FLASHBACK: What is an Article II “Natural Born Citizen?”

Is Ted Cruz an Article II Natural Born Citizen?Does it matter?

Natural Born Citizen

It’s hard to believe, but it has been over 5 years since I wrote the following over at the terrific Illinois Review:


by Teri O’Brien, 12/27/10

Granted, the 12/19/10 edition of the Teri O’Brien Show was unusual. We had not one, but two, special guests, and we usually have none. Still, I was unprepared for the firestorm precipitated by the routine posting I hoped would entice listeners to check out the show, a firestorm that shows no end of dying down. It all started with the mention of the phrase “natural born citizen” and whether it can be accurately applied to Barack Obama.

I invited Floyd Brown, President of the Western Journalism Center, on the show to address the question “Why didn’t Justices Kagan and Sotomayor recuse themselves from the recent decision to deny certiorari in the case Kerchner v. Obama (the natural born citizen case)?” After all, one of the named parties appointed them, which appears to me to be an obvious conflict of interest. In my opinion, their failure to sit out on this one is the most unreported significant story of 2010. A question for two of the passionate participants in the debate here on IR: Ohioborn1, Bob Ross–would you like to take a crack at answering that one? Bueller? Bueller?

The nearly immediate posting of an affirmative response to the question I mentioned in the post about the 12/19/10 show, “Just exactly what is a “natural born citizen” under our Constitution, and does Obama qualify?” got me thinking. I know why many Obama opponents are passionate about this issue, but why would the other side be so quick to reply? Let me submit that as interesting as the extremely verbose debate here has become, it’s somewhat collateral to the actual issue.The actual issue, at least for Obama’s permanent campaign, is make sure the question is never asked.

There are two distinct groups that question Barack Obama’s constitutional eligibility to be president. There are the “birthers,” who do not deny that Barack Obama was born in Hawaii. Yes, I do acknowledge that there are people who express absolute metaphysical certitude that he wasn’t. Please don’t waste time telling me that. I’m sure that Obama supporters can unearth someone with irrefutable proof that he was born in the galaxy of Alpha Centauri, but I believe that despite these outliers, most “birthers” simply question why they can’t see the actual birth certificate. That Politifact, a faux “objective” bunch of hidden-agenda-afflicted media water carriers says they saw it, isn’t good enough for them, and they definitely have a point. Then there are those in the second group who state that even if Barack Obama was born in the Capitol rotunda he is not a “natural born citizen” as understood by Article II, because both of his parents were not U.S. citizens. I include myself in this second group.

Read more …

What does that say about the magnificent, brilliant Sen. Ted Cruz? Under my definition, he is not an Article II “natural born citizen,” but as I have said time and again since 2008, obviously that ship has sailed.

When I wrote that original piece, some commented “Oh c’mon, if there was anything to this issue, Hillary Clinton would have been all over it,” which is true; that is, there is only something to it, if the electorate is educated enough about the Constitution to understand the issue. One of the keys to the Obama campaign’s 2008 success was mobilizing large numbers of extremely ignorant, emotionally-driven people, drunk on the ridiculous “hope and change” yip yap that they were serving up. So, it wasn’t a winning issue in the political sense, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a legal and Constitutional issue.

It’s important to understand that, under our Constitution as designed by our extraordinarily gifted Founders, the people reign supreme. In 1787, at the close of the Constitutional Convention, when Ben Franklin responded to a lady’s question “Well Doctor what have we got, a republic or a monarchy.” by replying, “A republic . . . if you can keep it,” that’s what he was saying. Over time, the American people get what they want, and if the American people don’t care about something, ultimately it will not matter.

More about the Natural Born Citizen issue here, here (Ann Coulter says Cruz is NOT an Article II NBC), my friend and frequent Teri O’Brien Show guest Andrew McCarthy here (yes, he is) and here (Mark Levin says he is).

Does it matter if Ted Cruz is an Article II, Natural Born citizen? What say you?


  1. There is a whole cottage industry of Chinese women coming to the U.S. to give birth. We have illegal aliens having children that claim citizenship. In 35 years, a member of either of these groups could become president? It’s ludicrous.

    “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.”

    • As you well know, I oppose so-called “birthright citizenship,” something NOT mandated by the 14th Amendment and something that must end. I know that Donald Trump has said he would end it with a statute, and that Carly Fiorina is in favor of it (very disappointing)> i accept the Vattel definition (soil and birth), but as I have said often, it’s not settled not matter what people say. The Supreme Court has never ruled on it, as you know.

