“Natural born citizen” defined

December 1, 2008


Section 1 of Article Two of the United States Constitution contains the clause:

No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

Additionally, the Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution states that:

[N]o person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.” The grandfather provision of the Natural Born Citizen Clause thus covered the first several presidents and vice-presidents, who were citizens at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, but had been born as British citizens before the American Revolution.

The Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides an additional source of constitutional doctrine stating that birth “in the United States” and subjection to U.S. jurisdiction at the time of birth, entitles one to citizenship:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States are subject to the Jurisdiction thereof, are Citizens of the United States and of the State in which they reside…

Section 8 of Article One of the United States Constitution confers on Congress the power “to establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization…” This power has been construed to include defining the characteristics of a “natural born citizen”, as well as the conditions of “naturalization”. But, according to the U.S. Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual, “the fact that someone is a natural born citizen pursuant to a statute does not necessarily imply that he or she is such a citizen for Constitutional purposes. (The presidency)

Senators McCaskill and Leahey (and Obama) tried this through the 4-30-08 resolution:

Resolved, That John Sidney McCain, III, is a “natural born Citizen” under Article II, Section 1, of the Constitution of the United States.



The Founding Fathers never defined what it means to be a natural-born American citizen. Federal law defines several instances in which a person qualifies. They include:

— Anyone born inside the United States.

— Any Indian, Eskimo Aleutian, or member of another aboriginal tribe born in the United States, provided being a citizen of the United States does not impair the person’s right to tribal or other property.

— Anyone born in a U.S. possession, if one parent is a citizen and lived in the U.S. for at least one year.

— Anyone born outside the United States, as long as one parent is a U.S. citizen of the United States who lived in the United States for at least five years, with military or diplomatic service included in that time.

— Anyone found in the United States, under the age of 5, whose parentage cannot be determined, as long as proof of non-citizenship is not provided by age 21.

barry’s admits on his website that he is a NATIVE born citizen:

The truth is, Barack Obama was born in the state of Hawaii in 1961, a native citizen of the United States of America.

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