. It came from… huh… English common law!

    What is it about the fact that Vattel was very popular and a huge influence on the framers in and about the framing period, that you don’t get?

    What is it about the fact that Blackstone — the writer on English common law — was quoted nearly 18 times more often than Vattel that YOU don’t get?

    Since it is apparently difficult for you to understand this point, let me spell it out for you: For EVERY instance in which Vattel was quoted by the Founding Fathers, there are 17 to 18 instances in which Blackstone and English common law were quoted.

    What is it about the fact that the framers had an imperative to ensure only those with the least or no foreign allegiance, loyalty and claim should be eligible for the office of POTUS [President of the United States], that you don’t get?

    What is it about the fact that they only required FOURTEEN years, out of a lifetime, of United States residency in order to qualify for President, that YOU don’t get? Clearly their desire to limit “foreign influence” was NOT absolute.

    [Addition: If the framers had truly wanted to "ensure only those with the least or no foreign allegiance, loyalty and claim should be eligible for the office of POTUS," then why did they not limit total foreign residence to something like 10 years? Instead, they specified only a really, very small minimum residence in the United States.

    And for someone to even approach that minimum, they would have to live overseas for more than 20 years! Here's why: The minimum age was 35. For the youngest possible President to hit the minimum residency, they would have to have lived 21 years overseas and 14 years in the US. Any President older than the minimum would only further weaken the percentage of that person's life required to be spent actually IN the US.

    So it's clear that the Founders had no problem with future Presidents spending 20 years or more of their lives in some other country! To maintain that they wanted an absolute bar on "foreign influence" is therefore simply ridiculous.]

    What is it about the fact that the SCOTUS [Supreme Court of the United States] didn’t rule WKA [Wong Kim Ark] to be a “natural born Citizen”, that you don’t get?

    What is it about the fact that they were led “irresistibly” to the “CONCLUSION” that Wong Kim Ark was “NATURAL BORN,” and that they also found him to be a CITIZEN, that YOU don’t get?

    If he was both NATURAL BORN, AND a CITIZEN, then he was a NATURAL BORN CITIZEN. You might think about that for a bit.

    Fail, fail, fail, fail, fail.

    I’d say that meets my standards for “epic failure.”

    • gorefan says:

      I once asked MichaelN about Chief Justice Cockburn’s statement from his 1858 book “Nationality”

      “By the common law of England, every person born within the dominions of the Crown, no matter whether of English or of foreign parents, and, in the latter case, whether the parents were settled, or merely temporarily sojourning in the country, was an English subject; save only the children of foreign ambassadors (who were excepted because their fathers carried their own nationality with them), or a child born to a foreigner during the hostile occupation of any part of the territories of England. No effect appears to have been given to descent as a source of nationality.”

      MichaelN’s response was that Cockburn had misinterpeted the Calvin’s Case.

      • John Woodman says:

        Right. Who was this Cockburn fellow, anyway? Looks to me like he was only Chief Justice of the Common Pleas in 1858, and wouldn’t become Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales until the following year.

        Just an ignorant rube whose pitiful legal knowledge falls far short of that of Michael and his buddies Mario and Leo.

  3. john who wrote this ?

    • John Woodman says:

      I did.

      Scott, I’ve done a fair bit of sorting through the cases and “natural born citizen” claims. From all I can tell, there was no translation of Vattel at all that used the phrase “natural born citizens” at the time the Constitution was written. There was only the French original — which used the French word indigenes — and English translations that carried that word over literally without even attempting to translate it into some English phrase.

      Therefore, the Founders could not have been referring to Vattel.

      The phrase “natural born,” however, had been used for generations, in the legal tradition that the Founders knew from their own heritage. It had never been combined with the word “citizen” before, because that word had not been used. The word that had been used was “subject.”

      We changed “subject” to “citizen.” And that’s how we got from “natural born subject” to “natural born citizen.” And “natural born subjects” had long, long included even the children of resident aliens, born in the country.

      The “natural” in “natural born subject” came from the fact that the English jurists, long before, had based the phrase on the Biblical idea that God had set up a natural order for the world. In that order, individuals were subject to higher authorities, who were in turn subject to God. They thus viewed the relationship between a member of a country, and that king or government, as part of the natural order that had been instituted by God.

