When America’s Founders wrote in the Constitution that a president must be a “natural born Citizen,” they must really have meant only “citizen,” according to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.
The senator made the assertion in response to a question about the issue that was forwarded to WND by a constituent.
WND has reported on various definitions and interpretations members of Congress have used to explain why they believe Barack Obama, whose status as a natural-born citizen has not been documented, is constitutionally eligible.
With his release of an image of a Hawaiian “Certificate of Live Birth” April 27, some critics charge that he proved his ineligibility, because the document lists Barack Obama Sr. as his father.
A significant number of analysts have concluded that the understanding of “natural-born citizen” at the time it was used in the Constitution was a person born of citizen parents. Obama Jr.’s father was not a citizen of the United States.
Get the New York Times best-seller “Where’s the Birth Certificate? The Case that Barack Obama Is Not Eligible to be President,” autographed by Jerome Corsi, Ph.D.
According to Feinstein’s constituent, the senator responded to a question about Obama’s qualifications for office with:
Thank you for writing regarding President Barack Obama’s qualifications to be President. I appreciate this opportunity to respond.
Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution specifies the qualifications for this executive office. It states that no person except for a natural born American citizen is eligible to run for President of the United States. Also, the candidate must be at least thirty-five years of age and have resided in the United States for at least fourteen years.
President Obama meets these constitutional requirements. If you were not already aware, on April 27, 2011 the White House released a copy of President Obama’s long form birth certificate. He was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on August 4, 1961. According to the Fourteenth Amendment, all persons born in the United States are considered citizens of the United States. Under these criteria, President Obama, a 47-year old U.S. citizen, who has resided in the United States for longer than fourteen years, is eligible to be President.
If you are interested in viewing the President’s birth certificate, it is available on the White House’s website at www.whitehouse.gov.
It was signed Dianne Feinstein.
WND calls to her office today did not generate a comment or response to the questions raised by the email.
But Lawrence Sellin, a Ph.D. who retired recently at the rank of colonel after 29 years in the U.S. Army Reserve, has commented on this perspective in his writings at Canada Free Press.
“There is no gray area. Either members of Congress are liars or they are too stupid to serve in government,” Sellin wrote.
The book “Where’s the Birth Certificate: The case that Barack Obama is not Eligible to be President,” by Jerome Corsi, explains a natural-born citizen is not the same as a “citizen,” one cannot become a “natural born citizen” after the fact.
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.”
Since the term “natural-born citizen” is not defined in the Constitution, Corsi drew from the writings of Swiss diplomat Emerich de Vattel, whose work is known to have influenced the Founding Fathers. Vattel wrote in “The Law of Nations” in 1758, “The citizens are the members of the civil society, bound to this society by certain duties, and subject to its authority; they equally participate in its advantages. The natives or natural-born citizens are those born in the country of parents who are citizens.”
Corsi said that during research for his book he found the only U.S. Supreme Court case directly on point is Minor v. Happersett, from 1874, in which the court said, “It was never doubted that all children born in a country of parents who were its citizens became themselves, upon their birth, citizens also. These were natives, or natural-born citizens, as distinguished from aliens or foreigners.”
Even Senate Resolution 511, passed in 2008 to declare John McCain was a natural-born citizen, specified a natural-born citizen would have to be born of two U.S. parents. McCain’s birth in the Panama Canal Zone was regarded by the Senate as an exception that the Founders would have supported. The Senate reasoned that a person should not be disqualified from running for president because the parents were serving in the defense of the nation, Corsi said.
The resolution includes two references to “Americans” or “American Citizens” as parents.
Retired Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely of Stand Up America US told WND that the Constitution is crystal clear on the issue that presidents must be a natural-born Citizen, and the Vattel writings make it clear that someone with divided loyalties, such as a dual citizen like Obama at birth, cannot qualify.
“It means an offspring of two citizen parents,” he said.
The military officer said the comments from Congress that say Obama qualifies as a natural-born citizen because of a newspaper announcement regarding his birth, or other factors, “leaves the country with a very low standard.”
