On Nov. 14, Jack Maskell, a legislative attorney with the Congressional Research Service, issued yet another in a series of reports on presidential eligibility that appears aimed at providing members of Congress with talking points to respond to constituents contending that Barack Obama is not a “natural born citizen” within the meaning of Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution.
Entitled “Qualifications for President and the ‘Natural Born’ Citizen Eligibility Requirement,” the 50-page report peppered with 253 footnotes reads less like an objectively argued, even-handed discussion of competing legal arguments than a polemic aimed at convincing readers that Barack Obama is a “natural born citizen” qualified to be president.
Obama has several obvious liabilities when it come to the natural-born-citizen question:
- Obama’s father was a citizen of Kenya when Obama was born in 1961, hence both Barack Obama Sr. and his son at birth were citizens of the Commonwealth of Great Britain;
- Barack Obama Jr., when in Indonesia with his mother and Indonesian step-father, was registered in school under the name “Barry Soetoro,” and his mother listed him as “Soebarkah” when requesting the State Department remove her son from her passport; and
- Questions remain whether the long-form birth certificate made public by the White House on April 27 is a forgery; the Hawaii Department of Health still refuses to show original 1961 Obama birth records; and Kapiolani Hospital has failed to provide corroborating evidence that Ann Dunham Obama was ever a patient in the hospital or that Barack Obama Jr. was born there.
Get the latest details on the jarring facts about Barack Obama and his past. Jerome Corsi’s e-book, “Where’s the Real Birth Certificate?” demonstrates conclusively that no legal authority has ever verified Obama’s legal eligibility to be president, that glaring inconsistencies, blackouts, and outright fabrications in his life narrative have generated widespread doubts, and that, in fact, a compelling body of evidence says Obama is not a natural-born citizen as is required of all presidents by Article 2, Section 1, of the Constitution.”
So, the case of Barack Obama’s presidency raises several yet unresolved questions:
- Whether a “natural born citizen” at birth requires having two U.S. citizen parents at birth, as well as being born on U.S. soil;
- Whether being a dual citizen at birth or subsequently compromises â€¨”natural born citizen” status;
- Whether original birth records must be submitted for determination of “natural born citizen” status, or whether copies of relevant birth documents and affirmation by state authorities is sufficient to establish place of birth;
- What agency of government will be responsible for making the “natural born citizen” determination according to the Constitution’s dictates of Article 2, Section 1, to qualify presidential candidates as eligible to run?
To resolve these questions, Maskell and the CRS advance the arguments that “native born” is equivalent to “natural born,” that English Common Law is determinative of the question, and that being a “U.S. citizen at birth” is equivalent to “natural born citizen.”
The end result of Maskell’s analysis is that an anchor baby born to two illegal immigrants, or a baby born in “birth tourism” to two foreign national parents and raised outside the United States would both be eligible to be president, provided the person was 35 years old and had spent 14 years as a resident living within the United States before running for president.
Maskell typically states as established fact legal principles that truthfully remain in dispute – for instance, on page 1 of the report, where he asserts that a person born “in” the United States of one or more alien parents is “clearly a U.S. citizen ‘at birth’ by the 14th Amendment.”
In so concluding, Maskell intentionally ignores the “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof” qualification within the language of the 14th Amendment that opponents to anchor babies and birth tourism feel invalidates the entire concept that being born in the U.S. is sufficient to being deemed a “U.S. citizen at birth.”
Moreover, even if the 14th Amendment were to establish being born a native to the U.S. is sufficient to being deemed a “U.S. citizen at birth,” that does not make a “natural born citizen” equivalent to being a “U.S. citizen at birth.”
The 14th Amendment makes no reference whatsoever to redefining “natural born citizen” under Article 2, Section 1.
The point is that Maskell wants “natural born citizen” to be equivalent to “U.S. citizen at birth,” because the argument eliminates the need to have even one U.S.-citizen parent at birth.
