An Open Letter to Mario Apuzzo

Note: I have submitted the following as a comment to attorney Mario Apuzzo’s blog, and reproduce it as an open letter here.


Speaking of “being shot down with every one of your comments,” I have answered every single one of your points here, in a way in which you did not and could not answer mine:

“I discussed the Wong Kim Ark case in my December 20, 2008 article cited above. I said, among other things: “But this holding, which only tells us what a “Citizen” is, has nothing to do with what a “natural born Citizen” is as that term is used in Article II of the Constitution.” I think that says it all.”

I think it does say it all, as it is abundantly clear that the Court in Wong Kim Ark in fact addressed the question of whether a person in Wong Kim Ark’s situation was “natural born” — and found — as their “irresistible” “conclusion” — that the allegiance to the United States of Wong Kim Ark’s parents, who were most certainly part of “every citizen or subject of another country, while domiciled here,” was quite specifically “strong enough to make a natural subject [using the historical English term, because they were quoting Lord Coke], for if he hath issue here, that issue [or in modern language, that child] is a natural-born subject.”

Face it, Mario. Your theory is over. The cat is out of the bag, and it can never be put back in. Minor v. Happersett was never a case about citizenship, but fundamentally one about VOTING RIGHTS. Furthermore, to the degree that it DID touch on citizenship, it ONLY did so to the extent of basic citizenship, with no distinction whatsoever necessary between natural-born citizenship and naturalized citizenship. Virginia Minor’s voting rights did not depend at all on whether she was natural-born, or naturalized. For that reason, Minor could never possibly establish the “binding” “definition” of “natural born” that you and Donofrio claim.

On the other hand, Wong Kim Ark WAS fundamentally (and very, very clearly) about citizenship — and the Court not only declared Wong Kim Ark to be a “citizen,” they ALSO declared EVERY child in his EXACT situation to be “NATURAL” and “NATURAL BORN.”

Since the Court found Wong Kim Ark to be both “NATURAL BORN” AND A “CITIZEN,” they undeniably found him to be a NATURAL-BORN CITIZEN. And it wasn’t even close. It was 6 to 2.

It is now similarly clear that you are on the losing side of the argument. 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.

The choice is up to you.

Follow-up: I Destroy MichaelN’s “Rebuttal” to the Open Letter to Mario Apuzzo

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15 Responses to An Open Letter to Mario Apuzzo

  1. I left my own comment at Mario’s blog:

    Besides the obviously legal and historical fallacies with your “two citizen parent” definition of NBC I believe it is on a fundamental level un-American, Un-American to such an extent that if the Constitutional authors were to be reincarnated and read your arguments they would immediately go back in time and remove the clause.
    One the founding principles of the USA was that “all men are created equal”. I think it is even in one of the documents in a case at the National Archives in Washington, D. C. This principle permeates the text of the Constitution, especially the Bill of Rights. One of the few exceptions to the equality principle is the NBC clause that was added with little public discussion because of fear that a European prince might somehow be installed in the new and powerful office that was being created to head the Executive. However, the idea that someone born on US soil, despite working hard and displaying the qualities that we admire in a leader throughout their lifetime as a citizen would be barred from holding the highest office in the land merely by parentage is such an anathema to the core principle of equality that Americans should be sickened at the thought of embracing such silly idea.

    • John Woodman says:

      I don’t think they would at all remove the natural born citizen clause.

      I do think, however, that they very well might discuss the whole thing, argue about it, and end up by formally stipulating that the definition of “natural born citizen,” for purpose of Presidential eligibility, includes:

      • any person born on US soil with at least one citizen parent.
      • any person born on US soil of resident non-citizens, except for foreign sovereigns, foreign diplomats, persons on foreign ships, occupying armies — all of the usual and historical exceptions, plus probably the Indian one.
      • any person born to two US citizen parents abroad.

      The very first Congress, in fact, made it a point to specify that the children of two US citizen parents abroad were to be specifically considered as natural-born citizens — thereby stating that such persons should be eligible to the Presidency.

