Early Use of the Term “Natural Born Citizen”

The State of Maryland and the Marquis de Lafayette Are Associated With One of the Earliest American -- and Legal -- Uses of "Natural Born Citizen."

The State of Maryland and the Marquis de Lafayette Are Associated With One of the Earliest American -- and Legal -- Uses of "Natural Born Citizen."

“Birther” lawyer Mario Apuzzo states that “the ‘natural born Citizen’ clause as applies to republics is a word of art, an idiom, and therefore has a very specific meaning which comes down through the ages.”

And he maintains that this specific meaning is substantially different from the extremely similar “term of art” natural born subject— which does, in fact, have a known and centuries-long history and specific meaning.

But, as always, there are significant problems with Mr. Apuzzo’s claim.

One obvious problem is that early American state legislatures — with a few exceptions which we will shortly see — only began using the term “natural born citizen” after it appeared in our United States Constitution in September of 1787.

And when they did, they used it in exactly the same ways that they had previously used “natural born subject” and “natural born person.”

In fact, the Massachusetts legislature, early in our American history, used the terms “natural born citizen” and “natural born subject” completely interchangeably.

And nobody seems to have ever noted any particular distinction between the two, either — except that we were no longer “subjects” to a king, but “citizens” of a free nation.

“A Very Specific Meaning Which Comes Down Through the Ages” Equals… Nine Known Occurrences?!??

A second major problem is that prior to its use in the Constitution, there are only a handful of known examples of the exact phrase “natural born citizen” — in law, or in any place else.

Mario Apuzzo claims that the term’s definition comes from “the Law of Nations.” But, as detailed in this blog’s two most recent articles, the term was never used — not even once — in any relevant work by any of the major writers on the Law of Nations. And it doesn’t appear to have ever been used even once by any minor writer on the Law of Nations, either.

For this reason, Mr. Apuzzo’s claim that the term was defined by the Law of Nations is now clearly shown to be false.

The Known Occurrences of “Natural Born Citizen” Before the Term Appeared in Our Constitution Are So Few, We Can Actually List Them.

Veturia Pleads With Marcius: Please Spare Rome!

Veturia Pleads With Marcius: Please Spare Rome!

1) The term appears in 1720, in London, in A proposal for printing in English, the select orations of Marcus Tullius Cicero. This quotes Cicero as having stated that the Smyrneans claim Homer (the famous Poet) to be their “natural born citizen.”

2) The term also appears in 1758, in The Roman Antiquities of Dionysius Halicarnassensis, as translated into English by Edward Spelman.

In this story, a woman named Veturia pleads with her son Marcius not to lead the Volscians in an attack against his home town of Rome, but to broker peace instead. She fears that Marcius won’t take her advice, because it would make him look ungrateful to the Volscians, who had given him “all the advantages, which their natural born citizens are intitled to.”

3) Then, in 1774, a translation by J. Patsall was published of Quintlian’s Institutes of the Orator. This was an ancient Roman manual on how to be a public speaker.

In that book, Quintilian advises his pupils, “Therefore, If possible, every word, and the very tone of voice, should bespeak the natural born citizen of Rome, that the language may be purely Roman, and not so by a right different from birth and education.”

The advice was simple, and sound: If you want to go to Rome and impress the crowds, don’t go sounding like a foreigner, or a hick from the sticks. Learn to speak in public using a standard accent and intonation.

It’s advice that newscasters and weather presenters still follow today.

Quintillian, of course, was not writing a legal treatise. He was writing a manual on how to be a successful public speaker.

Now to claim that because one particular Englishman translated Quintillian’s public-speaking advice by telling pupils to speak like a “natural born citizen” — a different translator used the word “native” — that the Founding Fathers of the United States, over in America, read that translation, interpreted the phrase “natural born citizen” as “born in a country of two citizen parents” (which it doesn’t say), and then used that to define a key term is the American Constitution is simply — to use the technical term for it — cuckoo.

And yet, Mr. Apuzzo actually implies (in his 199-page legal brief, filed in Kerchner v Obama) that this is what happened.

All three of the translations above were done in London, by Englishmen.

So why didn’t they use the term “natural born subject?” “Subject” implies an obligation of allegiance to the King. And they knew that in Rome, people weren’t called “subjects.” They were called “citizens.”

So the British translators of these three works simply changed the word “subject” in “natural born subject” to “citizen” — just as we did, years later, for the “natural born citizen” clause of the Constitution.

None of these three brief mentions of the phrase “natural born citizen” — and all of them consist of one use only — occurred in any legal document or even in any philosophical treatise on government or on law.

“Natural Born Citizen” Debuts in America: 1777 — 1786

4) In November of 1777, the Continental Congress drafted the Articles of Confederation, the predecessor to our Constitution. The following wording appeared in one or more drafts of the Articles of Confederation:

“And for the more certain preservation of friendship and mutual intercourse between the people of the different States in this Union, the Citizens of every State, going to reside in another State, Shall be entitled to all the rights and privileges of the natural born free Citizens of the State to which they go to reside.”

The phrase “natural born” was dropped from the final draft.

There are two interesting things to note here. The first is the phrase used: “natural born free Citizens” rather than “natural born citizens.” This suggests that our modern term of art “natural born citizen” had not yet quite taken shape. The Founding Fathers knew they didn’t like the word “subject,” but don’t seem to have quite settled yet on the exact wording that would replace “natural born subject.”

The second thing is the dropping of the words “natural born,” while keeping “free citizens.” This descriptive phrase was dropped in a way that suggests it is just that — a descriptive phrase with its own specific meaning, which could be applied to “subject,” “citizen,” or “free citizen” (“natural born” was also used with “person” in an earlier Maryland law).

All of this suggests that most of the “term of art” is in the adjective phrase — “natural born” — which can equally be applied to “people,” “subjects,” “free citizens,” or “citizens.”

[Credit for this addition goes to gorefan.]

5) By the fall of 1784, word began spreading across the American countryside that all sides had ratified the Treaty of Paris, bringing an end to the Revolutionary War.

A new nation was officially born.

In December, the grateful citizens of Maryland passed a law expressing their appreciation to the Marquis de Lafayette. This French nobleman and military man had come to our shores, served as a general under George Washington, been wounded, acted as a hero, and even returned to France in the middle of the war to drum up additional French support.

As a result, the State of Maryland declared Lafayette — and all of his male heirs forever — “deemed, adjudged and taken to be” natural born citizens of the State of Maryland:

“Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Maryland — that the Marquiss de la Lafayette and his Heirs male forever shall be and they and each of them are hereby deemed adjudged and taken to be natural born Citizens of this State and shall henceforth be intitled to all the Immunities, Rights and Privileges of natural born Citizens thereof…”

It was with this Act that the State of Maryland switched from giving people who were to be naturalized the rights of “natural born subjects” — which they had been doing at least since the early 1700s, to giving such persons the rights of “natural born citizens.” But there appears to be no practical difference between the two.

6) The term appears in a 1785 letter from future President John Adams to future President Thomas Jefferson:

“The Briton’s alien’s duty is a very burdensome thing, and they may carry it hereafter as far upon tobacco, rice, indigo, and twenty other things, as they now do upon oil. To obviate this, I think of substituting the words ‘natural born citizens of the United States,’ and ‘natural born subjects of Great Britain,/ instead of ‘the most favored nation.'”

The interesting thing to note here is that the term “natural born citizens” (for Americans) is used right alongside and in the exact same way as the term “natural born subjects” (for the British).

This strongly suggests that our Founding Father John Adams understood it to have exactly the same meaning — except, of course, for the distinction of freedom between “subject” and “citizen.”

[Credit for this addition goes to ballantine.]

