The nature of the hostility directed at me has changed over the years.
In 2008-2010, it was mostly Obama supporters upset that someone who taught at an Ivy League law school would dissent. I guess they figured their love letters weren’t working, so that has mostly (but not completely) stopped.
The most unhinged of late are Elizabeth Warren supporters. (More on that, perhaps, in a later post.)
But along that road, there has been a consistent allegation that I was part of some vast conspiracy to conceal Obama’s alleged lack of constitutional qualification, first on birth place grounds and then on “natural born citizen” grounds.
That, even though I was one of the few people to defend the right of anyone to question the constitutional qualifications of any presidential candidate, so long as the challenge was not based on conspiracy theories and making stuff up. I never accepted the Barack Obama birthplace conspiracy theories any more than I accepted the Trig Palin birth mother conspiracy theories.
I, almost alone, delved into the history of constitutional challenges, dating back to Chester Arthur on through George Romney and John McCain, with others along the way, to show that challenging constitutional qualification was not inherently racist and did not begin with Barack Obama. No one pushed back against the abuse of the “Birther Card” more than I did. (On the flip side of the coin, some left-wingers accused me of being a “Birther” because I refused to buy into the race card use.)
Nonetheless, now that we have three Republicans who might be presidential contenders and who will be subject to claims they are not “natural born citizens” (Rubio and Jindal born here to parents legally in the country, and Cruz born in Canada to an American mother), my involvement in the alleged conspiracy continues to be the source of emails and attempted comments, like this one, from someone using the pseudonym “I. BarKahn”:
JACOBSON: First you display your inexcusable contempt for the law by keeping the fact of Obama’s ineligibility from your readers, for whatever discreditable reasons. Now you double down and defend and promote the candidacies of two more ineligibles, Rubio and Jindal. (The reason the Democrats have to paint Rubio and Jindal as crazies is because they know that thanks to people like you, the Republicans would actually put up an ineligible candidate.) What is wrong with you? Don’t you have any respect for the Constitution? Or for a government of laws? You enable, aid and abet lawbreakers. You are a Professor of Law and your conduct is so egregious you are an indelible stain on the profession.
Debate me, defend your conduct in any public setting. Or defend in writing your enablement of Obama and promotion of other ineligible candidates. You can’t, can you? There is no honorable defense, is there? No. You and your ilk are largely responsible for Obama’s tremendously destructive foreign and domestic policies of the past four years. Had you and your colleagues in the Conservative MSM spoken up four years ago, the Federal Courts would have removed Obama and avoided so much damage done and so much damage yet to be done.
Such lawlessness. Such dishonesty. Such cowardice.
I will write about this when my research is complete. I have spent a lot of time reading analyses of the term “natural born citizen” by law professors and others before the Obama controversy, as well as the arguments raised by those claiming Obama lacked constitutional qualification.
What I’m finding is that there is no easy, definitive answer as to what the term “natural born citizen” was intended to mean; there is an argument that it was based on the term “natural born subject” used in British law, but that is just an argument which seems inapplicable given that we were freeing ourselves from the British and rejecting the notion of “subjects.” The more compelling argument, by far, is that the words distinguish natural born citizens from citizens to signify someone who becomes a citizen by virtue of birth, as opposed to some other process.
But I’m not done with the research. I will consider counter-arguments, and will then write a more detailed post, with links to sources.
But that day will not come, in all likelihood, until sometime in March. But it will be dealt with.
Update 3-31-2013: My hope of completing this by the end of March did not happen mostly due to other unexpected commitments which consumed my time. I’ve been collection sources, and I’m hoping to have it done soon.