This is Part 5 of a series of articles. In the previous four parts, we ripped the birther claim regarding Minor v Happersett into little tiny pieces, looking at it from the points of view of its merits of legal precedent, the merits of the claim that the Court established a definition, the plain English of the claim, and the logic behind that plain English. For Part One, see here.
In March 2012, the Arizona Superior Court, Pima County very specifically ruled that Minor v Happersett quite simply does not say what the birthers claim it says.
Here’s what that court said:
[Supreme Court] precedent fully supports that President Obama is a natural born citizen under the Constitution and thus qualified to hold the office of President. See United States v. Wong Kim Ark… Contrary to Plaintiff’s assertion, Minor v. Happersett, 88 U.S. 162 (1874), does not hold otherwise.“
That was a flat-out slapdown.
But it gets worse.
At least NINE federal and state courts — not even counting US v Wong Kim Ark — have either found or stated that citizen parents are NOT required to make a natural born citizen, or have given examples of people who were “natural born citizens,” who clearly did NOT have two US citizen parents.
These cases include:
- Nwankpa v. Kissinger, 376 F. Supp. 122 (M.D. Ala. 1974)
- Diaz-Salazar v. INS, 700 F.2d 1156 (7th Cir. 1983)
- Mustata v. US Dept. of Justice, 179 F.3d 1017 (6th Cir. 1999)
- Tisdale v. Obama (US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Richmond Division, 2012)
- Lynch v. Clarke (New York, 1844)
- Ankeny v. Governor of the State of Indiana, 916 NE2d 678, 688 (2009), (Ind. Supreme Court, Apr. 5, 2010)
- Farrar-Welden-Swensson-Powell v Obama (Georgia, 2012)
- Allen v Democratic Party (AZ Superior Court, Pima Co., 2012)
- Purpura & Moran v. Obama (New Jersey, 2012)
At the same time, no court has ever ruled that two citizen parents are required.
I’ve written an entire article on the recent Arizona ruling, here.
Finally, This Brings Us to the 900-Pound Gorilla that Grinds Whatever Is Left of the Claim into a Fine Powder.
The 900-pound gorilla is, of course, US v Wong Kim Ark.
In that case, the United States Supreme Court found that a young man, born in San Francisco of two non-US-citizen Chinese parents, was both “a citizen” and “natural born.” And the Court’s statement that he was “natural born” were part of the core reasoning of the case, which ran to more than 50 pages.
This being the case, it is US v Wong Kim Ark — not Minor v Happersett — that has established binding precedent regarding who is a natural born citizen.
This brings us to the final point of this series: Even if Minor v Happersett had established such a precedent (which it didn’t) it would’ve been overruled by the later Wong Kim Ark case, which is the definitive ruling on the matter.
I have a separate post that makes plain that United States v Wong Kim Ark is the Supreme Court case that decided the matter.