Wednesday, July 15, 2009
The intent and purpose of the amendment was to provide equal citizenship to all Americans either born on U.S. soil or naturalized therein and subject to the jurisdiction thereof. It does not grant “natural born Citizen” status. It only confers “citizen” status, as that is the exact word used by the Amendment itself and that is the same word that appears in Article I, II, III, and IV of the Constitution. It just conveys the status of “citizen,” and as we learned from how the Framers handled the Naturalization Acts of 1790 and 1795, being a “citizen” does not necessarily mean that one is a “natural born Citizen.”
The Fourteenth Amendment only tells us who may become members of the community called the United States, i.e., those born on U.S. soil or naturalized and subject to the jurisdiction thereof are U.S. citizens. The amendment was needed because under Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. 393 (1856), slaves and their descendents, whether free or not, were not considered as being members of that community even though born on U.S. soil and unlike the American Indians subject to the jurisdiction thereof. But the amendment only allowed these slaves and their descendents to become a member of the U.S. community by making them U.S. citizens. Once those persons or anybody else (e.g. Wong Kim Ark) so became a member of the U.S. community (became a U.S. citizen by birth on U.S. soil or through naturalization), then that person could join with another U.S. citizen and procreate a child on U.S. soil who would then be an Article II "natural born Citizen."
Hence, during the Founding, the original citizens created the new Constitutional Republic. Through Article II’s grandfather clause, they were allowed to be President. Their posterity would be the "natural born Citizens" who would perpetuate the new nation and its values. These “natural born Citizens,” born after the adoption of the Constitution, would be the future Presidents.
Subsequently, a “natural born Citizen” was created by someone first becoming a member of the United States (a U.S. citizen) by birth on its soil to a mother and father who were U.S. citizens or if not so born then through naturalization, and then joining with another similarly created U.S. citizen to procreate a child on U.S. soil. The product of that union would be an Article II “natural born Citizen.”
After the Fourteenth Amendment, it became sufficient to be a citizen if one were merely born on U.S. soil or naturalized and subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. That U.S. citizen would then procreate with another similarly created U.S citizen and produce a “natural born Citizen.”
As we can see, becoming a U.S. citizen is only the first step in the process of creating a “natural born Citizen.” The second step is the two U.S citizens procreating a child on U.S. soil. It is these “natural born Citizens” who can someday be President or Vice President of the United States. Stated differently, a President must be a second generation American citizen by both U.S. citizen parents. A Senator or Representative can be a first generation American citizen by naturalization or birth. It is the extra generation carried by a President which assures the American people that he/she is born with attachment and allegiance only to the United States.
The issue of what the Founding Fathers meant when they wrote “natural born Citizen” into Article II is surely ripe for the U.S. Supreme Court to determine. The issue is one of first impression and the Supreme Court needs to decide it. The national security and survival of the United States as conceived by the Founders are at stake. Because of the utter failure of our political and media institutions to give proper and honest attention to this issue, only the highest court in the land can now come to the aid of the Kerchner plaintiffs and We the People.
Mario Apuzzo, Esq.