The staggering ignorance of the birthers
Here is Lawrence Sellin writing at the Canada Free Press (a website that seems to be 100 percent about U.S. politics):
According to the Constitution, the narrative of the 14th Amendment, the Supreme Court case of Minor v. Happersett (1874), other legal opinions and precedence, Obama has never been eligible for the presidency because he does not meet the requirements of natural born citizenship i.e. someone born in the US of citizen parents at the time of birth.Does Sellin actually believe that if a person is born in the U.S. of, say, a U.S. citizen mother and a legal resident but non-citizen father, that person is not a natural born citizen, i.e., a citizen at birth? Does he believe that if a married couple consisting of two U.S. citizens are living for three months in another country and have a child there, that the child is not a natural born U.S. citizen, and therefore the child in order to return to the U.S. with his parents must enter the U.S. as an alien and in order to become a U.S. citizen he must be naturalized?
On what does Sellin base his notion, which legions of birthers keep repeating, that a person must be born on U.S. soil and be born of two U.S. citizen parents in order to be a natural born citizen? As explained in Wikipedia’s article on natural born citizenship, from early in American history it was understood, based on English common law, that a child born in the U.S. of two legal aliens was born an American citizen. As the Supreme Court declared in 1830:
Nothing is better settled at the common law than the doctrine that the children even of aliens born in a country while the parents are resident there under the protection of the government and owing a temporary allegiance thereto are subjects by birth.Clearly the phrase “owing a temporary allegiance thereto” implies legal residence. Unfortunately, the same principle, that citizenship is derived from jus soli, the right of the soil, has been applied to children born in the U.S. of illegal aliens. That is very wrong and must be changed. But the fact remains that under existing interpretions of the law a child born in the U.S. of two illegal alien parents is a citizen at birth, i.e., a natural born citizen. Also, according to the same Wikipedia article, Congress in 1790 conferred natural born citizenship on children born abroad to American parents, in accord with jus sanguinis, the right of blood. Where, then, do the birthers get their whacky notion that a child must be born on U.S. soil of two U.S. citizens in order to be a citizen at birth? Indeed, according to these birthers, even if Barack Obama had been born in the United States he would not be a natural born citizen, because his father was not a citizen. Indeed, it turns out that from the point of view of these birthers, including Lawrence Sellin, the birth certificate issue is entirely irrelevant, since Obama is not a natural born citizen regardless of where he was born.
The widespread spectacular ignorance among the birthers (and I call myself a birther) does not bode well for the success of their effort to get at the truth of Obama’s birth, or, at the very least, to make Obama accountable for having concealed it.
Lawrence Sellin has sent me a long and substantive reply, which I look forward to absorbing and replying to, but I won’t be able to do so today.LA writes:
As I said in the previous comment, I am not posting Mr. Sellin’s main e-mail until I’ve had time to read it and reply to it, but below is a shorter and rather remarkable comment he has sent today.Lawrence Sellin writes:
You wrote:LA replies:
This makes Mr. Sellin’s position sound absurd on the face of it. But I will hold off judgment until I’ve had time to read his e-mail and the linked sources.Paul Nachman has sent this to Lawrence Sellin:
Dear Mr. Sellin,James N. writes:
“Birtherism” as an internet-based movement is a mess. Truth mixes with lies, lies swirl around with imaginings, fantasies, and things the protagonists WISH were true. Just an example of each:Linda M. writes:
You wrote:Fraser M. writes:
I found your entry on the birthers’ insistence that a child born of a citizen parent and a non-citizen parent does not qualify as “natural born” very interesting given that the birthers’ new hero is Donald Trump. Trump himself was born to a Scottish-born mother of unknown citizenship status at the time of his birth, so even he may not live up to that standard.LA replies:
Good point. :-)
Posted by Lawrence Auster at April 19, 2011 10:22 AM | Send