Friday, November 20, 2009

One Important Congressional Effort to Amend the "Natural Born Citizen" Clause

Members of Congress have over the years made various attempts to change the meaning of "natural born Citizen" as it is found in Article II. One of these attempts is most noteworthy because it pertains to children born in the United States. After H.J. Res. 88 failed to make it out of committee, Sen. Nickles (OK) along with Landrieu (LA) and Inhofe (OK) brought forward S. 2128 in February 25, 2004, the Natural Born Citizen Act, a bill to define the term “natural born Citizen” as used in Article II of the Constitution of the United States to establish eligibility for the Office of President.

This bill provided as follows:

To define the term ‘‘natural born Citizen’’ as used in the Constitution of the United States to establish eligibility for the Office of President.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Natural Born Citizen Act’’.
(a) IN GENERAL.—Congress finds and declares that the term ‘‘natural born Citizen’’ in Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 of the Constitution of the United States means—
(1) any person born in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof; and
(2) any person born outside the United States-- (A) who derives citizenship at birth from a United States citizen parent or parents pursuant to an Act of Congress . . ."

Paragraph (1) repeats the same language that we find in the Fourteenth Amendment. But if a Fourteenth Amendment born citizen is automatically an Article II "natural born Citizen," why would such a bill be needed? This attempt at amending the “natural born Citizen” clause shows that there are members of Congress who understand that just being a Fourteenth Amendment born citizen does not make one an Article II “natural born Citizen.” Congress also tried such changes with S. 2678 (2008); H. J. RES. 15 (2005); H. J. RES. 104 (2004); H. J. RES. 47 (2001), and approx. 25 other times since the 1870s. If a Fourteenth Amendment born “citizen” was the same as an Article II “natural born citizen,” why would members of Congress see a need for this bill? Hence, it can be seen that just being born in the United States and being declared a “citizen” under the Fourteenth Amendment does not automatically make one an Article II “natural born Citizen.”

It is also noteworthy to examine the Natural Born Citizen Act Summary that accompanied the bill which states in pertinent part: “The bill is intended to clarify the term and end uncertainty about the eligibility requirements to run for the Office of the Presidency. The definition of this term is an issue that has been debated in legal circles for years and has never been ruled on by the courts. Clarification is needed before this becomes a real issue. Congress should be the institution that defines this term, not the courts.” The same information was expressed by Senator Nickles of February 25, 2004 when he addressed the Senate on the bill and which statements are contained in the Congressional Record. Sen. Nickles, in his speech when introducing the S. 2128, announced that: “There is obviously a need for clarification. In the absence of judicial interpretation, Congress can express a legislative interpretation of Constitutional terms. We should not wait for an election to be challenged and the courts to decide what ‘natural born’ means.” Sen. Inhofe referred to the repealed Naturalization Act of 1790 and used it to argue that in the absence of any judicial interpretation, Congress has the authority to define what a “natural born Citizen” is. Among other things, the bill provided that “any person born in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof” is an Article II “natural born Citizen.” Hence, the Senator recognized that simply being born in the United States and being subject to the jurisdiction thereof does not necessarily make one an Article II “natural born Citizen.” The bill did not advance and met the same fate as other similar Congressional proposals to amend Article II’s “natural born Citizen” clause.

What is important is that this “natural born Citizen” issue as it pertains to children born in the United States existed in Congress as far back as February 2004 and has yet to be resolved. What is also important is that this bill would have directly impacted Obama’s eligibility to run for President of the United States. Whether or not this bill if enacted into law would have been Constitutional is another question.

Mario Apuzzo, Esq.
185 Gatzmer Avenue
Jamesburg, New Jersey 08831
November 20, 2009


Dixhistory said...

I was struck also when I was doing research on this subject at all the hits I got when I did a combined search on "NBC" for house and senate.

There is not doubt at all that these men do not uphold their oath to our United States Constitution.

There is a way to change it and it is their job to do that in the correct manner.

cfkerchner said...

Hi all,

This also indicates to me that all the folks down in Washington DC knew about the "natural born citizen" clause and its restrictions back as early as 2004 when the "messiah star of Obama was rising from the Chicago streets" and since they figured they could not pass such a law AND since they knew they would not be able to amend the Constitution (the People would not allow this, imo), ... that they just decided to IGNORE the Constitution in the 2008 Presidential election cycle and with an enabling media, let their party power goals trump the Constitution. They screwed the American people and our Constitution and they knew they were doing it all along in 2007 and 2008. Now they are in total CYA mode and as of yet the press and courts are covering for them. But the heat and temperature of the cook pot of cover-up stew they are sitting in is rising steadily. And in 2010 it is going to boil over. As to their oaths, I don't even think they think about the words. They just parrot them as part of their photo op in getting seated in their office. Words, only words to them. JMHO.