7, 8 and 9) The State of Massachusetts, in the mid-1780s, also began referring to “natural born citizens.”

In February of 1785, the Massachusetts legislature passed “An Act for Naturalizing Nicholas Rousselet and George Smith.”

This act decreed that the aforementioned persons should 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 Februrary of the next year, it was “An Act for Naturalizing Michael Walsh.”

This Act naturalized an immigrant by the name of (not suprisingly) Michael Walsh, and provided (again) that he should 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.”

Finally, in July of 1786, the legislature passed a similar “Act for Naturalizing Jonathon Curson and William Oliver.”

Examples 4 through 9 represent the only American usages, and the only legal usages of the term “natural born citizen,” that I’ve been able to locate, prior to the adoption of the Presidential eligibility clause.

Were there others? Most likely. But if there are, they seem to be buried in history; and as far as I can tell, no one has produced them yet.

The Interesting Thing About the American and Legal Usages of the Term “Natural Born Citizen”

Now the interesting thing about these pre-Constitutional usages, is that most of them were used absolutely synonymously with the term “natural born subject.”

Actually, the Massachusetts legislature, in fact, is known to have used the two terms interchangeably.

So not only does the known American and legal usage of the term prior to the Constitution fail to support Mr. Apuzzo’s claim — it provides additional evidence that — except for the difference between “subject” and “citizen” — “natural born citizen” meant exactly what “natural born subject” had always meant.

And “natural born subject” had always included — with extremely limited exceptions (children of ambassadors, foreign royalty, invading armies) — all children born in the country, even of non-citizen parents.

This new information thus adds still more substance to the already large mountain of evidence that it does not — and never did — require citizen parents for any child born in the United States to be a “natural born citizen.”

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75 Responses to Early Use of the Term “Natural Born Citizen”

  1. Northland10 says:

    Therefore, If possible, every word, and the very tone of voice, should bespeak the natural born citizen of Rome, that the language may be purely Roman, and not so by a right different from birth and education.”

    Interesting how certain phrases appear. In the Federalist, No. 62, when discussing the qualifications of 9 years a citizens for Senator, they use the phrase:

    … who are not thoroughly weaned from the prepossessions and habits incident to foreign birth and education. The term of nine years appears to be a prudent mediocrity between total exclusion of adopted citizens…

    In my reading, both of these statements share the sense that citizenship is from location of birth and education and have no bearing on parents. I would not claim this to be the “ah ha” argument, but just, interesting.

  2. gorefan says:

    In November, 1777 the Continental Congress reviewed drafts of the Articles of Confederation. In the first two drafts (forms) they wrote:

    “5. And for the more certain preservation of friendship and mutual intercourse between the people of the different States in this Union, the Citizens of every State, going to reside in another State, Shall be entitled to all the rights and privileges of the natural born free Citizens of the State to which they go to reside;…”

    “5. And [the better to secure and perpetuate mutual]1 friendship and intercourse between the people of the different States in this Union, the Inhabitants of every State [Paupers Vagabonds and fugitives from Justice excepted]2 going to reside in another State shall be entitled to all the rights and privileges of the natural born free Citizens of the State to which they go to reside:…”
    1 Inserted by James Duane.
    2 Inserted by Richard Law


    The final draft said:

    “Article IV. The better to secure and perpetuate mutual friendship and intercourse among the people of the different States in this union, the free inhabitants of each of these States, paupers, vagabonds, and fugitives from justice excepted, shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of free citizens in the several States..”

    While there is no debate as to why they dropped “natural” from the final text, it may be in recognition of the fact that not all citizens are natural born some are naturalized.

  3. Ballantine says:

    Also, there is a 1785 letter from Adams to Jefferson:


    Londou, 21 July, 1785. Dear Sir, — I have a letter from the Baron de Thulemeier of the 19th, and a copy of his letter to you of the same date. 1 hope now, in a few days, to take Mr. Short by the hand in Grosvenor Square, and to put my hand to the treaty. I think no time should be lost. We will join Mr. Dumas with Mr. Short in the exchange, if you please.

    The Briton’s alien’s duty is a very burdensome thing, and they may carry it hereafter as far upon tobacco, rice, indigo, and twenty other things, as they now do upon oil. To obviate this, I think of substituting the words ” natural born citizens of the United States,” and ” natural born subjects of Great Britain,” instead of ” the most favored nation.” You remember we first proposed to offer this to all nations, but, upon my objecting that the English would make their ships French or Swedish or Dutch, &c., to avail themselves of it, without agreeing to it on their part, we altered it to the footing of gentis amicissima. But, if the English will now agree to it, we shall secure ourselves against many odious duties, and no ill consequence can arise. It is true the French, Dutch, Swedes, and Prussians, will, of course, claim the advantage; but, as they must in return allow us the same advantage, so much the better. Let me know, if any objection occurs to you.

    There is a bill before parliament to prevent smuggling tobacco, in which the restrictions are very rigorous, but cannot be effectual. Two thirds of the tobacco consumed in this kingdom, 1 am told, is smuggled. How can it be otherwise, when the impost is five times the original value of the commodity ? If one pound in five escapes, nothing is lost. If two in five, a great profit is made. The duty is sixteen pence a pound, and tobacco sells for three pence; yet all applications for lowering the duty are resisted. Yours, most affectionately,

    John Adams


  4. John B. says:

    At present I summit that the dispute can not be resolved. The level at which the discourse is occurring will only produce endless presentations of “evidence” and claims of “proof” which do not satisfy the opposition. I suggest that we consider this problem as similar to the ‘continuum hypothesis’. It may well be impossible to determine it one way or another. It may be easier to prove that than that it can be resolved!
    Or, we might liken it to Fermat’s Last Theorem.
    Now both sides have thus far unsuccessfully presented a proof which persons like myself who might claim some intelligence and education consider definitive. Fermat himself claimed a proof but never presented it. Maybe his proof was faulty. We may never know for sure. Andrew Wiles presented a proof which was faulty but with help from another mathematician succeeded. Many think the proof of that theorem had to wait for more advanced forms of mathematics.
    I am suggesting here that we need first to tie down what a proof would amount to and what evidence is. That to my knowledge has not been done by anyone. I have read all of Leo Donofrio’s work, some of Apuzzo’s and some of Woodman’s. I finally got tired out.
    For me this would work as a definitive proof: a fully authenticated document written by James Madison at the time of the composition of the Constitution to the effect that “natural born citizens” has been agreed to carrying the following meaning _________[fill in the blank according to taste and inclination]. I will count as evidence anything approaching this level of proof.
    Fermat’s intuition was correct. Probably Riemann’s hypothesis will some day be proven. Do we have any legal minds at the level of Gauss or Riemann around? What would that really amount to? Law and mathematics exist in different worlds.
    My main point here is that we need to establish standards for evidence and proof. There is no point encouraging the cat to chase its tail. I want to move this whole dispute up to a higher level as I can see now after almost four years that it is not going anywhere. More “evidence” is getting piled on without getting any closer to a “proof”.
    I think my example (the hypothetical Madison document) works. Has anyone read every single document from that time? All the letters written by the 56(?) men, all the diaries and journals, etc.? Have the archives been thoroughly searched and exhausted? The Library of Congress holds millions of uncatalogued items. What about the National Archive? Maybe we shall need to seek out mediums and the clairvoyant for guidance in finding the piece of paper which will end the dispute. Or I have another suggestion–but will save it for later. Best of luck to the Constitutionalists here gathered.

    • John Woodman says:

      At present I summit that the dispute can not be resolved.

      There are only two reasons why “the dispute can not be resolved.”