      And that’s why they called such persons “natural born subjects.”

      It is true that in our new country there was an intermingling of new ideas with old. Some were interested in a completely different kind of relationship, which they also attributed to natural order. In this line of thinking, it was counted as “natural” that sons should follow the condition of their fathers.

      So you see, both arguments were made from “natural law.” But there seems to be no record that anyone ever used the phrase “natural born citizen” — or the words “natural born” — in regard to M. de Vattel’s concept of “natural law” until 10 years after the Presidential eligibility clause had been written.

      For this reason — as the Court in Minor v. Happersett acknowledged — some authorities maintained that the US-born children of resident aliens had a different status than those of resident citizens; and some authorities maintained that they had the same status. The Court in Minor said they weren’t going to get into that thicket. Since that wasn’t Virginia Minor’s situation, there wasn’t any need for them to, and it wasn’t any of their business at that time.

      24 years later, the subject came up again — and this time it was the subject of the day. After extensively considering the previous discussions, arguments and precedents, the Court in US v. Wong Kim Ark found — 6 to 2 — that the children of resident aliens were themselves both “natural born” and “citizens.” In so doing — and in specifically mentioning in their majority opinion the fact that natural born citizenship was a qualification for President — they made clear that they found such US-born citizens Constitutionally eligible to run for, and serve as, President.

      And that, my friend, is why the opinion of the legal profession, and the entire record of materials that have been published on Presidential eligibility, has been virtually unanimous that being born a citizen in the United States fits the bill.

      It’s why Frederick van Dyne, the authority on citizenship whom Leo Donofrio falsely quoted as supporting his position, ended the dicussion of natural-born citizenship in the same treatise that Donofrio referenced by concluding that a child born on US soil of resident alien parents, who embraced his US citizenship and never renounced it in word or deed, was eligible to run for and serve as US President.

      And it’s why the “natural born citizen” two-parents-plus-birth-on-US-soil argument has failed in every court that’s heard it. It’s why the Supreme Court has turned down without comment all such cases that have been appealed to it. And it’s why the Vattel birthers do not have the slightest hope of ever prevailing on the two-citizen-parents-plus-US-soil claim in any US court of law.

      It’s why — if they should, by sheer determination and luck, somehow manage to prevail in any lower court (which is extremely unlikely in itself) — they will lose on appeal.

      It’s also one of the reasons why I advised you, a couple of weeks ago, that the birther position — in its entirety — is doomed.

      • gorefan says:

        John, This might interest you. Prior to the ratification of the Constitution and the Naturalization Act of 1790, the individual states were charged with the task of naturalizing aliens.

        Usually this was accomplished by the state legislatures passing acts of naturalization. In Massachusetts, these acts followed a set format. This person or persons having taken an oath and meeting other requirements is deemed to be a citizen of the Commonwealth.

        Here are a number of the acts of naturalization from 1785 to 1791.

        In February, 1785, the Massachusetts legislature passed “AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING NICHOLAS ROUSSELET AND GEORGE SMITH.” in which it was declared that Nicholas Rousselet and George Smith “shall be deemed, adjudged, and taken to be citizens of this Commonwealth, and entitled to all the liberties, rights and privileges of natural born citizens.”

        In February, 1786, the Massachusetts legislature passed “AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING MICHAEL WALSH.” in which it was declared that Michael Walsh “shall be deemed, adjudged, and taken to be a citizen of this Commonwealth, and entitled to all the liberties, rights and privileges of a natural born citizen.”

        In July, 1786, the Massachusetts legislature passed “AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING JONATHAN CURSON AND WILLIAM OLIVER” in which it was declared that Jonathan Curson and William Oliver “shall be deemed adjudged and taken to be free Citizens of this Commonwealth, and entitled to all the liberties, privileges and immunities of natural born citizens.

        In March, 1787, the Massachusetts legislature passed “AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING WILLIAM MARTIN AND OTHERS.” in which it was declared that William Martin and Others,”shall be deemed, adjudged and taken to be free Citizens of this Commonwealth, and entitled to all the liberties, privileges and immunities of natural born subjects.”

