Friday, April 3, 2009

More On What Is an Article II "Natural Born Citizen"

The error committed by those answering the question of what is an Article II "natural born Citizen" is when they equate such a Citizen with a "natural born subject" under English common law, a born "citizen" under the 14th Amendment, what our courts have declared to be a U.S. "citizen" during the pre- or post-14th Amendment period, and what Congress defines by statute to be a born "citizen" of the United States. Article II "natural born Citizen" is not the same as “natural born subject” or "citizen" as these terms are used in these contexts. Rather, it has a meaning that only applies to the Offices of President and Vice President and which has its origins in natural law and in the law of nations.

The Framers did not discuss the meaning of "natural born Citizen" during the Constitutional debates. Nor does the Constitution define the term. We know that for the future, the Framers did not permit just a "Citizen" to be eligible to be President, for they grandfathered a "Citizen" to be President only if alive at the time of the adoption of the Constitution. Thereafter, the candidate would have to be a “natural born Citizen.”

Given the need to assure the survival of the new Constitutional Republic, "natural born Citizen" was a status that went well beyond what was found in ill-suited English common law regarding its definition of a "natural born subject." It was an uniform national standard that had always been recognized since time immemorial by the law of nature and nations, as confirmed and codified by Vattel in his monumental treatise, The Law of Nations. The Framers looked to this treatise in many ways when forming the new Constitutional Republic. They also looked to it for the definition of the type of citizen the President of the new nation would have to be to give it the best chance of survival. They read Vattel and saw how he distinguished between “citizens,” (“citoyens”) (members of the civil society) and the naturals, or indigenous (“naturels, ou indigenes”) (those born in the country, of parents who are citizens). Hence, the Framers chose “natural born Citizen” and not just “Citizen.” They knew that "natural born Citizen" is a status that no nation can question and which cuts off any nation from making any political or military claims upon that person. Unlike the contradictory and non-consensual results obtained for "natural born subjects" under English common law, it is a status that unites jus soli and jus sanguinis in the child and consequently carries with it the essence of sole allegiance and loyalty to the United States of America, a quality which is in the best interest of the United States and critical for a President and Commander in Chief of the Military to have. It is a status that only the all-powerful Offices of President and potentially that of Vice President (added by the 12th Amendment on June 15, 1804) of the United States require, offices which are filled by the will and consent of the people and which never had existed in the non-representative form of government in monarchical England.

The 14th Amendment does not define what a "natural born Citizen" is. Rather, the amendment only confirms that all persons who are either born in the United States or naturalized and subject to the jurisdiction thereof are "citizens" of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. Explicitly, the amendment does not in any way refer to a “natural born Citizen” or to Article II’s requirements to be President. Logically, the amendment's reference to "citizen" also does not refer to an Article II "natural born Citizen," for the amendment clearly declares that both persons born in the United States or persons who are naturalized are "citizens" of the United States. We know and generally accept that a naturalized citizen, even though the 14th Amendment declares such a person to be a “citizen,” is not eligible to be President. Hence, to be a born “citizen” under the 14th Amendment is a necessary but insufficient condition to be President. There is also no evidence that the Framers of the 14th Amendment in any way meant through the amendment itself to refer to let alone alter the meaning of an Article II "natural born Citizen." Therefore, the term "natural born Citizen" under Article II, which has a life of its own and which has not been in any way altered, must be given Constitutional meaning as the Framers intended at the time they drafted it in 1787.

All case law produced during the pre- and post-14th Amendment period that defines what a born "citizen" is does not definitely answer what an Article II "natural born Citizen" is, for none of the courts that created this case law were asked to define what an Article II "natural born Citizen" is as applied to any specific individual running for or occupying the Office of President.

Except in the Naturalization Act of 1790, which Congress appropriately amended with the Naturalization Act of 1795 by removing the qualifier "natural born" from the citizenship status that it bestowed through a "naturalization" act on a child born overseas to two U.S. citizens, Congress has never used the term "natural born Citizen" in any of its statutes defining U.S. citizenship. A Congressional "born citizen" is made by the law of Congress. Historically, as the times changed so did Congressional laws and their requirements to be a Congressional "born citizen." The Framers could not have meant to allow the eligibility to be President to depend upon the whims of Congress which so often legislates based on its reaction to political pressures and conveniences of the times and the pressing need for political survival. Furthermore, the Constitution gives Congress only the power to make uniform the laws of naturalization which during the Colonial period were discriminatory, in total disarrary, and used by the individual Colonies, who competed with each other, as a means to populate the new territory and attract coveted foreigners who were needed for labor and to increase the value of land.

Constitutional Article II "natural born Citizen" status requires no Constitutional or Congressional confirmation for its meaning. The status does not change with time or the political environment of the moment. It is a status bestowed by nature and the law of nations upon a child who is born in the United States to a mother and father who are also citizens of the United States (by birth or naturalization). Counter intuitively, it is a status that the majority of Americans have. It is the status that our Founding Fathers for the good of the Constitutional Republic meant our President to have. Historically and except for Chester Arthur, who hid his lack of "natural born Citizen" status from the American people when he ran for Vice President in 1880 and became such in 1881 and later that year became President by the assassination of President Garfield, it is the status that all our Article II post-grandfather-clause Presidents have had.

