http://www.dailytitan.com/2010/05/09/taking-issue-with-the-birthers/comment-page-1/#comment-15663. Mr. Smith’s opinion article is factually inaccurate and highly biased. Mr. Smith attempts to ridicule the efforts of those who question where Obama was born, people that he calls “extremists and conspiracy theorists,” by equating their Obama birthplace inquiry to one involved in a “college level thesis of human genetics.” But our place-of-birth inquiry is not so difficult to understand and surely does not require more than a rudimentary level of education (maybe not even any education at all but just some mother-nature-given common sense). Rather, regarding the place of birth issue, we just want to see a simple contemporaneous birth certificate from 1961 (which includes the name of the birth hospital and delivery doctor), not the 2008 computer scan of an alleged 2007 Certification of Live Birth (COLB) which Mr. Smith posted as part of his article to show the world that Obama has release his “birth certificate.” If Mr. Smith would even read the bottom of the COLB here and here, it says: “This copy serves as prima facie evidence of the fact of birth in any court proceeding.” This caveat warns the public that this document can only be relied upon if there is no other contradictory evidence showing otherwise than what is stated in the document. If there were to exist such contradictory evidence, a court of competent jurisdiction would have to settle the factual dispute.
Mr. Smith says that Hawaii stated the computer scan of the COLB was legitimate. No such thing ever happened. I challenge Mr. Smith to produce evidence supporting such a reckless statement.
Mr. Smith alleges a "birther" forged a Kenyan birth certificate in August 2009. Again, this is wild and reckless speculation. What evidence does Mr. Smith have that it was a "birther" that forged any birth certificate? The forging could well have been done by an Obama operative so that people like Mr. Smith can go around the nation polluting what we know about Obama by way of his reckless and biased article.
Finally, Mr. Smith says that Obama, by releasing his "official birth certificate" "would be risking identity fraud and potentially making it possible for document request laws to be altered." This is really a nonsensical statement. In the beginning of his article, Mr. Smith tells us that Obama released his "birth certificate" and that should end the debate. But now he objects that if Obama were to release his "official birth certificate," all these drastic consequences would occur. First, we can see that Mr. Smith, although unconsciously, concedes that Obama has not yet released any “official birth certificate.” Even though Mr. Smith is not aware of having made such a concession, he is aware that there exists an “official birth certificate” and that Obama has not released it to the public. But he hides that fact when he first told us that Obama released his “birth certificate” and even posted the image of the COLB as proof thereof, not telling us that the document is not an “official birth certificate.” Second, I fail to see why there should be such dire consequences with the release of Obama’s "official birth certificate" but no such consequences with the release of his "birth certificate." Does the writer expect clones of Obama to appear on the planet after he releases his "official birth certificate"? Does he expect people to hold themselves out as "Barack Hussein Obama II" and thereby steal some goods or services from some unsuspecting vendor? Third, how else does the writer expect a candidate for the office of President to prove where he or she was born to meet the first requirement of the "natural born Citizen” test, place of birth?" For further information on the place of birth issue, please visit the following essay: http://puzo1.blogspot.com/2010/05/catalog-of-evidence-concerned-americans.html.
Mr. Smith, like so many television, radio, and print media commentators, editors, and journalist, is also probably deliberately failing to report the well-known fact that there is a valid constitutional argument that place of birth is only one part of the “natural born Citizen” test for Presidential eligibility. The definition of an Article II “natural born Citizen” as relied upon by the Founders and Framers is a child born in the country (or its equivalent) to citizen parents (mother and father). The Founders used natural law and the law of nations not only to justify the revolution and to create a Constitutional Republic but also to define the new national citizenship. The Founders and Framers saw the law of nations as coming from the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,” and therefore as sacred and divine. The Declaration of Independence. “[T]he Creator of all men had endowed … [man] with the great natural rights which the Declaration of Independence asserts.” Dred Scott v. John Sandford, 60 U.S. 393, 575 (1856) (Curtis, J. dissenting). They also considered the law of nations as obligatory. In fact, the Framers through Article I, Section 8, Clause 10, gave Congress the power “[t]o define and punish … Offences against the Law of Nations.” They therefore looked to that law and not the English common law for guidance in defining citizenship in the new nation. In applying the law of nations, they relied upon Emer de Vattel, who provided the Framers with the definition for what they called a “natural born Citizen” and Vattel called “Les naturels, ou indigenes” (translated in 1759 from the French to English to mean “natives or indigenes” and in 1797 to mean “natives, or natural-born citizens”), being a child “born in the country, of parents who are citizens.” The Law of Nations, Or, Principles of the Law of Nature, Applied to the Conduct and Affairs of Nations and Sovereigns, Section 212 (1758 first edition in French) (1759 first edition in English). Anyone satisfying this natural law and law of nations definition was a “natural born Citizen.”