        In May, 1787, the Massachusetts legislature passed “AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING EDWARD WYER AND OTHERS THEREIN NAMED.” in which it was declared that William Martin and Others,”shall be deemed, adjudged and taken, to be free Citizens of this Commonwealth, and entitled to all the liberties, privileges and immunities of natural born subjects.”

        In October, 1787, the Massachusetts legislature passed “AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING BARTHOLOMY DE GREGOIRE, AND MARIA THERESA, HIS WIFE, AND THEIR CHILDREN.” in which it was declared that Bartholomy de Gregoire, and Maria Theresa, his wife, their children,”shall be deemed, adjudged and taken to be free Citizens of this Commonwealth, and entitled to all the liberties, rights and privileges of natural born citizens.”

        In November, 1787, the Massachusetts legislature passed “AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING ALEXANDER MOORE, AND OTHERS, HEREIN NAMED.” in which it was declared that Alexander Moore and others,”shall be deemed, adjudged and taken to be free citizens of this Commonwealth, & entitled to all the privileges, liberties, and immunities of natural born subjects.”

        In June, 1788, the Massachusetts legislature passed, “AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING WILLIAM MENZIES, AND OTHERS, THEREIN NAMED.” in which it was declared that William Menzies and others “shall be deemed, adjudged and taken to be free citizens of this Commonwealth, and intitled to all the liberties, privileges & immunities of natural born subjects.”

        In November, 1788, the Massachusetts legislature passed, “AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING ELISHA BOURN, AND OTHERS, THEREIN NAMED.” in which it was declared that Elisha Bourn and others “shall be deemed, adjudged and taken to be free Citizens of this Commonwealth, & entitled to all the liberties, privileges & immunities of natural born Citizens.”

        In February, 1789, the Massachusetts legislature passed, “AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING JAMES HUYMAN, AND OTHERS, THEREIN NAMED.” in which it was declared that James Huyman and others “shall be deemed, adjudged and taken to be free Citizens of this Commonwealth, and entitled to all the Liberties, Privileges and Immunities of natural born subjects.”

        In June, 1789, the Massachusetts legislature passed, “AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING NATHANIEL SKINNER, AND OTHERS, THEREIN NAMED.” in which it was declared that Nathaniel Skinner and others “shall be deemed, adjudged and taken to be free citizens of this Commonwealth, and entitled to all the liberties, privileges and immunities of natural born subjects.”

        In March, 1790, the Massachusetts legislature passed “AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING JOHN JARVIS, AND OTHERS, THEREIN NAMED” in which it was declared that John Jarvis and others, “shall be deemed adjudged and taken to be free citizens of this Commonwealth, and entitled to all the liberties, privileges and immunities of natural born subjects.”

        In March, 1791, the Massachusetts legislature passed“AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING JOHN WHITE & OTHERS” in which it was declared that John White and others, “shall be deemed adjudged and taken, to be free citizens of this Commonwealth, and intitled to all the liberties, privileges, and immunities of natural born subjects.”

        They used the terms “natural born Citizen” and “natural born subjects” interchangebly, randomly even after the Constitution was ratified.

        • John Woodman says:

          That is indeed interesting. It illustrates the linkage between the phrases “natural born citizens” and “natural born subjects.”

          It also illustrates the fact that the phrase was in common legislative use, at least in Massachusetts.

          It is also clear that the phrase was in common legislative use for centuries in English law.

          It also seems clear to me that the phrase did not and could not have come from the passage in Vattel — which again, as far as any evidence I’ve seen, was NEVER translated as “natural born citizens” until some 10 years after the Constitution (and the Presidential eligibility clause) was written.

          Nor was Vattel much cited by the Founders, against Blackstone and English common law. Blackstone was cited 17 to 18 times more often.

          That being the case, the precedent from English law seems very clear.