      The first is that there are people like yourself who really, really want to find some reason to believe that our current President is ineligible, to the degree that they will seize upon professed belief in a Constitutional theory which has practically no real evidence to support it, and for whom no amount of evidence that it is without basis will ever be enough.

      “The earth is flat.”
      “Um… actually, it’s round. Here’s a photo from space.”
      “So? Doesn’t prove a thing. That’s not a real photograph. Some artist painted that.”

      The second is that there are hucksters like Mr. Apuzzo who are fully prepared to cherry-pick, and twist the truth, our history and our laws, and flat-out lie in order to cater to their willing target market and ENABLERS — you.

      It’s been amply demonstrated that there’s no basis in law for Mr. Apuzzo’s claim — to the point that I consider the point that his claim is false, to all practical purposes, “proven.” And this is someone speaking to you whose entire education was in mathematics. Folks with a math education don’t tend to use the word “proven” very lightly, even in non-mathematical areas.

      It’s also been shown that Mr. Apuzzo has a significant track record of claiming and promoting invalid points and outright falsehoods.

      • John B. says:

        There are others who take that position. Some current or former law professors. I will try to relocate names and so forth as I do not keep a log. What about Leo Donofrio? We have to keep in mind that the courts are extremely susceptible to pressures visible and hidden.
        No, I think he should actually be impeached. And he may not even be a native born citizen. His past prior to being president is full of felonies. But once you reach a certain level of corruption you have a great deal of immunity.
        Finally your constant flight to expression of ire like huckster subtract from your credibility. They may give you a bit of temporary relief but subtract from your stature.
        Plus, right here you make no response to my statements in the last comment. Where is the definitive statement from a Madison or the like? You have tossed out a massive amount of information . . . please pick out your favorite three bits and present them in one paragraph. You have not to date persuaded me that reading pages and pages of what you have written would reward the time spent. With just three brief bits of evidence, and quotes will do, make this case you claim is utterly self-evident. I challenge you. This is a test to see if you are really sincere in this matter.
        Here is a format: given just these three evidences I, JW, think it is obvious that natural born citizen means ______. This is good practice as in the after live they do not allow verbosity. You may well be called on to justify some of your actions. I believe three items are the limit there.

        • JRC says:

          Let me see if I got this correct.

          You are saying that the term “natural born citizen” cannot be resolved.

          Yet since it cannot be resolved, we have to go with your definition and impeach a sitting President?

          If this is not your position then could you expound on it. If this is your position, then I just have to shake my head at the lack of logic, reason, and intellect in it’s foundation.

        • John Woodman says:

          Plus, right here you make no response to my statements in the last comment. Where is the definitive statement from a Madison or the like? You have tossed out a massive amount of information . . . please pick out your favorite three bits and present them in one paragraph. You have not to date persuaded me that reading pages and pages of what you have written would reward the time spent. With just three brief bits of evidence, and quotes will do, make this case you claim is utterly self-evident. I challenge you. This is a test to see if you are really sincere in this matter.

          Several things here.

          First, you take the standard birther position that I’m obligated to refute EVERYTHING you can possibly think up, or I must be wrong and you must be right.

          Fact is, about 99.9% of it HAS been refuted. But YOU’RE the person making extraordinary claims. The burden of proof is on YOU. And you can’t come up with one single bit of clear and irrefutable evidence for your position.

          The other day I gave you well over FOUR HUNDRED historical quotes from legal scholars and others that clearly establish the meaning of “natural born citizen” from throughout American history. Any rational person would say, “Okay, then, that’s what it means.”

          Not you. Again, like any other typical birther, there’s NO amount of evidence that will satisfy you. You will happily sit in front of a mountain of evidence 16 stories high and say, “But what about…?”

          You have not to date persuaded me that reading pages and pages of what you have written would reward the time spent.

          If you can’t be bothered even to read the evidence that’s there, why should anybody even continue this conversation with you?

          I did all of the work to research and write on the matter. If you’re going to put forth an opinion on the matter, and claim that your opinion counts for anything, you could at do me, other readers and yourself the courtesy of becoming informed before commenting on the subject as if you think your opinion holds some authority.

          There are roughly 15 to 20 articles on the meaning of natural born citizen on this site. I suggest you read and fully understand all of them.

          If you’re too lazy to do that, then I suggest you go spend your time at Apuzzo’s blog, since over there you can believe whatever you please, without any challenge to your fantasies whatsoever, and you’ll undoubtedly be happier there anyway.

          You have tossed out a massive amount of information . . . please pick out your favorite three bits and present them in one paragraph.

          I’ll reduce it to one: If the Founding Fathers meant Vattel’s concept when they said “natural born citizen,” then why didn’t they use Vattel’s terminology — naturel or indigene? Why did they instead choose a term of art that was virtually identical to one which had a meaning well-known and undisputed in law, that it had held for at least 200 years, and which clearly included the children born in the country even of parents who were not citizens?

          • JRC says:

            Yeah, it’s on par with someone saying to you.

            Explain to me Quantum Theory in a paragraph, if you can’t do that in a way that I can understand then the Theory has no merit.

            In birther logic the more evidence to support your claim the weaker it is.

        • John Woodman says:

          And as far as using the term “huckster” goes, what do you call someone who has put forth multiple verifiable falsehoods, who pushes theories which are clearly and repeatedly shown to be without merit, who is unable to refute the critiques of his points but who keeps publicly making them anyway?

          That’s not “expression of ire” — it’s a reasonable description for such a person.

          Would referring to Bernie Madoff as a “huckster” “subtract from my credibility?”

    • Suranis says:

      Or “I don’t have any evidence for my position at all, but I hypothesise that evidence that supports me exists somewhere in someone’s attic. Therefore this issue cant be resolved and you must treat whatever I say with the same weight as what you say, despite the fact that you back up what you say with evidence and I don’t. Because all my evidence is still in someone’s attic. You see. Oh, and here’s some philosopher names I saw somewhere to make me look intellectual.”

      Here’s a philosopher quote for you. “They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.” – Carl Sagan

    • John Woodman says:

      By the way, Fermat’s Last Theorem is proven.

      And I love that quote so much, I think it bears repeating:

      “They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.” – Carl Sagan

    • Ballantine says:

      Nonsense. One side cites actual legal authority which every modern court and legal scholar that has addressed the issue agrees is right. The other misrepresents every authority they cite and are laughed at by every modern court and legal scholar. They are the new sovereign citizens or tax protestors who are reduced to claiming that every actual Constitutional expert says they are wrong because they are corrupt or in on the conspiracy. What else can they say? If you think any argument by Donofrio or Apuzzo holds water, you simply are ignorant of law and history.

      The bottom line is the Supreme Court has already addressed this issue a century ago and the inability of birthers to understand such is sad, but will not change the fact that every court will simply dismiss their arguments based upon Wong Kim Ark. As for Madison, he did say the English rule was the rule in America with respect to allegiance which of course is the basis of citizenship and was. The state Madison came from had a law in place saying anyone born in such state was a citizen thus copying the English rule. Madison’s State Department declared James McClure a citizen only certifying his place of birth. The only thing discussed in the Constitutional Convention when discussing eligibility was place of birth. No framer ever mention Vattel or parentage being relevant. The term “natural born” only existed in the English common law in 1787. I can go on and on, but don’t you think this is getting embarrasssing?

    • John Woodman says:

      By the way, you might ask yourself why my latest article is on historical usage of the term “natural born citizen” and not on any legal aspect.

      It’s because there’s really nothing else to add regarding the legal definition.

      It’s already been shown that Minor v Happersett in no way put forth a birther “definition” of natural born citizen, and that even if it had, any such definition would’ve been overruled by a later decision (US v Wong Kim Ark).

      Mario Apuzzo and others have completely failed to refute the points made.

