Saturday, March 14, 2009

On the People’s Unalienable Right to Safety and the Pursuit of Happiness

In the words of the Declaration of Independence:

"When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, - That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

From these fundamental truths we can see that safety and happiness are the essence of life and liberty. If life and liberty are themselves unalienable rights, so must be its essence, safety and happiness. It is also clear from these truths that government obtains its power to govern from the consent of the governed and that the people consent to give that power to a government for the sole purpose of having that government protect their safety and happiness. It is also a fundamental truth that when the people give their consent to the government to govern them, they have entrusted that government with the protection of their safety and happiness.

The people spoke when THEY drafted the Constitution. Among other things, in Article II they proclaimed what will be the qualifications to be President. One of these qualifications is that the President be a “natural born Citizen.” The people therefore gave to a would-be President their consent that he govern and protect them, provided that, among other things, the President meets that necessary qualification for the office, all this so that once in power that President can protect the people’s safety and happiness. Our Constitution shows that the people would not give their consent to govern to any would-be President if that President is not so qualified and therefore constituted so as to protect their safety and happiness.

A putative President who would desire to sit in the Office of President without the trust and consent of the people surely cannot reasonably claim that the people have given that trust and consent to him to govern and protect them, for if the putative President has not met the people’s Constitutional qualification test, how can he claim that he has the people’s trust and consent to govern and protect them? If the sole purpose of the people’s government is to protect their safety and happiness, and if the people have not given that government their trust and consent to govern them, then it only follows that the people have not put their trust in that government to protect their safety and happiness. A government which does not have the people’s trust and consent to govern them cannot continue to do so, for it does not have the people’s permission or warrant to protect their safety and happiness. The people have a right to remove that putative President from power if they have not given him their trust and consent which he needs to claim that he is legitimately protecting their safety and happiness. If the people are compelled to live with a putative President in power who has not received their trust and consent to govern and protect them, then that would-be President and government that would allow that usurper President to illegitimately stay in power have violated the people’s unalienable rights to safety and the pursuit of happiness.

Mario Apuzzo, Esq.

P.S. Please feel free to join the discussions and comments in this forum about the subject of the Natural Born Citizenship clause in Article II of our Constitution by [Clicking Here].


Anonymous said...

I found this on Berg site. It is not by me. But the logic is very clear. A great argument that supports our view.

I just had a thought. What if Obama Sr. was still alive (this is strictly hypothetical - I'm not suggesting he is) and involved in the Kenyan government, like Odinga? Doesn't it seem logical that BOs lack of eligibility for POTUS would have been taken more seriously? Why should it be any different just because Obama Sr. is not alive -- the same principle that "forever free" mentioned should apply: "our founders were wise in insisting on a generation's distance between the old and the new.

Unknown said...

Some of the possible thinking behind the natural born citizen requirement was the topic during hearings on a proposed Constitutional amendment in 2000, introduced by Congressman Barney Frank, with information linked here:


Mr. VAZSONYI. Good afternoon. Thank you, distinguished members of the committee. Thank you for giving me this opportunity.

Perhaps I will be forgiven if I start with a musical analogy, since I am a musician by profession. The Constitution of the United States, indeed the entire founding of the United States of America, is one of those solitary miracles of human history, not unlike the operas of Mozart or the symphonies of Beethoven. Thousands of volumes have been written trying to understand how such a thing can happen. Nobody has even come close. There is no way to explain how a group of men can sit down and do something no human beings had ever done before them, and certainly none have since.

The Constitution, which created a country unlike any other, also brought forth a Nation populated by people who are unlike any other. It is as if an umbrella had been erected over this country inviting all the people of the world to come here and become something else than they were in the moment of arrival.

Indeed, Americans are different. I noticed this soon after I had arrived in this country 41 years ago. I daresay, I have spent a great deal of my life trying to understand, first of all, in what way Americans are different and why, but the fact remains that they are.

So when the framers of the Constitution made this provision, perhaps they were already aware of the fact, as indeed perhaps instinctively or through inspiration they were aware of so many other things, that already then Americans were different because they did something nobody else had done before them.

If we look at their reasoning, which we can only guess at, because, as you mentioned, Mr. Chairman, there is insufficient evidence, we really do not know what was on their minds, but I think the reading of the Constitution certainly offers us some very good reasons.

