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This will be dealt with

This will be dealt with

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.


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First, note that the structure and technique of the argument is very similar to that of an Obama supporter, or a Ron Paul supporter. But mostly it seems to be the usual “argument” you see in Free Republic.

The tinfoil hat mentality will not embrace rational discourse. It would rather assume a position of authority in matters about which it knows very little, and then bully the opposition with guilt. This is emotionalism, masquerading as reason, appealing to our innate sensibilities while also deeply offending them.

    Donald Douglas in reply to punfundit. | February 17, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    That’s an excellent observation. And I’ve posted some of my own, “What is ‘Natural Born”?:

    “What’s also interesting is that this president has engendered so much hatred, so much conspiracy theorizing, that no matter how deranged it is, there’s some kind of weird legitimacy to the movement in the sense that Obama really is “post-American” in his ideological outlook and Marxist orientation to the state and political culture. It’s definitely a unique manifestation. It’s what drives most of our polarization. The question is centrally about the meaning of being an American and living under the law and according to a traditional set of values that are exceptional. The left has abandoned that exceptionalism. The president is the standard bearer for the destruction of that decency and history. All of this was inevitable when the Democrat Party ended up nominating Obama and when the American people bought the lies and elected him. We’ll be digging out from this monstrosity for decades, if we ever fully recover.”

Me, a birther? Naw. I just think that Frank Marshall Davis is his real father! Geesh, look at the pictures, for pity’s sake! Just jokin’! Almost!

Ah, Prof, we, your occasionally loyal Insurrectionists, love your Blog. We typically ignore whatever falsehoods the HuffinPuffin Post types (Idiots, or is that too harsh to say?) makeup as they try and get through their miserable and terrible days. Take on that cloak of armor of Truth, Justice, and the American Way and we’ll defeat’em together.


If you haven’t seen or heard about it, there is a letter to one of the Carolina newspapers that is just a HOOOOT…!!!

I talks about all the people delivered by C-section, and how they fit into the “natural born citizen” ambit.

Love it when people skewer silliness with humor!!!

Jus connubii: The right to have a lawful marriage with a Roman citizen, to have the legal rights of the paterfamilias over the family, and to have the children of any such marriage be counted as Roman citizens.

Would be nice if the US could at least equal the legal rights of a 2000 year old State.

Thank you, Professor. We need a good “brief” on this issue.

Obama’s background is complicated because he not only had a non-citizen father, but also may have been adopted by Soetoro. (The social security number has not been explained; the hidden academic records; is he even a citizen).

This is not analogous to a more straightforward circumstance of birth on a U.S. military base to two citizen parents, or birth in the U.S. to two permanent resident parents.

I think that a lot of this “confusion” has a lot to do with the simple lack of basic civics. Most of those doing the finger pointing do so on shaky grounds.

Thus, Obama like Cruz were born of an American mother and my understanding is it really doesn’t matter whether the actual birth took place on American soil.

My problem is the obfuscation in the Obama citizen status much like his zeal for keeping his college transcripts secret. What is the justification for such action when one is intrusted with a position of high public trust?

Probing minds would really like to know…

I look forward to the discussion. Not a legal scholar, but it seems to me the founders added the natural born citizen clause to prevent…say…a Frenchman from sailing over and running for president.

I hate to cite Wikipedia as a source, but they have a pretty good basic tutorial under Birthright citizenship in the United States.

Study up, everyone!

Excellent, Wm., in this age of talking without knowing what the hell they’re talking about (all of us erroneously engage in it sometimes but low infos specialize), don’t be moved by those who object to your failure to pronounce prematurely.

Your thoroughness is one of the things we ver much appreciate about your blog.

I too look forward to the Professor’s take.

In the mean time, it may be helpful to examine what has already been brought forth.

Obama, Rubio birthers should read the law
-Byron York
May 24, 2012

I have utmost respect for Bryon, but was a bit taken back by this article, and the number of mistakes he made in his argument, as pointed out in the comments.

The first comment is spot on:

And one more point Mr. York, we are “Constitutionalists”, not “Birthers”. You choosing that disparaging birther term created by the far left to mock people who question the constitutional eligibility of Obama show you agenda and bias right up front….

The discussion that follows in the comments I found to be very informative.

casualobserver | February 17, 2013 at 2:20 pm

It would be fascinating to hear of the response were you to take up the screen-name using poster’s offer of a debate.

As one of your ilk I look forward to your researched response.

The joker who wrote the above – I. BarKahnis – is a coward projecting onto you cowardice. You certainly don’t need to defend yourself against this “dust in the wind.”

BTW: we (the Tea Party) need to get a hold of Dr. Ben Carson before the Karl Rovians do.

    This is I BarKahn’s 02/19/2013 comment regarding my comment above. He left it on one of my recent posts about Chicago Cop Garry Mccarthy:

    “Virtually every word Professor Jacobson wrote, above and below my comments, was carefully written to deceive you and other readers. One example of many: Yes, both Rubio and Jindal were born in the U.S. to American parents. What the Professor chose to omit from his comments is that both of Sen. Rubio’s parents became American citizens AFTER Marco Rubio was born. Consequently, Sen. Rubio is NOT a “natural born citizen” and is constitutionally ineligible to be President. In Gov. Jindal’s case, ONE of his parents became an American citizen AFTER he was born. To be eligible to be President, BOTH of Gov. Jindal’s parents would have had to be American citizens at the time of his birth. Do not doubt that Professor Jacobson is aware of these facts and omitted them so that he could falsely claim that he was or would be maligned for a factually accurate defense of Rubio’s and Jindal’s eligibility. By the way, I never in any way stated or insinuated that Professor Jacobson was part of a “conspiracy.” That is simply another of his falsehoods.
    Professor Jacobson attacked me–as is his right–but will not let me respond in writing to his attack. What kind of person uses his platform to accuse someone but denies the accused the right to respond? Only a coward. Obama’s been in office illegally for four years and Professor Jacobson, a lawyer and law Professor, is only just now getting around to considering the matter? And of course, he won’t debate the matter with me, either publicly or in public writings. My nom may be de plume but my CV is authentic.
    Professor Jacobson, on the other hand, has shown himself to be a cowardly, procrastinating prevaricator.”
    Believe Me,
    I BarKahn
    [email protected]
    None of my comments are meant to be private; feel free to use them as you wish.
    Perhaps, you might be interested to see how Professor responds to them.”
    My comment still stands. Perhaps this is David Axelrod or maybe a Think Progress devotee or some lost sheep.

    Again, the Left tells us who they are afraid of.

I’m not so sure why “Natural Born Citizen”‘ is so difficult to understand. 1) if the founders used the term “NBC” it certainly had a specific meaning or they would have just said “citizen”
2) The Founders spoke of wanting to make sure that the President had no dual loyalties as monarchies practiced marriage between rulers of different states thus the offspring had exhibited dual loyalties to the countries of both parents and could be influenced by either parent. The Founders wanted to assure that the President, who is the Commander in Chief, would hold a single loyalty to this country. Citizenship is more of function of your parents that the dirt upon which you are born.
3) If 2 American citizen happen to be traveling outside the US is their child not granted citizenship? The child is a “Natural Born Citizen” because the child is born of two US citizens who carry their citizenship wherever they go.
4) Under the “dirt you are born on policy”, Osama Bin Laden son could marry a US citizen, have a child born in a New York hospital and the grandchild of Osama Bin Laden would be eligible to be POTUS. I don’t think that is what the Founders envisioned

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.