      It’s already been shown that US v Wong Kim Ark did establish a binding legal precedent that the child born on US soil of non-citizen parents is a natural born citizen and therefore eligible to run for and serve as President.

      Mario Apuzzo and others have completely failed to refute the points made.

      It’s been shown that there is no known American case law or judicial statement prior to the writing of the Presidential eligibility clause that would justify the birther definition of natural born citizen.

      It’s been shown that contrary to Mario Apuzzo’s claim that the meaning of “natural born citizen” came from American common law derived from the Law of Nations, the writers on the Law of Nations never even used the term, and most of them held views that associated citizenship with the country one was born in.

      It’s also been shown that even if the Law of Nations was fully incorporated into American common law, it would make no difference, as the Law of Nations was considered incorporated into English common law “in its full extent” — and that fact did not in the least prevent the child born on English soil from being a natural born subject.

      It’s been shown that there is no specific known evidence at all that would indicate that the Founding Fathers were referring to Vattel’s concept of citizenship when they wrote “natural born citizen,” and plenty of evidence to indicate otherwise.

      It’s been shown that authorities such as Zephaniah Swift, St George Tucker, and Horace Binney all held understandings of the term that disagree with the birther idea and agree with what people have always understood the term to mean.

      And it’s been shown that legal authorities throughout American history all held the same view, and that this view was also the understanding of writers, publishers, educators, and the general public.

      And neither Mr. Apuzzo nor any other birther apologist has been able to refute even one of these substantial bits of evidence.

      The legal case can therefore be considered proven beyond any reasonable doubt at all. The only thing that remains is to look a bit more at some of the historical understanding.

      It turns out, as indicated in this article, that all of the evidence as regards the historical understanding of “natural born citizen” goes in one direction as well.

      And that’s the exact same direction as the legal evidence.

      • John B. says:

        “And neither Mr. Apuzzo nor any other birther apologist has been able to refute even one of these substantial bits of evidence.” The problem here, JW, is that you leave off “in my opinion”. Anyone reading your articles and comments would automatically consider the whole issued done up nicely and over.
        Now as a mathematician what if you met a fellow deep in the grip of innumeracy who was checking numbers carefully and said he was attempting to determine if there were a largest prime number? Out of kindness I hope you would show him Euclid’s elegant PROOF.
        You will have to admit now that you can not provide the so called “birthers” with that as it would have to be as I suggested a true document from the times in question by one of the principals outlining EXACTLY what the phrase “natural born citizen” was intended to mean! For in the FINAL ANALYSIS only THEY knew exactly what they meant. And they may have misused the expression. You may be right about what it ought to mean; perhaps the vast majority of people at the time took in your sense–but nonetheless the composers of the document and most of the “56” took it in the way Appuzzo and Donofrio and a few other “hucksters” take it.
        As for the degree of cogency of your presentation it seems high but not high enough to persuade the minds of many. Then,too, the degree of cogency presented by the “hucksters” seems just as high.
        Now Fermat’s last theorem has been proved. I say that based solely on authority as the proof is too hard for me to follow. So I have what is called soft knowledge. Strictly speaking at best all you or Apuzzo or anyone else has of their position is soft–and I am afraid rather too soft–knowledge. I fault you only for an attempt to present your position as PROOF when it has not achieved that degree of cogency–unless you have hidden away that document by say Madison. Do you?
        Finally, pretty much the same can be said for Obama documents. One set of experts says they are fine; another claim they are amateur forgeries. Perhaps this tells us more about experts than about anything else. You know about kerning. You know typewriters leave a different sort of mark than computers. Etc.

        • John B. says:

          What I am attempting to demonstrate is the you can not use the word proof without qualification. A proof of Riemann’s Hypothesis that was as incomplete as your proof of what you take “natural born citizen” to mean would not get much serious attention if any. We really need to use the expression “circumstantial proof”.
          E.g. for a long time all we had was circumstantial evidence that Z was in the neighborhood that afternoon; but then a video taken at a birthday party turned up and showed him walking by around 3 p.m.. After that he confessed (proof) that he had in fact stolen the painting. The painting was where he said it would be (definitive proof).
          All we had at the start were hunches and a witness with bad eyesight who believed he had seen Z in the neighborhood. I have come across some other things that throw cold water on your position but will save them for another time. Good luck with finding the document.

        • Ballantine says:

          What you are demonstrating is your lack of understanding of law. Constitutional law is not a mathematical proof. However, that does not mean that any fringe theory has merit. The Supreme Court has directly addressed the “natural born” issue and said the birthers are wrong. That is a fact. Now there are fringe types who claim every Supreme Court decision is wrong like the tax protestors and the sovereign citizens. The fact that no one can convince those nuts is of little consequence as they can make no actual legal argument to support their claims and are simply ignored. The same is true with birthers as they cannot cite a single court case or authority from the founding period that actually supports their fringe interpretation, an interpretation that has already been rejected by the Court. The claims they make about authority supporting them are simply lies as has been documented over and over on this site. If you think the fact that people refuse to believe what the Court and history tells us means we have no Constitution law, then we have no Constitutional law as any idiot can claim his own theory is actually the law. Hence, every court and serious scholar addressing this issue agrees with us. It is about as settled a Constitutional issue that there is. Of course, there will always be legally ignorant people who cannot understand this. BTW, since you cleaerly have not done any research on this, here is a sample of modern scholarship and court cases making clear what idiots the birthers are:

          Lawrence Tribe and Theodore Olson, 154 Cong. Rec. S3645-46 (Apr. 30, 2008)(citing Wong Kim Ark to conclude that “[i]f the Panama Canal Zone was sovereign U.S. territory at the time of Senator McCain’s birth, then that fact alone would make him a “natural born” citizen under the well-established principle that “natural born” citizenship includes birth within the territory and allegiance of the United States”)

          Jack Maskill, Congressional Research Service Report for Congress, Qualification for President and the “Natural Born” Citizenship Eligibility Requirement, pg. 50 (2011) (citing Wong Kim Ark and a multitude of other authority to conclude “[t]he constitutional history, the nearly unanimous consensus of legal and constitutional scholars, and the consistent, relevant case law thus indicate that every child born in and subject to the jurisdiction of the United States (that is, not children of diplomatic personnel representing a foreign nation or military troops in hostile occupation), is a native born U.S. citizen and thus a “natural born Citizen” eligible to be President…”)

          James H. Kettner, THE DEVELOPMENT OF AMERICAN CITIZENSHIP, 1608-1870, pg. 287 (U.N.C. Press 1978)(“No one appeared to re-examine and justify Coke’s idea of the ‘natural-born citizen.’ Americansmerely continued to assume that ‘birth within the allegiance’ conferred the status and its accompanied rights”);

          James C. Ho, THE HERITAGE GUIDE TO THE CONSTITUTION, pg. 190 (2005)(Citing Wong Kim Ark to conclude “[u]nder the longstanding English common-law principle of jus soli, persons born within the territory of the sovereign (other than children of enemy aliens or foreign diplomats) are citizens from birth. Thus, those persons born within the United States are “natural born citizens” and eligible to be President”);

          Charles Gordon, Who Can Be President of the United States: The Unresolved Enigma, 28 MD. L. R EV. 1 (1968)(“It is clear enough that native-born citizens are eligible and naturalized citizens are not”);

          Lawrence Freedman, An Idea Whose Time Has Come–The Curious History, Uncertain Effect, and Need for Amendment of the “Natural Born Citizen” Requirement for the Presidency, 52 St. Louis U. L.J. 137, 143 (2007)(“It is now generally assumed that the term “natural born” is synonymous with “native born”);