Our Government consists of three independent branches. In the legislative branch with its two Chambers, one of them has hundreds of Members, so a few foreigners among them really do not make that much difference. The Senate only consists of 100 Members, so 1 or 2 out of 100 again is something else. Even the Supreme Court has nine members.

Alone, the executive branch of this Government is vested in a single person. I don't think that it is an excessive requirement of the office for that person to have grown from the American soil.

I come back to my statement, which is not particularly palatable in today's political climate, that Americans are different. We like to believe that all people are the same. In my experience, they are not.

One of the best examples of that is precisely Congressman Frank's resolution. It is unthinkable, ladies and gentlemen, that a legislator in another land would actually spend time proposing that some foreigner could become the first citizen of that land. So, Congressman Frank, you are as good an example as I have met to show that Americans pour their hearts out and want to share everything, even the Presidency.

I would say respectfully that describing this provision of the Constitution, as I said, and I will say once again, one of the solitary miracles of human history, as victimizing immigrants or being unjust—to be able to run for President is not a right. It is very important not to confuse the system of government with rights. Where would such a right come from? It is a well-thought-out provision of our Constitution.

I am here to tell you, after 41 years of making the most strenuous efforts of becoming American, not just legally but in every sense of the word, and having spent 40 of those 41 years living with a native-born American, that I still have not been able to even approach the temperament, the natural tolerance, the unfailing good will toward the world that Americans are famous for.

Foreigners come here and have to learn it. It is a miracle that within one generation they can do so. I think it would be expecting something even more than the impossible that they can do it within the same lifetime, and that they can forget everything they had grown up with.

I would like to spend just a moment on the proposition that I believe will be brought before you of adopted children having the same right. The question is, at what age? How do you write a law that is going to be applicable and fair, to use that term?

The question of foreign influence has already been discussed. I would just like to add that having grown up in Hungary, I would find it very difficult to make decisions—not so much affecting Hungarians, but those toward whom Hungarians hold an animus. What if somebody of a certain birth would have to just express an opinion about immigration quotas from a country with which the native land had been at odds? This is just a tiny example. Of course, the matter of being Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces is much more important.

To say that the world is a more peaceful place today is a very temporary condition. It can turn into something else tomorrow or the day after. The constitutional provisions are not there to serve this week or next week. They have served this country for over 200 years, and I hope and we all hope that they will continue to do so.

So I would like to conclude with a general comment on constitutional amendments. I believe they are rarely necessary, hardly ever justified, and perhaps entirely untimely right now, when Americans seem to be considering even the very nature of this country, whether it is a Republic or a democracy. Therefore, with due respect to the proposal, I would like to cast a vote for rejecting it.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. CANADY. Thank you, Dr. Vazsonyi.
The formal written statement of Dr. Vazsonyi is at the link, and then there was an interesting Q&A after all the witnesses had offered up both oral and prepared statements.

Mario Apuzzo, Esq. said...

To John:

Thank you for your excellent post.

The effect that dual allegiance can have on the President can be seen when we consider Mr. Vazsonyi's statement. While Mr. Vazsonyi's statement relates to a would-be naturalized President, it applies just as well to a President allegedly born in the United States who at the time of birth acquired a non-U.S. citizenship/allegiance from his father not being an American citizen at the time of birth.

Additionally, we have to remember that a naturalized citizen takes an oath in which he/she renounces all other allegiances and political loyalties and is therefore loyal only to the United States but still Mr. Vazsonyi has a problem with allowing that person to be President because that person had a birth allegiance other than American. A person born in the United States who acquires dual allegiances at birth does not have to swear any oath that he/she renounces the other foreign citizenship/allegiance. Yet those who argue that just being born on U.S. soil is sufficient to make one an Article II "natural born Citizen" because the parents' citizenship status is irrelevant acknowledge that the Constitution does not allow a naturalized citizen to be President but they would neverthless allow a citizen born with dual nationalties, who never renounced the foreign citizenship/allegiance, and who grew up with the influence of that foreign citizenship/allegiance to be one. The illogical nature of this position reveals what the Framers intended when they wrote "natural born Citizen" in Article II. We can have consistency in these positions only if we accept as the Framers intended that a "natural born Citizen" is one who is born on U.S. soil to a mother and father who are themselves U.S. citizens (by birth or naturalization).

Mario Apuzzo, Esq.