Once again I find myself in the somewhat unenviable position of reminding fellow conservatives that we need to stick to our strength — which is… the truth.
The economy is awful — and everyone knows it. Conservatives should be pointing that out.
Stick to the many things that Obama and the Democrats have done wrong for the past three years since he was elected, and that they are still doing wrong. That would be my advice.
But no, there are still some who are caught up in sensational claims that can’t survive scrutiny, and in wishful thinking.
On Friday, WorldNetDaily published an article about Laurie Roth, a lesser-known but nationally syndicated talk show host who’s running for President. Dr. Roth (according to her web site, she has a PhD in counseling) is also a “birther.” She claims in a November 2nd press release officially announcing her candidacy:
“Obama is ineligible to be President. He has presented a verified forgery of his long form birth certificate on April 27th 2011.”
This isn’t the first time that Dr. Roth has made the “verified forgery” or “proven forgery” claim. It is unfortunate that she is continuing to repeat it — and all the more so because she quite specifically ought to know better.
Nearly two months ago, after reading an article that Laurie Roth had written, I personally emailed her — not once, but twice, warning her that the proof-of-forgery claims don’t stand up under examination. I also let her know that I had the hard analysis to back that statement up.
Neither Roth nor anybody associated with her ever replied to either message.
By the way, as far as I’m concerned, if Laurie Roth isn’t personally on top of things enough to judge the quality of some fairly major claims accurately for herself, and if she — for whatever reason — can’t be bothered with the actual truth before repeating extremely dubious allegations in a press release announcing her candidacy for President of the United States, then she really should not be running for that particular office. We don’t need candidates for President who can’t discern between truth and fiction, and who ignore those who try to point out the difference.
In a moment I’m going to share the content of my emails to Laurie Roth. But first, we should be clear as to where things stand regarding the forgery allegations.
More than 2 months ago, I published the results of an extensive investigation which carefully analyzed every significant aspect I could find anywhere of claims that Barack Obama’s birth certificate was a fraud. I investigated more than 30 different anomalies, issues and questions. The goal was to find out whether any of them contained real substance.
I further conducted my own independent examination of the few testable areas I could think of not covered by others.
And in EVERY area investigated, despite many different claims of “absolute proof” of fraud, I found no good evidence to back up the claim that Obama’s birth certificate is a forgery. ALL of the supposed “proofs,” when examined carefully and accurately, collapsed.
Now as I stated in the resulting book, we never actually needed dozens of different “proofs” that Obama’s birth certificate was a forgery. All we ever needed was one good one. That’s all.
But even though I examined literally every known claim, not one of them produced that single good piece of evidence that would actually hold up under scrutiny.
The failure of every single proof-of-forgery claim doesn’t necessarily prove that the birth certificate is authentic. But it DOES show that we really don’t have good evidence that should lead us to think otherwise.
We should also note that the mere fact that we have dozens of claims of fraud is no indication either of any actual fraud. That’s a fallacy. All that the number of allegations really demonstrates is the determination of people to find something that might stick.
The sterling example of someone with a high number of allegations is Dr. Jerome Corsi, author of “Where’s the Birth Certificate? The Case that Barack Obama is not Eligible to be President.”
In my own book, I documented that Dr. Corsi (mostly using WorldNetDaily as his megaphone, but also on the radio and in his personal public speaking) has publicly promoted at least 23 different claims of evidence (and in many cases, of outright “proof”) that the birth certificate is a fraud. A few of these have been his own theories. Most of them have been theories produced by others, which he has then written about at WorldNetDaily.
And I noted that EVERY SINGLE ONE of these 23 claims falls apart when looked at carefully and honestly.
Not only that, I SHOWED — I DEMONSTRATED — in each and every case, exactly WHERE the failure was.
Now when an author gets it wrong, not just once or twice, but 23 times in a row, that’s a pretty good indication that he or she probably isn’t a good source of reliable information.
If we’re to be even-handed, of course, my own claims ought to be tested as well. And I’ve put those forth for public scrutiny, as widely as I’ve been able to. I’ve stated that if anyone can show where I am in error regarding any of my analysis or conclusions, I will publicly correct such error.
So far, in the more than two months since the book was published, NOT A SINGLE WORD of the 221-page analysis has been shown to be factually inaccurate in any way.
Paul Irey, who had loudly proclaimed (with help from WorldNetDaily) that different fonts are present in the document and that these different fonts “prove” forgery, was initially eager to debate me on the issue… until I challenged him to do so in a nationwide forum… and until he actually read the relevant section of my book.
And as soon as he did, he promptly backed down.
Meanwhile, WorldNetDaily has studiously avoided publicly acknowledging that my analysis even exists — even though they were among the very first to receive a copy (at CEO Joseph Farah’s request) — and even though the book has been significantly mentioned in the comments section of some of their articles.
Interestingly, though, they seem to have stopped making direct claims that the document is forged, preferring instead to quote others (such as Laurie Roth) whenever others make statements that it is.
Which brings us back to our Presidential candidate Roth. I will share below the full text of my two emails to her.
What do we do when vast numbers of conservatives are led astray (whether deliberately or not) by our own trusted conservative news sources?
You stated in your article yesterday in Canada Free Press, “Most also know by now that on April 27th, 2011, Obama presented a proven forgery of a long form birth certificate to the media and nation.”
