Category: U.S. Constitution

Vattel, Natural Born Citizen and the 2016 Election

This is in response to a YouTube video comment by Zeng Vaj in the Hmong Conservative Christian FB Page,  (OP is also on my own homepage) to my original comment on that OP. I posted stating that not only was Barack Hussein Obama ineligible for the Presidency but that Cruz and Rubio are also ineligible under the Constitution.  The video in question (link in footnote below) is of Mark Levine’s (a popular conservative radio show host) monologue purporting to demonstrate that Ted Cruz is eligible to run for President and that basically anyone who disputes this is a nut job.  I do dispute both his claims, and herewith present his primary argument along with my own rebuttal.  I do acknowledge that some of the material I present has been obtained from other sources, sources of which I have provided documentation in the footnotes.  Here’s a link to the OP as found on my own home page as the Hmong page is a closed group.  [https://www.facebook.com/mfernandez57/posts/936252203077628 ]

United States Constitution. Article II §1 Clause 5 States:

“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.”

 

Now note, the first part regarding citizenship is broken down into two parts.

Part 1.  “No Person except a natural born Citizen” and,

Part 2. “or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution.”

Now it is in that second part that Levine engages in his deception.  First, let’s look at what the second clause says.  If you read it carefully, it is itself divided into two parts, the second of which does include those born in foreign lands or to non-citizen parents, yet is no longer relevant because no one with those qualities is living today.  It says, “or a citizen, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution.” [Not a natural born citizen because at that point there were none, the Constitution just having been written]  Get that?  Or a citizen AT THE TIME OF THE ADOPTION OF this Constitution!  So where the first presidents were born or their parents were born didn’t matter because they were born BEFORE the United States was a nation so no one prior to that date could have been a “natural born citizen.”   And it is here that Levine falsely conflates the two distinct and separate classes of citizenship into one by leaving out the limiting nature of the end of the second clause of the sentence, “at the time of the adoption of the Constitution.”  That was one specific moment in history of which time there is now no one living and therefore, no one who fits that description.  Natural born citizen and citizen are two distinct classes of citizenship. The following is taken from the online article What Our Framers Knew: The Constitution , Vattel, and “Natural Born Citizen”” presented on the Freedom Outpost website ([i]).

Word Definitions:

Like clouds, word meanings change throughout time. “Awful” once meant “full of wonder and reverence”; “cute” meant “bowlegged”; “gay” meant “jovial”; and “nice” meant “precise”.

Accordingly, if someone from an earlier time wrote of a “cute gay man”, he was not referring to an adorable homosexual, but to a cheerful bowlegged man.

So! In order to understand the genuine meaning of a text, we must use the definitions the authors used when they wrote it. Otherwise, written texts become as shifting and impermanent as the clouds – blown hither and yon throughout the years by those who unthinkingly read in their own uninformed understandings, or deliberately pervert the text to further their own agenda.

So! Is Our Constitution built on the Rock of Fixed Definitions – those our Framers used? Or are its Words mere clouds to be blown about by Acts of Congress, whims of federal judges, and the idiotic notions of every ignoramus who writes about it?”

 

“Natural Born Citizen”’ is defined in Vattel’s “Law of Nations,” a work which the Founders used extensively when writing the Constitution[ii].  Vattel defined Natural Born Citizen this way, [iii]

Ҥ 212: Natural-born citizens are those born in the country of parents who are citizens Рit is necessary that they be born of a father who is a citizen. If a person is born there of a foreigner, it will be only the place of his birth, and not his country.

  • 213: Inhabitants, as distinguished from citizens, are foreigners who are permitted to stay in the country. They are subject to the laws of the country while they reside in it. But they do not participate in all the rights of citizens – they enjoy only the advantages which the law or custom gives them. Their children follow the condition of their fathers – they too are inhabitants.
  • 214: A country may grant to a foreigner the quality of citizen – this is naturalization. In some countries, the sovereign cannot grant to a foreigner all the rights of citizens, such as that of holding public office – this is a regulation of the fundamental law. And in England, merely being born in the country naturalizes the children of a foreigner.
  • § 215, 216 & 217: Children born of citizens in a foreign country, at sea, or while overseas in the service of their country, are “citizens”. By the law of nature alone, children follow the condition of their fathers; the place of birth produces no change in this particular.