I’m prolific when it comes to suggesting work for other people. Nevertheless:

Why not write an SSRN-type piece for a law review (or a political review, journal of opinion, think tank journal, etc.), and then popularize it? Glenn Reynolds’ blogging, popular writing, and scholarly work enhance each other.

“did not begin with Barack Obama”

Everyone knows that all that is good began with barry mom pants. Nothing existed until that point. Just ask any of his deranged acolytes.

That which bothers me the most about Obama is his lack of documentation. The certificate of live birth that he put up is for sure a computer generated fraud. I downloaded it an looked at it with both PDF and text editors. Besides obvious edits, it has 9 images (a sure sign of editing), but it should only have one. Even if the scanning operator was challenged and left on the OCR, it would most likely have 3 images.

On top of that, Obama’s selective service card is obviously fraud. The pica stamp only has 2 numbers. Whoever heard of that? The pica stamps are change every year, and the one on Obama’s card is from 2008 with the “20” removed and the “08” turned upside-down to make it look like “80”.

Obama has never presented his passport which is most likely from Indonesia.

The rumor has it the Obama’s social security number does not pass E-Verify. The number belongs to a Obama’s Hawaiian neighbor who died when Obama and his mother were living in Hawaii.

It appears that we allow Obama to be President of the United States, but he lacks the paperwork needed by little league baseball.

Hey Prof, I have no background in law, or what not, so forgive me if my words do not come out so eloquent. Regardless, reading the comment you posted above from I, Barkhan, there is one conclusion which isn’t difficult to come to -Wow, what a bunch of WHACKOS!!!

Anyway, keep up the good fight, Professor! I’ll be looking forward to reading your counter-arguments to all the nut-jobs, and I surely only hope all your research will turn out to be fruitful…!

I think the real problem for Obama was overlooked in the ridiculous “birther” nonsense. He had dual citizenship due to his American mother and Indonesian stepfather. That’s normal, every child in such circumstances gets dual citizenship (if both countries allow it).

Once you are 18, you must select one or the other. It doesn’t have to be a declaration: any act signalling citizenship constitutes the choice, such as registering to vote.

Other possible ways to declare citizenship might be accepting scholarship money as a foreign student or traveling on an Indonesian passport to Pakistan. These things should have been the focus, there might be something to it. Too late now, of course.

    Juba Doobai! in reply to Estragon. | February 17, 2013 at 11:54 pm

    For a person to have dual citizenship, thre must be an agreement between the governments concerned. There was no such agreement between the USA and Indonesia. Therefore, Obama did not and never had dual citizenship. If his father was the Kenyan who did have British citizenship, then Obama would’ve likely had a British passport. The offspring of my relatives all had passports from our country of birth as well as USA ones. The law says you must choose one, but nobody follows up on the law to see if the child has one or two or so.

      myveryownpointofview in reply to Juba Doobai!. | February 18, 2013 at 1:19 pm

      Actually, obama WAS born with dual citizenship. He was both British and American. It even stated so on obamas Fact Check site. And it is his condition at BIRTH which matters re NBC.

Sometimes I wonder if the definition of NBC for many of the wackos is you have to be born of a coupling of 2nd cousins who can lay claim to a deed for 40 acres and 2 horses. Sheesh it gets old.

I am a birther … to not be one is to be indifferent, or be ignorant of the facts. All one has to do is look at the evidence produced by Sheriff Arpaio’s Cold Case Posse … and wonder how the hell we got into this mess.

Someone suggested that the definition of natural born citizenship is the complement of naturalized citizenship.

I, on the other hand, recognize that citizenship is a property of a legal jurisdiction. From birth, jurisdiction is attributed to the mother and father. The sensible definition would be that natural born status is accorded to children born to a mother and father who are citizens, regardless of their geographical birthplace. The children of non-citizens, including immigrants, are subject to and enjoy privileges of lesser laws legislated in the federal and state governments.

In any case, the purpose of this requirement, and the purpose of distinguishing between classes of people, is to predict loyalty to a community, state, nation, etc. It’s not perfect, but imperfection is a property of a mortal existence. We cannot and should not expect perfection. We should, however, make every effort to properly manage risk.

Life is an exercise in risk management.

There have been several attorneys researching this case:
Stephen Pidgeon (Washington candidate for attorney general) and his partner Leo D’Onofrio.
http://[email protected]
I did find one posting of interest before Mr. D’Onofrio quit:The Mr. Binney Funeral Humiliates The Reputation Of The United States Supreme Court.
Posted in Uncategorized on February 7, 2012 by naturalborncitizen

“…The lack of historical analysis evident in every judicial opinion which has discussed Obama’s eligibility is staggering. If you compare Judge Malihi’s recent opinion in Georgia, and the Ankeny case from Indiana, to important citizenship decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court, it becomes clear what separates the men from the boys. In a word; research…” Read more at
I would advise contacting them personally because so much of their research has been scrubbed from the Internet.

    1andyman in reply to beloved2. | February 18, 2013 at 12:59 am

    Upthread, beloved2 mentioned as a site to read some great research on the subject.

    I strongly concur. It is extensive and cites various SCOTUS cases telling us that nbC means born to citizen parents and U.S. birth.

    It is a must read!!

I want to say for the record that if anybody knows of, is in touch with or forms a VAST RIGHT WING CONSPIRACY, please sign me up.

And no that doesn’t mean you Karl, or any other established Republican candidate or office holder. (except maybe Cruz)

Hi Professor, there has been a lot of research done by lawer Mario Apuzzo – information here:

Beware once you provide any type of truthful commentary or research on this, especially a legal opinon, the paid leftist trolls will be here in droves – I’ve seen this happen on lots of blogs sites since 2007. I was SURE the media would point out O is not eligible to be potus, until they came out of the leftist closet.

Watch for ‘smsrstrauss’ – he’s still at it (presuming he’s paid for his attempts at truth diversion)

A poster earlier was correct about the meaning of natural born citizen being parentage – and O simpply does not meet that qualification.

Hope this was helpful.

cheers from a seldom poster but daily reader, ex-Chicago area girl living in NZ

Here is an exerpt from SCOTUS Minor v Happerset — Decided March 29, 1875

The Constitution does not, in words, say who shall be natural-born citizens. Resort must be had elsewhere to ascertain that. At common-law, with the nomenclature of which the framers of the Constitution were familiar, it was never doubted that all children born in a country of parents who were its citizens became themselves, upon their birth, citizens also. These were natives, or natural-born citizens, as distinguished from aliens or foreigners. Some authorities go further and include as citizens children born within the jurisdiction without reference to the citizenship of their [p168] parents. As to this class there have been doubts, but never as to the first. For the purposes of this case it is not necessary to solve these doubts. It is sufficient for everything we have now to consider that all children born of citizen parents within the jurisdiction are themselves citizens. The words “all children” are certainly as comprehensive, when used in this connection, as “all persons,” and if females are included in the last they must be in the first. That they are included in the last is not denied. In fact the whole argument of the plaintiffs proceeds upon that idea.

