Georgia state Rep. Mark Hatfield
Another state has begun considering a law like an Arizona plan approved by the state House there that would require presidential candidates to document their eligibility before being allowed on the election ballot.
Georgia Rep. Mark Hatfield, part of a coalition in his state supporting new election requirements, says it’s really the responsibility of members of Congress to make sure a foreign-born individual or dual citizen isn’t installed in the White House.
But he said without the leadership in Washington necessary to do that, it is up to states to tackle the issue. Arizona’s plan is closest to adoption, awaiting only approval from the state Senate.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Oklahoma also has pending in a legislative committee a referendum that could be put before voters.
The organization says during 2009, various plans to require documentation from presidential candidates were considered in Maine, Oklahoma, Missouri and Montana but were not adopted.
But that track record is not at all unusual for controversial issues such as a requirement for documentation for a presidential candidate’s eligibility.
The organization records also show that other election proposals were considered that were much more vague about whether they would apply to presidential candidates or not.
“If Congress was being responsible about this, Congress would step in and enact reasonable requirements,” Hatfield said today in an interview on the G. Gordon Liddy show, where WorldNetDaily CEO Joseph Farah was filling in behind the microphone.
“In the absence of action by Congress states have a duty to step up,” he said.
Listen to an interview with Rep. Mark Hatfield:
Hatfield has introduced into his legislature House Bill 1516, which, he said, recognizes the need “for some sort of enforcement mechanism with regard to Article 2, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution.”
The Constitution 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.”
“The bill is basically a bill that would provide some teeth to the Article 2, Section 1 by requiring presidential candidates in the future to submit an affidavit showing their citizenship and age, and their residency, and appending to that documents that would prove citizenship, age and residency,” Hatfield said.
He said he used as a model the legislation that now is nearing approval in Arizona.
Members of the Arizona House of Representatives have approved 31-29 a requirement for presidential candidates to produce their documentation if they want their name on the Arizona ballot in 2012.
The issue arose with the candidacy of then-Sen. Barack Obama, who has written that he was born in Hawaii of an American mother and a Kenyan national father. Lawsuits erupted over the issue before his election and have been continuing to this date. Some claim he was not born in Hawaii, since he only has released a computer-generated image of a “Certification of Live Birth,” a document which was accessible to nonnative children at the time he was born, and others allege the Founders of the U.S. excluded dual citizens from the presidency.
“No citizen of the United States should ever have any doubts about the qualifications of the individual who occupies the highest office in the land,” Hatfield said on the Liddy show.
A recent CBS–New York Times poll revealed that only 58 percent of Americans even “think” that Obama was born in this country.
The poll result, Hatfield said, is “eye-popping information” and calls for states to act “to make sure our Constitution is complied with.”
He said his plan has seven sponsors, but since the legislative session is approaching closure, it probably will be taken up in the next session.
Hatfield said the longer the questions about Obama remain unanswered, “the longer this issue will remain around.”
According to the national conference database, a New Hampshire proposal was pending concerning “inserting the presidential qualifications contained in the U.S. Constitution.”
In New York, a proposal by a freedom-of-information organization to state lawmakers would have provided “an individual seeking placement on the New York State’s election ballot(s) for the office of president or vice president of the United States must present proof of eligibility, as per requirements that are stated in Article 2, section 1, paragraph 5 of the U.S. Constitution.”
In South Carolina, there was discussion over a plan to prohibit the name of a candidate on a ballot “unless that person shows conclusive evidence that he is a legal citizen of the United States.”
Questions also remain about the wording of various proposals. In Obama’s situation, the question specifically refers to his status as a “natural born citizen” as required by the Constitution, not any status as a “citizen” or even “native born citizen.”
The proposals essentially are moving the same direction as a federal measure proposed by Rep. Bill Posey, R-Fla.
Posey’s H.R. 1503 states:
“To amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to require the principal campaign committee of a candidate for election to the office of President to include with the committee’s statement of organization a copy of the candidate’s birth certificate, together with such other documentation as may be necessary to establish that the candidate meets the qualifications for eligibility to the Office of President under the Constitution.”
The bill also provides:
“Congress finds that under … the Constitution of the United States, in order to be eligible to serve as President, an individual must be a natural born citizen of the United States who has attained the age of 35 years and has been a resident within the United States for at least 14 years.”
The sponsors’ goal is for the bill to become effective for the
2012 presidential election. The legislation now is pending in a House committee and has more than a dozen co-sponsors.
But whatever support Posey’s plan has, it faces massive obstacles in a House and Senate dominated by Democrats, as well as a president whose own status could be impacted by its requirements.
In Arizona, state Sen. Sylvia Allen, R-Snowflake, said the controversy over Obama and his birth certificate has raised questions.
“It just makes sense and will stop any controversy in the future to just show you are a natural born citizen,” she told the Arizona Capitol Times when her state’s proposal was beginning its journey through the lawmaking process.
The issue with Obama’s eligibility is that although a computer-generated image of a “certification of live birth” was posted online by his campaign, the image does not actually document a birthplace.
Hawaiian law at the time, for example, allowed family members to register a birth in Hawaii by submitting information to the state.
Another significant factor is the multitude of documents that Obama has kept from the public.
Besides his actual birth documentation, the documentation includes kindergarten records, Punahou school records, Occidental College records, Columbia University records, Columbia thesis, Harvard Law School records, Harvard Law Review articles, scholarly articles from the University of Chicago, passport, medical records, his files from his years as an Illinois state senator, his Illinois State Bar Association records, any baptism records, and his adoption records.
Further, there is the estimated $1.7 million Obama has spent on court cases specifically preventing any of the documentation of his life to be revealed to the public.
And as WND has reported, however, no controlling legal authority ever directly addressed the question of whether Obama met the U.S. Constitution’s requirements to be president, that is, being 35 years of age, a resident for at least 14 years and a “natural born citizen.”
“Where’s The Birth Certificate?” billboard helps light up the night at the Mandalay Bay resort on the Las Vegas Strip.
Because of the dearth of information about Obama’s eligibility, WND founder Joseph Farah has launched a campaign to raise contributions to post billboards asking a simple question: “Where’s the birth certificate?”
The campaign followed a petition that has collected more than 500,000 signatures demanding proof of his eligibility, the availability of yard signs raising the question and the production of permanent, detachable magnetic bumper stickers asking the question.
The “certification of live birth” posted online and widely touted as “Obama’s birth certificate” does not in any way prove he was born in Hawaii, since the same “short-form” document is easily obtainable for children not born in Hawaii. The true “long-form” birth certificate – which includes information such as the name of the birth hospital and attending physician – is the only document that can prove Obama was born in Hawaii, but to date he has not permitted its release for public or press scrutiny.
Oddly, though congressional hearings were held to determine whether Sen. John McCain was constitutionally eligible to be president as a “natural born citizen,” no controlling legal authority ever sought to verify Obama’s claim to a Hawaiian birth.
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