Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
An associate lawyer in a Chicago-based firm whose partner served on a finance committee for then-Sen. Barack Obama has advocated for the elimination of the U.S. Constitution’s requirement that a president be a “natural-born” citizen, calling the requirement “stupid” and asserting it discriminates, is outdated and undemocratic.
Barack Obama and Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga
The paper was written in 2006 by Sarah Herlihy, just two years after Obama had won a landslide election in Illinois to the U.S. Senate. Herlihy is listed as an associate at the Chicago firm of Kirkland & Ellis. A partner in the same firm, Bruce I. Ettelson, cites his membership on the finance committees for both Obama and Sen. Richard Durbin on the corporate website.
The issue is the subject of nearly two dozen court cases in recent weeks, including at least two that have gone to the U.S. Supreme Court.
There have been accusations that Obama was born in Kenya, not Hawaii as his campaign has stated. His paternal grandmother has stated she was in attendance at his birth in Mombasa. While Hawaii officials say they have seen his birth certificate, they have declined to release information from it.
The Certification of Live Birth from Hawaii that the Obama campaign posted on the Internet isn’t considered by critics to resolve the issue, since during the 1960s when Obama was born, the new state issued the document to infants not necessarily born in Hawaii.
There also remain unanswered questions about his youth, when he lived and attended school in Indonesia and later when he traveled to Pakistan. The questions include whether he gave up a U.S. citizenship to attend school or traveled on another nation’s passport to Pakistan at a time when U.S. passports were unwelcome there.
Answers to those issues could determine whether Obama meets the Constitution’s demand for a “natural-born” citizen.
Herlihy’s published paper reveals that the requirement likely was considered in a negative light by organizations linked to Obama in the months before he announced in 2007 his candidacy for the presidency.
“The natural born citizen requirement in Article II of the United States Constitution has been called the ‘stupidest provision’ in the Constitution, “undecidedly un-American,” “blatantly discriminatory,” and the “Constitution’s worst provision,” Herlihy begins in her introduction to the paper titled, “Amending the Natural Born Citizen Requirement: Globalization as the Impetus and the Obstacle.”
She concludes that the “emotional” reasons to oppose changing the Constitution will prevail over the “rational” reasons demanding a change.
“The current American perceptions about the effects of globalization and the misunderstanding about what globalization actually is will result in Americans deciding that naturalized citizens should not be president because this would, in effect, be promoting globalization, Herlihy wrote.
“Although this argument is admittedly circular, because globalization is the thing that makes the need to abolish the requirement more and more persuasive, Americans’ subsequent perceptions about globalization are the very things that will prevent Americans from embracing the idea of eliminating the natural born requirement.
“Logical Americans are looking for a reason to ignore the rational reasons promoted by globalization so that they may vote based on their own emotions and instincts,” she wrote.
She blamed support for the constitutional provision on “fear, racism, religious intolerance, or blind faith in the decisions of the Founding Fathers.”
WND called Herlihy’s number listed on the law firm website, and a woman answered with, “Sarah Herlihy.” But when WND identified itself as a news agency, the woman said she didn’t think “Sarah Herlihy” was in, but would take a message. There was no return call.
In the body of her argument, Herlihy said the constitutional provision simply is outdated.
“Considering that the Founding Fathers presumably included the natural born citizen clause in the Constitution partly out of fear of foreign subversion, the current stability of the American government and the intense media scrutiny of presidential candidates virtually eliminates the possibility of a ‘foreigner’ coming to America, becoming a naturalized citizen, generating enough public support to become president, and somehow using the presidency to directly benefit his homeland,” she wrote.
“The natural born citizen clause of the United States Constitution should be repealed for numerous reasons. Limiting presidential eligibility to natural born citizens discriminates against naturalized citizens, is outdated and undemocratic, and incorrectly assumes that birthplace is a proxy for loyalty,” she wrote.
Many of the reasons for keeping the limit, she wrote, “are based primarily on emotion.”
A web blogger suggested, “So it sure looks like Obama’s people have looked into the matter of ‘natural born’ as far back as early 2006. What is even more disturbing is that it would appear that they are following the thought of: ‘If the facts do not support the theory, Destroy the facts!”
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