I am a conservative with 20 years experience in the computer field. I also have 10 years past experience working with a non-profit interdenominational Christian organization. I have conducted a careful 3-month investigation into all of the claims regarding Mr. Obama’s long form birth certificate, including those made by Doug Vogt (and referenced by you) and by all of the other experts promoted by WorldNetDaily. I also conducted my own independent examination of the PDF file and other documents released to the public.
I found that Mr. Vogt and the others are all completely wrong — that there is in fact no good evidence of forgery. That doesn’t prove the document is genuine, but it does demonstrate that the claims of evidence that the birth certificate is forged are without basis.
I have also explained, clearly and in detail, why all of the numerous allegations of forgery fail. It has taken me 211 pages [note: that should be 221 pages; 211 was an earlier page count] and 72 illustrations to explain all of the results of my research, but that explanation is now available and published.
In order to understand the credibility of my analysis and exactly why Doug Vogt, Karl Denninger, Paul Irey, Mara Zebest and all of the other WorldNetDaily-promoted experts are wrong about the birth certificate, you need to read and understand the results of this investigation, or have someone honest, reasonably intelligent, and capable of setting aside emotional attachment to the results read and summarize it for you.
With your permission I would therefore like to send you a copy so that you can personally examine and understand the evidence for yourself. Just let me know whether you would prefer an electronic or paperback copy of the resulting book.
In doing the investigation and communicating the results, I am upholding the following:
1) The Constitution and the rule of law. If Obama is truly ineligible, then he needs to be removed from office. If there exists no good evidence that he is occupying the White House illegally, he still needs to be removed from office — but by using the Constitutional means of the 2012 election.
2) Careful thinking. We quickly get ourselves into trouble when we fail to think clearly and carefully enough.
3) The truth. I believe that the truth is a core conservative value, and when we fail to tell the truth, even when it’s inconvenient, we do more harm to our conservative causes in the long run than any short-term gains we might achieve.
As a result of the way that unfounded and invalid claims have been repeated across America, literally millions of conservatives now believe that our system has grossly failed us, when in fact the truth is very different.
Dr. Roth, I look forward to talking with you more about the issue. Please feel free to contact me by email or by phone.
Author, Is Barack Obama’s Birth Certificate a Fraud? A Computer Guy Examines the Evidence for Forgery
[phone number redacted]
Then, after having some initial conversation with Paul Irey (and frankly hoping at that point that a large-audience debate with him would take place), I wrote Laurie Roth a second email just a few days later:
Last week you cited Doug Vogt and referred to Barack Obama’s birth certificate as a proven forgery. Mr. Vogt and WorldNetDaily have widely promoted this idea. I believe otherwise.
I spent 3 months carefully examining the birth certificate for evidence of forgery, and concluded that in spite of claims to the contrary, there is no good evidence of fraud. I have also published my results for all to see.
Mr. Paul Irey, another of WorldNetDaily’s experts, has challenged me to debate the issue, and I replied that I would be willing to debate him before a good-sized audience of people who haven’t already made up their minds.
If you think it would make for good radio, I would be willing to debate either Paul Irey or Doug Vogt on your radio show as to what the evidence says regarding whether the birth certificate is a forgery.
I have 20 years’ experience in the computer field, including writing software for the US government and private industry, graphics, networking, and hardware. I am politically conservative, have voted for Republicans and maybe one or two Libertarians for the past 30 years, and as far as I can recall, have never voted for a Democrat.
I believe in promoting the Constitution, clear thinking, and the truth. And the truth is that we simply don’t have good evidence of fraud.
You can reach me by return email, or at [phone number].
I have had people point out to me that facts and reality really aren’t that relevant for some folks when it comes to this issue. Yes, I know that’s the case. And of course, it’s hardly unheard of for people running for office to say dubious or untrue things.
Still, Laurie Roth would do better, in my opinion, to find out, and then stick to, the truth.
Update: I’ve now emailed Dr. Roth a third time, inviting her to respond to this article.
The mistake you make is expecting that the birthers care about truth, facts, evidence, or reality.
They don’t. They never have, they never will. In their minds, it’s sufficient evidence that a batch of unknown or questionable “experts” can claim it’s a forgery to confirm that, why yes, yes it is a forgery.
And once that gets set, pesky things like “facts” and “truth” get in the way of what they believe.
I believe that Patrick is right. Also, if this Dr. Roth is a birther (and not just birther-curious or birther-friendly), then she is probably running for president merely to get standing to bring suit against President Obama — many birthers have deluded themselves into thinking that because most of their cases are rejected for standing that they could prevail on the “merits”* if they could only get past the standing hurdle — in truth standing is the least of the hurdles in front of them and the only reason that they continually trip over it is that it’s usually the first glaring deficiency that the judge comes across**. It is my sincere hope that someone such as Dr. Roth will find standing to bring suit and the birthers will get a chance to present their arguments to a court of law, which will only result (my opinion) in their being laughed out of court at best and could easily result in sanctions if the case is brought by a practicing lawyer — especially if that lawyer is Dr. Orly Taitz (who has not, to the best of my knowledge, been disbarred… yet). I expect a spate of lawsuits when primary season comes around (and another when the general starts up). By the way, if the birthers were competent, they would have had a democratic candidate — given how many birthers were originally PUMAs who claim to have been Democrats, it shouldn’t be hard for them to talk about democratic values (strangely enough, I’ve never heard it, though…) — ready to go for the states with early filing deadlines (which have already passed). That this hasn’t happened speaks eloquently to the lack of a single clue in the entire birther community. I would also note that your own research points in that direction as well.