          Sarah Helene Duggin & Mary Beth Collins, ‘Natural Born’ in the USA: The Striking Unfairness and Dangerous Ambiguity of the Constitution’s Presidential Qualifications Clause and Why We Need to Fix It, 85 B.U. L. Rev. 53, 90-91 (2005)(“United States citizens born to parents subject to United States jurisdiction in one of the fifty states are unquestionably natural born citizens… unless a child’s parents are protected by the full immunity extended to foreign diplomats and their families, or they are enemy combatants”);

          Jill A.Pryor, The Natural-Born Citizen Clause and Presidential Eligibility: An Approach for Resolving Two Hundred Years of Uncertainty, 97 Yale L.J. 881, at 881 and n. 2 (1988)(“It is well settled that “native-born” citizens, those born in the United States, qualify as natural born”);

          Gabriel J. Chin, Why Senator John McCain Cannot Be President: Eleven Months and a Hundred Yards Short of Citizenship”, 107 Mich. L. Rev. (2008)(“Those born in the United States are uncontroversially natural born citizens”);

          JM Medina, The Presidential Qualification Clause in This Bicentennial Year: The Need to Eliminate the Natural Born Citizen Requirement, Okla. City UL Rev., 1987 (“Prior to the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment… [i]t was presumed that the English law of jus soli was incorporated into the law of the several former colonies and then into the Constitution” );

          Rebekka Bonner, Who May Be President? Constitutional Reinterpretation of Article II’s ‘Natural Born’ Presidential Eligibility Clause, Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1133663 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1133663, (“There is near universal agreement that all persons born within the United States are natural born citizens”);

          William Carroll, Norman Smith, American Constitutional Rights: cases, documents, and commentary, pg. 130 (1991) (“Natural-born citizens can acquire that status by being born in the United States, on the basis of jus soli…”);

          Kermit Hall, The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States, pg. 24 (1992)( “The requirement that the president be a “natural born” citizen implies that the framers recognized the principle of jus soli”);

          Joseph M. Bessette, American Justice, Volume 1‎ – Page 129 (1996)(““Americans are accustomed to the concept of automatic citizenship granted to persons born in the United States, who are called “natural-born citizens…”).

          • John B. says:

            My whole point over several days is that John Woodman being a mathematician is in danger of believing his conclusions represent truth in a way similar to mathematics. But it can be useful to draw on the similarities and differences. Obviously you don’t read carefully.
            In some respects the truth here resembles a popularity contest because at this point a case can be made for either Molly or Susan. B0th have nice legs, etc. So we will have them sing.
            If or until something like what I have suggested comes along it will be a matter of taste, opinion, who your friends are, what’s in it for you. Because, no, JW’s proof is in the realm of opinion. No proof exists. Only what some might call strong, circumstantial evidence for one or the other or both.

        • John Woodman says:

          You will have to admit now that you can not provide the so called “birthers” with that as it would have to be as I suggested a true document from the times in question by one of the principals outlining EXACTLY what the phrase “natural born citizen” was intended to mean!

          A) It is clear that the claim made by Mr. Apuzzo goes against the entire consensus of all past legal authority on the subject, as well as against the entire past understanding of writers, educators and other commentators on Presidential eligibility throughout US history.

          That being the case, the burden of proof is squarely on Mr. Apuzzo’s shoulders to provide overwhelming evidence that virtually everybody in American history who has ever commented on the matter is wrong.

          If he cannot provide such overwhelming and irrefutable evidence, then his point fails.

          Not only can he not provide overwhelming evidence, every single substantial claim he’s made on the matter has failed.

          B) You demand an original document from one of the Founding Fathers specifying that “natural born citizen” means substantially the same thing as “natural born subject,” before you will accept that that is the case.

          You don’t demand an original document from one of the Founding Fathers in order to believe that when the Framers of the Constitution said “natural born citizen,” what they really meant was not similar to “natural born subject,” but was instead identical to Vattel’s idea of an “indigene” — a term that they did not use and nowhere mentioned.

          Why is that, John?

          C) The standard in law and history is “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

          You demand ABSOLUTE proof of the historical position (in other words, well beyond the standard), but you fail to demand even solid evidence of the birther position, before you will believe it.

          Why is that, John?

          D) The standard in law and history (again) is “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

          Every key claim made by Mr. Apuzzo has been shown to be false.

          1. Minor v Happersett didn’t define “natural born citizen.”

          2. If it had, it wouldn’t have been a binding precedent.

          3. If it had been a binding precedent, it would’ve fallen to later overruling precedent.

          4. US v Wong Kim Ark did set a binding precedent that children born on US soil of non-citizens are natural born citizens.

          5. Contrary to Apuzzo’s claim, there’s no record of any “American common law” that supports his position.

          6. Contrary to Apuzzo’s claim, the Law of Nations does not support his position and in fact indicates against it.

          7. Contrary to Apuzzo’s claim, even if the Law of Nations were fully incorporated into US law, it would not support his claim.

          8. There’s no specific evidence at all the the Founding Fathers and Framers of the Constitution had any reference whatsoever to Vattel when they spoke of natural born citizenship.

          9. It’s known that the Founding Fathers quoted Blackstone, the authority on the English common law, sixteen times for every one time they ever quoted Vattel.

          10. All known early usages of the term “natural born citizen” in the United States and in law point to the historical understanding of the term, and not to Apuzzo’s claim.

          11. His claim about Thomas Jefferson’s 1779 citizenship law for the Commonwealth of Virginia has been shown to be false.

          12. He claimed that the 1797 translator of Vattel’s work translated “indigenes” as “natural born citizens” because he would have known the mind of the Founding Fathers and would have understood that when they wrote “natural born citizen” in our Constitution, they were referring to Vattel’s concept. This has been shown to be completely ludicrous.

          13. He claimed that “natural born citizen” had a “a very specific meaning [that is, his claimed meaning] which comes down through the ages.” This has been shown to be false.

          14. He claimed that the Naturalization Acts of 1790, 1795, 1802, and 1855 “told us that a child born in the U.S. to alien parents was not even a ‘citizen.’” This has been verified to be false.

          15. He told us that David Ramsay’s “dissertation” on citizenship represented the views of the Founding Fathers. This has been shown to be false.

          16. He told us that Peter Van Schaack’s reading one winter of Vattel represented the Founding Fathers’ views on citizenship. This has been shown to be false.

          17. A great many of the authorities he cites for support not only do not support him, they refute him.

          18. His position has been thrown out of every courtroom in which it’s been heard. One judge specifically stated that Minor v Happersett does not say what Apuzzo claims it says.

          There exists compelling evidence for all of the above points, none of which Mr. Apuzzo has been successful in refuting.

          The fact that multiple Apuzzo claims have been clearly shown to be FALSE establishes a history of (at the very least) extreme unreliability on his part, and (more plausibly) a history that he appears to have actually lied about these matters, not once, but repeatedly.

          Dozens of court cases have been brought up and examined. None of these lend any substantial support to his position, many of them undermine it, and the one key case absolutely refutes it.

          In addition, a reasonably comprehensive survey of historical evidence has now been done. Not only are there almost no historical authorities that support the Apuzzo/ birther position, there is a great abundance of historical authorities that refute it.

          We have passed the point of “beyond any reasonable doubt.” There is no longer any reasonable doubt that Apuzzo’s claim is completely bogus.

          As for the degree of cogency of your presentation it seems high but not high enough to persuade the minds of many. Then,too, the degree of cogency presented by the “hucksters” seems just as high.

          There are none so blind as those who will not see.