Under the power to adopt a uniform system of naturalization Congress, as early as 1790, provided “that any alien, being a free white person,” might be admitted as a citizen of the United States, and that the children of such persons so naturalized, dwelling within the United States, being under twenty-one years of age at the time of such naturalization, should also be considered citizens of the United States, and that the children of citizens of the United States that might be born beyond the sea, or out of the limits of the United States, should be considered as natural-born citizens. [n8] These provisions thus enacted have, in substance, been retained in all the naturalization laws adopted since. In 1855, however, the last provision was somewhat extended, and all persons theretofore born or thereafter to be born out of the limits of the jurisdiction of the United States, whose fathers were, or should be at the time of their birth, citizens of the United States, were declared to be citizens also. [n9]

This may not be a perfect analysis–but certaining has some good point and a possible starting point to examining “Natural Born Citizen”

The Origins and Interpretation of the Presidential Eligibility Clause in the U.S. Constitution:
Why Did the Founding Fathers Want the President To Be a “Natural Born Citizen”
What Does this Clause Mean for Foreign-Born Adoptees?
by John Yinger(1)
Revised Version, April 6, 2000

I think part of the reason the “natural born” issue is considered taboo is due to its inextricable relationship to birthright citizenship in the context of immigration reform–many consider the practice of conferring citizenship to every baby born here, no matter the citizenship of the parents, as a significant illegal immigration “magnet.” And many politicians, including, many years ago, Democrat Harry Reid, fought against it.

Anyway, I wrote about that here, in “Rubio and Birthright Citizenship”

In that article, I also linked to other research and many experts who have argued against the constitutionality of the practice.

In this article, “Academia Shrugs: Obama’s Citizenship and the Presidency” , I discussed the reluctance and inconsistency of academia in addressing the interesting questions surrounding the natural born issue.

This additional article contains other interesting information on the issue, including a little-discussed perspective on the famous case of Wong Kim Ark (that many use to support birthright and natural born citizenship): “Citizenship: Easy Come, Easy Goes”

I hope this helps in your research, Professor.

its murky enough I have always taken a better safe than sorry stance on it.
if not 2 us citizens for parents I will not vote for the person no matter who it is. and I have practiced this since the 80’s. well before it became racist to do so.
read the federalist papers for their mindsets.
not interpretations of their mindsets done later.
funny how chester arthur hid stuff about this…

But really, at this point, “What difference does it make?” This country is already dead.

Please give details for “the most unhinged of late are Elizabeth Warren supporters”. I find their defense of her when presented with the overwhelming evidence of her scamming affirmative action to be amazing.

Here is how I.BarKahn describes himself on Twitter: Writer,U.Prof. BA,MA,MFA,Ph.D,Editor,NASD Principal,Co-founder,CEO, public Telecom Co. US Patent,Domestic & Foreign Policy, Constitutional Law, Federalist.

    TrooperJohnSmith in reply to Leslie Eastman. | February 17, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    That “MFA/Ph.D” gives away. We has ourselves a Doctor of creative writing. The rest of the resume is just fiction, and bad fiction at that.

    My dog, Aqua Velva, was very close to getting his Ph.D in creative writing, but he realized that far from making him unique, it mostly would’ve made him an ultra-snob, as well as unemployable.

Professor, one of the things that I find really shuts up the Left is rigorously-researched and documented facts. You created a website for Warren; how about creating a sub-website under legal-insurrection where you can collect all the documentation you get on this topic?

My problem is frequently that I know all the data is there backing up my claim, I just can’t find it all. For example, my latest go-around with a Liberal was that whole “Bush Lied”. I did a couple of hours of searching and then posted back a bunch of links to Pres. Clinton saying (years before Bush was elected) that Hussein had WMD, ditto for the French and German and UK govts. I then said that clearly yes – Bush was stupid – and had been duped into invading Iraq by a conspiracy between Clinton, and the govts in Europe, that was years in the making.

That shut them up good 🙂

Keep up the good work! Nothing winds an argument in the long term like the facts: look at global warming.

PS: on the “natural born” – I recall reading that after the Revolutionary War was over, a number of people wanted George Washington as King; I had always thought that the “natural born” was there to prevent any outside party (such as the French or English) from buying an election, and putting a Frenchman or Englishman (possibly not even residing in the USA) in as President. Everybody had been doing an enormous amount of “influence buying” before, during and and after the Revolution – sacks of gold are wonderfully small and fungible.

“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.

Such lawlessness. Such dishonesty. Such cowardice.

Barkhan…how much money have you donated towards Jacobson’s general grassroots effort? How much have you invested in a man who has risked his career, sacrificed his privacy and open himself and his family to constant abuse on and offline just so unfocused, lazy and ineffectual ‘conservatives’ like you don’t have to. Where’s your work on the matter? Talk about dishonesty and cowardice.

myveryownpointofview | February 18, 2013 at 1:15 am

OK. I am considered a birther even though I have never claimed that obama was born outside of the US.
Nor have I ever said that I thought his father was anyone other than Obama Sr.. I am called a birther because I do not think that the “vetting” which takes place for a US presidential candidate is appropriate for the position.

All that aside, I HAVE done a lot of hands on research into the little things connected to obamas birth records which are available to the public. Not the SS#, etc., but other things. I have never claimed to find anything conclusive. There were many strange coincidences, but I have never found hard proof of record manipulation. Indication is NOT proof, and I have never “sold” it as such.

Lately I have been researching, in my very amateur way, for the historic meaning of the term “natural born Citizen”. It is not research for the faint of heart or easily discouraged. I am making progress, though slowly. I am looking for references in places other than just Supreme Court cases. Yes, I am finding some things finally.

It is a fact that prior to the Revolution, English common law was the law here – that goes without saying. After the Revolution the common law was still used to a certain extent at the STATE and local level, but no longer at the Federal level. Federal level adopted international law. Think about it.

I have some way to go before I feel confident that I have enough (pre-1790) references to really “make my case”.

there is an argument that it was based on the term “natural born subject” used in British law,
coincidence really, based on vattel which british used.

The Supreme Court had a case in Committee on Friday that is directly tied to Obama and his issues.
The outcome of the Committee will probably be known tomorrow, if they discard the case I think it is really over… but if they take it up it will be very interesting, and I am certain they would have to address all the questions surrounding our President.
CASE #A-12606

I don’t know anything about Orly Taitz, if she is credible or not, but she has been working on this a while.

If someone thinks that a natural born Citizen can be produced from a wider range than two citizen parents and U.S. birth, I would like them to show me what category of citizens they think are definitely not natural born.

In other words, where is the line and/or what requirements does a person need at the least? Why would the founders agree?

I don’t understand the controversy. The writers of the Constitution clearly meant that no one could be president who, like Macduff, was from his mother’s womb untimely ripp’d.

Dr. Conspiracy | February 19, 2013 at 1:40 am

I won’t dump a bunch of citations, but I will give a brief outline of where I arrived when I studied “natural born citizen.”

The Oxford English Dictionary gives only one historical definition of “natural born”: “Having a specified position or character by birth; used esp. with subject.”

Under English Common Law, those born in the realm under the protection of the Crown were natural born subjects. Under English statutory law (in effect in 1776) the children of natural born subjects born outside the realm were also natural born subjects. Under the United States naturalization act of 1790, the children of US Citizen fathers born overseas were “natural born citizens.”

One can read the argument from the Supreme Court decision in US v. Wong to see why subject and citizen are convertible terms in this context, but I think that it’s a mistake to look to English Common Law for a definition of “natural born subject.” A dictionary suffices. What we get from English Common Law is that those persons born in the country, without regard for the parentage of their parents qualify as subjects at birth (i.e. natural born subjects) and what we got from subsequent US legislation is that certain others are also citizens at birth (natural born citizens). And of course, the 14th Amendment cemented the Common Law notion of citizenship by birth in the country.