          • gorefan says:

            In 1788, the legislature of Delaware passed a general act of naturalization with the following:

            ” WHEREAS for the encouragement of aliens or foreigners already settled, or that may hereafter come to settle within this state, it is become necessary, since the change of government, that further provision should be made for enabling them to enjoy the rights and privileges of natural-born subjects of this state

            [skip]

            “…shall thereupon and thereafter be deemed, adjudged and taken, to be a natural born subject of this state and shall be thenceforth entitled to all the immunities, rights and privileges of a natural born subject of this state

            In 1795, Zephaniah Swift, US Congressman and future Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court published, “A System of the Laws of the State of Connecticut: in Six Books”. In what is the first legal treatise published in the United States, Swift wrote, “The children of aliens born in this state are considered as natural born subjects and have the same rights with the rest of the citizens.”

            • John Woodman says:

              In both cases, an example of the equivalence of “natural born citizen” and “natural born subject.”

              And in the second case — “wow” on that quote.

  4. Slartibartfast says:

    John said:

    “Nor was Vattel much cited by the Founders, against Blackstone and English common law. Blackstone was cited 17 to 18 times more often.”

    It’s actually worse than that–if you look at citations that specifically have to do with citizenship, the only SCOTUS citation (and possibly the only citation period) of Vattel is in the majority opinion of Dred Scott. Funny how the birthers always fail to mention the one time that Vattel is cited in a SCOTUS holding regarding citizenship…

    • John Woodman says:

      I’m afraid I must again disagree, on the number of citations.

      The Court cited Vattel directly in the case of “The Venus,” and that case had to do with citizenship inasmuch as it explored the ramifications of citizenship in regard to property ownership in a time of conflict. And they cited the very passage Vattel birthers quote.

      But guess what their quote was?

      “The citizens are the members of the civil society; bound to this society by certain duties, and subject to its authority, they equally participate in its advantages. The natives or indigenes are those born in the country of parents who are citizens. Society not being able to subsist and to perpetuate itself but by the children of the citizens, those children naturally follow the condition of their fathers, and succeed to all their rights.”

      So the translation cited by the Court didn’t include the term “natural born citizens!”

      Still, that would be the exception that proves the rule, wouldn’t it? I certainly can’t think of any other relevant case in which the Court cited Vattel.

      • Slartibartfast says:

        That’s funny. “natives or indigenes”–the birthers are screwed either way (although Dred Scott did cite the translation after the fact which the birthers prefer…).

        • John Woodman says:

          That’s funny.

          Isn’t it!!! Once again, the source that the birthers cite to try and prove their point only illustrates what nonsense they’re trying to peddle.

  5. Bustleton1 says:

    The “birther” position is hardly doomed as you assert above, though its continued inability to gain traction in all of the attempted ballot challenges and the other lawsuits to date against Obama pertaining to the issue of his eligibility might make it seem so. Though I have just completed my own ballot challenge against Obama in my state, and will shortly submit to my Secretary of State’s office, I am not hopeful for its success-well-researched though my effort is. I just believe that our legal system-as well as our political establishment-has turned the page-and tuned out-any realistic discussion of this issue, and is perfectly content to permit perhaps the greatest single act of fraud-the elevation of an ineligible man to the Office of POTUS-to go without redress. Yes, indeed, Constitutional Government is dead in America! Your entire argument above as to “Natural Born Citizen” well written and researched as it may be, is nonetheless, nothing but a giant smokescreen as Obama is not one. Yes, he was not born in Hawaii; he is a foreign-born national; and yes, he likely has a Hawaii bc, and I discuss-and document-both of these seemingly disputed facts in my ballot challenge. Now go ahead and print my posting here in this thread-I challenge you-though I won’t hold my breath!

    • John Woodman says:

      Of course I’ll print your posting, Bustleton. I had not the slightest thought of not doing so. Any genuine point, valid or not, true or not, gets through here. Spam and obscenity don’t.

      Unlike many of the birther blogs, different points of view are welcome.

      I didn’t enter the whole discussion on the “natural born citizen” side of the issue. And honestly, I really don’t care whether Obama in particular is eligible or not. Except for the fact that his dismissal would afflict the nation with one Joe Biden, I would in fact prefer him to be ineligible. That may be a surprise to you, but it’s true.

      I didn’t come to the conclusion that the birther claims are doomed lightly. It took me many hundreds of hours of research to reach that conclusion. But it’s true. You would be better advised to use your money and energies supporting the alternative of your choice, than trying to attack Mr. Obama on ineligibility grounds. It’s your time and money, though.