* I would note that standing is one of the merits of a case…
** The Indiana court in Ankeny v. Daniels did rule on the other merits — utterly devastating the Vattelite birthers’ arguments…
I don’t disagree that when it comes to hard-core birthers, facts don’t really seem to matter.
I’m sort of rooting for the forgery leg, at least, of the birther movement to continue. Frankly, continued public interest in the topic is the best shot I have at selling a few more books. I support a large family, and every penny helps.
Because of that, I thought the existence of my book would be kind of self-defeating, expecting that some birthers might read my book, give up on the forgery theory, and shut down their efforts. I don’t think I need have had any real concern about that.
In fact, I had some personal conversation with a particular birther, who steadfastly maintains that Obama is an illegal President because his birth certificate is forged. I stated quite plainly that I spent three months diligently investigating the question of forgery, and that there’s simply no good evidence at all to support the idea. There’s plenty of evidence, in the sense that there are the PDF “anomalies” (which really aren’t anomalies once you understand what they are and what they mean and don’t mean) and tons of rumors and claims — but none of it really supports the forgery theory.
I even actually gave this person a copy of the book.
It made not one whit of difference at all, as far as I could see. Actually gave this person the proof of everything I said. And the person in question went right on insisting that Obama’s birth certificate is a forgery.
We are also now going on 3 days since my third email to Laurie Roth, inviting her to respond to this article. To this point, no response.
Can we start a betting pool? My money is on “never”. 😉
Well, once 3 days goes by with no response (which it has now), that would be the way to bet.
Yeah, I think your book has zero market amongst the birthers — at the very least they’re smart enough to know that they can’t debate anyone in good faith on the merits of their ideas (or they just don’t know how that is supposed to be done… anti-intellecualism being rampant amongst birthers). You’re probably much better off trying to pitch your book to Obots who like to point at birthers and laugh (I haven’t bought your book yet because I’ve been unemployed for almost 2 years and I’m trying to start a company – as soon as I’m getting a paycheck again, I’ll buy a copy…). You might consider an afterword pointing out the absurdity of the forgery claims in the first place. What possible reason would the White House have had for making the sort of forgeries claimed by the birther “experts”? If the forgery claims were true, who would necessarily need be involved in the conspiracy? Anyway, just something to think about…
Thanks for the support! I do actually think you’ll enjoy the book, even though I’ll probably leave it pretty much as is.
I probably would not have used the word “enjoy” before this week (it is, after all, basically a 221-page forensic examination of a birth document!). However, a few days ago I saw one of the local folks who have a copy, and she said, “I really enjoyed reading your book!” Not sure I’d heard anyone use the word “enjoy” before then. 🙂
A valiant effort, John; but the sad fact is that neither the birthers nor the obots care about truth. They are both more than willing to suspend reality and spin like tops for partisan advantage. The BC issue has always been a diversion from the simple fact that a dual citizen, by definition, is not a NBC. The real scandal is the mountain of lies told to obscure Obama’s youthful indiscretions, regarding his dicey use of his auxiliary citizenships, his Muslim heritage, and the glaring absence of a single romantic relationship with a female. Had any of these become generally known to voters, he could not have won the Primary, much less the General election.
A great portal into much of the concerted effort to obscure his ineligibility is:
Following all the links therein should be a thought provoking exercise for anyone with a truly open mind. Personally, I have given up on the whole damn mess, and am rooting for the ‘Occupy’ movement to achieve their Alinsky / Cloward-Piven goal to collapse the US government. The sooner they succeed, the sooner we can start over:
I know it doesn’t help you sell books; but if we have the slightest concern for our posterity, we just can’t go on like this… ◄Dave►
Thanks for the kind words, Dave.
It will be interesting to see how American history plays out from here.
It sometimes seems to me as if a lot of the politicians on both sides of the aisle have concluded that a big crisis is inevitable — largely because of the debt — and they’re just trying to find a way to time the collapse so that they can blame the other party.
Agreed. If you can handle a real downer of a dose of reality, read Pat Buchanann’s new book, “Suicide of a Superpower.” ◄Dave►
Sorry Dave, but President Obama is eligible for his office and you are a birther with a profound misunderstanding of the law. The only people who think that obots* are universally liars — and every birther is guilty of bigotry as well as at least one of ignorance, stupidity, or dishonesty (many have the trifecta). There is nothing which says a dual citizen is not a natural born citizen and such a law would surrender US sovereignty (allowing any foreign country to choose who could be POTUS — by giving everyone else citizenship at birth ). Read the Ankeny decision — no birther lawyer has a prayer of ever overturning that precedent (because they have no valid legal argument in addition to the fact that they are all incompetent…). You personally have scampered away with your tail between your legs rather than respond to obot James Madison’s words:
Any time you’d like to debate the merits of the birther nonsense you’re spewing, bring it on. You cannot give an example of a single birther is willing to debate their precious merits in good faith — and it’s difficult to find a single obot who isn’t (admittedly having the facts and the law and the truth on our side helps…).
How about it Dave? Can you defend birtherism? We already know that you are prejudiced against President Obama — do you not understand the law well enough to see your position is inane? Possibly, but since I, personally have debunked some of your arguments, if you are ignorant it is willful… Or are you just unable to understand the law written in plain terms? (you can’t get much plainer than a court of law ruling that President Obama is a natural born citizen…) Or are you aware and able to understand the reasoning against your position and just hate President Obama so much** that you think that it is okay to repeat scurrilous lies in an attempt to damage him politically? I think all of the options are pretty pathetic.
