Grassroots Commentary

Natural Born Citizen

R.M. 'Zeb' Zobenica · May 10, 2013

It is beyond time to resolve the issue of ‘natural born citizen’ and presidential eligibility.

The Republican National Committee, on behalf of Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Marco Rubio, Gov. Bobby Jindal and Gov. Nikki Haley, should request a legal ruling and definitive interpretation of the meaning and intent of the language contained in Article II, Section 1. (4) of the Constitution of the United States.

Here is what the author’s review of the subject matter reveals:

‘Natural born’ is a special ‘class’ of citizenship imposed by the Constitution on the Offices of President and Vice President. It is different from being a ‘simple’ citizen under other qualifications.

Why the ‘natural born citizen’ requirement? Because the President is also the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces and questions of divided loyalties were a consideration at the time of the adoption of the Constitution.

The 14th Amendment, adopted after the Civil War, did not alter Article II, Section 1. (4) of the Constitution of the United States, nor have subsequent SCOTUS case law i.e. Minor v. Happersett (and others).

Essentially, born of citizen parents (plural) is the fundamental determinant.  

Constitution of the United States, Article II, Section 1. (4)

(4)  No person except a natural-born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of the President;….

The Conclusive Definition Of “Natural-Born Citizen”

Natural-born citizens of the United States are those who are citizens of the United States from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect their American citizenship. These are those whose parents (plural) are citizens of the United States at the time of their birth. Natural-born American citizens are those born of American citizen parents, within or without the American Republic, provided in the latter case that one of the parents had resided in the United States prior to the birth of the child.

Their American citizenship is natural, the result of parentage, and not artificial or acquired by compliance with legislative provisions. A natural-born citizen is one not made by law or otherwise, but born. And this class is the large majority, in fact, the mass of our citizens; all others are exceptions specially provided for by law. A natural-born citizen is defined as one whose citizenship is established by the jurisdiction which the United States already has over the parents of the child, not what is thereafter acquired by choice of residence in this country. It is not necessary that a man should be born in this country, to be “a natural born citizen.” It is only requisite he should be a citizen by birth, and that is the case with all the children of citizens who have ever resided in this country, though born in a foreign country. Natural-born citizens, as distinguished from aliens and naturalized citizens, are those born in the United States of parents who are citizens.

Natural-born citizens are also those born outside the United States and its outlying possessions of parents both of whom are citizens of the United States and one of whom has had a residence in the United States or one of its outlying possessions prior to the birth of the child. Hence, a child born abroad to two US citizen parents is a natural-born citizen: Provided, That at least one citizen parent had previously resided in the United States or one of its outlying possessions. U.S. Code: Title 8, 1401.

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