      State why you think the birther position isn’t doomed, if you like, and I’ll tell you why it is.

    • Whatever4 says:

      I too am interested in seeing this challenge, particularly the evidence of foreign birth.

      I DON’T think Constitutional government is dead. It wasn’t dead under Bush, it isn’t dead under Obama, it won’t die under the next administration.

      Judges and justices take their jobs tremendously seriously. So do most Legislators and most members of the Executive Branch. What they lack is courage to stand up to lobbyists and members of their own parties.

      • Thomas Brown says:

        You might as well suggest, with a straight face, that Bustleton subpoena Elvis Presley (who is not dead yet) to bring in some Bigfoot fur and a piece of a crashed UFO along with the evidence of Obama being a foreign national.

  6. ok i respect that, and i’m impressed with your knowledge of multiple areas of obama’s eligibility. it’s a fascinating saga to be sure. think you’ll write any more books ?

    • John Woodman says:

      In fact it is a fascinating saga, isn’t it?

      Back at the very beginning, I was originally motivated by curiosity to figure out what was really going on, the realization that I could demonstrate some computer expertise by showing the widely-touted “experts” were wrong about the claims they had made thus far, and the possibility that I might discover something that actually would legitimately prove forgery. So I did a few videos, and kept investigating.

      Then after a while I thought, “I could write an actual book on this.” So I did.

      I actually was about ready to just pretty much forget about the issue back in November, when Mara Zebest & Karl Denninger appeared on Mark Gillar’s show and publicly misrepresented both me and my book — all without ever daring to actually speak the name of either. That kind of drew me back in.

      Another thing that drew me back in was rereading US v. Wong Kim Ark and suddenly realizing that the “conventional wisdom” everyone was spouting that the Supreme Court had “stopped short of” finding Wong Kim Ark to be a natural-born citizen simply wasn’t true. At that point I considered the forgery theories and claims of Obama’s birth abroad to be a resolved question. No one has ever produced evidence of birth abroad, my investigation had turned up no good evidence at all of forgery, and we’ve got all the official statements, testimony from the guy’s teacher, etc.

      But this was something new and different. I hadn’t come to any totally solid conclusion on the natural born citizen issue. But there I had, right before my eyes, a real answer to that question as well. The Court stated in quite clear and emphatic terms that they found the allegiance of WKA’s parents to the US to be strong enough to make WKA “natural” and “natural born.”

      And everybody knew they ruled WKA to be a citizen. Well, a citizen who is natural-born couldn’t be anything other than a natural born citizen. I’d read the case before — both the opinion and the dissent — but I’d never noticed this.

      I was excited enough about the discovery that I thought about doing a post on it. And I actually thought, until I did more research, that I’d been the first person to recently discover this and talk about it online.

      And I realized that it was also the final piece in the jigsaw puzzle. If the place of birth claims fail, and the NBC arguments fail too, then the entire birther movement is doomed.

      At this point, I don’t know exactly what my plans are. It’s fascinating enough I’d like to do more writing. And I’m learning a lot about court cases, and where the concept of a “natural born citizen” came from, and all kinds of things I’d like to share with others.

      And I’ve been publicly and falsely maligned again, and that tends to draw me back in as well.

      I also have a third motivation, which is that I am frankly pretty hacked off right now that these clowns might just end up putting Obama back into office for a second term.

      Here’s the scenario I imagine: Even though the “natural born citizen” argument fails, they’ve convinced a lot of people of it — to the extent that a lot of conservatives now falsely believe Marco Rubio is ineligible to be President or Vice-President. I am at this point convinced that Rubio is eligible, and that whoever the nominee is, Rubio just might be the choice for Vice-President that could put conservatives over the top in beating Obama.

      Except now these clowns have poisoned the well. The result might be either that Rubio never gets offered the VP slot — because of voters’ doubts — leading to some uninspiring choice of VP who won’t be good enough to beat Obama… or Rubio gets picked anyway, and a bunch of people stay home, leading again to losing just enough votes to ensure an Obama second term.