Do you see? The republican concept of “natural born citizenship” is radically different from the feudal notion of “natural born subjectship.” Under feudalism, merely being born in the domains of the King made one – by birth – a “natural born subject”. But in Vattel’s Model and Our Constitutional Republic, Citizens are “natural born” only if they are born of Citizens.”

Now, as I previously alleged, Mark Levine has falsely conflated “natural Born Citizen” with “citizen at the time of the adoption of the Constitution” and “a born citizen” since the time of that adoption.  They are not all the same.  Here are Levine’s exact words.[iv]

Beginning at the 2:17 mark

“Here’s what section one, article two of the Constitution says, Clause 5: “No person except a natural born citizen,” which is not defined, “or a citizen of the united states at the time of the adoption of this Constitution shall be eligible to the office of the President.” That’s it…. that’s it.  So let’s say you’re traveling overseas. Let’s say you’re pregnant.  Say you have a baby.  Does that mean your baby is not eligible to be president of the United States?  Of course not.  That baby’s still an American citizen under American statutory law. It’s a natural born American citizen.  Well, what else would that child be?  You and I have argued and I think effectively and definitively that just because somebody comes into the United States and has a child, doesn’t mean that child is an American citizen.  That’s what the… the chain migration types argue, that’s what the birthright citizenship types argue.  You and I don’t argue that.  So somebody’s traveling here, say from China, and they have a baby, that baby is not an American citizen under the 14th Amendment.  Now of course the amnesty crowd, the establishment Republicans, dummies on TV, they argue that that’s the case, but it’s not the case.  So we’re perfectly consistent but even if we weren’t consistent, we’re talking about two different parts of the Constitution.  One is the 14th Amendment and this is Section 1, Article II, Clause 5.  : “No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the united states,” that is, somebody born of another citizen ,wherever, [note Levine’s use of the “singular” as contrasted with Vattel’s “plural” “citizen parents” , wherever And thus, by the mere changing of the term from plural to singular, without reference to the original usage (the only “singular” allowed under international and constitutional law is the state of the Father, not the mother.  The only time the state of the mother is considered is if the fatherhood is unknown, then some nations will determine citizenship via the mother alone, others by birthplace, others by both, conferring dual citizenship which is not natural born citizenship status], or somebody born of another citizen in the United States, is eligible for the office of President. So here we are, we’re gonna spend the next five days on this, because the media love it.  Do you love it?…..” [Again Levine’s unjustified use of the singular in reference to the parentage of a person and determining whether they are merely a “born citizen” or a “natural born citizen.  Again I point out, the Founders used Natural Born Citizen as a stricter level of qualification for the office of President, no dual citizen at birth qualifies under that level, only second generation Americans born to American Citizen Parents, regardless of place of birth.]

[Continuing from the 5:10 mark after a series of ad hominem attacks on those who disagree with him, implying that they are all kooks and liberals.]

“The Framers didn’t reject people who were born of American citizens, did they?  Of course not!  And besides, the Supreme Court would never hear this case.  First of all, you have to have standing, and almost nobody does.  It’s a technical issue, but it’s a crucial issue.  That’s number one.  Number two, They would treat this as part of the “political question doctrine,” they’re not going to get involved in it.  They’re just not gonna do it.  Well some people will say, “Well now, it has to be a child of two American parents.”  But that’s not in the Constitution either.  Where does it say that?  It doesn’t say anything.  So, rather than being activists and liberals, and rewriting the Constitution and trying to change it to accommodate a candidate or something, that’s not what Constitutional Conservatives do, that’s not who we are.  That’s not who we are.  There was even some question about Barry Goldwater, because he was born in Phoenix.  Arizona was a territory.  Well does that territory count?  Ya know the Panama Canal, the debate was, “Well was it incorporated at the time of John McCain’s birth?  Whether he was on an Air Force base or not.”  These, this is for the kooks.  This is for the kooks.  So let the kooks argue it.  The truth is, the truth is, this thing is resolved.  Now it may not be resolved if you’re an opponent of Cruz.  It may not be resolved if you’re one of the kooks out there.  So what?……  [More irrelevancies about the media, Obummer, etc.]”