          • John B. says:

            It is like this: is the earth flat or is it round? This question calls for a practical answer. For most ordinary purposes the answer flat is best. Does the sun go around the earth or vice versa. Again it is a matter of practicality.
            We could using another perspective say the earth is just a locale of energy. Or “structured nothingness” to quote Paul Davies. Take your choice.
            The world is the product of illusion. Without illusion a universe would not be possible.
            All of the many statements you list above express a certainty that others will not grant them.
            Consider that Obama was not born under the sole jurisdiction of the USA, something the 14th Amendment requires. However, it may be true he was born in the jurisdiction of the USA. I think ahead there is a disappointment for both positions. For Apuzzo and Donofrio that the courts will never get around to dealing with the matter; and for you that you will never succeed in persuading some you wish to persuade.
            I am not sure you are not misleading yourself with the expression beyond a reasonable doubt(and by the way I prefer the shadow of a doubt). I took a course once called the Philosophy of History. Be careful with history. It can be most tricky.

            • John Woodman says:

              You’re right, John. It’s all an illusion anyway. There is no objective truth, and we can’t really know, when someone says the ocean is “wet,” exactly what they mean by the term “wet.” Does it mean what you or I would call “wet,” or does it mean “dry?”

              I recommend you try the following experiment that may help you in your journey to enlightenment.

              Take a 16-pound bowling ball. Suspend it 3 feet directly above your bare foot. Then release it.

              The entire overwhelming consensus is that the weight of the bowling ball is going to break the bones in your foot. You can ignore that. It’s just a matter of opinion, an illusion, and it doesn’t matter anyway. I mean, even if it did break the bones in your foot and cause considerable pain and swelling, who would care a thousand years from now? And the lifetime of the universe is much, much greater than a thousand years. So it’s all insignificant anyway.

              But whether it would even have any effect at all is a matter of opinion. Who’s to say the so-called experts are right? I recommend you show that they’re wrong.

              Disclaimer: You may do this only at your SOLE risk. I am in no way responsible for any pain or damage, or doctor bills, or disability, that might result — in the extremely unlikely event, of course, that such unpleasant things should occur.

            • John Woodman says:

              Oh… and as far as my “persuading some that I might wish to persuade” — I’m under no illusion that there aren’t some loons out there — yourself apparently included — who are dead set on believing in fairies and unicorns, and for whom no amount of evidence will ever avail. I’m not hoping to persuade you.

              But our conversation illustrates to those out there who actually are both rational and reasonable just how far some folks are willing to go to deny the truth.

  5. Another excellent article John.

    I see where the the New Jersey Appellate Court has scheduled oral argument next week in the Pupura case. I would love to be there for that one. Mario seems to think this is a good thing.

    • John Woodman says:

      Thanks, RC.

      I’d enjoy being there as well.

      Do they allow popcorn in the gallery?

    • Northland10 says:

      Mario seems to think this is a good thing.

      He is right in that it probably be a good thing.. for us, and of course, the Constitution. As for Mario, not so much.

    • Jim says:

      iirc, the case he’s appealing, the Judge did most of the questioning of Mario and the defendant’s lawyer just sat there for the most part. I can imagine the grilling that 3 Judges will do to Mario. Too bad I’ve got to work, that will be a classic beatdown, IMO.

  6. Testing . Obot test in progress. Testing. obot

    • John Woodman says:

      Can you test that again? I’ve changed a setting.

      • Suranis says:

        This is post for the Obots in black. *bzzt*

      • Suranis says:

        Is there an Obot in the house?

      • Suranis says:

        This obot is not capital.

        • John Woodman says:

          Okay. You guys can post the word “Obot.”

          What that means is that you two — who do not falsely and abusively label people as “Obots” — do not have any restrictions in posting. You’re on your own good behavior.

          Mario, who falsely labels me an “Obot” even after he’s been asked not to use the term here — and it appears he can hardly make a single post without using it — will be moderated every single time he uses the term.

        • John Woodman says:

          Mr. Apuzzo had some posts held up here because the filter I thought I had set to move posts with the word “Obot” in them to moderation moved them to the spam queue instead. So until I went in there — at the suggestion of RC — I never saw them.

          It seems that Mario can hardly write a post without using the word “Obot,” even though I’ve politely asked him not to use that word here.

          I would suggest that Mr. Apuzzo, if he wishes to assign a label to myself and others who debunk his Constitutional nonsense, use the word “anti-birther” instead. Yes, I realize it’s a bit longer, but it is much more accurate.

          As for why the word “birther” is acceptable here and the word “Obot” is not —

          First, the word “birther” is not necessarily negative in content (although when spoken in a contemptuous tone of voice it can come across that way). It is fairly descriptive of who these people are: They are people who challenge the current President’s eligibility on grounds of his birth, whether by claiming he was born outside of the United States, or that it requires two citizen parents to be President. Some also would challenge the eligibility of others (such as Marco Rubio and Bobby Jindal) on the grounds of their birth.

          So the term is fairly descriptive, and fairly accurate in that sense, and not necessarily negative.

          “Obot,” on the other hand, carries with it two implications: first, a political support for Mr. Obama, and secondly, the sense of being a “robot;” in other words, it carries a sense of being a mindless supporter of the current President simply due to political ideology.

          The term, when applied to a conservative such as my self who does not politically support the current President, is simply a false label. And the sense of “robot” — a mindless supporter regardless of facts — is likely to be untrue even of many who actually do politically support Mr. Obama. As such, the term is defamatory and insulting.

          I can’t restrict Mr. Apuzzo from using the term at his blog, but I can and will restrict him from using it here. Note that I am not (at this point, anyway) restricting him from calling me a liar, or other similar labels, if he chooses to do so; and I hope I will not feel it is necessary to do so in the future.

          At least if he calls me a liar, I can point out that it isn’t true. But the false “Obot” label is an unnecessary annoyance, and since he seems incapable of restraining himself from using it, I will apply the restraint for him.

          This is not to say that I am 100% satisfied with being called an “anti-birther.” Putting the prefix “anti” into anything creates at least a bit of a negative label. But I would say that in terms of negativity, “anti-birther” is probably about the same as “birther.”

          Other than using the word “Obot,” Mr. Apuzzo remains perfectly free to post his claims at this site, and to do so without moderation.

          • Thomas Brown says:

            I favor being called Obot, because it says a helluvalot more about the user than it does me.

            And what is says about the user is not complimentary.

  7. John B. says:

    Two cheers for this site.
    I would not care where a man were born or who his parents were if he were a good man that had become president. The problem is good men don’t usually consider even running; and when they do, it goes as it has with Ralph Nader and Ron Paul. The media elbow these fellows off to the sidelines.
    As for your bowling ball reality test, I suggest you try it first and assure me it works!
    So in this nation only bad guys become president. Well, one or two might get elected here and there. But I am skeptical.
    As for Enlightenment I always say it is there for those that need It. You probably have attracted a few here that are too well acquainted with suffering. Let those who wish raise their hands, and I will pass along a few secrets.
    Now once Paddy fell off the scaffolding and got a good bump. They asked him,”Paddy
    did the fall hurt your?” And he said, “No it was the stop that hurt, not the fall”

    • John Woodman says:

      1) I’ll appreciate any cheers I can get.

      2) Some tests (as in the bowling ball test) I’m content to leave in the realm of theory rather than personal experience. 😉

  8. Don’t you just love John Woodman. He allows one to called him an “anti-birther.” So the word “birther” can be used on his blog. But he will not permit one to call him a “Botox.” Now is that not just grand.