What has lead some off track, I think, is the related term “native born,” which some early authorities freely substituted for “natural born.” Today, we think of “native born” as meaning born in a particular place, but the OED gives exactly the same definition (above) for native and natural born, except for native-born, it adds “cf natural born.”

    myveryownpointofview in reply to Dr. Conspiracy. | February 19, 2013 at 10:45 am

    I wondered when you’d show up. But at least you are polite, if disingenuous. 🙂

    The English common law was not used in the US after the Revolution, at least not in regards to determine who shall be a citizen. And the terms “native” and “natural” born appear to have been used interchangeably before the early 1800s. If you don’t believe me on this I can provide you with dozens of links for a hundred plus hours of eye squinching reading.

    The individual states did continue to use some English common laws for local legislation, but the task of deciding US citizenship was regulated to Congress. You MUST know this at least. And the Congress of the new US did NOT adhere to English common law, but looked to international law. The law of nations. You must know that Vattel was used frequently as a reference, and if you claim that he was not then your “research” is truly limited to one little reference that fit your preferred narrative. That is dishonest and misleading.

      Dr. Conspiracy in reply to myveryownpointofview. | February 19, 2013 at 3:06 pm

      I am somewhat confused that you would offer to prove to me that “native-born” and “natural born” were used interchangeably in the early 18th century, since I said exactly the same thing in the last paragraph of my comment to which you are responding. Perhaps you missed that paragraph; if so, I would urge you to read it now because it contains something important.

      My second point of confusion your is calling me “dishonest and misleading” for saying that Vattel was not frequently consulted, and an important source for the founders. I’ve never said any such thing here or elsewhere. So please put that straw man back in the box.

      However, if you think that I am being misleading to suggest that birthright citizenship in the United States prior to the 14th Amendment followed the English Common Law qualifications of birth in the country, then you must equally say that Vice-Chancellor Sandford’s decision in Lynch v. Clarke (NY) and the US Supreme Court’s decision in US v. Wong is equally misleading–because they say the same thing.

      You say that the Congress determined citizenship in the United States, not the concepts of English Common Law, and that the Congress looked to Vattel and to International law to for guidance in those decisions. If that is so, then perhaps you could point me to the federal statute that made President John Tyler (born in 1790), President Buchanan (born 1791) or President Polk (born 1795) all citizens of the United States.

      I’d be happy to discuss any particular point with you, but I’m not interested in posturing and bickering. I can get that on facebook.

        myveryownpointofview in reply to Dr. Conspiracy. | February 19, 2013 at 5:17 pm

        You said “substituted”. A different thing altogether. I refer to casual reference to citizenship prior to the signing of the Constitution. Example: “Mr. Jones was a born native of NY”. It was quite common prior to 1780 for a citizen to be a native, or natural born citizen to a STATE, but not the country. After the Constitution was signed, the Congress dealt with the whole citizenship issue – in part because the states each had their own regulations and that simply wouldn’t work. Prior to the signing there were no “dual citizens” either. That came from international law. English common law did not allow for a child to be a dual citizen.

        You keep deflecting back to the English common law argument, which is dishonest and misleading, or misleading at best if you have not taken the time to do serious research. Over and over international law is ignored and English common law is presented (by yourself)as the answer to the conundrum. That is why I say you dismiss Vattels’ influence.

        You ought to KNOW that I research what I post on.

        One of the favorite claims of obama supporters is that Vattel was NOT used as a reference, and even that since The Law of Nations was written in French, it was misinterpreted by the forefathers. In fact, The Laws of the United States of America, Vol. 1, published 1796, was written in English with some sections having the French translation. It was published in PA.

        BTW, I do know off the top of my head that President Polk was born in the US to two US parents. Why do you question if he was a US citizen? As natural born as he could be.

          Dr. Conspiracy in reply to myveryownpointofview. | February 19, 2013 at 5:30 pm

          President Polk was born in the United States, and I presume that both his parents were citizens, and no one would doubt that he was a natural born citizen.

          However, you said that after the Constitution was ratified that the Congress had the sole power to regulate citizenship, and that state citizenship was unworkable. If that is true then for President Polk to be a citizen, there must be some act of Congress under which he is a citizen. If there is not, then your contention that Congress controlled who was a citizen is wrong (and it is wrong).

          The Constitution only empowers Congress to create a uniform system of naturalization. If anything is clear in the judicial record, it’s that natural born citizens are not naturalized.

          charlie hughes in reply to myveryownpointofview. | February 20, 2013 at 12:25 am

          “Over and over international law is ignored and English common law is presented (by yourself)as the answer to the conundrum. That is why I say you dismiss Vattels’ influence.”

          So would you agree with Chief Justice Fuller – “Obviously, where the Constitution deals with common law rights and uses common law phraseology, its language should be read in the light of the common law; but when the question arises as to what constitutes citizenship of the nation, involving as it does international relations, and political, as contradistinguished from civil, status, international principles must be considered, and, unless the municipal law of England appears to have been affirmatively accepted, it cannot be allowed to control in the matter of construction.” dissent in Wong Kim Ark

          Dr. Conspiracy in reply to myveryownpointofview. | February 20, 2013 at 1:19 am

          The Wong decision was 6-2, and the majority decision.

          But is instructive to know what the other side was saying.

          Look at what Justice Fuller is saying in the dissent in Wong:

          I am of opinion that the President and Senate by treaty, and the Congress by naturalization, have the power, notwithstanding the Fourteenth Amendment, to prescribe that all persons of a particular race, or their children, cannot become citizens

          Let that sink in.

          In the appellant brief (opposing Wong’s citizenship) the Government said:

          For the most persuasive reasons we have refused citizenship to Chinese subjects; and yet, as to their offspring, who are just as obnoxious, and to whom the same reasons for exclusion apply with equal force, we are told that we must accept them as fellow-citizens) and that, too, because of the mere accident of birth. There certainly should be some honor and dignity in American citizenship that would be sacred from the foul and corrupting taint of a debasing alienage.

          So take care when quoting from the opponents of US v. Wong that you keep in mind the attitudes from which they come.

          But even the Government admitted that doing away with the Chinese Exclusion Act’s prohibition of the Chinese becoming citizens (wherever born), would mean that the Chinese could run for President, saying:

          Are Chinese children born in this country to share with the descendants of the patriots of the American Revolution the exalted qualification of being eligible to the Presidency of the nation, conferred by the Constitution in recognition of the importance and dignity of citizenship by birth?

        myveryownpointofview in reply to Dr. Conspiracy. | February 19, 2013 at 7:32 pm

        Exactly, Congress made a uniform system. To deal with naturalization. Because each state had their own “system” of NATURALIZATION, which was already a bit of a mess. One state would (for example) require an immigrant from a different country – or in some cases even from a different state, be a resident for two years before applying for citizenship, and a different state might require one year.

        One thing which would NOT ever need to be legislated after the Constitution was signed was a citizen born to two US citizens on US soil. Congress dealt with all else in terms of US citizenship.

        On September 3, 1783, American and British representatives signed the Treaty of Paris- in which Britain acknowledged the independence, freedom, and sovereignty of the 13 former American colonies, soon to be states. That is when all who were already citizens of the different “states” became citizens of the nation. Or they went on back to England.

        Sorry if I scrambled that before – being ill for nearly a month has had it’s effect on me. For the first few years of independence, the American states remained largely independent of each other, united by loose-fitting Articles of Confederation that were the basic law of the new nation.

        And if you didn’t know that Polks’ parents were US citizens, why would you even bring him up? He’s not a gotcha.

          Dr. Conspiracy in reply to myveryownpointofview. | February 19, 2013 at 7:55 pm

          You said: “One thing which would NOT ever need to be legislated after the Constitution was signed was a citizen born to two US citizens on US soil. Congress dealt with all else in terms of US citizenship.”