He said the nation will go “over a cliff” if the dispute is not returned to a proper perspective – that it is a constitutional requirement and like other constitutional provisions it cannot be altered, avoided, discredited or ignored.
“Where are the men of honor, the women of honor?” he asked. “We know there’s a major coverup of this individual’s background.
“A lot of questions need to be answered and we need men of courage and women of courage to get this thing settled.”
WND reported earlier how Jerry W. Mansfield, an information research specialist in the Knowledge Services Group of the Congressional Research Service, issued a memo to prepare members of Congress to rebut and defuse questions constituents were asking regarding Obama’s presidential eligibility under the natural-born citizen requirement of the Constitution.
WND has posted the CRS memo on Scribd.com for download.
Attached to the memo was an attack piece published by FactCheck.org to dismiss claims that Obama’s short-form Certification of Live Birth, originally published during the 2008 presidential campaign by DailyKos.com, was a forgery.
But Sellin said, “There has never been any vetting or investigations of Obama’s eligibility by federal agencies. … It’s a sham.”
And when Obama released an image of a Hawaiian “Certificate of Live Birth” on April 27, after years of stating that the document was not available, the Hawaii’s Department of Health and governor’s office refused to confirm for WND that the image released was an accurate representation of the state’s records.
Sellin wrote, “In fact, there is far more evidence from independent third parties demonstrating that Obama’s Certificate of Live Birth, which he presented as his own during the April 27, 2011, press conference, is a forgery.”
WND previously has reported statements from members of Congress that apparently are based on arguments presented in the material provided by CRS.
Among the statements from members of Congress:
- Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz.: “Thank you for your recent e-mail. Senator Obama meets the constitutional requirements for presidential office. Rumors pertaining to his citizenship status have been circulating on the Internet, and this information has been debunked by Snopes.com, which investigates the truth behind Internet rumors.”
- Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla.: “Presidential candidates are vetted by voters at least twice – first in the
primary elections and again in the general election. President-Elect Obama
won the Democratic Party’s nomination after one of the most fiercely
contested presidential primaries in American history. And, he has now been
duly elected by the majority of voters in the United States. Throughout both
the primary and general election, concerns about Mr. Obama’s birthplace were
raised. The voters have made clear their view that Mr. Obama meets the
qualifications to hold the office of president.”
- Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio: “President Obama has provided several news organizations with a copy of his
birth certificate, showing he was born in Honolulu, Hawaii on August 4,
1961. Hawaii became a state in 1959, and all individuals born in Hawaii
after its admission are considered natural-born United States citizens. In
addition, the Hawaii State Health Department recently issued a public
statement verifying the authenticity of President Obama’s birth certificate.”
- U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Fla.: “The claim that Barack Obama is not a citizen of the U.S. is false. This rumor is simply election year politics.” She referred questioners to Snopes for documentation.
- Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.: “The courts have held that President Obama is a natural-born American citizen. Moreover, in December 2008, the Supreme Court declined to hear a lawsuit challenging Mr. Obama’s eligibility to serve as president, concurring with three other federal courts in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Washington. The courts have confirmed the determination of state officials in Hawaii that health department records prove that Barack Obama was born a U.S. citizen in Honolulu.”
- Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga.: “President Obama demonstrated his citizenship during his campaign by circulating copies of his birth certificate, which showed he was born in Hawaii on August 4, 1961.”
- Sen. Robert Casey, D-Pa.: “I am
confident that Mr. Obama meets all the constitutional requirements to be our 44th
president. Mr. Obama has posted a copy of his birth certificate on his campaign
website and submitted an additional copy to the independent website
FactCheck.org. The birth certificate demonstrates that he was born in Honolulu,
Hawaii in 1961, thereby making him a natural-born citizen eligible to be
- U.S. Rep. Wally Herger, R-Calif.: “As you know, some questions were raised about whether President Obama is a
natural born citizen. There was a recent lawsuit arguing that he is not
eligible for the Presidency for this reason. I understand that the Supreme
Court considered hearing this lawsuit, but it ultimately turned down the
request to have the case considered before the full court. I further
understand that the director of Hawaii’s Department of Health recently
confirmed that President Obama was born in Honolulu and has personally
verified that her agency has his original birth certificate on record. As
you know, the U.S. Congress certified his election on January 8, and he was
sworn into office on January 20, 2009. While I may disagree with President Obama on a multitude of issues, he has
been elected as President of the United States through a fair process and
has shown sufficient documentation, via a state birth certificate, that has
been verified as being authentic. In short, therefore, I do not believe
sufficient evidence was brought to light to conclude that President Obama
was ineligible for the office.”
