The Birthers Went Down to Georgia

The birthers went down to Georgia, lookin' for an election to spoil....

Last November, Georgia citizen David Weldon filed a challenge over Obama's qualifications to appear on Georgia's 2012 presidential ballot.  Yesterday, Obama's motion to dismiss Weldon's challenge was denied by Judge Michael Malihi of Georgia's Office of State Administrative Hearings.  The hearing is scheduled for January 26.

The Liberty Legal Foundation, headed by Constitutional attorney Van Irion, assisted Weldon and prepared the opposition for the motion to dismiss.

Although the mainstream media pejoratively label those who question Obama's eligibility as conspiratorial "birthers" and defines "birtherism" as belief in a Kenyan birthplace, Weldon's case stipulates otherwise, as stated in the motion:

The matter before this Court has nothing to do with the birth place of the Defendant, nor does it assert that he is not a citizen of the United States. In fact, limited to this challenged primary election, the Plaintiff will stipulate that the Defendant was born in Hawaii, that the Defendant is a U.S. Citizen, and that the Defendant was Constitutionally-qualified to serve as a U.S. Senator. The Plaintiff makes no assertion regarding the Defendant's passports, or social security number, or any other fact related to the Defendant, other than the one fact asserted at the beginning of this opposition: that the Defendant's father was not a U.S. citizen.

Contrary to the Defendant's assertions, the issue presented by the Plaintiff is grounded on one uncontestable fact, and one clear definition from the U.S. Supreme Court. See Minor v. Happersett, 88 U.S. 162, 167 (1875).

Obama admitted, on his 2008 campaign website, that he was born a dual citizen, the son of a non-US citizen father who was here in the country legally but temporarily on a student visa, with the stated intention to return to his native Kenya to work in its government.  Obama's dual citizenship was further confirmed by the State Department and Factcheck, although Factcheck dismissed it as irrelevant based on the opinion of an anonymous blogger.


In case you're not convinced by an anonymous blogger, other legal experts besides Van Irion, publicly and not anonymously, assert that the statements in the famous 1875 women's suffrage case of Minor v Happersett are binding precedent, such as Attorneys Leo Donofrio and Mario Apuzzo, and Dr. Herb Titus

In Minor, Justice Waite, writing the majority opinion, first addressed the claim of Virginia Minor's citizenship, and then proceeded to discuss whether such citizenship entitled her to the right to vote.  In answer to the first issue, (and thus making this part of the opinion a direct holding and not dicta), Justice Waite wrote: 

At common-law, with the nomenclature of which the framers of the Constitution were familiar, 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.

The two-step process followed by the court in Minor was discussed in the American Thinker article, "Citizenship Jeopardy." The "presumed" citizenship of Hamdi and Obama's recent drone target, al-Awlaki was analyzed -- "presumed" being the adjective used by Justice Scalia in his dissent in Hamdi v Rumsfeld, a 2005 case that argued Hamdi, as a US citizen by virtue of the "birthright citizenship" practice (born in the US to non-US citizens), was entitled to habeas corpus.

Popular thinking attributes "natural born citizenship" to anyone with a US birth certificate, and since the controversies over birthright citizenship, "anchor babies," and "birth tourism" center on the citizenship and domicile status of the parents, they are thus inextricably related to the definition of natural born citizenship as it pertains to Obama.


Although it appears highly unlikely that questions of Obama's eligibility will prevent him from running in 2012, those who care more about respect for the Constitution than popularity should pay very close attention to this issue.  When the need for immigration reform reaches an unavoidable peak, an examination of the definition of citizenship in this country will be of paramount importance.


Whatever one's opinions on the constitutional definition of the term "natural born" and its implications in the 2012 election, discussion of the meaning of citizenship is long overdue. A large and growing population with dual citizenship may have national security consequences.  

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