Dixhistory said...

Charles, it sounds like a sound opinion to me.

Then why?... only thing that comes to my mind. We are broke and in debt so far there was no way out.

For years all I have heard is, we don't have enough money and the WWII babies are coming for their SS.

Now it is spend our way out of debt and every thing else that comes along.

I think they need Obama right now and he had the ego to go for it. Nothing to lose if he didn't make it. Just sell another fiction of a book.

I live in GA and thought I had some pretty good people in office. Now I know what RINO means.

Well as you can see it gets me a bit nuts and makes the hair stand on end.

McCain I am sick, that he was not able to man up and call the ball.

Charles, I am hoping you will have sucess in this matter. You do us that care about our oath a great service.


Erica said...

Mario et al,

I've just created a new NBC graphic. This one is timely because of the pending healthcare and cap and trade bills. This time I attempt to illustrate that every decision and order issued by Obama is illegal because of his dual citizenship. It also calls for the courts and Congress to address the issue and force Obama to step down.

Obama The Unconstitutional Usurper

Robert said...

The definition of "Natural Born Citizen" has been clearly established. While the use of the term was debated at the writing of the constitution, the definition was not. Everyone knew what it meant. In fact, the wisdom of selecting "Natural Born Citizens" as leaders and/or rulers was established thousand of years prior as indicated in numerous historical records including, but not exclusive to, biblical history.

From our own relatively short history we can look back at the personal references made by our founding fathers and official documents including related statutes, acts of Congress and Supreme Court decisions. Therein we find not only a clear definition of the term but that all other definitions of any reasonable merit have been eliminated.

The problem is that some would rather 1+1+0=3 because they have a particular liking for the number 3.

1 Born in the country
+1 Citizen Father
+1 Citizen Mother

We must stand up, speak out and hold our elected officials, judges and their staffs liable for the treason the are committing with openness and premeditation we will soon discover their inability to understand another constitutional phrase,


Mario Apuzzo, Esq. said...


Your point is well stated. It has been said that there is genius in simplicity.

I would make one little modification given your formula:

Some would rather have 1(assumed)+0+1=3. The result is the same. Just how we get there is different.

jayjay said...


Your suggested formula is right on the money and Roberts idea shows that people are thinking and waking up.

Robert said...

Thank you for the modification. I agree. It's much more accurate. United States Marijuana Party said...

FEDERAL REGISTER/Vol. 74, No.c 15/Monday, January 26, 2009/Presidential documents
With the President’s handwritten signature and
this text: [FR Doc. E9-712 Filed 1-23-09; 8:45 am] Billing code 3195-W9-P
which proves that the taxpayers were billed for the attorneys fees and paralegal research
costs and secretarial fees and all costs for advising the President to conceal his
personal records from the public.
The text of the document includes,
Section 1.
(g) A “substantial question of executive privilege” exists if NARA’s disclosure of
Presidential records might impair national security (including the conduct of foreign
Relations), law enforcement, or the deliberative processes of the executive branch.

Well, of course national security would be impaired if we knew that President Obama is
Not a natural born citizen and if he was born in Kenya or in Indonesia, then other
countries would be jealous of those countries because they would expect they were
receiving special treatment.
Law enforcement would be impaired from stopping illegal aliens from entering our
Country if President Obama is not a natural born citizen, and in fact, may not be
legally a citizen, so illegal aliens would go wild crashing our borders.
Of course the “deliberative processes of the executive branch” would be impaired
because President Obama would be having none, he’d be on trial for fraud in a fiduciary

Dixhistory said...

Ms.Cris Ericson,

Thanks for pointing to those records.

I of course agree with every word you said.

Sad part is I know the Congress and media know all this. Not only are they letting it slide they are hell bent on aiding it!

If you ever expect to establish the independence of these States, said RWS Colonel John Stark.

"You must teach them to place dependence upon their, firearms and courage."

Incredulous said...

and Landrieau was the critical bought-off vote for the Senate committee vote for Emmbalmacare?

Doublee said...

Whether or not Congress can legislate an interpretation of the Constitution is a very serious question.

For example, the residency requirement is very clear: a president must have resided in the U.S. 14 years. (I avoid the issue of whether or not this means contiguous years.)

It appears obvious to me that if the Congress chooses to change the requirement to 12 years by legislation, for example, they are amending the Constituion by extra-Constitutional means.

I would think that any attempt to clarify the meaning of "natural born citizen" could only be accomplished by means of a Constitutional amendment.

Two things could result. Congress either restates the founders' understanding of NBC, or they (knowingly or unknowingly) redefine NBC. In either case the result is Constitutional.