  9. John B. says:

    What is truly good about all this, the endless debate, is that American citizens are actually looking at the Constitution. Reading early American history. Some who associated the name Monroe with a beautiful, sexy woman now have another person to associate it with. Nothing could be better for this nation at this time than for there to be thousands of blogs examining every line of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. And thence to every aspect of the current degenerate state this nation has fallen to.
    “Am I exaggerating? Well, according to the Corruption Perception Index, we rank 24th in the world (only slightly better than Qatar) for public sector corruption. We rank 25th (way behind our peer group) in the OECD for math scores among 15-year-olds.” –CanSpaccey
    As I see it there is no point in dwelling on just how bankrupt the nation is as that should be obvious what with rotten apples used for the pies and mothers on seriously dangerous drugs. However, we might for a moment check in with the Secretary of Defense:
    PANETTA: “First and foremost, I think this[the drone] is one of the most precise weapons that we have in our arsenal. Number two, what is our responsibility here? Our responsibility is to defend and protect the United States of America.
    And using the operations that we have, using the systems that we have, using the weapons that we have, is absolutely essential to our ability to defend Americans. That’s what counts, and that’s what we’re doing.” quoted by Glenn Greenwald @Salon
    Apparently this precise weapon just killed eight civilians including six children in Pakistan. Shame, disgrace, crime, evil, wicked . . .
    I agree even if Obama were totally qualified or some other jerk were President who was we would have this same sick stuff going on. So it time to go to work and clean things up. Presently we are the world’s one rogue superpower. That needs to end.

  10. John B.

    I can’t see how having a group with primarily racist motivations trying to undo an election of a President who has done nothing to deserve the attacks except having the wrong skin color is a “good” thing. Run that one by me again?

    • John B. says:

      Given the various contents of my comment I am not sure where the racism idea comes from. Why don’t you respond to the important things? Personally I do not know if racism plays much of a role for most Americans anymore. Do you? I think it would take lots of time and work to determine the facts about racism. Seems like anti-Muslim, anti-Arab is the main prejudice now–and not blacks.
      Are you fine about the “kill list” which includes Americans and which can include Americans living in the nation? Are you okay about the loss of due process? I hope you are not living back in the 1960’s!

      • Thomas Brown says:

        Well, I was. And you know bloody damn well if Obama weren’t taking the steps you so glibly deride, you would be lambasting him as weak on defense at best, a terrorist sympathizer at worst.

        You can thank the Bush administration for the Kill List. They were the ones who were asleep at the wheel before 9/11, and they were the architects of the orgy of civil-rights mayhem that constituted the over-reaction thereto.

        To people like you Obama can never do one single thing right. If he solved the world hunger problem you eould castigate him for contributing to overpopulation. If he single-handedly cured cancer you would knock him for putting doctors out of work, and accuse him of being a Socialist because it would hurt pharmaceutical companies’ profits.

        This sort of absolute, automatic knee-jerk condemnation of our President is literally nauseating.

        I hope you are proud of yourself.

        • John B. says:

          Any criticism of Obama could only come from a racist? Sounds like you are well plugged into the Matrix. Them Muslims done blew up them buildings while George W. snoozed. Etc. Your comment shows a genuine lack of knowledge and intelligence. Sorry. I know this will not hurt as the truth has no access to your mind.

      • John B.

        I have interacted with Birthers on forums, blogs, and radio shows for over three years. I have heard them refer to President Obama as “that chocolate nuisance in the White House” and have seen them post racist jokes about the President and the First Lady. I have seen them post disparaging cartoons of Obama as a goofy looking African baby. Do you think the Birthers would be so outraged over a white Republican president whose mother was a Canadian citizen who had not naturalized at the time of his birth? When you see a group of people acting completely against reason and ignoring overwhelming evidence time after time you begin to look for motivations for their behavior. It always comes back to racism.

        • Thomas Brown says:

          Let’s not forget the Birthers’ insulting their children, talking about lynching the Obamas and their, quote, “monkey kids.”


          • John B. says:

            They sound just like your kind of folk only on the wrong side of the fence. Maybe you should crawl over and give the other side a try.

            • Thomas Brown says:

              When a Republican is elected, he will be my President. I will never claim that he is illegitimate, speak ill of his family, or accuse him of hating America.

              That’s your game, and it is utterly dishonorable, traitorous and vile. I would never soil myself by associating with such filth.

        • John B. says:

          I am sure some critics of Obama are uninformed and perhaps unmannerly. I have not noticed your manners as particularly outstanding nor your intelligence and knowledge as noteworthy. So, yes, I can easily imagine that there are numerous persons like Thomas Brown on the other side of the fence. However, bringing racism into this particular forum seems inappropriate.
          We have had a series now of persons for President who have rather disgusting pasts. Certainly Clinton, George W. and now Obama. The nation is incapable of electing a decent man like Ralph Nader or Ron Paul to the presidency. Only those whose hands are dirty are even considered.
          The heads of the Mafia were Catholics–but they were not seeking for men who had sainthood as their goal. And they were successful as the Church has yet to even consider for sainthood a former Mafia head.
          The very idea of America as the “greatest country in the world” is part of the Matrix fairy tale. The truth is that it is the sole rogue super power. Nonetheless if the Matrix suits you, then enjoy yourself.

          • John Woodman says:

            Ron Paul is not Presidential material. JMHO.

            Although I can see why he would be your kind of candidate.

  11. someone should ask the “president” obama if he was born in kenya, before he was born in hawaii.

  12. Suranis says:

    Hey John, just thought you aught to know someone has “pwned” you on youtube. He also calls you one of Obamas tools btw


    Hew also issued you a 24 hour challange, I would assume without letting you know


    Enjoy or ignore as you wish.

    Oops I just realised that this was issuied last year. Doh. I’m still stuck in 2011! 😀

  13. John B. says:

    John Woodman, I believe you have done an excellent, even masterful, job of defending the wrong position. It is clear that you and perhaps associates of yours have put many long hours into research. I am sure you know a lot more history than you did a few years ago. And nothing is truly in vain. However, after over three years of reading various articles by various researchers, I have come to the conclusion that your position is simply not correct. I think there are points where your not being an attorney has caused you to take the wrong path. I think there are probably things about being a historian that you have also missed out on.
    One of the things that alerted me in the first place to some doubts about the “born in the land” interpretation was the trouble some even in the legal field went to to obfuscate. I believe a site called FindLaw even did some tricky stuff to hide the connections of Happersett v. Minor. In other words, it began to become clear to me that there were some in the legal field, even professors of law, who suspected the position taken by Donofrio and Apuzzo to name just two was the correct one and were then not above some unethical fiddling with the facts and so on. I have yet to come across, however, a single attorney who has dedicated the kind of time and energy that the aforementioned men have devoted to this matter and who has taken the position you take. That surely indicates something. It is one thing to say, yes, born in the land and leave it at that which apparently some have done; it would be quite other for these legally oriented souls to set to work for years “proving” it. As far as I can see they have not wished to take that risk which might later on be a real source of embarrassment.
    You look like you are middle aged. So now you may want to consider going to law school and having a second career. I am sure you would enjoy the challenge and think of all the years of debate that would give you. Good luck.

    • John Woodman says:

      1. The site you refer to wasn’t FindLaw, it was Justia; and the incident you refer to has been debunked just like every other claim the birthers have made.

      2. You know what I find amazing in all of this, John? It’s the degree to which some people are capable of denying the obvious truth.

      You say I’ve done a “masterful job” of defending the “wrong position.”

      Yet you can’t state even one single thing — out of what amounts to around 150 pages, if it were put into printed form — of my writing on the meaning of “natural born citizen” that can be shown to be incorrect.

      In addition, virtually every REAL legal authority in American history who has ever spoken on the subject has said the exact same thing I’ve said.

      Nonetheless, my entire position must be wrong… simply because you wish it to be.

      And if a President you liked were in office, under precisely the same circumstances and facts, you would be equally adamant that it does not take two citizen parents to be a natural born citizen.