Mario Apuzzo, Esq.
185 Gatzmer Avenue
Jamesburg NJ 08831
Email: apuzzo [AT]
TEL: 732-521-1900 ~ FAX: 732-521-3906


mtngoat61 said...

Hi Mario,

Excellent post on NBC.

M Publius Goat

P.S. The Bithers group has a new flyer available on Natural Born Citizenship. Link is in their home page, left frame.

Teo Bear said...

Well written and presented clearly. Attorney Apuzzio makes a clear argument supporting the Founding Father's use of the tern "a natural born citizen." They left little doubt that "a natural born citizen" is one who is born without any loyalties.

Our Founding Father's knew it was about loyalty, not just about the location of birth. No foreign country can claim the loyalty of a citizen because of their parents or the place of their birth. That is the test of a true natural born citizen.

Good work Attorney Apuzzio,

Teo Bear from

mtngoat61 said...

Here is the link to the excellent essay regarding defining the term "Natural Born Citizen" by John Greschak:

M Publius Goat

Cynde L. Hammond said...

Mr. Apuzzo,

Hi, again. It is hard for me to fathom why the issue of natural-born citizenship should be so difficult for others to understand, when it is so clearly laid out. The fact that Obama is NOT the child of two parents that were U.S. citizens at his time of birth (paraphrased), in itself clearly makes him ineligible to run for/hold the position of President of the United States (POTUS); therefore, he is a USURPER and MUST be removed!

Cynde L. Hammond

Mario Apuzzo, Esq. said...

The Founding Fathers had great vision in requiring in Article II that a would-be President be a "natural born Citizen." That clause not only gives protection and stability to America but also to the rest of the world. As many of you know, one of the issues in the "natural born Citizen" debate concerns Obama's travel to Pakistan in 1981. This aspect of his life becomes important because it raises the issue of what passport did he use to travel to Pakistan. If he used a foreign passport, then it proves that he also had and exercised the rights of another nationality which would put great doubts on his alleged "natural born Citizen" status.

I just recently read the following on the Country First blog at

"How much – if anything – the 19- or 20-year-old Obama knew about the Afghanistan jihad during that 1981 visit is unclear.

But it’s precisely the shortage of details that worries some, like veteran security analyst Bahukutumbi Raman, a former Indian counterterrorism chief.

Mulling how a President Obama would deal with each of South Asia’s historical foes, Raman said that as an Indian, he naturally felt troubled that Obama had not disclosed the Pakistan visit earlier.

'Why did he keep mum on his visit to Pakistan till this question was raised?' asked Raman, who is the director of India’s Institute for Topical Studies. 'Has he disclosed all the details regarding his Pakistan visit? Was it as innocuous as made out by him – to respond to the invitation of a Pakistani friend or was there something more to it?'

Raman continued, 'As I read about Obama’s visit to Pakistan in the 1980s, I could not help thinking of dozens of things. Of the Afghan jihad against communism. Of the fascination of many Afro-Americans for the jihad. Of the visits of a stream of Afro-Americans to Pakistan to feel the greatness of the jihad. Of their fascination for Abdullah Azzam …'

Raman said although having such thoughts may seem 'morbid,' it was 'understandable when one has a feeling that one has not been told the whole story, but only a part of it.'

'It is the right of the Americans to decide who should be their president,' he said. 'It is my right to worry about the implications of their decision for the rest of the world, including India.'

The Obama campaign did not respond to an invitation to comment on some of the speculation surrounding the visit to Pakistan or to provide further details about the trip.

And this:
According to published reports in Pakistan, Obama in 1981 also stayed at the home of a prominent politician, Ahmad Mian Soomro, in an upscale Karachi suburb, and went on a traditional partridge hunting trip north of Karachi. Soomro’s son, Muhammad Mian Soomro, is a senior politician who served as acting president before the appointment of President Asif Ali Zardari last September.'"

All this just raises many thorny questions: Why did a young American college student travel to Pakistan in 1981? How did he arrange it? Who funded the trip? What passport did he use? How was he able to make such high-placed political connections there? Why does Obama not simply tell the public the full details of this trip, including what passport he used for the travel? Given the historical military tensions between India and Pakistan (they both have nuclear weapons) and the need for India to protect itself from any type of attack, what does India's security agencies know about Obama's trip to Pakistan? If India knows something that the American people should know, we surely would appreciate them sharing that information with us now.

Mario Apuzzo, Esq.

Joe said...

Mr. Apuzzo,

Is today the day Congress's response is due?

Please confirm.

It would be helpful if due dates are posted for those people who can't check your blog everyday.

Wouldn't it be a blast if they do not file a motion to dismiss....

then I woke up