* they are much less homogenous than the birthers and include many who are not supporters of President Obama — unlike the birthers, the vast majority of whom are incapable of so much as a single kind word about their president
**I don’t hate President Bush, by the way — I despise what he did to our country*** , but I understand that he was just a tragically flawed human being, not evil incarnate. I do still have trouble with that in the case of Dick the War Criminal, though…
*** you birthers generally like to wrap yourselves in hypocritical Christianity in addition to wrapping yourself in the flag with your hypocritical patriotism — I truly believe in the teachings of Jesus [although not his divinity]: hate the sin, love the sinner…
I am more than willing to explicate my reasoning or debate in good faith over any of the charges I made against Dave (or any other birther). As you have seen, no birther is ever willing to engage on good faith. I believe that ultimately your integrity dooms you to be an obot (someone certain of President Obama’s eligibility, not necessarily an Obama supporter [but there’s always hope… ;-)]). It’s okay — you lose nothing by coming out with a stance that the birthers are dead wrong and if I was a conservative, I’d want to shout the birthers down and throw them under the bus as thoroughly as possible (they are political poison — a wedge issue for President Obama that alienates independents… to the extent that they are not completely marginalized). I’ve done this in the case of 9/11 truthers (who make even more heinous [and completely fallacious] allegations against President Bush — not even Dick the War Criminal is guilty of what they claim [although there’s a bunch of other stuff I’d like to see him stand trial for]) who also refuse to engage in good faith discussions regarding the facts of the situation… You’ve already demonstrated the ability to put your reason above your politics once — what does your reasoning tell you about the general integrity of the eligibility movement? Can you find evidence that anything I’ve said has been untrue?
That Justia in 2008 mangled some hyperlinks is not obscuring the truth — it is just proof that Justia is a crappy site.
Nothing of note was removed from Justia, and it is but one site that has this information. And no one, but no one, has ever claimed to be reading Minor before the 2008 election.
No judge, professor, or other expert has ever said that two citizen parents are required — just birthers.
That is total BS, and you know it, Bob. Leo Donofrio has provided us with a multitude of opinions of judges and legal scholars to the contrary at:
Sorry, Dave, but Minor is a voting rights case that mentions in its dicta that it isn’t going to answer the question. Later, the question is answered (the same way James Madison answered it) in general by the SCOTUS in Wong Kim Ark (setting a precedent that would over-rule Minor if Minor had actually said what Leo thinks it does) and in the case of President Obama specifically by the Indiana court in Ankeny (which cited Wong Kim Ark, the 14th amendment, the common law of the several states (which descended from English common law) and Calvin’s case (the case that established that natural born = jus soli four centuries ago. Clearly you either don’t know the law, don’t understand the law, or are lying about the law. Which is it?
I’m an avid reader of Donofrio’s site, and he has never, ever cited a judge, professor, or other expert that agrees with his analysis about Minor. If he has, cite it and prove me wrong.
Rather, Donofrio engages in smoke-and-mirrors about a non-controversy about some third-rate site mangling some hyperlinks.
That’s because Leo is so brilliant, he understands Minor v. Happersett much better than any of those judges, professors, and other experts.
This brilliance is what enables him to declare that Minor v. Happersett established a binding precedent that excludes children born on US soil of non-US-citizens from NBC status… even though the Court in that opinion explicitly stated that they had no intention of addressing the status of children born on US soil of non-US-citizens.
I’ve read the entire opinion of Minor v. Happersett (as well as the entire opinion from Wong Kim Ark and several other cases), and my conclusions were as follows. (I do recommend reading the entire opinions for yourself, carefully.)
First, the purpose of Minor v. Happersett was to determine Virginia Minor’s voting rights, rather than determining the meaning of natural born citizen for the purpose of Presidential eligibility.
And the Court in Minor v. Happersett stated quite clearly that they had no purpose at all to resolve the doubts regarding citizenship status of children born in the US of noncitizen parents.
For this reason, it is therefore patently ridiculous to claim (as Leo Donofrio has) that Minor v. Happersett established a binding precedent excluding the US children of non-citizens from natural born citizen status, with specific application to Presidential eligibility.
Those who adhere to the two-citizen-parents-required theory quite often quote a portion of that particular paragraph in Minor v. Happersett, but they never seem to quote what comes immediately after. Let’s quote a little bit further:
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. Some authorities go further and include as citizens children born within the jurisdiction without reference to the citizenship of their parents. As to this class there have been doubts, but never as to the first. For the purposes of this case it is not necessary to solve these doubts.
First of all, what are the terms “natives” or “natural-born citizens” set apart from, opposed against, or distinguished from? If we are to accept the Vattel-birther theory, then that status ought to be set against “non-native” or “non-natural-born citizens” — as well as “aliens” or “foreigners.”
But Minor v. Happersett doesn’t oppose “natural-born citizen” against any class of “born-in-the-US-but-not-natural-born-citizen,” or even mention the possibility of such an animal. The only alternative the court mentions here to being “natives” or “natural-born citizens” is that of being “aliens” or “foreigners.”
Now it’s certainly possible to split the hairs on that statement. But it seems abundantly clear, at least, that the Court in Minor v. Happersett never intended to, and therefore did not, define or determine the natural-born citizenship status of children born in the US of foreign parents.
It’s therefore very clear to me that Minor v. Happersett is very frequently twisted by Vattel birthers to say something it absolutely does not say.
And I would also say that I believe, based on my careful reading, that they similarly twist and misquote Wong Kim Ark.
Okay, so that’s on one side.