If we are going to determine what the Framers meant when they wrote “natural born Citizen,” we need to find where they probably obtained the phrase. It is well known that the Framers were well read in the Roman and Greek classics. I have found evidence that the Framers probably found the phrase “natural born Citizen” in the works of Quntilianus. With many of the Founders also being proficient in Latin, Greek, and French, they probably obtained the clause “natural born citizen” and its synonym, “native,” from ancient Latin text which was also translated into English rather than from simply copying the clause “natural born subject” from the English common law and substituting the word “citizen” for “subject.” That ancient text was found in Institutio Oratoria, by Marcus Fabius Quintilianus (or Quintilian), published in Latin in the first century A.D. Quintilianus’ work covered not only the theory and practice of rhetoric, but also the foundational education and development of the orator himself. Quintilianus had a love for Cicero. Tacitus, another one of the Founders’ favorite, was probably one of his students in the school he opened in Rome on rhetoric. Texts by natural law philosophers Aristotle, Cicero, and Seneca, among others, were essential subjects of study in a legal education in the early American Republic. David Hoffman, A Course of Legal Study 59-63 (2nd ed. 1836). Following in the steps of Cicero, Quintilianus believed that the natural order was the proper guide to perfect oratory. Quintilianus stressed the important role that both the father and mother played in their child’s education from the moment of birth. His textbook covered subjects such as the natural order and the relation of nature and art. Along with the works of Aristotle and Cicero, his textbook on rhetoric represents one of the ancient world's greatest works on rhetoric. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quintilian.
From the excellent research conducted by John Greschak, we learn the following: “In 1774, the phrase natural born citizen was used in an English translation (from the Latin) of the book Institutio Oratoria, by Marcus Fabius Quintilianus (published in the first century A.D.); this was done in Chapter I of Book VIII. The phrase is found in the Latin text: Quare, si fieri, potest et verba omnia et vox huius alumnum urbis oleant, ut oratio Romana plane videatur, non civitate donata. Quintilianus, Institutio Oratoria, Book 1, Chapter VIII. There have been at least five different English translations of this work and this sentence. The first was by Guthrie in 1756. Since then, there have been translations by Patsall (1774), Watson (1856), Butler (1920-2) and Russell (2001).” http://www.greschak.com/essays/natborn/index.htm. Greschak found that Guthrie in 1756 used the word “native” when translating Quintilianus’ reference to that Roman citizen who because of birth and family upbringing was expected to be most able to speak the pure Roman language. In referring to the same type of citizen, Patsall in 1774 translated the same sentence as: “Therefore, if possible, every word and the very tone of voice, should bespeak the natural born citizen of Rome, that the language may be purely Roman, and not so by a right different from birth and education” (emphasis supplied). Greschak states: “I do not claim that this is the first use of the phrase natural born citizen, but it is the earliest use of which I am aware.” Id. “Alumnum” means "nourished, brought up; reared/fostered by; native, brought up locally." (Latin-English Dictionary 1.97FC). “Urbis” means city. Parentage, education, and upbringing made an “alumnum urbis oleant.” Just being born in the city was not sufficient to meet the definition of the phrase. It was both birth in the locality and parental and institutional rearing and education from birth that produced the “natural born citizen.”
Hence, Quintilianus’ work, which was translated from the Latin to the English, provided the clause “natural born citizen” and the word “native” and the translators used the words interchangeably to mean the same thing. This fluctuation in translation explains why the Founders, English translations of Section 212 of Vattel’s The Law of Nations, and United States Supreme Court cases used the words “native” and “natural born Citizen” synonymously. Quintilianus also provides an explanation of how the Framers translated Vattel by taking his French words of “Les naturels, ou indigenes” or the same words translated into English as “natives or indigenes” and translated or converted them into “natural born Citizen” which is what they wrote into Article II.