One additional concern. The bill contains the phrase "subject to the jursidiction thereof". That phrase had a specific meaning in the 14th amendment, but since then its meaning has been blurred, if not ignored. Congress needs to say exactly what they mean by that phrase and include that as part of the bill or amendment.

Mario Apuzzo, Esq. said...


Excellent comment.

Let us move forward said...

Part I of II
The debate about the definition of a natural born citizen extends back into the early 19th century, and has still not been resolved 200 years after the Constitution was ratified. The common competing definitions in this debate have been from "common law" and "natural law". Every Congress and Supreme Court has figured that the next Congress or Supreme Court will formally chose the "proper" definition, avoiding the duty to do so themselves. Sorry guys, the time is now or or it will be decided by default.

The "natural born citizen" Jus Soli is from English common law and is really from feudal times when very few people left the area of their birth. Europe, unlike the United States, still has feudal government vestiges in addition to the idea vestiges, e.g., principalities left over from feudal times still exist today in Europe.

In feudal times, the peasants were bound to the land and were forbidden to leave that land without the permission of the king's vassal or prince. They were required to serve the vassal who controlled the area in which they were born in return for the vassal's protection. Sanderson's opinion in Lynch vs. Clarke alludes to this feudal idea when he discusses the danger of giving native born people the right to determine where their own allegiance lies; he feared that in a time of war, everyone would be able to change their allegiance, and the country would be left without an army. Sanderson would have ascribed to the idea, "Once a subject, always a subject," or, in other words, you can't renounce the lifetime obligation that you owe to the protecting entity under which you were born. (How many anchor babies are going to come back to the US to fight in a war for the US?!)

The other view of "natural born citizen" is based on "natural law." Vattel was one of several Europeans who published works on natural law. One author in the 1600's who questioned the feudal status quo was a German like Luther, who we all know challenged the authority of the all powerful Catholic Church, a partner of feudalism, without fear of the damnation threatened by his inevitable excommunication by the Catholic elite.

Let us move forward said...

Part II
Why has there been any debate about the definition of natural born citizenship since the early days of the US?
First, the term was not defined in the Constitution allowing people to apply their own definition of the term.
Second, the US was formed primarily by former British subjects raised under common law, and there was a constant influx of European immigrants very familiar with common law, many of whom had not personally experienced the many aspects of the American Revolution.
Third, public opinion and attitudes are like a freight train in motion: a great deal of energy is required to stop the train and change or reverse its direction. Many people had a difficult time making the break between common law ideas, which they or their parents were raised with, and the natural law ideas the framers incorporated in the Constitution. Many people also may not have been familiar with those ideas due to lack of education. Even the obvious aspects of the new form of government were cast by the public and even state governments in familiar monarchical language during the period of public attitude/perception transition from the "old world" to the "new world" government.
Fourth, there was no reason or opportunity to test the two definitions of natural born citizenship, a term only relevant to the President, in a Court of Law. The only opportunity for such a test would have been presented by Vice President/ President Chester Arthur, who was inaugurated President under the cloud of Garfield's assassination and in the absence of a law of succession that could be invoked if the Vice President could not serve. Although Chester's claim to natural born citizenship was subject to question, Chester had "paid" a similar price for his citizenship by military service like many of the founding fathers. He also never left the United States during his life. His father, William, was a permanent resident of the US from 1822 forward and naturalized before all of his US born children reached majority. William Arthur's permanent residence began seven years prior to Chester's birth and he was at least an active citizen of the State of Vermont at Chester's birth.

Without an effective challenge that compelled a formal definition of natural born citizenship, the definition each individual citizen held in his mind survived and was passed from generation to generation. This cycle based on ambiguity needs to be broken now. Considering the mobility and anonymity available to people in today's world, and the very real possibility that a foreign entity would try to intentionally destroy the US from within, a formal official definition of natural born citizen with some viable method of enforcing the eligibility provisions in the Constitution by state or federal government, or some way of ensuring that the public knows and understands the significance of the background of the individuals on the ballot, is critical now.

Dixhistory said...

I joined the New Sons of Liberty about 10 months back. See what Frank tried to get started at

Frank Salvato, is editor of The New Media Journal. Frank was one of the first editors I know of that published on NBC.

I had written to him and he came up with that page.

Sorry to say it seems to have gone no place. I have contacted by email and faxes my congress people who have no interest.

On doing more research I came to the conclusion that it was not needed. What we have written in the Constitution needs to be enforced. What we have is just fine it is the people that are flawed.

My opinion is that it is so simple it needs nothing more that what was stated in SCOTUS 88 U.S. 162 Minor v. Happersett Argued: February 9, 1875 - Decided: March 29, 1875 It was never "doubted" what a NBC is.

If an honorable "SCOTUS" will give Mr. Puzo a shot at it, he will tell them how simple it is.