      The fact that the words “natural born” were dropped from a later law do not indicate to me that the succeeding Congress necessarily intended to exclude such children from Presidential eligibility, as I have seen no indication at all that anybody in the early history of our country ever attempted to draw any distinction whatsoever between a person who was “born a citizen” and a “natural born citizen.” Nor, as far as I’m aware, has Donofrio or Apuzzo ever produced even one example of anyone who made any such distinction early in our nation’s history. If I am wrong about this, I am sure they will correct me.

      That the Founding Fathers did NOT intend an ABSOLUTE bar to any “foreign influence” whatsoever is quite clear in the facts that they ONLY required a total of 14 years of actual residence in the United States prior to election of a President, AND that they (to the extent that they participated in and influenced our very first Congress) very quickly specified that children born abroad of US citizens were eligible, too.

      These happen to be pretty much the same conclusions that the Supreme Court came to, in Wong Kim Ark — although from my reading of Wong Kim Ark, their position on the children born abroad of US citizens appears to be that it was Constitutionally within the power of Congress to define their status. And by the way, in spite of the fact that Article II Section I of the Constitution stipulates that no one other than a “natural born citizen” could be President, they also registered no objection to Congress having declared that the children born abroad of US citizens were be considered such.

      I haven’t done any kind of full study of the matter, but by a fairly quick reading, they seem to have believed it was Constitutionally within the power of the Congress to decide whether “natural born citizen” did or did not include the children born abroad of US citizen parents. Just as Congress has the power to set some rules regarding who is and isn’t a citizen, it appears that — in this limited instance at least — Congress has the power to include or exclude the children born abroad of US citizens from the group of people regarded as natural born citizens. This also has some historical support from the Court’s mention of instances in which past English law — which had been the common tradition of both England and the Colonies that would become the United States — specified at times that such children were to be regarded as “natural born subjects” in every possible way. It is also arguable — though Apuzzo doesn’t hold this view — that children born abroad of two American parents are already natural born Americans simply by “natural law.” This might especially be true if they returned to the US at an early age and didn’t in any way grow up in the foreign country where they were born.

      Of course, the question of children born abroad to US citizens was not the question before the Court. The question of a child born on US soil of two non-citizen parents was.

      And their understanding of the Founders’ intentions in regard to children born in the country is pretty clear.

      Apuzzo of course maintains that a “natural born citizen” can only be defined in terms of “natural law.” That is not the view that the Supreme Court took. They regarded the term as one which had long held a specific historical and legal meaning. And they conducted an exhaustive analysis to determine exactly what that meaning was, and how it applied to the case before them. And since that analysis led them irresistibly to the conclusion that Wong Kim Ark was “natural born,” the Supreme Court’s understanding of the term was entirely different from what Mario Apuzzo has claimed it ought to mean.

      Since the Supreme Court — and any other court, for that matter — is naturally going to rely on the United States Supreme Court’s determination of the meaning of the term — and not Mario Apuzzo’s — his position is hopelessly, irretrievably doomed. So as I stated earlier — Apuzzo now has a choice of whether to go down in the history of the issue as the guy who recognized reality and restored sanity to the discussion — or of whether to go down with his sinking ship.

    • John Woodman says:

      I want to also come back to this other point that you made:

      “…the idea that someone born on US soil, despite working hard and displaying the qualities that we admire in a leader throughout their lifetime as a citizen would be barred from holding the highest office in the land merely by parentage is such an anathema to the core principle of equality that Americans should be sickened at the thought of embracing such silly idea.

      I must confess that I am not sickened, but frankly angered at reading the following:

      Shocker for GOP on Rubio Eligibility

      Although I don’t know as much about Marco Rubio as I would like to, I am so far an admirer of his. Now these people appear to have poisoned the well in regard to Mr. Rubio as well.

      So you will probably be gratified to know that I now have a better appreciation for what you probably feel in regard to their treatment of Mr. Obama.

      I have often been accused of being in this for the purpose of defending Mr. Obama. At times I’ve wondered whether it was worth it to run the gauntlet of sticking up for the truth when there wasn’t any immediate observable benefit for my side of the aisle politically.

      Now it seems to come back to me that sticking up for the truth and for the integrity of our political system, even if it’s not in regard to “your” candidate, may one day return to your benefit. If you work for the benefit of all, then hopefully, one day, all will indeed benefit.

