Pick Wayne's Brain

August 11, 2013

They’re Both Wrong

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , , , , — Wayne A. Schneider @ 1:30 AM

Just this past Thursday (remember that day; a mere three days ago) Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) had an unpleasant conversation with a constituent who insisted that Barack Obama was constitutionally ineligible to be the President of the United States. She claimed to have proof in the form of some papers supposedly gathered by Arizona Bigot-Extraordinaire Joe Arpaio’s Cold Case Posse (which I sincerely hope didn’t use a penny of taxpayer money pursuing this non-crime), but the Congressman was not interested in looking at them. He said to her (and it sure sounds like this to my hard-of-hearing ears), “I don’t even give a shit.” She tried to claim it was “a matter of law.” For his part, the Congressman’s argument was that “We had four years to take care of that,” and that because Obama was re-elected, it was a “dead issue” and “we lost that argument.”

They’re both wrong.

No matter how many times they bring it up, there is absolutely no validity to the argument that Barack Obama is constitutionally ineligible to be President of the United States by virtue of his birth circumstances. He was born August 4, 1961, in Hawaii, which by that time was a State in the United States. His mother was an American citizen at the time of his birth. That makes him a Natural Born Citizen. All those stories about him being born in Kenya are lies. They are based on a misrepresentation of an interview with Obama’s grandmother. The Birthers claim she said she was in the room in Kenya when Obama was born. What she actually said was that she was in the room when they got the call from the United States that Obama had been born in Hawaii. But, suppose for the sake of argument, he really was born in Kenya. Senator Ted Cruz is making the argument that even though he was born in Canada, his mother was an American citizen, so that makes him an American citizen by birth. Well, if that makes Ted Cruz an American citizen, then certainly Barack Obama, whose mother was an American citizen, would be an American citizen regardless of his place of birth. And before the 2008 elections, both Senators Obama (D-IL) and Hillary Clinton (D-NY), sponsored legislation declaring that even though Senator John McCain (R-AZ) was born in the Panama Canal Zone, he was a Natural Born American Citizen. So that’s why she’s wrong, but what about him?

Well, I say he’s wrong because he seems to think that the matter of whether or not Barack Obama is constitutionally eligible to be POTUS is something that can be decided by the American People in a vote. It isn’t. Even if Obama were constitutionally ineligible to be POTUS and he won with 100% of the vote, it still wouldn’t matter because unless we’re voting on whether something should be an amendment to the Constitution, the American People are not constitutionally empowered to decide the constitutionality of anything. That’s for the Judicial Branch of our government. That was made quite clear in Marbury v. Madison, and nothing you or I say can change that. In fact, even if We the People voted to pass an Amendment to a State Constitution (pick one, it doesn’t matter) that violated the Federal Constitution, it wouldn’t be valid. The Federal Constitution trumps all. It is, in the words of the Constitution, “the supreme Law of the Land.”

Mullin spokesperson Ashley Kehl, in addition to claiming that Mullin is not a birther, also claimed that Mullin didn’t say, “I don’t even give a shit,” but rather “Don’t even give me it.” It sure sounds like he said “I don’t even give a shit” to me. What about you?



  1. Interesting citizenship law passed by Congress.

    7 FAM 1132.8 December 24, 1952
    (TL:CON68; 0401-1998)
    a. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) of 1952, the current law, has been
    in effect since December 24, 1952.
    b. For original and amended provisions of this act, see 7 FAM 1133.2-1 and 7 FAM

    Barack Obama was allegedly born on August 4, 1961 in Hawaii. The law, established by Congress, for babies born between December 23, 1952, and November 13, 1986, including Obama, were if one parent was a U.S. citizen and the other parent a foreigner, the citizen parent must have lived in the U.S. for 10 years prior to the birth, with five of those years after age 14. Where the birth occurred did not matter. Since Ann Dunham was age 18 (instead of 19) at the time of birth, she did not meet the requirements and could not confer U.S. citizenship on her son. If this reading of the law is correct, Barack Obama was not born a U.S. citizen.

    Children born outside of marriage to a U.S. citizen mother were citizens if the mother lived in the U.S. for one year prior to the birth. Children born out of wedlock to a U.S. citizen father acquired citizenship only legitimated before turning 21 years of age.

    The issue of presidential eligibility applies to the current President and future presidents as well. Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, is a possible future Presidential candidate. His parents were Cubans at the time of his birth in the U.S. Therefore, while Senator Rubio is a U.S. citizen, he is not a natural-born Citizen as proscribed by Article 2, Section 1. Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, also a potential presidential candidate, was born in Canada to a U.S. citizen mother and a non-U.S. citizen father. Senator Cruz gained U.S. citizenship through his mother but is not a natural-born Citizen because he was born outside the U.S. and only one of his parents was a U.S. citizen.

    Comment by Fuzz T. Was — September 11, 2013 @ 11:43 AM

  2. There is no “allegedly” about it. Barack Obama was born August 4, 1961, in the U.S. state of Hawaii. He is a natural-born citizen. Period. Anyone who thinks differently is just desperately looking for an excuse to claim his presidency is illegitimate.

    Comment by Wayne A. Schneider — September 11, 2013 @ 1:17 PM

  3. @Fuzz T. Was:

    That is just wrong on so many levels. There are multiple premises assumed that are just false.

    For starters, consult the actual legislation to get it straight. The provisions you “quote” from the INA are only applicable to children born *abroad* to U.S. citizen parents. False premise #1 exploded. In other words, these don’t apply to Obama or Rubio.

    False premise #2 – natural-born requires birth to parents who were both U.S. citizens. Again, you are conflating citizenship statute with the constitutional definition of natural-born citizen. First of all, the statute only requires one parent to be a U.S. citizen to confer citizenship by birth. Secondly, there is no credible evidence that natural-born citizenship from the constitutional eligibility clause requires *either* parent to be a U.S. citizen.

    There is, however, some evidence that the framers of the Constitution *may* have had citizenship by birth abroad to a U.S. parent in mind, since they defined a natural-born citizen in a 1790 citizenship act to include children born abroad to a U.S. citizen father. This is informative rather than normative, but it would allow SCOTUS to determine that the intent was to include foreign-born children of Americans, and, therefore, any child born abroad who qualified as a citizen at birth (i.e. not naturalized) could be eligible to be President. This is the only interpretation that would allow Cruz to sit.

    As Obama and Rubio were both born in the U.S., there is no question as to their eligibility.

    Comment by Steve — February 10, 2014 @ 12:09 PM

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