[Resuming at 7:25.]

“[a]nd today, we’re chasing a “birther argument” [an ad hominem attack, originally meant to demean and diminish those who questioned Obummer’s eligibility, now applied to those who question Cruz and Rubio’s eligibility for the same reasons.  In other words, when you can’t fight them with truth and logic, resort to name calling.]  played right into the liberal’s hands, right into their hands….”

From that point on, he doesn’t argue law or history, but strictly declarations that Cruz is eligible and anyone who debates it is either a nut case or a libtard of some kind.  All emotion and rhetoric but not a bit of genuine law.  Unsubstantiated claims that he is the one who knows better than anyone else. The sometimes conflicting positions of others [conflicting because they stated one opinion at one time and later another.  This is not a reflection on the validity of Vattel’s and the Founders original usage, but of someone speaking out on something without full knowledge, who then changes his position when that knowledge comes to him (or her).[v]

 

[i] Read more at http://freedomoutpost.com/2013/01/what-our-framers-knew-the-constitution-vattel-and-natural-born-citizen/#gbwUKqgfu5z3vDJH.99

[ii] What Did Our Framers mean by “natural born Citizen”?

Article II, §1, cl. 5, U.S. Constitution, requires the President to be a “natural born Citizen”.

The meaning of this term is not set forth in The Constitution or in The Federalist Papers; and I found no discussion of the meaning in Madison’s Journal of the Federal Convention or in Alexander Hamilton’s notes of the same.

What does this tell us? That they all knew what it meant. We don’t go around defining “pizza”, because every American over the age of four knows what a pizza is.

Our Framers had no need to define “natural born Citizen” in the Constitution, because by the time of the Federal Convention of 1787, a formal definition of the term consistent with the new republican principles already existed in Emer Vattel’s classic, Law of Nations.

And we know that our Framers carefully studied and relied upon Vattel’s work. I’ll prove it.

How Vattel’s Law of Nations got to the Colonies, and its Influence Here:

During 1775, Charles Dumas, an ardent republican [as opposed to a monarchist] living in Europe sent three copies of Vattel’s Law of Nations to Benjamin Franklin. Here is a portion of Franklin’s letter of Dec. 9, 1775 thanking Dumas for the books:

“… I am much obliged by the kind present you have made us of your edition of vattel. It came to us in good season, when the circumstances of a rising state make it necessary frequently to consult the law of nations.accordingly that copy, which i kept, (after depositing one in our own public library here, and sending the other to the college of massachusetts bay, as you directed,)has been continually in the hands of the members of our congress, now sitting, who are much pleased with your notes and preface, and have entertained a high and just esteem for their author…” (2nd para)

Vattel’s Law of Nations was thereafter “pounced upon by studious members of Congress, groping their way without the light of precedents.”

Years later, Albert de Lapradelle wrote an introduction to the 1916 ed. of Law of Nations published by the Carnegie Endowment.2 Lapradelle said the fathers of independence “were in accord with the ideas of Vattel”; they found in Vattel “all their maxims of political liberty”; and:

from 1776 to 1783, the more the united states progressed, the greater became vattel’s influence. In 1780 his law of nations was a classic, a text book in the universities.”(page xxx)

In footnote 1 on the same page (xxx), Lapradelle writes:

“… Another copy was presented by franklin to the library company of philadelphia. Among the records of its directors is the following minute: “oct. 10, 1775. Monsieur dumas having presented the library with a very late edition of vattel’s law of nature and nations (in french), the board direct the secretary to return that gentle-man their thanks.” This copy undoubtedly was used by the members of the second continental congress, which sat in philadelphia; by the leading men who directed the policy of the united colonies until the end of the war; and, later, by the men who sat in the convention of 1787 and drew up the constitution of the united states, for the library was located in carpenters’ hall, where the first congress deliberated, and within a stone’s throw of the colonial state house of pennsylvania, where the second congress met, and likewise near where the constitution was framed…”