  2. I could go with “angered” too although I like “sickened” better. It is telling that the Obama hating Birthers are so zealous that they are willing to toss several of their own out in order to make sure the “eligibility net” includes Obama. I think their list includes Rubio, Romney, and Jindahl for sure. Ron Paul even made it on to Charles Tisdale’s list somehow. That one has me scratching my head.

    I was kidding of course about throwing out the NBC clause altogether although I could make a good argument that it has outlived its usefulness. I am sure that if the Founding Fathers were granted a “do over” they would write something like you suggested. I doubt they figured the term needed definition at the time because they were so familiar with English common law, natural born subjects, and Blackstone. They probably figured even a school child could understand what they were saying. I can forgive them if they never saw the Birther movement coming. Most of us didn’t.

    • Thomas Brown says:

      I too was stunned by the widening of the ‘eligibility net.’ Those bringing these suits seem willing to bet that if they got a sympathetic court decision, it would be worth disqualifying some of the Republicans’ most able candidates if it would mean that they also could disqualify Obama. Why?

      I am old enough to remember when political discussions went something like this:

      “I think he’s a bad President.”
      “Well, I think he’s been a pretty good President.”
      “Oh? Why do you think so?”

      Since the advent of Karl Rove, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Anne Coulter and so on, that will no longer suffice. Now it has to be “The President is a Marxist Muslim Terrorist, and a Traitorous Usurper. He is bent on destroying America, organized Christianity, our Military, and all our Freedoms. He must be stopped by whatever means necessary. If the Courts won’t rule that he is and always was ineligible for the office, and Congress won’t impeach him for his many high crimes, fraud, and genocidal plans to wipe all good Conservative Patriots off the face of the earth, the People’s Militias must take up arms, march upon Washington, and remove him by force… in self defense, and in defense of the Republic.”

      Little wonder that Birthers will try anything to destroy this President. Now, I am aware that almost no right-wing citizens on the street came up with these ideas themselves; they are only acting on what they have been told. And if I were weak-minded enough to really believe the statement above, I would join them. I too am sickened… but more so by those promulgating the hysterically-exaggerated anti-Obama hyperbole than by their listeners and believers.

  3. Pingback: I Destroy MichaelN’s “Rebuttal” to the Open Letter to Mario Apuzzo | Investigating the Obama Birth Certificate Mystery

  4. Pingback: Why the Birthers Lost | Investigating the Obama Birth Certificate Mystery

  5. John

    Congratulations on joining the illustrious and noble Order of the Obots. Email me and I give you instructions on how to collect your bonus. 😉

    • John Woodman says:


      You might want to hold on to that bonus check for a bit. I came close the other day to writing my first political post at this blog, which would’ve ripped the current administration up one side and down the other for their behavior in regard to the health care and Catholic hospitals issue. The only reason that I haven’t has been due to plenty of other priorities and things going on.

      And I’m not even Catholic.

      I’ve also been doing further research on the “natural born citizen” issue. That will probably keep me too busy to write that political post — for now. But don’t be too quick to award me the Order of the Obots hat. I might go off the reservation at the drop of a hat. 🙂

    • Thomas Brown says:

      Indeed, having read much of Mr. Goodman’s writing, I can certify that he is about the only highly-intelligent non-birther Conservative I have run across online (Squeeky Fromm, Girl Reporter is another). It was so refreshing when I ran across him, I almost waxed rude by monopolizing the comment section at his fine website. I shall try to contain myself.

      I would welcome healthy exchanges of opposing viewpoints with him in the future, because he is one of the few folks who do NOT support Obama I have found who don’t consequently assume I am an evil, ignorant, lazy, ungrateful Liberal traitor bent on destroying America.

      As much as I may disagree with him, I have nothing but respect for John based on his writings. I have a number of friends who are not Obama fans, and I can exchange viewpoints with most of them; I am happy to report that none of them give any credence to the foreign-birth or two-parent Vattelist nonsense either. They, alas, are not writers, so well-thought-out written exchanges are not an option.

      I try to do my part by not standing for misrepresentations, exaggerations, calls for lawlessness, downright silliness, etc. from my fellow Liberals. We are all in this together, and it might be good if both sides were a little less counter-productive.

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