          The question is WHY is what you said true? It is because of the English Common Law, or because of Vattel? I think it is fair to say that the courts have uniformly cited the former in citizenship cases.

          In the post-revolutionary period there were all sorts of questions related to sorting out who was whose citizen and who was a British Loyalist and who was an American traitor. In think it is fair to say that Vattel was consulted on these questions. But as to someone who was born in the US after the Constitution, I have never seen any citation of Vattel on the acquisition of US citizenship, although I have seen many citations to the English common law. Vattel is cited on domicile. I assume you are well-familiar with Lynch v. Clarke.

          I am not familiar with John Eastman.

        myveryownpointofview in reply to Dr. Conspiracy. | February 19, 2013 at 8:29 pm

        ” But as to someone who was born in the US after the Constitution, I have never seen any citation of Vattel on the acquisition of US citizenship”.

        Kind of weasel words. Vattel died in 1767. Why would you expect to find a citation specific to US CITIZENSHIP from Vattel himself?

        I think it is safe to say that every country claims those born to two citizen parents, and on the soil of that country, are without any doubt citizens. No law needs be made to establish that. You don’t “acquire” such citizenship through legislation.

        I mentioned I have found Vattel cited when discussing citizenship:

        ” The Attorney General, to show the definition of a nation, the relationship which a citizen bears to the state, and the national connexion (as spelled in original) between a state of society and the institution of a government, cited the following author: Vatt. 92. id. B. sect. 212., etc., etc.”

        I am pretty sure this was 1776. Most of my reference material is on the other computer waiting for me to buy a monitor and keyboard.

        There are more like that you know.

        myveryownpointofview in reply to Dr. Conspiracy. | February 20, 2013 at 1:12 am

        “Look up “citation” in a dictionary and try again.”

        Dude, the quote was word for word – including,”cited the following author”. Maybe you should go back to 1776 and take that up with those ignoramuses.


          Dr. Conspiracy in reply to myveryownpointofview. | February 20, 2013 at 1:25 am

          You said: “Kind of weasel words. Vattel died in 1767. Why would you expect to find a citation specific to US CITIZENSHIP from Vattel himself? ”

          I didn’t say a citation from Vattel on US Citizenship, I said a citation from Vattel on the acquisition of Citizenship.

          You seem to say that Vattel controls who was a citizen of the United States in some way, but no one from the period ever used Vattel for the purpose of making such determination. They cited Blackstone.

          charlie hughes in reply to myveryownpointofview. | February 20, 2013 at 2:01 am

          “Maybe you should go back to 1776 and take that up with those ignoramuses.”

          OK, I found it.

          But you should have continued the citation:

          Vatt. 92 id. B.1 c. 19 sect. 212. Id sect. 1. Id. Sect. 4. Burlem. 25. 1 Black. Com. 46. 47. 48. 213. Vatt. p. 15. Sect. 26 id. 19. Sect. 38

          I’m assuming Burlem is Jean-Jacques Burlamaqui but Black. Com. is definitely Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England.

      Dr. Conspiracy in reply to myveryownpointofview. | February 20, 2013 at 1:43 am

      It would seem to me that putting a smiley face after calling someone disingenuous, is being rather disingenuous.

        myveryownpointofview in reply to Dr. Conspiracy. | February 20, 2013 at 12:08 pm

        No, presenting your opinion as facts is disingenuous, sounding off like a person who has solved the issue is disingenuous, and pretending to be an expert while saying that you “are no expert”, is disingenuous.

        You show up here to help the Professor? Rich.

        You aren’t discussing anything, neither you or your pet Charlie are. No, you are giving your biased opinion as settled fact. At the very least you should try to keep researching for the real answer – because I don’t think that you have it. For that matter, neither do I, and I am clear about that.

        I also have not shared much of what I have found, except one little reference. I am not finished with my search, I feel that the actual irrefutable answer is out there and needs to be found.

        You and your Charlie don’t bother to do anything but pretend to be experts by claiming over and over that the British common law was indeed the model used. You are not at all interested in the truth, but rather in supporting your own bias. I can see that in your “Obama eligibility crowd” snark. If you just wanted to “help” Professor Jacobson, why not send him all of your material via his tip line? Because you can’t snark at “Birthers” that way.

        Every blogger who has ever typed the word “eligibility” pared in any way with “obama” has you on their doorstep within 24 hours. BTW, I admire how you include yourself with “the smart legal people” crowd. I’m sure they find you ….. useful.

          Dr. Conspiracy in reply to myveryownpointofview. | February 20, 2013 at 12:35 pm

          I would never give credence to the reading comprehension of an Obama denialist; I am always careful to qualify my statements as to what is fact and what is opinion. And the fact of the matter is that federal judge Gibney said last year in the case of Tisdale v. Obama, rejecting the claim that US Presidents must have US citizen parents:

          “It is well settled that those born in the United States are considered natural born citizens.”

          No less than nine other court decisions say the same. I am stating the facts, and you are living in fantasy. You can pretend that there is a constitutional issue regarding President Obama’s eligibility and you birthers can tell each other that it is so and pat yourselves on the back and write wordy treatises on your web sites, but no one outside that internally-delusional group, no one from the legal community, the Congress or the Courts buys any of it. And I still await the first birther to find any American civics textbook, a SINGLE textbook, showing that the two-citizen parent theory was ever taught in any public or private school in the country.

          The two-citizen requirement is not, nor ever was, a real legal requirement. It was just something the birthers cooked up in 2008 to delegitimatize Barack Obama. They repeated it so often that now they believe it.

          charlie hughes in reply to myveryownpointofview. | February 20, 2013 at 2:33 pm

          “You and your Charlie don’t bother to do anything but pretend to be experts by claiming over and over that the British common law was indeed the model used.”

          It isn’t simply a claim, there is evidence that the Constitutional Convention used the English legal system as guide for the Constitution.


          Tuesday August 29, 1787

          “Mr. DICKENSON mentioned to the House that on examining Blackstone’s Commentaries, he found that the terms, “ex post facto” related to criminal cases only; that they would not consequently restrain the States from retrospective laws in civil cases, and that some further provision for this purpose would be requisite.” James Madison, Notes on the Debates in the Federal Convention


          “The model from which the idea of this institution [impeachment] has been borrowed, pointed out that course to the convention. In Great Britain it is the province of the House of Commons to prefer the impeachment, and of the House of Lords to decide upon it. Several of the State constitutions have followed the example. As well the latter, as the former, seem to have regarded the practice of impeachments as a bridle in the hands of the legislative body upon the executive servants of the government. Is not this the true light in which it ought to be regarded?” Alexander Hamilton in Federalist No 65


          “What is the distinction between direct and indirect taxes ? It is a matter of regret that terms so uncertain and vague in so important a point are to be found in the Constitution.”


          “If the meaning of the word excise is to be sought in the British statutes, it will be found to include the duty on carriages, which is there considered as an excise, and then must necessarily be uniform and liable to apportionment; consequently, not a direct tax.”

          “Some argument results from this, though not perhaps a conclusive one: yet where so important a distinction in the Constitution is to be realized, it is fair to seek the meaning of terms in the statutory language of that country from which our jurisprudence is derived.” Alexander Hamilton, 1795 Legal brief on carriage taxes.


          “The constitution gives to the president, in general terms, “the power to grant reprieves and pardons for offences against the United States.”