On the other side: I personally believe (as does most of the country) that Marco Rubio and Bobby Jindal — both of whom were born here, were citizens at birth, and whom have lived their entire lives as American citizens — are eligible to run for President of the United States.
And I think we would harm ourselves by excluding these two, and in general, persons of similar background, from becoming President. Nor do I see good evidence it was the Founding Fathers’ intention to do so.
And the other thing: Sorry, but any hope that I’m going to become a supporter of Barack Obama is in vain.
I just drove my car back from the repair shop today, and on the way I was thinking about making some big bumper stickers that would say:
That’s okay if you don’t become a supporter of President Obama (truthfully, I only support him because I believe that the alternatives are not just much worse, but dangerously so — including Herman Cain and his ultra-regressive 27% tax plan [as opposed to the lowest tax rate of any modern administration under President Obama]). Honest differences between people willing to engage in good faith are what makes life interesting (to me anyway…). Clearly your political views are no impediment to seeing the lack of merit in birther arguments.
I won’t clutter up John’s blog by pasting all the cites here, Bob; but perhaps you missed this article about a month ago:
I commend it to you too, John. It is one thing to disagree with Leo’s conclusions (although his arguments are more persuasive to me than yours); but quite another to flippantly dismiss as “patently ridiculous,” his voluminous legal research, which includes cite after cite of court rulings and scholarly peer reviewed articles that regard Minor v. Happersett as legal precedent on the definition of Federal citizenship. Facts are facts, and he has amassed a bunch of them to bolster his argument.
Leo is not a mindless ‘birther,’ and socially, he is anything but a conservative. I have delighted in some of the things he has blogged that gave typical birthers conniption fits. He just happens to have a passion for our Constitution, the rule of law, and the unvarnished truth. Furthermore, I would bet a lot that he has spent more time seriously researching this subject than any man alive. It surprises me that you, of all people, would dismiss his autodidact expertise and independent search for truth, outside of partisan spin zones.
I am not sure what your level of legal expertise is, John, but I doubt that it much exceeds my own feeble efforts to understand the arcane world of legalese. When I first read Minor, I came to much the same conclusion you did; but like the awakening to alternative explanations, which I received by reading your book, I got a whole new perspective by carefully following Leo’s logic. Try reading him with an open mind.
As for Rubio, Jindal, et al, no, by definition, they are not NBCs either, and I will rail as strenuously against any attempt to subvert the Constitution for their benefit, as for Obama’s. Amend it if necessary and prudent, but we disregard it at our peril. We might as well toss it on the ash heap of history, if we are not going to use it anymore. ◄Dave►
I’ve read that article. Nowhere does Van Dyne say that natural-born citizenship requires two citizen parents and birth in the United States. And neither do any of the “court rulings and scholarly peer reviewed articles” that Donofrio cites. Go ahead, quote them and prove me wrong.
Leo’s not a brilliant legal scholar and you are a birther. If I’m wrong, address why James Madison doesn’t understand the Constitution or why Minor has never been cited by the SCOTUS on citizenship issues (rather than voting rights issues). Since you can’t do either your comments are shown to be pretty transparent lies.
You quoted Leo as saying:
You actually think someone who thinks that the language of the 14th amendment is “tricky” knows what he’s talking about? That anyone can’t just go and look up what “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” means… and has meant for 400 years? Give me a break…
John, if you are still of the impression that Leo is a birther, read this old post of his from back in June:
Beware whimpering intellectual snobs, who consume your bandwidth with taunting tyrades, yet haven’t the decency to even buy your book. They will lead you astray. 😉 ◄Dave►
Leo doesn’t believe that President Obama is eligible for his office, ergo (by my definition) he’s a birther. On top of that, he’s not a very good lawyer if he thinks that the arguments he’s making are going to carry the day in any court.
This just got posted last night, gentlemen, and it is chilling:
Not only does it reveal two more cases where Minor is cited as precident in a citizenship case, the deliberate scrubbing of the references to them now extend to two more databases outside of Justia. Tell me, my Obot amigos, are you down with this, or is your respect for the law perhaps finally offended by what is happening to its integrity in order to cover up Obama’s ineligibility problem? ◄Dave►
Again, nowhere do those cases say that natural-born citizenship requires two citizens parents and birth in the United States. If they do, provide quotes and prove me wrong.
As for the rest, I am shocked, shocked that the databases of some free sites are imperfect! Surely this must be a conspiracy reaching all the way up to the White House, and beyond.
Those cases don’t have to say it; Minor says it and they cite the ruling in Minor as precedent. Obots have been claiming that Minor is precedent only on the separate election issue. Now, we have Minor defining the class of NBC and Wong Kim Ark defining the class of 14th Amendment citizens.
Since Obama’s mother was not old enough to confer citizenship on her son unilaterally under the statutes extant at the time of his birth, assuming he was born in HI, it requires the 14th Amendment for him to even be a US citizen, and he is not a NBC. Period. Fini. Why do you think the courts refuse to even consider ruling on the merits, if it were otherwise? Everybody (except Kool-Aid besotted Obots) KNOWS he is ineligible, and nobody wants to be responsible for the riots in the ghettos that would follow any legal attempt to do something about it. ◄Dave►
So you believe that Mr. Wong was “as much a citizen” as a natural born citizen in the sense that he could do anything but run for president? Even though it was argued that if the lower court ruling was upheld it would mean that Mr Wong could run for president? Sorry, but your arguments are inane and easily contradicted by actually reading the cases in question…
Minor doesn’t say that two citizen parents and birth within the United States is required for natural-born citizenship. And none of these case citing Minor say that either. Which is why all the judges, professors, and other experts have stated that Obama’s (and Rubio’s and Jindal’s) birth in United States is sufficient.