So! Vattel’s work was “CONTINUALLY IN THE HANDS” of Congress in 1775; Members of the Continental Congress “pounced” on Vattel’s work; our Founders used the republican Principles in Vattel’s work to justify our Revolution against a monarchy; by 1780, Vattel’s work was a “classic” taught in our universities; and our Framers used it at the Federal Convention of 1787. 3

Vattel on “natural born citizens”, “inhabitants”, and “naturalized citizens”:

From our beginning, we were subjects of the British Crown. With the War for Independence, we became citizens.1 [READ this footnote!] We needed new concepts to fit our new status as citizensVattel provided these new republican concepts of “citizenship”.

Footnote 1 from above:
1 Monarchies have subjects. Republics are formed by citizens. We broke from a monarchy under which we were subjects; and with our War for Independence, were transformed into citizens!

The common law of England recognizes only subjects of the Crown. England has never had citizens. Her feudal doctrine of “natural born subjects” is set forth in Book I, Ch. 10, of Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England (I modernized the spelling):

“THE FIRST AND MOST OBVIOUS DIVISION OF THE PEOPLE IS INTO ALIENS AND NATURAL-BORN SUBJECTS. NATURAL-BORN SUBJECTS ARE SUCH AS ARE BORN WITHIN THE DOMINIONS OF THE CROWN OF ENGLAND, THAT IS, WITHIN THE … ALLEGIANCE OF THE KING; AND aliens, such as are born out of it. ALLEGIANCE IS THE TIE … WHICH BINDS THE SUBJECT TO THE KING …” [EMPHASIS MINE]

Under feudalism, people are possessions who belong to the Land in which they were born. So they are “naturally” subject to whoever owns the Land. They were born as subjects to the owner of the land [ultimately, the King] on which they were born.

With our War for Independence, We repudiated the notion of natural born subjects. As Citizens, We ordained and established Our Constitution wherein We created a federal government which was subject to us!

Jake Walker doesn’t seem to know the difference between being “a subject of a King” and “a citizen of a Republic”, as he equates the feudal concept of “natural born subject” with the Republican concept of “natural born Citizen”.

Chet Arthur and Human Events tell us the “original intent” of “natural born Citizen” at Art. II, §1, cl. 5 is given by an Amendment defining “citizen” [not “natural born citizen”]ratified 80 years later!

And Bret Baier seems unaware that the methods for amending the Constitution are set forth in Article V; and that Congress may not amend the Constitution by making a law which redefines terms set forth in the Constitution!

These four amateurs would do well to study Birthright Citizenship and Dual Citizenship: Harbingers of Administrative Tyranny, by Professor Edward J. Erler. Erler addresses the distinctions between “citizenship” and “subjectship”; and the concept of “citizenship” at §1 of the 14th Amendment. He proves that not everyone born here is a “citizen”: Only those whose parents are “subject to the jurisdiction of the US” are citizens. Illegal aliens are not “subject to the jurisdiction of the US” – they are invaders whose allegiance is to the Country they left. Foreign diplomats stationed here are not “subject to the jurisdiction of the US”. Thus, children born here of these aliens are not citizens!

[iii] From Emel Vattel, “Law of Nations” Book 1, Chapter 14, Sections 212-217.

Read more at http://freedomoutpost.com/2013/01/what-our-framers-knew-the-constitution-vattel-and-natural-born-citizen/#gbwUKqgfu5z3vDJH.99

[iv] Transcribed from the YouTube Video titled, “Mark Levin: Yes, Ted Crus IS a natural-born American citizen and thus eligible to run for President.”  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmD_2RM2OaA

[v] Additional sources for research into the matter of Vattel and Article II of the Constitution.  Each of these sites is heavily annotated, providing in most cases links to the actual historical source documents for the serious person to research.