          “As this power had been exercised from time immemorial by the executive of that nation whose language is our language, and to whose judicial institutions ours bear a close resemblance; we adopt their principles respecting the operation and effect of a pardon, and look into their books for the rules prescribing the manner in which it is to be used by the person who would avail himself of it.” Chief Justice Marshall, in United States v. Wilson 1833


          “Therefore every person born within the United States, its territories or districts, whether the parents are citizens or aliens, is a natural born citizen in the sense of the Constitution, and entitled to all the rights and privileges appertaining to that capacity.” William Rawle, 1825, “A View of the Constitution of the United States”


          Along with the terms impeachment and pardons there are more English legal terms in the Constitution.

          “High crimes and misdemeanors” Article 2 Section 4.
          “Corruption of Blood” Article 3 Section 3.
          “Bills of Attainder” Article 1 Section 9.

          BTW, I would also suggest you look at Blackstone’s Commentaries specifically Book 4 Chapter 5 and next at Article I Section 8 Clause 10 of the Constitution.

    “Dr Conspiracy,” you say that the 14th amendment “cemented the Common Law notion of citizenship by birth.” ?? Really? “Cemented”?

    One of the best, most comprehensive and recent scholarly articles I have ever seen published on the subject was by Patrick Charles, and is found here:

    In fact, in his paper he titled “Decoding the 14th Amendment’s Citizenship Clause,” Charles lists and discusses numerous sources and experts that support his contention that your assertion is anything but “cement.”

Dr. Conspiracy | February 19, 2013 at 5:22 pm

My reaction to Mr. Charles paper (then before it had appeared in the Journal) appeared on my blog a year ago tomorrow:

and here with updates:

I won’t repeat that discussion here.

I wrote to Mr. Charles with some specific issues at the time regarding his sources, and he replied then that the paper was still in pre-publication form. Most of the paper, as I recall, was pretty good and it went off track only towards the end.

Let me comment on “cemented” briefly. Prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1866, to my knowledge, there was no federal law making anyone born in the country a citizen. The Supreme Court in Dred Scott v Sandford had essentially said that the Congress of the United States had no authority to make anyone born in the United States a citizen, that it could only naturalize and naturalization they declared to be taking someone born outside of the United States and making them a citizen of the United States. One Justice (Daniels) cited Vattel in his concurring opinion.

It is generally understood that the citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment (somewhat similar to the Civil Rights Act of 1866) was introduced for the purpose of making it impossible to deny citizenship to the formerly enslaved persons and to overrule Dred Scott. I think the record is pretty clear that the framers of the 14th Amendment believed that birthright citizenship was the practice in the United States since its founding, but because of the Dred Scott decision, they found it necessary to put it into the Constitution so that it could never be questioned again, thereby cementing the fact that persons born in the country and under its jurisdiction are, and for all time, born citizens.

I think Mr. Charles is more concerned with the “jurisdiction” question, and whether the Congress can legislate whether someone is under the jurisdiction of the United States or not. This is one of several papers argue against citizenship (of any kind) for the children of illegal aliens born in the United States, or for the children of transient parents.

I didn’t find Mr. Charles’ argument persuasive, although it was interesting.

    myveryownpointofview in reply to Dr. Conspiracy. | February 19, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    Why are you trying to drive readership to your blog? Why not just paste the info here?

      Dr. Conspiracy in reply to myveryownpointofview. | February 20, 2013 at 12:35 am

      I don’t want to clutter up the comments. I provide a link, and if people want to read it they can. I can format and embed images and Scribd pages on the blog. I can’t do that in a comment. At least I would much rather someone engage in the discussion than just dump a bunch of stuff.

      It’s not like my blog has advertising or anything.

Somehow, what someone who goes by the name “Dr Conspiracy” “thinks” or finds “persuasive” –as relates to an actual expert’s considerable research and scholarship– fails to persuade –me, anyway. I know you’ve been quoted by Factcheck and Huffpo, but call me…skeptical. Or birther. Apparently these terms are interchangeable nowdays.

Something that is so “cemented,” as you say –could it even be rationally evaluated as “persuasive” or not? You should have informed Charles before he spent so many hours compiling such interesting and compelling information that seemed to blow that concrete to bits…that he was just wasting his time. As were all of the other experts that he quoted. The cases, the papers, the speeches –since they don’t fit the narrative, they should be tossed aside as mere “birther” talk…

The truth is that the resulting logic of Charles’s research and commentary on the “jurisdiction” question applies not only to illegal aliens, but also those legally, but temporarily present in the US. Think — children of “birth tourists,” of legal guest workers (like the ones from the 1950’s Bracero program that were not considered automatic citizens, according to the research of Dr. John Eastman), and visiting students…for example. All “subject to the jurisdiction” —of a foreign country…

    Dr. Conspiracy in reply to Csimpson. | February 19, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    Well, I’m not an authority. I think the only reason linked to my blog once was that Brooks Jackson was just sick and tired of the birthers and didn’t want to deal with them any more.

    I think you must agree, however, that a child born in the United States of illegal immigrant parents or of visiting students or guest workers, is a citizen of the United States under current law and policy. That is, nobody who decides these things agrees with Mr. Charles. What Charles argues, as I recall, is the theoretical possibility that Congress could legislate to exclude certain persons born the US from citizenship should they so choose by defining them as not under the jurisdiction of the United States. That question would likely reach the Supreme Court. I would point out, however, that it was similar legislation in the instance of the Chinese Exclusion Act that attempted to prevent Wong Kim Ark from being a citizen through legislation, and the Supreme Court said no. The Chinese Exclusion Act and Charles’ hypothetical legislation have different premises, but I think the reasoning in the Wong decision works for both.

    We’ll just have to see when and if such legislation passes, which it won’t in the near term.

“…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.” ”

While it is true that there are conceptual differences between the terms subjects and citizens, the Founders didn’t always concern themselves with the differences. For example, several of the first state constitution have naturalization sections that determine how a foreigner can gain the rights of a “natural born subject”, John Adams in his draft of the 1780 draft of the Massachusett constitution used both terms “subjects of the Commonwealth” and “citizens of the Commonwealth”, between 1785 and 1791 the Massachusett’s legislature passed a number of Acts of Naturalization that used the terms “natural born citizen” and “natural born subject” interchangeably, in 1788 the Delaware legislature passed a Naturalization Act that referred to its citizens as “natural born subject” and finally in 1795, Zephania Swift wrote a legal treatise about the laws of Connecticut in which he wrote, “The children of aliens born in this state are considered as natural born subjects and have the same rights with the rest of the citizens.”

Dr. Conspiracy | February 20, 2013 at 1:37 am

I showed up for the purpose of sharing a few things that Mr. Jacobson might find useful in his own study, a few general insights that I worked out over a very long period of time (and the smart legal people probably know already). It was not my purpose to convince anyone of my viewpoint, but to offer a something to think about as others made up their own minds by studying the extensive material on the subject.

I see that the Obama ineligible crowd swarms on this issue here as they do on my own web site and they want to argue the issue even though court after court has said it’s well settled. I’ve seen a dozen of these anti-Obama-eligibility arguments, I know the material, I know the citations, and I know where they run off the road and into the ditch because they don’t look where they are going. But where it goes wrong is when folks impose their on peculiar biases about what is American and what is foreign onto the historical sources.

myveryownpointofview | February 20, 2013 at 3:57 pm

@ Charlie Huges, William Rawles never explained where he came up with that “fact”. Not that I have found. And wasn’t he quite the abolitionist? I don’t suppose that would influence his opinion, would it?

As to Blackstone references – are you referencing the original unabridged work? Or one of the many interpretations, or “commentaries” written by many different authors?