And, “counselor,” the mother’s age is irrelevant for births within the United States.
Oh: The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled ON THE MERITS that birth within the United States is sufficient.
None of the birthers are willing to touch Ankeny with a 10-foot pole. They know that they can’t attack it and that it makes their wailing about cases dismissed on standing rather than the other merits irrelevant. They just say it isn’t binding precedent and hope everyone will overlook the fact that, even so, it is precedent.
Please tell us why we should suspect that Justia’s behavior was anything more than a line of bad regex like they said. Specifically, you should give us answers to the following questions (if you are serious and want anyone to believe you who isn’t already a birther):
1. Why the explanation they gave wouldn’t have resulted in the observed behavior (mangling of cases).
2. Why the error was limited to a smaller class of cases than the bad line of regex would have effected.
3. How much experience do you have with regex? (I’ve written thousands of lines of it myself and find Justia’s explanation perfectly reasonable…)
4. Why is there a reason to hide a case that doesn’t have any implications regarding President Obama’s eligibility?
5. Why are you scared of addressing the James Madison quote that I keep posting? It makes it seem (along with all of the other comments you studiously avoid) that your arguments are weak and you are dishonest, why is that?
Okay Dave, I just wasted my time reading Leo’s crap about ex parte Lockwood (which was before Wong Kim Ark, I believe…). Let’s break this down:
A = (born on the soil of citizen parents)
B = (natural born citizen)
The Minor court said, “If (A) then (B) — and, by the way, we’re not saying anything about (not A)”.
The Lockwood court said “the Minor court said ‘If (A) then (B)'” (presumably because they had established (A) and wanted to establish (B)…).
Leo is running around like an idiot saying “The Minor court held* ‘if (not A) then (not B)’ and the Lockwood court confirmed it. Any lawyer who cannot understand this simple logical fallacy is incompetent.
Do you understand the difference between “If A then B” and “If not A then not B”? If you do, why are you pretending not to, and if you don’t, why do you think your additions to this discussion have any value whatsoever?
* it wasn’t a part of the holding
Apuzzo says Minor says “Iff (if and only if) A, then B.” Except nothing in Minor implies that.
Well, I didn’t want to confuse Dave by using “iff”…
The Vattel Birthers corruption of what the court said in Minor is so demonstrably wrong that it would cause one to question their motives. But that applies to all the other Birther arguments about the birth certificates, etc., doesn’t it?
There’s a new article on Laurie Roth up!
I really wanted to get into some of the “natural born citizen” / Leo Donofrio discussion, but with other things I haven’t had time.
A brief comment, though: what I’ve seen of Donofrio’s “evidence” is also rubbish. Just in doing a preliminary reading of his sources listed by Dave, I immediately ran across a source that said the exact opposite of what Donofrio claimed it said.
And Dave, if you find Donofrio’s arguments “more persuasive to me than yours,” that says a very great deal to me about your bias. Frankly, none of my sources say the opposite of what I claim they say.
John: Can you be more specific as to what was rubbish? Thanks.
As far as I can recall, every substantive point of Leo’s that I’ve ever checked out.
The immediate and biggest thing that comes to mind is his very prominent claim that Minor v. Happersett “directly construed the US Constitution’s Article 2 Section 1 natural born citizen clause.”
In making this claim, Donofrio pulls a phrase or two out of its context in a paragraph of the ruling, and makes it restrictive as to its meaning — a restriction that the sentence was never intended to have.
Here’s a longer quote from that paragraph:
“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. Some authorities go further and include as citizens children born within the jurisdiction without reference to the citizenship of their parents. As to this class there have been doubts, but never as to the first. For the purposes of this case it is not necessary to solve these doubts. It is sufficient for everything we have now to consider that all children born of citizen parents within the jurisdiction are themselves citizens.”
(As a passing comment, we might note that the Court here uses the terms “natives” and “natural-born citizens” synonymously. This is consistent with every usage in the literature — present-day Vattel birthers excepted — that I have so far seen. And while I’ve by no means exhausted the literature, I’ve now seen many such examples.)
Donofrio not only downplays the “it was never doubted” — he practically rips it out. He focuses solely on the words, beginning literally in the middle of a sentence —
“…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,”
and then claims that the Court here made that one circumstance a restrictive and authoritative definition.
He also claims that the Court thereby ruled that his (imaginary) restrictive definition was the very definition of the natural-born-citizen clause in the Constitution’s qualifications for President, and established that as a binding precedent.
All this in a case which had nothing remotely to do with Presidential qualifications whatsoever.
Let me repeat this: Donofrio claims, with straight face (his other big pastime is poker) that the Supreme Court decided to hand down a ruling on Presidential qualifications in a case which had nothing whatsoever to do with Presidential qualifications.
To suppose that the Supreme Court would issue a binding ruling on Presidential eligibility qualifications in a voting-rights case is a bit of a stretch, isn’t it?
Moreover, it’s a case in which the Court themselves told us, in the very paragraph that Donofrio quotes, that they had no purpose whatsoever at that time even to consider, let alone to rule upon, the citizenship status of children born in the United States of non-citizen parents — because that was not in the scope of the case they were dealing with!
And they told us this quite clearly.
In this way, Donofrio cherry-picks his quotes and twists them to make them say what he wants them to say, rather than what they actually do say.