      • I heard Levin, whom I admire, last Friday rail on the issue as if it had no meaning, and conflating citizenship with Natural Born Citizenship. It was disappointing, as I am certain he knows there is a marked difference.

        The Cruz problem stems from the soil part (Canada) s well as the blood part. (Father was Cuban)

        I recall a time when Henry Kissinger was being pushed to run, but was ineligible.

        • Precisely. I was surprised to see Levin dismiss what I consider a very legitimate Constitution issue so cavalierly.

        • Those who reject my definition of NBC ALWAYS conflate citizenship with “natural born citizen,” a phrase used in only place in the Constitution. There’s a reason that they used that phrase in only one place. The words “citizen,” and “natural born citizen” are not interchangeable, and that’s obvious.

  2. (The citation from the article was missing, so I found one. )
    Yes, he isn’t.:
    Mark Levin Goes Off Deep End: Calls Cruz Naturalized Citizen And Eligible To Be POTUS
    If Mark Levin was even remotely fair he would at least have either Atty Mario Apuzzo, Atty Herb Titus PhD, and/or Atty Larry Klayman or maybe all of them on his show to debate the issue fair and openly for an hour or two. But he won’t. His agenda is to keep the cloud of disinformation and cover-up in effect on this blatant usurpation of Article II Section 1, the presidential eligibility clause of the U.S. Constitution by both major political parties. I believe he’s a coward on this issue. He is sure acting like one. Or maybe the Obama regime has something on him and is threatening him, his family, or his show producers. Whatever the reason, he is not telling the truth on the historical and legal facts regarding the constitutional term “natural born Citizen”. On his show this time he even ridiculed by implication and innuendo the great legal writers of the founding era such as Emer de Vattel and his preeminent legal treatise of that time, “The Law of Nations or Principles of Natural Law” which our founders along with the Bible used to help write the U.S. Constitution and other founding documents, and which treatise contained a legal definition of “natural born Citizen” therein. This is not the actions of a historical and constitutional scholar seeking to air the truth. Mark Levin on his show demonstrated the traits of a scoundrel. Mark Levin should be ashamed of himself for his tirade and disinformation rant on his radio show Thursday.
    P.S., Ann Coulter agrees with me. Actually, I agree with her.
    It is all academic, as it will be buried, or it might dredge up Obama all over again. SCOTUS and DOJ ill fight it tooth and nail. MSM, crickets!

    • So it’s you, me, Ann Coulter, Mensa and others who accept the most rigorous definition of NBC. Of course it is all academic as I point out in this piece. If the public is too ignorant to care, and the election of Obama proves that they are, the system designed by the Framers, then they get what they want, or what they are willing to tolerate.

    • Larry Klayman on WND on Obama:

      Now Larry Klayman, the former Justice Department lawyer and founder of Judicial Watch and Freedom Watch, is suing to get President Obama deported.

      Shipped out. Sent back. Removed.

      “In sum, deportation proceedings should be immediately commenced, an investigation undertaken, a full evidentiary hearing held, and Barack Hussein Obama should be removed from the United States,” Klayman writes in his deportation petition.

      The petition was sent to Thomas Homan of Enforcement Removal Operations at the Department of Homeland Security, Thomas Winkowksi of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Sarah Kendall of the Office of Fraud Detection and National Security at DHS.

      Klayman explained it is based “on the grounds that he has falsified various birth and other documents with regard to obtaining a U.S. passport and other privileges as an alleged American citizen.”

      “It is clear, based on a mountain of evidence as set forth in and attached to the petition, that the president and his agents have falsified documents, such as his birth certificate and Social Security number, to qualify for the privileges of American citizenship such that his citizenship, which is based on false pretenses, must be nullified,” Klayman said.

      Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2014/10/klayman-files-for-deportation-of-barack-obama/#3H2AXZ4HEACPP8It.99

  3. I had hoped that by now our Congress would have figured out that this has become a controversial issue that is deeply in need of resolution. I was hoping that they could make some time in their busy schedule to address what is obviously an important issue for this country. I know that spending like a drunken sailor can be very taxing but a little prioritizing would be nice. On the other hand I am concerned that if they try to reach some clarity on this issue they will almost certainly make matters worse.

    • Sorry, but they cant’ close the border, stop the POTUS pen and phone, or defund the Islamic terrorist invasion. To address issue, they would have to do some real work. Crickets.

  4. twitter_THECANARYSCRY

    I think that is should matter but that ship has sailed. The conservatives want the history to be mad on their side as to having the first Hispanic POTUS. If either Rubio or Cruz wins the nomination the conservatives and republicans will coalesce around the man and protect him.

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