You write as though you are convinced that our entire Constitution was based on English common law, and all of the various laws of the states were as well. I give our Founders a bit more credit than that. Yes, English common law was the law here prior to the US gaining independence, everyone knows this. What happened after becoming a new nation is another thing.

I don’t bother myself with limits in research. By that I mean that I don’t limit myself to only seeking results that support my opinion or bias. Whatever I find, I find. It’s not personal with me – I am not trying to defend someone, I am looking for the actual meaning as intended by the men that signed the Constitution. That’s my motivation.

So you and your friend, Mr. Con. can post all your English common laws from here to forever and it does not mean that you are correct. It means that you assume. Maybe what I want to try and find simply does not exist, but I’m willing to look for it just on the chance that it does. Meanwhile, I am not making claims that I have the answer, but I will say that it does not appear to be the case that the new government clung as closely to the laws of England as some suggest. I say that because I found this to be a common theme in many books that I have read during the past months.

    charlie hughes in reply to myveryownpointofview. | February 20, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    “And wasn’t he quite the abolitionist? I don’t suppose that would influence his opinion, would it? ”

    As were John Jay and Ben Franklin, that’s John Jay of the “natural born citizen” hint letter.

    “I should also have been for a clause against the continuation of domestic slavery, and the support and encouragement of literature, as well as some other matters, though perhaps of less consequence.” April 29, 1777 Jay to Livingston and Morrison on the New York State Constitution

    “…that you will devise means for removing the Inconsistency from the Character of the American People, that you will promote mercy and justice toward this distressed Race, & that you will step to the very verge of the Powers vested in you for discouraging every Species of Traffic in the Persons of our fellow men.” Petition to Congress for the Abolition of Slavery by Benjamin Franklin, February 3, 1790.

    I use Blackstone’s Commentaries as published on Yale’s Avalon Project –

    Commentaries on the Laws of England
    Blackstone, William, Sir, 1723-1780
    4 v. : 2 geneal. tables ;27 cm. (4 to)
    First Edition
    Oxford : Printed at the Clarendon Press, 1765-1769

    The only changes I make are to convert the “f”s to “s”s where appropriate.

    I do not limit myself in research either, I go where the research leads. For example, I never argue that the Founders would have never translated the French edition of Vattel to say “natural born”, there is evidence in the Journals of the Continental Congress that they would probaly have translated “Les Naturels, ou Indigènes” as “The natural born or indiogenes” or possibly as “The natural born or natives”. Simply saying that Vattel was influential and that the Founders rejected British law is simplistic. they did not start over from scratch and creat all new legal terms and laws. They took what they knew and modified it for their situation.

    “So you and your friend, Mr. Con. can post all your English common laws from here to forever and it does not mean that you are correct. ”

    Strange, I don’t recall posting any English Common Law. I did post statements from the Founders all post-1776 that say that they used the English legal system as a model. I did suggest that you read Blackstone’s Commentaries chapter on “Of Offenses Against the Law of Nations” and compare it to Article I Section 8 Clause 10 of the Constitution.

    Here is some more research from the Massachusett legislature for you to consider:

    February, 1785, “AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING NICHOLAS ROUSSELET AND GEORGE SMITH.” in which it was declared that Nicholas Rousselet and George Smith “shall be deemed, adjudged, and taken to be citizens of this Commonwealth, and entitled to all the liberties, rights and privileges of natural born citizens.”

    February, 1786, “AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING MICHAEL WALSH.” in which it was declared that Michael Walsh “shall 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.”

    July, 1786, “AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING JONATHAN CURSON AND WILLIAM OLIVER” in which it was declared that Jonathan Curson and William Oliver “shall be deemed adjudged and taken to be free Citizens of this Commonwealth, and entitled to all the liberties, privileges and immunities of natural born citizens.“

    March, 1787, “AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING WILLIAM MARTIN AND OTHERS.” in which it was declared that William Martin and Others ”shall be deemed, adjudged and taken to be free Citizens of this Commonwealth, and entitled to all the liberties, privileges and immunities of natural born subjects.”

    May, 1787, “AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING EDWARD WYER AND OTHERS THEREIN NAMED.” in which it was declared that William Martin and Others ”shall be deemed, adjudged and taken, to be free Citizens of this Commonwealth, and entitled to all the liberties, privileges and immunities of natural born subjects.”

    October, 1787, “AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING BARTHOLOMY DE GREGOIRE, AND MARIA THERESA, HIS WIFE, AND THEIR CHILDREN.” in which it was declared that Bartholomy de Gregoire, and Maria Theresa, his wife, their children ”shall be deemed, adjudged and taken to be free Citizens of this Commonwealth, and entitled to all the liberties, rights and privileges of natural born citizens.”

    November, 1787, “AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING ALEXANDER MOORE, AND OTHERS, HEREIN NAMED.” in which it was declared that Alexander Moore and others ”shall be deemed, adjudged and taken to be free citizens of this Commonwealth, & entitled to all the privileges, liberties, and immunities of natural born subjects.”

    June, 1788, “AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING WILLIAM MENZIES, AND OTHERS, THEREIN NAMED.” in which it was declared that William Menzies and others “shall be deemed, adjudged and taken to be free citizens of this Commonwealth, and intitled to all the liberties, privileges & immunities of natural born subjects.”

    November, 1788, “AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING ELISHA BOURN, AND OTHERS, THEREIN NAMED.” in which it was declared that Elisha Bourn and others “shall be deemed, adjudged and taken to be free Citizens of this Commonwealth, & entitled to all the liberties, privileges & immunities of natural born Citizens.”

    February, 1789, “AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING JAMES HUYMAN, AND OTHERS, THEREIN NAMED.” in which it was declared that James Huyman and others “shall be deemed, adjudged and taken to be free Citizens of this Commonwealth, and entitled to all the Liberties, Privileges and Immunities of natural born subjects.”

    June, 1789, “AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING NATHANIEL SKINNER, AND OTHERS, THEREIN NAMED.” in which it was declared that Nathaniel Skinner and others “shall be deemed, adjudged and taken to be free citizens of this Commonwealth, and entitled to all the liberties, privileges and immunities of natural born subjects.”

    March, 1790, “AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING JOHN JARVIS, AND OTHERS, THEREIN NAMED” in which it was declared that John Jarvis and others “shall be deemed adjudged and taken to be free citizens of this Commonwealth, and entitled to all the liberties, privileges and immunities of natural born subjects.”

    March, 1791, “AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING JOHN WHITE & OTHERS” in which it was declared that John White and others “shall be deemed adjudged and taken, to be free citizens of this Commonwealth, and intitled to all the liberties, privileges, and immunities of natural born subjects.”


    Why did the Massachusett legislature use both terms “NBC” and “NBS” interchangeably?

      myveryownpointofview in reply to charlie hughes. | February 20, 2013 at 9:16 pm

      Ah, the tactic of posting a large number of references and links in one comment. In order to reply a person would need to spend literally hours reading, following links, referencing and cross referencing. That or take your word for it.

      I intend to do none of those things. Your intent is to overwhelm, and since I don’t wish to be led into your rabbit hole I will continue my own research in my own fashion.

      If your offerings were conclusive this would be settled law. It isn’t. Same with your buddy, Mr. Con. You both have one agenda, and that is to shut down discussion about obamas eligibility question. You both post vast “research” which supposedly supports your point of view, but you keep harping over and over on the use of the term natural born subject. That term does not appear in our Constitution.

        Dr. Conspiracy in reply to myveryownpointofview. | February 20, 2013 at 9:29 pm

        Actually, you should be able to read and understand that list in under 5 minutes, and if you know your material, you’ve already seen it.