What he’s doing is twisting the Constitution and the Law, while loudly pretending to uphold them. That’s inexcusable.
See also my comments earlier in this thread, beginning with: “I’ve read the entire opinion of Minor v. Happersett (as well as the entire opinion from Wong Kim Ark and several other cases), and my conclusions were as follows.”
Okay, let’s take the other example to which I referred in passing.
In this article, Donofrio claims:
“We turn now to an esteemed legal scholar and Government attorney who specialized in citizenship law. He will provide unquestionable clarity on the issue of why Minor v. Happersett is precedent on citizenship as well as voting rights.
FREDERICK VAN DYNE, ASSISTANT SOLICITOR US DEPARTMENT OF STATE
The source in question is Frederick Van Dyne who, while holding the office of Assistant Solicitor for the US Department of State, published analysis that the citizenship decision in Minor v. Happersett was precedent.
Van Dyne argued that persons born of foreign parents on US soil were ‘native-born citizens’ of the US prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and the adoption of the 14th Amendment. But Van Dyne, while discussing the holding in the New York case of Lynch v. Clark (not binding on the Federal Courts), failed to endorse that case’s opinion that all native-born citizens of foreign parentage were natural-born citizens. 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.)”
This statement by Donofrio as to Van Dyne’s position is absolute rubbish. I followed Donofrio’s link to Van Dyne’s treatise, and here’s what I found:
First of all, contrary to Donofrio’s claim, I found no statement or intimation whatsoever on the part of Van Dyne that Minor v. Happersett had established a binding precedent on the definition of “natural born citizen.”
Now it’s true, Donofrio didn’t specifically say that Van Dyne would state that. But he promised that Van Dyne would “provide unquestionable clarity on the issue of why Minor v. Happersett is precedent on citizenship as well as voting rights.” And he doesn’t, at least in regard to the definition of natural-born citizen and Presidential eligibility. Not even with Donofrio’s elaborate attempts to make Van Dyne say something he never said.
Donofrio says: “Van Dyne directly recognized that the US Supreme Court’s decision in Minor was precedent on citizenship, and that the holding therein defined natural-born citizens as those born in the US of citizen parents.”
First part, yes. Second part, absolutely not. Van Dyne never states that the holding defines natural-born citizens as those born in the US of citizen parents.
In fact, Van Dyne says (and these are Van Dyne’s direct and personal words):
“[T]he fact that neither Mr. Justice Miller, nor any of the justices who took part in the decision above referred to, understood the Court to be committed to the view that children born in the United States of alien parents were excluded from the operation of the first sentence of the 14th Amendment, is shown by the unanimous opinion in the case of Minor v. Happersett.”
In other words, Van Dyne is saying that the ruling in Minor v. Happersett is what convinced him that the Court did NOT hold an opinion that children born in the US of alien parents were somehow excluded from being born citizens!
Later on in his treatise, Van Dyne will clarify the exact status, as he understands it, of children born in the US of alien parents who are not in the direct official service (e.g., as ambassadors) of a foreign government.
And the doctrine is NOT what Donofrio claims it is. More on that in a minute.
Donofrio specifically cites Van Dyne’s treatment of Lynch v. Clark, and claims that Van Dyne “failed to endorse that case’s opinion that all native-born citizens of foreign parentage were natural-born citizens.”
But here’s what Van Dyne actually said, beginning with his acknowledgement of the case’s ruling:
“This matter was elaborately considered in the case of Lynch v. Clarke, 1 Sandf. Ch 583, decided in 1844 in New York. In that case one Julia Lynch, born in New York in 1819, of alien parents, during their temporary sojourn in that city, returned with them the same year to their native country, and always resided there afterwards. It was held that she was a citizen of the United States.
After an exhaustive examination of the law, the court 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.“ (emphases mine)
Then, with the very first words of the next paragraph, which are Van Dyne’s own and personal words, and NOT the words of the court in Lynch v. Clarke —
“The executive departments of our government have repeatedly affirmed this doctrine.”
Yes, Van Dyne uses the term “native-born citizens” at the beginning of page 7. But he draws absolutely no distinction whatsoever at any time in his entire treatise between the terms “native-born” and “natural-born,” and he specifically endorses the doctrine that Julia Lynch was a “natural-born citizen” not only in his language noting the court’s opinion that this was “the general understanding of the legal profession, and the universal impression of the public mind” (to which statements he takes no exception whatsoever) but also in his statement that “the executive departments of our government have repeatedly affirmed this doctrine.”
What I ALSO found was a lot of other discussion. The entire discussion includes at least two historical quotes that directly and unequivocally contradict Donofrio’s position — as well as one or two that support it.
But by the end of the section on Citizenship by Birth, Van Dyne specifically discusses the status of children born in the United States of alien parents. He eventually comes to a clear and unambiguous doctrine on the subject, based upon legal precedent. And one of the cases he cites as authority specifically mentions and accounts for Presidential eligibility.
Before we review the doctrine that finally emerges, though, we should note that Van Dyne is talking here of children born in the US of TWO alien parents; and Obama only had one, his mother being indisputably a natural-born US citizen.
And in that case, where a child was born in the US of two FOREIGNER parents, Van Dyne’s precedents maintain that such children have a choice: Upon reaching the age of majority (generally, age 21), or shortly thereafter, they must choose which of the two countries they are going to be a citizen of.
If they reside in a foreign country where they are granted citizenship, and they continue to reside and participate there, then they may be considered to have renounced their US citizenship in favor of the other country.
