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 ↑
Arizona state Sen. Robert Burns
A bill in Arizona that would require candidates for president to document their constitutional eligibility needs only an affirmative vote from the state Senate to advance to the governor, but its sponsor told WND she’s concerned GOP leadership will end up protecting President Obama’s secrets.
She explained Burns told her that in light of the controversy over the state’s immigration law – targeted by pro-amnesty immigrants and open-border activists – “he didn’t want to take on another one.”
Burns was on the floor of the Senate or in caucus much of today and couldn’t be reached directly for comment. A spokesman, Mike Philipsen, told WND only that the issue is “in the process.” He did not respond to requests to confirm the bill will be given to senators for a vote.
Burns represents District 9 and is a Republican from Peoria. He serves as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Arizona has been targeted by calls for boycotts, violent protests and public ridicule for adopting a law that requires law-enforcement officials to check the immigration status of people they stop. In effect, it makes being in the country illegally under federal requirements illegal under state law, too.
Public ridicule also has targeted the state for even considering a law that would require presidential candidates to document their eligibility, even though several other states also have adopted a similarly questioning stance.
The Arizona Republic quoted Democrats who said “presidential candidates already have to prove their citizenship,” and it added, editorially, “Secretary of State Ken Bennett, who lives in the real world, not on conspiracy island, points out that it could be unconstitutional for a state to impose its own requirements on federal office.”
The newspaper called the plan “worse than a foolish waste of time.”
“It suggests Arizona is a place where any crackpot whim can be enshrined in law.”
But Burges told WND the disputes over immigration laws make now the right time to advance the argument over Obama’s eligibility to the level of state law.
“I think it is a perfect time,” she said.
She noted that the state legislative session is scheduled to conclude this week, and next year’s legislature may not be willing to look at the facts about Obama’s eligibility.
WND has reported no controlling legal authority ever directly addressed the question of whether Obama met the U.S. Constitution’s requirements to be president. The Constitution requires that the president be 35 years of age, a resident for at least 14 years and a “natural born citizen.”
An image of a “Certification of Live Birth” that has been posted on the Internet fails to prove “natural born” status since the document was available at the time Obama was born to children not born in Hawaii.
Besides his actual birth documentation, documentation that remains concealed for Obama 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.
Georgia state Rep. Mark Hatfield
“At some point, I think, you have to do the best job for the greatest number of people,” Burges said, echoing the feelings of Georgia state Rep. Mark Hatfield, who just days earlier introduced legislation modeled after Arizona’s plan.
Both bills require documentation regarding a candidate’s “natural born” status.
Hatfield told WND his plan calls for a candidate to submit an affidavit regarding status, citizenship and age, and “append a document proving the natural-born-citizen status.”
The Arizona plan calls for political parties to “submit an affidavit of the presidential candidate in which the presidential candidate states the candidate’s citizenship and age and shall append to the affidavit documents that prove that the candidate is a natural born citizen. …”
Both documents provide that absent proof, the candidate’s name should not be on the ballot in that state.
Hatfield said 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 and a governor’s signature.
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.
NCSL records also show that other election proposals were considered that were much more vague about whether they would apply to presidential candidates or not.
Listen to an interview with Rep. Mark Hatfield:
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.
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 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.
According to the NCSL 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.”
“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.
“Where’s The Birth Certificate?” billboard helps light up the night at the Mandalay Bay resort on the Las Vegas Strip.
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.