        Those are trivially simple examples from naturalization law, all more or less the same, showing that state legislatures freely switched back and forth between natural born citizen and natural born subject, both before and after the Constitution.

        Birthers generally lack the willpower to actually read original sources. Your attempt to reject evidence because there’s too much of it is, let us say, quaint.

        charlie hughes in reply to myveryownpointofview. | February 20, 2013 at 10:12 pm

        Wow, and I thought you would be grateful to get research material that you were obviously not aware of.

        I provided the Mass. Acts and the statements from the Founders/Framers for your consideration. You are certainly free to ignore the words.

        I’m sure that will lead you to the conclusion you are trying to reach.

    Dr. Conspiracy in reply to myveryownpointofview. | February 20, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    It’s “Rawle” not “Rawles” and William Rawle was a personal friend of both Benjamin Franklin and George Washington. He was a noted judge and lawyer. He was appointed by George Washington to be US Attorney for Pennsylvania, and was a founding member of the Boston Historical Society. His book, “A View of the Constitution” was used as a textbook at West Point.

    He is what we call an authority.

      myveryownpointofview in reply to Dr. Conspiracy. | February 20, 2013 at 9:28 pm

      He wrote a textbook based on the Constitution. He is what some consider an authority.

      He stated something as a fact without providing anything to substantiate his position. I consider that the same as offering a personal opinion. And yes, I read the textbook. It was quite a while back, but I did read the entire thing.

      So what?

      Dr. Conspiracy in reply to Dr. Conspiracy. | February 20, 2013 at 11:24 pm

      A correction: I wrote Boston Historical Society, when I should have said Pennsylvania Historical Society.

    Dr. Conspiracy in reply to myveryownpointofview. | February 20, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    You have something against abolitionists?

    Judge Taney was a racist. Do you think that had something to do with the Dred Scott decision?

    Dr. Conspiracy in reply to myveryownpointofview. | February 20, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    Your buddy Vattel was an abolitionist too. He said that slavery was a “disgrace to humanity.”

      myveryownpointofview in reply to Dr. Conspiracy. | February 20, 2013 at 9:36 pm

      Openly trolling now.

        Dr. Conspiracy in reply to myveryownpointofview. | February 20, 2013 at 11:27 pm

        Run out of excuses for losing the argument, I see.

          myveryownpointofview in reply to Dr. Conspiracy. | February 21, 2013 at 1:23 pm

          Listen Mr. Con., this isn’t orly tatizs’ blog, nor mine, nor yours. The Professor addressed a concern that a large number of Americans are aware of and seeking an answer to. I would hope you and your colleague, and I, can be respectful of that.

          I read this blog daily, and comment here frequently – I didn’t just pop in to suffocate the conversation and belittle good people under the guise of offering the Professor some material to consider.

          The only time I see you comment on any blog it’s on a “Birther” blog or any blog POST that happens to mention the eligibility question. And just as you did here you end up snarking and being insulting to people who have a different viewpoint than your own. People who just want a true and honest answer to this one question. Your behavior is always the same, as is the material you post – which is exactly the same material as all of the other bully’s who gang up on anyone who asks this one question on eligibility.

          Now, I expect the excellent Professor is a very skilled researcher, and his findings will add much that we can have trust in as being without bias. I can respect his work, and I know that he will NEVER insult or snark at those who differ with him over the results. If I happen to find anything in my happy-go-lucky style of amateur researching that I hope may help settle the question, I will send it to his tip-line.

          Again I will point out that this is not your blog, nor mine and so first and foremost we should show due respect to Professor Jacobson by not engaging in a display of bad manners on his blog.

          Dr. Conspiracy in reply to Dr. Conspiracy. | February 24, 2013 at 5:15 pm

          Well if this is not your blog, then I fail to understand why you are trying to assume the role playground monitor on it. In fact, I’ve been very respectful, and you have been spiteful, aggressive and insulting rather than engaging the substantive comments I have made. Perhaps you should read your own comments over again.

          However, I think that it would be better if I just ignored you on this forum going forward.

          myveryownpointofview in reply to Dr. Conspiracy. | February 25, 2013 at 8:58 pm


Prof. J: You have the patience of Job, another reason you are the able leader of LI, as you take us out of the desert we’ve been wondering in these past few days; actually just one yet it seems longer.

Cheers as we salute you we even as we kneel down to take a drink from the river of knowledge, with one hand grasping our spear of knowledge whilst our eye remains on the prize. Leave the squabbling rabble stay behind to clean up our campsite if they can do even that!

Interesting. A couple of days ago, I posted the link to a recent scholarly paper by a well-respected attorney and historian on the inarguably related subject of birthright citizenship, and a well-known, anonymous “anti-birther” expert (he’s been quoted on Factcheck and Huffpo no less!!) jumps into the conversation and declares the paper’s numerous citations and sources, “unpersuasive.” This same individual and his buddy then flood this comments page with numerous, lengthy quotes that are supposed to be more than “persuasive”– they simply settle the “cemented” matter. And anyone who disagrees, although they may not have been called so here, is considered racist and stupid. How can I be so sure of those labels? Go to “Dr. Conspiracy’s” site. For if one is known by the company they keep, then a few clicks around his site and a look at the infinite number of pro-everything-Obama and extremely nasty comments directed to everyone else will tell you everything you need to know.

A couple of years ago I had an article on American Thinker on Ann Coulter’s brilliant book, “Demonic,” here:

I hope readers here will go back and read that piece. It doesn’t contain numerous, boring citations. It is simply an appeal to logic by observing the reactions to the controversy.

In Coulter’s book, she dismissed “birtherism” as the “one myth” believed by more Republicans than Democrats: “The liberal mob, writes Coulter, views Americans as ‘either enlightened truth-seekers or racist, paranoid haters.’  Yet with the stroke of her pen she similarly dismissed, Alinsky-style, those who question any facet of Obama’s eligibility as idiots, thereby joining the very mob she abhors.”

Is this controversy really just a “myth”? — the lone exception to the normal rational-thinking of conservatives? Or is it a battle between logic and an odd lack of transparency by Obama, the nastiness of the mainstream media, and the reluctance of the Republican establishment to address it? It is sad that we have come to this.

Until Obama entered the national political scene, the controversy over birthright citizenship was discussed in civil terms. There was even a 2005 Congressional hearing on the topic.

I look forward to hearing what the professor here has to say about it all. Considering the need for real immigration reform, it is a conversation we need to have. And it is very related, unavoidably, to the subject of natural born citizenship and presidential eligibility.

    Dr. Conspiracy in reply to Csimpson. | February 24, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    It is a severe misrepresentation to call my web site, Obama Conspiracy Theories, “pro-everything-Obama.” I have gone to a lot of effort specifically NOT to show a pro-Obama viewpoint on the site. Whether Obama is a good or a bad president or whether he has good or bad policies is explicitly off topic.

    What the site does, however, is to debunk, and sometimes insult the birther movement and conspiracy theorists about Obama. If you think that saying Obama really is president and that he was born in Hawaii (something you can read in any encyclopedia) is “pro-Obama” then I suggest that your bias is the reason you misunderstood my web site and not that the site is pro-Obama.

    Yes, I found Mr. Charles paper unpersuasive, as has the Supreme Court (not that they have read it, but that they have ruled contrary to it). I didn’t say it was worthless, but I was not persuaded by it, knowing the other side of the argument.

    The main point, though, is that there is nothing in Mr. Charles paper that says Obama is ineligible.