Review of 4 U.S. Supreme Court rulings touching on Vattel and Natural Born vs. Born or Naturalized Citizens. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2470873/posts

  • Constitution Society’s Html posting of Emel Vattel’s

“THE
LAW OF NATIONS
OR
PRINCIPLES OF THE LAW OF NATURE APPLIED TO THE CONDUCT AND AFFAIRS OF
NATIONS AND SOVEREIGNS
FROM THE FRENCH OF
MONSIEUR DE VATTEL.
“Nihil est enim illi principi Deo qui omnem hunc mundum regit, quod quidem in terris fiat, acceptium, quam concilia coestusque hominum jure sociati, quæ civitates appellantur.” Cicero, Som Scip. [1]
FROM THE NEW EDITION, BY
JOSEPH CHITTY, Esq. Barrister At Law
WITH ADDITIONAL NOTES AND REFERENCES,
By EDWARD D. INGRAHAM, Esq.
PHILADELPHIA:
& J.W. JOHNSON & CO., LAW BOOKSELLERS,
No. 535 CHESTNUT STREET.
1883.”
http://www.constitution.org/vattel/vattel_01.htm

  • https://publiushuldah.wordpress.com/2012/07/19/the-constitution-vattel-and-natural-born-citizen-what-our-framers-knew/
  • Here’s the infamous “Birthers” web site’s analysis. In this are a number of very interesting and important historical notes about what the Founders said and wrote regarding the subject of citizenship in general and Natural Born Citizenship in particular.  One citation from that article I give you here but encourage you to read the whole article and search out, if you will the original sources from which it is written.“If not Vattel, then where did they arrive at this term. Many of those who ridicule us like to quote Blackstone as authoritative that the United States adopted English Common Law. They like to state that Blackstone’s natural born subject is equivalent of a natural born citizen.  There is no doubt that the Founding Father’s were influenced from Blackstone’s Commentary. However, the Framers of the Constitution recognized that it was Blackstone, who argued that the Parliament and King could change the constitution at will. Blackstone was increasingly recognized by the Americans as a proponent of arbitrary power. In fact, the framers rejected the notion that the United States was under English Common Law, “The common law of England is not the common law of these States.” George Mason one of  Virginia’s delegates to the Constitutional Convention.”
    http://birthers.org/USC/Vattel.html
  • In this from Freerepublic.com, is the following,
    “What follows, is a bit of information with regards to the Constitutional term “Natural Born Citizen” (specifically) and NOT about the entire makeup, functions, origins and influences that made/make up our form of government, a Constitutional Republic.Who, or “what” constituted a natural born citizen was well known to the framers. Jay would not have made such a suggestion to the others (Washington & the rest of those in attendance at the Constitutional Convention) unless there was a clear understanding of what that term meant. The definition comes from a source that not only were the framers familiar with, but the founders (many who were both) as well. And yes, even though most could not speak French, most read French (except, notably, Washington who would defer to Jefferson when such interpretation was needed).

    NBC in the Constitutional drafts:  From which, among other information, the web page cites actual references to “Natural Born Citizen” as found in the original documents and supplanted with links to those documents so that one can read for themselves what the Founders wrote and therefore, how they intended the term to be used.

  • http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-backroom/2512143/posts
  • https://naturalborncitizen.wordpress.com/2011/03/09/the-house-of-representatives-definition-of-natural-born-citizen-born-of-citizen-parents-in-the-us/ Natural Born Citizen as defined by the House of Representatives.
  • 1896 New York Times declares “Those born of non-citizen parents may not be eligible for POTUS.” In the article about this New York Times article is some very interesting and damning historical information regarding the matter and how by deceit, an ineligible person did, in fact, become POTUS long before Obummer.  Moreover, this past pretender appointed a Supreme Court Justice who may have been aware of the deception and is the same Justice who “wrote the controversial decision in Wong Kim Ark.” Hmmm.https://naturalborncitizen.wordpress.com/2011/03/08/new-york-tribune-1896-those-born-of-non-citizen-parents-may-not-be-eligible-for-potus/

Of course, there is much more out there but the fact that there are sinister powers at work to prevent this knowledge from being known makes it a tedious task to uncover it, something for which the average sheeple is neither equipped or inclined.

So, what are YOU?  A lover of God, of Truth, and the Constitution?  Or a sheeple?

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