Being able to read and understand the definitions that Vattel gave to the clause “Les naturels, ou indigenes” (in French) and “The natives or indigenes” (in English), they realized that Vattel’s clauses as written in either French or English were the equivalent to “native” or “natural born citizen” with which they were familiar from having found the clauses in ancient Latin text or its English translations that we saw above. The Founders would have been familiar with both “natural born citizen” and “native” from having seen the two expressions in these various English translations of the ancient Latin text. These English translations took the Latin clause “alumnum urbis oleant” and translated it into either “native” or “natural born citizen.” Hence, it appears that the English translators believed that either “native” or “natural born citizen” captured the meaning of “alumnum urbis oleant.” The Framers, applying their study and knowledge of natural law, would have equated Vattel’s description of “Les naturals, ou indigenes” or “the natives or indigenes” found in Section 212, which was a citizen of true origin and therefore of the highest order with what Quintilanus called “alumnum orbis oleant,” also considered by him to be a citizen of true Roman origin and of the highest order.
Vattel’s French 1758 edition of The Law of Nations was first translated into English in 1759. It was also translated into English in 1760 which edition provided:
“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 indigenes, are those born in the country of parents who are citizens. Society not being able to subsist, and perpetuate itself, but 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 that each citizen, on entering into society, reserves to his children the right of their becoming members. The country of the fathers is then that of the children; and these become true citizens, merely by their tacit consent. We shall soon see, whether on their arriving at the years of reason, they may renounce their right, and what they owe to the society in which they are 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 stranger, it will be only the place of his birth, and not his country.” Id. Sec. 212 Of the citizens and natives.
The Framers relied on this well-known law of nature and law of nations definition of “natives, or indigenes” or what Vattel called in French, “Les naturels, ou Indigenes.” They borrowed this definition to define their Article II “natural born Citizen.” With a “natural born Citizen” being so defined in natural law and the law of nations, they did not see any need to define it in the Constitution as they did not define all the other terms they included in the Constitution. This was the meaning that the Framers gave to a “natural born Citizen.” There was no other form or definition of a “natural born Citizen” at the time of the Founding. At that time, the English common law did define a “natural born subject” as one born in the King’s dominion and allegiance without any reference to the citizenship of the parents. That law also said that “[a]n alien naturalized is “to all intents and purposes a natural-born subject.” Co. Litt. 129. But the English common law would have supported the definition of the original citizens whom the Framers called “Citizens of the United States.” But the Framers did not adopt the English common law and its definition of a “natural born subject” to define the future “natural born Citizen” of the new nation or to guide them in constituting the new Constitutional Republic. Rather, they rejected the use of the English “natural born subject” definition which was a relic of feudal and monarchical England, and instead relied upon the natural law and law of nations for that definition which was relevant to a free society with a self-representative government. Indeed, "[t]he words 'people of the United States' and 'citizens' are synonymous terms, and mean the same thing. They both describe the political body who, according to our republican institutions, form the sovereignty, and who hold the power and conduct the Government through their representatives. They are what we familiarly call the 'sovereign people,' and every citizen is one of this people, and a constituent member of this sovereignty." Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. 393, 404 (1856).