However, if they choose to reside in the United States and participate as a citizen HERE, then they are unambiguously United States citizens — AND THEY ARE SPECIFICALLY QUALIFIED TO EVENTUALLY RUN FOR PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
Yes, that’s correct: The precedent cited in Van Dyne’s treatise very specifically states that A CHILD BORN ON US SOIL, OF TWO PARENTS WHO ARE NOT US CITIZENS, WHO EMBRACES AND DOES NOT RENOUNCE HIS US CITIZENSHIP BY WORD OR DEED, IS ELIGIBLE TO BECOME PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
And Van Dyne brings forth no precedent to contradict that one. That’s his final word on the matter.
Thus it is clear that Van Dyne’s understanding and doctrine of the law would allow for Barack Obama to be eligible for the Presidency, as long as he actually was born in the United States and had participated as a citizen in this country since attaining the age of majority, rather than as a citizen in the other country.
Again, this would be true EVEN IF HE HAD BEEN BORN OF TWO NON-US-CITIZEN PARENTS.
What Van Dyne says, in essence, is: It doesn’t matter that Obama was also born a British citizen. He grew up in the United States, except for four years in Indonesia from ages 6 to 10 — which was never part of the other country whose citizenship he was eligible for — and since attaining the age of majority he has never resided in or publicly claimed citizenship for any country besides the US.
Therefore it would be clear, according to Van Dyne, that Obama chose the United States as his sole country upon attaining the age of majority. He was born a US citizen, has chosen to continue US citizenship as his sole allegiance (throwing away his right on reaching majority to choose British nationality instead) and is therefore eligible to be President of the United States.
Again, this would be the case if BOTH of Obama’s parents had been aliens. Since his mother was a US citizen, the case is only more clear-cut in favor of his eligibility.
But beyond Obama, Van Dyne’s doctrine means that Marco Rubio is eligible to be President. And so is Bobby Jindal.
And all of this comes from a source that Donofrio CLAIMS to be an important and authoritative support of his own “two-citizen-parents-required” doctrine.
That’s Strike Three, and Donofrio is quite definitely “out.”
The two examples cited — where in both cases, not only does a source not say what Donofrio claims it says — but it actually turns out to say the opposite (!!!) — are good illustrations of why I say that Donofrio’s rubbish… is rubbish.
Thanks for your very detailed answer!
The CRS has just written a very exhaustive report on the subject; you will probably find it very interesting:
Thanks for the link, Bob. That does appear to be a thorough, well-researched and authoritative word on the subject.
It is also a very specific and firm slapdown of the doctrine of the Vattel birthers.
Interestingly, it marks the first time I can think of that I’ve seen someone besides the Vattel birthers draw a distinction between the terms “native-born” and “natural-born.” By this treatise, “native-born” means those born on US soil. “Natural-born” means all those who have acquired their citizenship at birth, whether by being native-born (jus soli) or being born abroad to US citizen parents (jus sanguinis).
“Natural born” thus includes BOTH jus soli AND jus sanguinis.
And, the treatise goes a long way, I think, to clarify the one part of the issue that has the (extremely remote) potential of being personally applicable:
My three oldest children, all born of two US citizen parents who at the time were residing in the United Kingdom, will all become eligible to the Presidency upon reaching the age of 35 years.
The relevant quotes are:
The weight of legal and historical authority indicates that the term “natural born” citizen wouldmean a person who is entitled to U.S. citizenship “by birth” or “at birth,” either by being born“in” the United States and under its jurisdiction, even those born to alien parents; by being born abroad to U.S. citizen-parents; or by being born in other situations meeting legal requirements for U.S. citizenship “at birth.”
The weight of more recent federal cases, as well as the majority of scholarship on the subject,also indicates that the term “natural born citizen” would most likely include, as well as native born citizens, those born abroad to U.S. citizen-parents, at least one of whom had previously resided in the United States, or those born abroad to one U.S. citizen parent who, prior to the birth, had met the requirements of federal law for physical presence in the country.
Here is a piece of trivia for you.
In Van Dyne’s treatise the passage that starts “[T]he fact that neither Mr. Justice Miller, nor any of the justices” is remarkable similar to Justice Gray’s opinion in Wong Kim Ark.
From Van Dyne’s treatise:
“And the fact that neither Mr. Justice Miller, nor any of the justices who took part in the decision above referred to, understood the court to be committed to the view that children born in the United States of alien parents were excluded from the operation of the first sentence of the 14th Amendment, is shown by the unanimous opinion of the court in the case of Minor v. Happersett, 21 Wall. 162, 22 L. ed. 627, decided but two years later, when all those judges but Chief Justice Chase were still on the bench.”
From Justice Gray’s opinion:
“That neither Mr. Justice Miller, nor any of the justices who took part in the decision of the Slaughter House Cases, understood the court to be committed to the view that all children born in the United States of citizens or subjects of foreign states were excluded from the operation of the first sentence of the fourteenth amendment, is manifest from a unanimous judgment of the court, delivered but two years later, while all those judges but Chief Justice Chase were still on the bench”
And the similarities goes on from there.
Yes, I had actually noticed that, having gone through WKA in detail.
And since Van Dyne’s book came 5 or 6 years after the WKA decision, it’s obvious that he pulled directly from WKA in writing his comments on Minor.
April 2012: Having reached firm conclusions on the birther movement, I’m moving on, and closing comment sections of this blog as I do so.
If you feel you have a comment to some post here that’s really, REALLY important and ought to be added to a post on this site, email me. If I agree, I’ll add it.