      Here’s the difference between you and me, John: I don’t base my facts on what I wish them to be.

      In fact, I don’t even like the current President. But unlike you and the rest of the “birthers,” I’m not prepared to throw the truth and our Constitution and laws under the bus for the sake of political purposes. Because one of these days, we’re going to have a President that I like, again, and when that happens I will expect others to honor our Constitution and laws, and not to make false arguments that that person is Constitutionally ineligible when he or she clearly is not.

      • Thomas Brown says:

        Aw, you’re no fun. I was looking forward to claiming that the next Republican President is an Ineligible Usurper, calling for his removal and execution, questioning his paternity, demanding investigations into his vital documents (which I will only accept if they find them to be forgeries), calling him a Manchurian Candidate bent on destroying America, describing him as a Fascist, Tyrant and Dictator, insulting his mother and children, claiming there are sworn witnesses who will attest to his being a homosexual drug addict, claiming he is lying about his religion…

        OK, just kidding. That isn’t how real Americans act, despite the fact that Birtherworld says that’s EXACTLY how “real Americans” act… as long as the President is a Democrat.

      • John B. says:

        Anything which I pointed out to you, you would argue with. As I have pointed out before, it comes down to a matter of interpretation. For example, you claim Justia did nothing wrong. I differ. It looks like more than a mere accident. We are not dealing with neat material that is undeniably obvious. You know that as well as I do.
        Most presidents have violated the Constitution in one way or another. You will be very lucky indeed if a president comes along one of these days that you like. I do not think that will happen.
        Finally, I have not and can not devote the kind of time to this matter you apparently have and can.
        “Great truths are not necessarily facts; facts are dreams.”–Lawrence Durrell

        • JRC says:

          John B.

          So are you trying to claim that one by one every website and written book on law is systematically being changed to manipulate the people of the U.S.? Rewriting legal decisions?

          Sorry I have to laugh. Learn to research. Anyone that is a good researcher will find things that contradict so they look at several sources instead of believing just one. I would say John Woodman is a good example of how one does research.

          That seems to be some of the problem with followers of the birther movement. They believe one source or one quotation and never go beyond that even if the bulk of the evidence totally contradicts their belief. If it supports their belief, then it doesn’t matter. I saw John B. comment on “Global Warming” here before and he probably doesn’t have the slightest idea the physics behind it, so he will follow the likes of Christopher Monckton who has a degree in Journalism and Classics over every scientific academy in the world from physics, biology, meteorology, ecology, chemistry, etc.

        • John Woodman says:

          1) I’ve programmed. Professionally. A lot. I know the kinds of errors that arise.

          2) There are plenty of other case resources besides Justia, which (as has been pointed out) is a minor fish in the pond (at best) of professional legal research.

          The real player, for professionals, is LexisNexis. Arguing that someone monkeyed with Justia to prevent lawyers from finding Minor v Happersett (which by the way was already a well-known case in the legal world) is like arguing that somebody tried to engineer a complete and total takeover of the world’s banking and financial and military systems by writing a virus for Macintosh computers. It’s ridiculous.

          3) All of the above is totally academic anyway. It frankly wouldn’t matter if Minor v Happersett were expunged from history completely — since it doesn’t support the birther position.

          This has been FAR more than adequately demonstrated. So it is simply ludicrous to claim there was this conspiracy to “hide” Minor v Happersett. I can’t even tell you how ludicrous it is. It’s more fairy dust and unicorns.

          You, of course, will go on believing exactly what you want to believe. And that’s fine. Why should I deprive you of your fantasies? But for anyone who would prefer to be in touch with the real world, that’s exactly what they are. I personally prefer to know the difference.

    • John B.

      This part is not a comment on the content of your posts but rather the formatting. Are you writing them in a word processor and copying them to the edit window? Your paragraphs are all messed up and it makes for difficult reading. If you copy from a word processor the browser will often delete blank lines.

      John Woodman is correct. The Great Justia Coverup is a figment of Leo Donofrio’s imagination. Justia provided an explanation that they changed the way embedded links are done at their site and many citations got corrupted. It is indicative of the quality of your research that you would believe that because the only place other than Leo’s blog where that has been mentioned is Birther blogs.

      • John B. says:

        “Your paragraphs are all messed up and it makes for difficult reading. ” I don’t get the impression you read much. Blame your schooling.

        • John B.

          I was only trying to be helpful. I learned around time of the third or fourth grade that paragraphs should either begin with an indent or be separated with a blank line. By the fifth or sixth grade I could probably have read the Minor case and the Virginia citizenship laws of 1779 and 1783 and realize that Mario Apuzzo is reading them incorrectly. So who needs a higher education?

    • Suranis says:


      There is Minor in all its glory. In a site that isn’t Justia. Some cover up.

      And there’s several lawyers on the Fogbow who have been knee deep in this stuff for 4 years now. So you now have come across lawyers that actually believe in Obama’s eligibility. I’m sure that makes you very happy.

    • Northland10 says:

      I believe a site called FindLaw even did some tricky stuff to hide the connections of Happersett v. Minor. In other words, it began to become clear to me that there were some in the legal field, even professors of law, who suspected the position taken by Donofrio and Apuzzo to name just two was the correct one and were then not above some unethical fiddling with the facts and so on.

      Real attorney’s use law libraries and real books (along with sites such as Westlaw and the like) so even an intentional change on Justia would not cause any confusion (well, except for certain attorneys and followers). Donofrio was just leading his gullible readers along. And, as we see, they swallowed it, hook, line a sinker.

      If I were into conning people, which I am not, it would be so tempting to go after the followers of Donofrio, Apuzzo and Taitz. It would be like shooting fish in a barrel (using a minigun).

      • John B. says:

        Not true. Actually even some prominent law firms have used it. Your response has been used before.

        • JRC says:

          John B.

          Please name some of these prominent law firms. I can’t imagine that websites are their only source for legal code, history, etc.

          *I think maybe John B. is saying prominent birther law firms….that would make sense*

        • Northland10 says:

          Which prominent law firms? Are they using Justia for actual legal citations and research or as secondary source (and possibly, quick reference)? Remember, a good researcher never uses one source, or even one “side” of an issue source.

          If my response has been used before, it would be only because you and others keep repeating the same debunked nonsense.

          Finally, Reality Check is correct. You need to learn to format your text better, such as including and extra line between paragraphs (especially for online writing). Had you been in one of my classes, I would have graded your work much lower. Do you want to be understood and taken seriously? Do not make make the reader’s job harder or they will ignore you.

    • The idea that John B is giving John Woodman advice on his future career plans is pretty darn funny. So why did you waste all that time Mr. Woodman? You could have read Leo Donofrio and Mario Apuzzo’s writings and found the truth. Or not.

  14. GVA says:

    The three earliest examples that you give for known occurrences of “natural born citizen” before the Constitution are not literal translations:

    1. I found the Cicero example over two years ago. The use of “natural born citizen” can be justified, not in the literal sense, but in the sense of the Smyrneans claiming Homer to be “truly their own”, which is really how the original Latin literally translates.

    2. I found this example over two years ago, too. The two Greek words in the original text appear to literally translate as “natural citizens” or something very similar to this, which helps explain the nearly literal English translation.

    3. The Quintilian example got me going two years ago for a limited time of searching. That line of Latin is really tough to translate, which explains why the multiple translators came up with better and worse translations in trying to grasp the meaning of the original text. There is nothing in the original Latin that translates to “natural born citizen” or “native” or some variant. These are words that the translators added.

    The exact phrase “natural born citizen” was hardly used back then, as it is hardly used today. However, there are many examples of variants/equivalents that were in usage at that time.

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