There is direct evidence from the Founding period that the Founders and Framers used natural law and the law of nations to define a “natural born Citizen” and that they did not simply take the English common law “natural born subject” and substitute in its place a “natural born Citizen.” David Ramsay, a highly respected doctor and historian from the Founding period, wrote an essay on citizenship during the Founding entitled, A Dissertation on the Manners of Acquiring the Character and Privileges of a Citizen (1789). David Ramsay (April 2, 1749 to May 8, 1815) was an American physician and historian from South Carolina and a delegate from that state to the Continental Congress in 1782-1783 and 1785-1786. He was one of the American Revolution’s first major historians. Ramsay “was a major intellectual figure in the early republic, known and respected in America and abroad for his medical and historical writings, especially for The History of the American Revolution (1789)…” Arthur H. Shaffer, Between Two Worlds: David Ramsay and the Politics of Slavery, J.S.Hist., Vol. L, No. 2 (May 1984). In his 1789 article, Ramsay first explained that there is an “immense” difference between a British “subject” and a United States “citizen,” with the former being “under the power of another” and the latter being “a unit of mass of free people, who, collectively, posses sovereignty.” He informed that “Republics, both ancient and modern, have been jealous of the rights of citizenship.” He then explained that the “original citizens” of the United States were those who were parties to the Declaration of Independence and thereby adhered to the revolutionary cause. But the importance of his work does not stop there, for he also described the future citizens to come after the original citizens, whom he defined as the children born to citizen parents. He said concerning the children born after the declaration of independence, “[c]itizenship is the inheritance of the children of those who have taken part in the late revolution; but this is confined exclusively to the children of those who were themselves citizens….” Id. at 6. He added that “citizenship by inheritance belongs to none but the children of those Americans, who, having survived the declaration of independence, acquired that adventitious character in their own right, and transmitted it to their offspring….” Id. at 7. He continued that citizenship “as a natural right, belongs to none but those who have been born of citizens since the 4th of July, 1776….” Id. at 6. Here, Ramsay referred to “natural right,” which ties into the Framers’ use of the clause “natural born Citizen.” By focusing on citizenship that occurs by “natural right,” Ramsay distinguished citizenship that occurs naturally versus citizenship that occurs by operation of law. It is evident from his writing that in defining the original citizens and the future citizens who were to follow them, Ramsay did not look to English common law but rather to natural law, the law of nations, and Vattel, Sec. 212, which all provided the same definition that he provided. As we can see, Ramsay required the future citizens to be children of citizens. While he did not call these future citizens “natural-born citizens,” Ramsay’s standard was the same standard that Vattel provided when he defined the “natives, or indigenes,” which in 1797 came to be translated into “natives, or natural-born citizens.”
Further evidence that the Framers relied upon Vattel to define a “natural born Citizen” may be found by examining the 1797 London edition of, The Law of Nations. The anonymous French to English translator translated Vattel in the 1797 London edition as follows:
“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. 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. 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 be only the place of his birth, and not his country.” Id. Sec. 212 Citizens and natives.
This is the first known edition of The Law of Nations that used the phrase “natural-born citizens” in place of “indigenes.” Here we can see that an anonymous translator now used for the first time “natural-born citizens.” It is reasonable to conclude that the translator, living at the time that the Framers lived, knew that the Founders and Framers took their definition of their Article II “natural born Citizen” from Vattel’s editions that were in print before and at the time they drafted the Constitution in 1787 and that it was only right that Vattel’s words translated into English should reflect the terms that the Framers used in Article II. Hence, the translator inserted the phrase “natural-born citizens” in place of “indigenes” in the 1797 English edition. Given this new English translation of Vattel, we can see that a translator from only 10 years after the Constitution was adopted made a direct connection between the Framers’ Article II “natural born Citizen” clause and Vattel’s, The Law of Nations. Additionally, the fact that a translator of French into English took the phrase “natural-born citizen” and inserted it into Vattel’s, The Law of Nations, a treatise on natural law and the law of nations, is solid evidence that the phrase “natural-born citizen” was not equivalent to the English common law phrase “natural born subject,” the definition of which pursuant to Blackstone included only the element of a child being born in the dominion and allegiance of the King with the citizenship of the parents having no relevance.
The natural law and law of nations definition of a “natural born Citizen” is still the law of the land today, for it was never amended by any constitutional amendment, including the Fourteenth Amendment, or changed by any Act of Congress or any decision of the United States Supreme Court, including United States v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649 (1898). In fact, the United States Supreme Court has to this day used the term “natural born Citizen” only to describe a person born in the country to citizen parents. We have provided in our court filings in the Kerchner et al v. Obama/Congress et al case and on this blog the numerous United States Supreme Court case citations and other authorities showing that the Founders and Framers relied upon natural law and law of nations to define a “natural born Citizen” and not the English common law and its definition of a “natural born subject.” Given the existing definition of a “natural born Citizen,” it does not matter where Obama was born, even in the White House itself. His father was a British subject/citizen and Obama himself was a British subject/citizen when Obama was born in 1961 (which fact Obama has conceded) and he is therefore not an Article II "natural born Citizen." It is therefore not necessary for us to prove or disprove where Obama was born. The Court must first rule on the constitutional definition of an Article II "natural born Citizen." If the Court agrees with us as it should and the United States Supreme Court affirms, the case is over and Obama is history.
Mario Apuzzo, Esq.
May 12, 2010
Updated May 16, 2010