Disclaimer: As above and is still totally APT!
Continued from above post....
Natural Born Citizen [sourced from freedictionary.com
Section 1 of Article II of the 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 12th Amendment to the 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."
There is currently debate concerning the definition of "natural born citizen." The main focus of this debate is whether or not children born to
Americans overseas be considered eligible for the Presidency. Several main candidates have sought the office who were born outside the United States
(e.g., George Romney was born in Mexico to U.S. parents, Barry Goldwater was born in Arizona while it was still a U.S. territory, and John McCain was
born in the Panama Canal Zone to U.S. parents). Barry Goldwater's case among these three is unique in that although he was born outside the United
States, Arizona was later admitted as a state. None of these candidates was elected, so the issue was never fully addressed. However, McCain is
currently seeking the 2008 Republican nomination for President.
The origin of the natural-born citizen clause can be traced to a July 25, 1787, letter from John Jay to George Washington, presiding officer of the
Constitutional Convention. John Jay wrote: "Permit me to hint, whether it would be wise and seasonable to provide a strong check to the admission of
Foreigners into the administration of our national Government; and to declare expressly that the Commander in Chief of the American army shall not be
given to nor devolve on, any but a natural born Citizen." There was no debate, and this qualification for the office of the Presidency was introduced
by the drafting Committee of Eleven, and then adopted without discussion by the Constitutional Convention.
The requirements for citizenship and the very definition thereof have changed since the Constitution was ratified in 1788. Congress first extended
citizenship to children born to U.S. parents overseas on March 26, 1790, under the first naturalization law: "And the children of citizens of the
United States that may be born beyond sea, or outside the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born citizens." This was
addressed by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Dred Scott case as a form of naturalization. The Dred Scott case, however, was overturned by the
Fourteenth Amendment in 1868. The Fourteenth Amendment mentions two types of citizenship: citizenship by birth and citizenship by law (naturalized
citizens): "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of
the State wherein they reside."
All persons born in the United States, except those not subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. government (such as children of foreign diplomats) are
citizens by birth. There is some debate over whether other persons with citizenship can also be considered citizens by birth, or whether they should
all be considered citizens by law (thus "naturalized"). Current US statutes define certain individuals born overseas as citizens by birth. One
side of the argument interprets the Constitution as meaning that a person either is born in the United States or is a naturalized citizen. Thus, to be
a "natural born citizen," a person must be born in the United States; otherwise, they are citizens by law and are naturalized. To others, the
statute that grants citizenship to American children born overseas exempts them from the term "naturalized" and thus, as with the 1790 law, they are
to be considered "natural born citizens" eligible for the Presidency. Examples of persons who become citizens at birth (whether "naturalized"
or "natural born") would include: birth to Americans overseas, or birth on U.S. soil, territories, or military bases overseas.
There is current speculation about whether the two major American political parties will seek to remove the natural-born citizen requirement for the
Presidency in the near future, as they both have popular, effective, and/or charismatic governors in the Austrian-born Arnold Schwarzenegger of
California on the Republican side, and the Canadian-born Jennifer Granholm of Michigan--often tapped as a potential United States Attorney General in
future Democratic administration--on the Democratic side; both won their respective elections in large, diverse states with more than 55% of the vote.
Case LawAlthough the U.S. Supreme Court has never specifically addressed the meaning of "natural born citizen," there are several Supreme Court
decisions that help define citizenship:
Dred Scott v. Sanford, 60 U.S. 393 (1857): In regard to the "natural born citizen" clause, the dissent states that it is acquired by place of birth
(jus soli), not through blood or lineage (jus sanguinis): "The first section of the second article of the Constitution uses the language, 'a
natural-born citizen.' It thus assumes that citizenship may be acquired by birth. Undoubtedly, this language of the Constitution was used in
reference to that principle of public law, well understood in this country at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, which referred citizenship
to the place of birth." (The majority opinion in this case was mostly overturned by the 14th Amendment.)
United States v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649 (1898): A person born within the jurisdiction of the U.S. to non-citizens who "are not employed in any
diplomatic or official capacity" is automatically a citizen.
Weedin v. Chin Bow, 274 U.S. 657 (1927): A child born outside the U.S. cannot claim U.S. citizenship by birth through a U.S. citizen parent who had
never lived in the U.S. prior to the child's birth. (This is still true today, although the specific statutes upon which the Supreme Court's ruling
was based have changed since 1927.)
[edit on 3-8-2009 by OmegaLogos]