Similarly, Maskell wants to read English Common Law into the “natural born citizen” requirement of Article 2, Section 1, because under English Common Law a “natural born subject” is anyone born on English soil, a principle known as jus soli – a right conferred by place of birth – rather than jus sanguinis – a right conferred by blood, requiring an inquiry into the citizenship of the parents at the time a child is born.
That English Common Law is applicable to the interpretation of Article 2, Section 1, was advanced by the Supreme Court in dicta – i.e., arguments made by the justices that are not central to the decision in the case, hence arguments that are not considered determinative for the purposes of legal precedent – in United States v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649 (1898).
While Maskell accepts the dicta in Wong Kim Ark because he agrees with the argument, he dismisses as dicta the only Supreme Court definition of “natural born citizen” that is on point regarding the meaning of Article 2, Section 1, namely, Minor v. Happersett, 88 U.S. 21 Wall. 162 (1874), where the Supreme Court implied “natural born citizens” were those born on U.S. soil to parents who were U.S. citizens at the time the child was born.
On page 25 of the CRS report, Maskell finally admits that the Supreme Court has never ruled specifically on the meaning of the “natural born citizen” clause of Article 2, Section 1, even though that does not stop Maskell from arguing that federal courts have not established a “two citizen-parent” requirement on “native born U.S. citizens.”
From there, Maskell wants us to conclude that requirements of “lineage or bloodline” are not required “for a native born U.S. citizen to be eligible for the Presidency.”
Even when it comes to the case of Sen. John McCain’s eligibility to be president, Maskell glosses over the excoriating attack launched on McCain by the Democrats and the mainstream media because McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone, ignoring the arguments made by constitutional lawyers Larry Tribe and Ted Olsen to the U.S. Senate concluding McCain was eligible to be president in part because McCain had two U.S. citizen parents at birth.
Maskell in his pro-Obama advocacy goes so far as to assert the two-citizen requirement would “entail the unique notion that under American jurisprudence parental citizenship or lineage is the determining factor for eligibility to the Presidency for native born U.S. citizens.”
In so doing, Maskell failed to acknowledge the concern the founders had when inserting into the Constitution the “natural born citizen” requirement that being a citizen was not sufficient for a person to ascend to the presidency.
Instead, the founders determined eligibility to be president was reduced to a subset of citizens identified as “natural born citizens.”
This specification demanded consideration of parental citizenship and allegiance, every bit as much as the phrase “and under the jurisdiction of” demands the same considerations of parental citizenship and allegiance when it comes to the 14th Amendment.
Still, this is not the first time Maskell and the CRS have attempted to interpret the Constitution so as to advance to members of Congress arguments that could be used to explain why Obama is eligible to be president.
On Nov. 8, 2010, WND reported an interview with Maskell in which he acknowledged that CRS memoranda he authored were written for distribution to congressional offices, not for public distribution, and that copies were available only if released to the public by one or more congressional offices.
The CRS memo in discussion at that time containing responses written by Maskell to help congressional offices answer constituent questions regarding why no official body had ever asked to see or authenticate Obama’s long-form birth certificate.
Maskell’s answer then conceding that a loophole in the Constitution did not assign the responsibility to any institution in government for making a “natural born citizen” determination on presidential eligibility.
In that memorandum, Maskell ended up noting there is no requirement that a candidate for president produce his original birth certificate for examination by any governmental body, at the state or federal level.
Unfortunately, rather than advance the eligibility debate with a truly scholarly analysis, Maskell produced for Congress what amounts to a footnoted polemic aimed at appearing scholarly to prop up Obama’s eligibility defense.
In the final analysis, Maskell’s purpose appears thinly disguised – namely, to advance the ongoing cover-up regarding Obama nativity facts and evidence by quashing with arguments couched in legalese the continuing concerns held by millions of Americans that Obama has truly not proved to the American public or any duly-constituted governmental institution that he is eligible to be president.