- U.S. Rep. Paul Hodes, D-N.H.: “President Obama publicly posted his
birth certificate on his campaign website which confirms that he was born in
Hawaii in 1961. This birth certificate confirms that President Obama is a
natural born citizen of the United States, above the age of 35, and is
therefore qualified to be President of the United States of America. If you
would like to view President Obama’s birth certificate, I encourage you to
go to the website http://fightthesmears.com/articles/5/birthcertificate.”
- Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, “The Constitution and federal law require that, among other things, only
native-born U.S. citizens (or those born abroad, but only to parents who
were both American citizens) may be President of the United States. In
President Obama’s case, some individuals have filed lawsuits in state and
federal courts alleging that he has not proven that he is an American
citizen, but each of those lawsuits have been dismissed. This includes a
recent decision by the United States Supreme Court to not review an
“application for emergency stay” filed by a New Jersey resident claiming
that the President is not a natural born citizen because his father was born
in Kenya. Furthermore, both the Director of Hawaii’s Department of Health
and the state’s Registrar of Vital Statistics recently confirmed that Mr.
Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii on August 4, 1961 and, as such, meets the
constitutional citizenship requirements for the presidency. If contrary
documentation is produced and verified, this matter will necessarily be
resolved by the judicial branch of our government under the Constitution.”
- Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa.: “On June 13, 2008, the Obama campaign released a copy of his birth
certificate after numerous claims were made about his eligibility to hold the office of
President. The released copy created additional questions, because it
contained a blacked out department file number and was apparently missing a seal,
and it was impossible to detect raised text, a common characteristic of
official documents. There were satisfactory answers to such questions, however: the
department file number had been blacked out to prevent hackers from breaking
into the Health Department’s system, and the State places the seal on the
back of the certificate. The website Factcheck.org investigated the matter and
provided high-resolution photos taken at multiple angles that revealed the
raised text and the seal on the back of the document. … Accordingly, it
has been concluded that President Obama has met the constitutional
qualifications to be President of the United States.”
- U.S. Rep Vic Snyder, D-Ark.: “According to State of Hawai’i officials, the Hawai’i State Department of Health has President-elect Obama’s original birth certificate on record in accordance with that state’s policies and procedures.
- Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.: “The U.S. Constitution is our nation’s supreme law and cannot be circumvented for any reason. It is my understanding that state officials in Hawaii have attested to the validity of President Obama’s birth certificate showing that he was born in that state, which would make him a U.S. citizen. I also have read that both of Hawaii’s major newspapers ran birth announcements in August 1961 documenting President Obama’s birth in Honolulu. Based on these documents, most members of Congress from both parties appear satisfied that the president is a U.S. citizen. That would preclude any effort to remove him through the impeachment process, which requires a majority in the House of Representatives and two-thirds of the Senate, on the basis of his constitutional eligibility for office.”
- Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., “As a senator representing Colorado, I want to speak very clearly on this issue. President Barack Obama is a ‘natural born’ citizen of America, and he is eligible to be our nation’s Commander in Chief. The legality of his birth certificate has been verified by numerous federal agencies, third party investigative groups, national media outlets, and primary source documentation. The United States Department of State and the Hawaii Department of Health have both verified the legality of the ‘Certification of Birth’ document provided by President Obama. In addition, highly regarded ‘fact check’ websites such as factcheck.org, snopes.com, and politifact.com support the findings of the federal agencies through their own independent investigations.”
- Sen. Mark. R. Warner, D-Va., “The facts have consistently shown that President Obama was born in the United States. As a natural-born American citizen, he is fully eligible to serve as president of our country.”