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MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – In a generally well-written autobiography being released Tuesday, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., proclaims his love for his wife and family, his belief that God directs all aspects of his life and his passion for the Miami Dolphins.
But if the arguments presented in dozens of legal cases challenging Barack Obama’s eligibility are correct, “An American Son: A Memoir” also provides the information needed to determine the Florida senator is not a natural-born citizen, a constitutional requirement for the presidency.
On page 24, Rubio writes:
“I was born on May 28, 1971. My sister, Veronica, was born the following year. My mother and father were starting over again as parents in the country they now called home (the U.S.).”
The next paragraph makes clear that Rubio’s parents were both Cuban citizens, not United States citizens, when he was born:
“My parents had lived in America for nearly two decades. It was clear that Cuba had become a thoroughly totalitarian state, and would likely remain so for some time. They had endured many disappointments, and their lives would never be easy. But slowly and surely they made a better life for our family than they had had as children, or could have ever been possible for them in Cuba. Three of their children were born Americans. Mario [the Senator’s older brother, born in Cuba] had naturalized after returning from the army. And in 1975, they, too, became citizens of the United States.”
As WND reported, attorney Larry Klayman argued today before Florida Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis in the presidential eligibility case brought by Democrat voter Michael Voeltz that Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution requires a person eligible to be president to be born to parents who are each U.S. citizens at the time of the birth.
That definition of natural-born citizen would clearly disqualify Rubio from running either for president or vice president.
Born in the USA
Rubio’s “An American Son” appears geared to arguing his birth in Miami makes him 100-percent American, even though his parents were Cuban when he was born.
The senator’s constitutional qualification for a presidential ticket has received little attention, given the common determination by courts hearing Obama eligibility cases that “native born,” or “born in the USA,” is equivalent to “natural born.”
While he does not openly proclaim aspirations to be Gov. Mitt Romney’s running mate, Rubio writes on page 283 eloquently of his success in politics:
Why had my dreams come true? Because God had blessed me with a strong and stable family and parents who cherished my dreams more than their own, and with a wise and loving wife who supported me. And he blessed me with America, the only country in the world where dreams like mine would stand a chance of coming true.
Because of the possibility that the vice president could ascend to the presidency on the death or disability of the president, it is logical to argue that a candidate for vice president must also meet the natural-born citizen requirement of Article 2, Section 1.
As WND reported, another emerging Republican leader whose eligibility for the White House has been questioned is Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, whose parents were born in India.
Questions also have been raised about Romney’s eligibility, because his father was born in Mexico. But the late Gov. George Romney, who ran for president in 1968, was born an American citizen, because he was born to two parents who were U.S. citizens at the time.
When the U.S. Senate resolved in 2008 that Republican presidential nominee John McCain, R-Ariz., was a natural born citizen, it significantly specified that his parents were American citizens.
Vattel and the Law of Nations
Klayman argued in Florida court today that natural-born citizen is a term of natural law political philosophy that America’s Founders almost certainly derived from their analysis of Emerich de Vattel’s book published in 1758, “The Law of Nations: or, Principles of the Natural Law Applicable to the Conduct and Affairs of Nations and Sovereigns.”
In Chapter 19, Section 212, Vattel defined natural-born citizen:
The citizens are 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.
As the society cannot exist and perpetuate itself otherwise than by the children of the citizens, those children naturally follow the condition of their fathers, and succeed to all their rights. The society is supposed to desire this, in consequence of what it owes to its own preservation; and it is presumed, as matter of course, that each citizen, on entering into society, reserves to his children the right of becoming members of it.
In the next two sentences, Vattel emphasized the concept that natural-born citizens are those born in the nation to parents who are citizens of the nation:
The country of the fathers is therefore that of the children; and these become true citizens merely by their tacit consent. We shall soon see whether, on their coming to the years of discretion, they may renounce their right, and what they owe to the society in which they were born.
I say, that, in order to be of the country, it is necessary that a person be born of a father who is a citizen; for, if he is born there of a foreigner, it will only be the place of his birth, and not his country.
Klayman has argued that the point of applying the term natural-born citizen as a requirement to be president as specified in Article 2, Section 1, was to prevent foreigners, or those whose allegiance could be attributed to the jurisdiction of foreign sovereigns, from ever being chief executive with the powers of commander-in-chief.
The concern that the commander-in-chief not have dual loyalties was demonstrated in a 1787 letter from John Jay to George Washington.
Jay, who later became president of the Continental Congress and the first Supreme Court chief justice, wrote: “Permit me to hint, whether it would be wise and seasonable to provide a strong check to the admission of Foreigners into the administration of our national Government; and to declare expressly that the Command in Chief of the American army shall not be given to nor devolve on, any but a natural born Citizen.”
Native-born is natural-born?
Jake Walker, who writes for the popular conservative blog RedState, affirms that the Founders were “fond” of Vattel’s “Law of Nations,” but he points to certain writings of the Founders to argue anyone born on U.S. soil is a natural-born citizen.
Walker cites a draft of the constitution by one of its important contributors, Alexander Hamilton.
If Hamilton’s draft would have been accepted, Walker argues, the Constitution would have stated:
No person shall be eligible to the office of President of the United States unless he be now a citizen of one of the States or hereafter be born a citizen of the United States.
Walker concedes there “is no real explanation that I can find as to why the Committee of Eleven changed the phrase to its present form, but it was.”
“Making it even worse, the Constitution itself does not define the term “natural born citizen,” he notes.
He also quotes James Madison, popularly acknowledged as the “author” of the Constitution, who seemed to indicate in a paper dated May 22, 1789, that birthplace is a more important determinant of allegiance than parentage:
It is an established maxim that birth is a criterion of allegiance. Birth however derives its force sometimes from place and sometimes from parentage, but in general place is the most certain criterion; it is what applies in the United States; it will therefore be unnecessary to investigate any other.
However, when the first U.S. Congress had the opportunity to weigh in on the term natural-born citizen – in the Naturalization Act of 1790 – the lawmakers regarded it as a child born of two American parents. The act also specified that a natural-born citizen need not be born on U.S. soil.
The law stated:
The children of citizens of the United States, that may be born beyond sea, or out of the limits of the United States shall be considered as natural born citizens: Provided, that the right of citizenship shall not descend to persons whose fathers have never been resident in the United States.
The first U.S. Congress, which approved the Naturalization Act of 1790, included 20 delegates to the Constitutional Convention. Among the 20 were eight members of the Committee of Eleven that drafted the Constitution’s natural-born citizen clause.
While the act was repealed five years later, it, nevertheless, represented the will of the Congress that the U.S. not be led by someone whose loyalty could be divided because of parentage.
Rep. John Bingham of Ohio, a principal framer of the Fourteenth Amendment, affirmed in a discussion in the House on March 9, 1866, that a natural-born citizen is “born within the jurisdiction of the United States of parents not owing allegiance to any foreign sovereignty.”