      Hmmm… looking at a bit of information on Rubio, it looks like he said back in October that he isn’t interested in the VP slot, so that pretty well removes that motivation.

      Anyway, the real answer is that my plans are always subject to change. I’ve thought of putting together a video summing up what I’ve learned on the NBC side, and I’ve also thought of doing a short book, just to support Rubio. At this point, I have no definite plans. I could write a couple of wrap-up posts and walk away from the whole thing, or I could keep writing until the birther movement inevitably fades away — defeated by reality at every turn, still muttering that they were “right after all,” that everyone who disagreed was either wrong, threatened or on Obama’s payroll, and that the system was unbelievably corrupt to have failed to yield to their personal idea of what the Constitution and laws really mean. It just depends on how I feel on any particular day.

    • John Woodman says:

      Scott, I might add: I’d say the odds that I’m going to write another book on something are pretty high. I have at least one other topic — completely unrelated to politics — that’s been on the drawing board for a while. ;-)

    • Hi Scott! Do you still read this blog? How did that big March 1st day go?

  7. John Woodman says:

    Some additional comments and discussion with MichaelN are available at:

    http://rcradioblog.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/mario-time-to-putz-up-or-shut-up/

    • John Woodman says:

      There’s actually a lot of discussion now at that thread. As far as I’m concerned, all of Michael’s points have failed.

      • I hesitate to say this but I think MichaelN has run out of steam. He may just be licking his wounds to come back for another try, of course. Before MichaelN landed at my blog I never bothered to read many of his arguments. I thought at first he might have something worth consideration until I noticed how he used deceptive truncated quotes on the Calvin case and flawed logic on about everything.

  8. Dr Kenneth Noisewater says:

    John I just wanted to add another reference to Natural Born Subject with our country. The Vermont constitution also contains that phrase. Vermont was the 14th state under the constitution and was admitted after the original 13. In their constutition it states:

    Under citizenship

    Every person of good character, who comes to settle in this State, having first taken an oath or affirmation of allegiance to the same, may purchase, or by other just means acquire, hold and transfer land or other real estate; and after one year’s residence shall be deemed a free denizen thereof, and entitled to all rights of a natural born subject of this State, except those privileges, the right to which is herein elsewhere determined, and except also that such person shall not be capable of being elected Treasurer, or Representative in Assembly, until after two years’ residence, nor be eligible to the office of Governor or Lieutenant-Governor until the person shall have resided in this State as required by section 23 of this Constitution.

  9. John Woodman says:

    Thanks for the contribution!

    It turns out that Vermont actually went through several revisions of its Constitution. The language has changed slightly, but at its core was the same:

    1777:

    Every foreigner of good character, who comes to settle in this State, having first taken an oath or affirmation of allegiance to the same, may purchase, or by other just means acquire, hold, and transfer, land, or other real estate; and after one years residence, shall be deemed a free denizen thereof and be entitled to all the rights of a natural born subject of this State; except that he shall not be capable of being elected a representative, until after two years residence.

    1786:

    Every person, of good character, who comes to settle in this State, having first taken an oath or affirmation of allegiance to the same, may purchase, or by other just means acquire, hold and transfer land, or other real estate; and after one year’s residence, shall be deemed a free denizen thereof, and entitled to all the rights of a natural born subject of this State; except that he shall not be capable of being elected governor, lieutenant-governor, treasurer, councillor, or representative in assembly, until after two years residence.

  10. obsolete says:

    If MichaelN shows up here in this thread, please give him the following words:

    “for if enemies should come into the realm, and possess a town or fort, and have issue there,”

    I am afraid he has lost his copy of them somewhere, for he always posts the quote from Calvin’s case without them. This is what he posts everywhere:
    “that issue is no subject to the King of England, though he be born upon his soyl, and under his meridian, for that he was not born under the ligeance of a subject, nor under the protection of the King.””

    He claims “It doesn’t matter WHY the father is not a ‘subject” However, if one see the full quote, it takes on a different meaning than he claims.

    ““for if enemies should come into the realm, and possess a town or fort, and have issue there, that issue is no subject to the King of England, though he be born upon his soyl, and under his meridian, for that he was not born under the ligeance of a subject, nor under the protection of the King.””

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