Then they know as does Congress and that is a bad sign.


Unknown said...


A commentor on Orlys blog suggested further protections for POTUS, to me your compromise for further definition on NBC is no different. Hence, and respectfully:

'We have the protection for POTUS the prerequisite NBC. It has been usurped by the opposition and with the assistance and WILFUL blindness from the courts, congress and senate. our God given sovereign country and its inhabitants are under seige! Therefore please hear me loudly, in your ears. DO NOT TOUCH OUR CONSTITUTION. That is what the opposition is doing, your thinking is exactly what the opposition wants you to think.'

Mr Apuzo,
NBC is what congress legislates that it is not. What purpose is there to amend or "define" NBC when congress has lawfully defined all other citizenships? Thereby lawfully leaving NBC Constitutionally protected. Even better, sovereigned.
Also, Could this be SCOTUS reasoning? I mean since NBC is protected. That is why congress or the courts authority do not meet their own standing, and thereby use standing as a justifiable ruling? This would give reason to the ineptness on congress's part. Because congress makes laws and new laws are for SCOTUS approval (when challanged). Since NBC is not new but protected. So is the question for SCOTUS:

"Is the protected NBC being usurped in the elected and now sitting person for POTUS? By his own admission he meets the new laws for duel citizenship, which is unnatural for the protected NBC prerequiste for POTUS."

This avoids the wrangling over standing. over proof. over politcal posture. new definintions. further protections. quo warrants.

Dixhistory said...

In George Washington’s farewell address in 1796, he stated:

" The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotis.

It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another…

If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. The precedent must always greatly overbalance in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit, which the use can at any time yield…

As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practice the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the public councils. Such an attachment of a small or weak towards a great and powerful nation dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter.

Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government...

Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests."

Unknown said...

DixHistory-dot-com - I live in Georgia, too. If you believe we have ANY honest, decent, upstanding politicians here, you don't know sh*t from Shinola. My friend, we need to sit down and talk! I was a contract employee with an intelligence agency for nearly thirty years and I know facts about most of the politicians that would make you too mad to sit still! You have no clue how many of these "fine, upstanding, church going" folks are involved in drug importation and distribution, child pornography, murder for hire, auto theft rings, etc., etc.!

Anonymous said...

Great article Mario.

Congressional action regarding NBC has quite a history. It actually became very active in the 93rd congress right after Goldwater ran for office and lost. It took a sabaticle during the Clinton yars and then resurfaced in during the 2000 election campaign.

Here is a link to all the bills they have tried to get out of committee to change A2 S1 C5 as well as attempts to change the definition of all immigrants using the re-birth theory of the Brtish natural born subject.

Dixhistory said...


A visit to my web psges should let you know how I feel about our RINO and all of them. I start out with the below. Phone, is hard for me due to a spnal cord injury.

MY OWN! House Representativ Lynn A. Westmoreland, Senator Saxby Chambliss Senator Johnny Isakson, they all make - Benedict Arnold -"Look Good"!

Blame the Democratic and Republican National Parties!

Obama, the United States President who wasn't.

Those 545 Career Politicans that make up our Federal Government!

see By Charlie Reese:

Doublee said...


You have misunderstood my post. I was responding to the issue of whether or not Congress can legislate an amendment to the Constitution -- nothing more.

I made an oblique reference to the fact that they could do this knowingly or unknowingly. My sense is that Congress, or at least the authors of this bill, have little or no knowledge of the reason for the NBC requirement.

The conclusion I reach from reading the bill is that they are either unknowingly or indifferetntly changing the NBC requirment.

I certainly am not advocating a compromise. I accept the putative definition of NBC: NBC = born on U.S. soil to two citizen parents.

Let us move forward said...

I found comment by ksdb at It may be an oversimplification but it was interesting to me:

"if native-born was the same thing as natural born, then there was no need for the 14th amendment. That amendment didn’t create natural born status for all who were native born. Instead, it created at-birth Federal and state citizenship status for those who were native born and subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S., but were not previously eligible for citizenship in their state of birth … which would have been for former slaves."

Mario Apuzzo, Esq. said...

Let Us Move Forward,

Under natural law and the law of nations which became federal common law, "native born citizen" meant the same thing as "natural born citizen." Over the years, "native born citizen" took on a different meaning. It was later used to show that under the 14th Amendment someone was a citizen by being born on U.S. soil rather than a citizn by naturalization. Hence, when used in the modern loose sense, "native born citizen" does not necessarily mean the same thing as a "natural born Citizen."

On the 14th Amendment, I have written at length that it did not create "natural born Citizen" status. Article II mentions "natural born Citizen" and "Citizen" while the 14th Amendment mentions "Citizen." The Constitution must be read as one whole document and all its words must be given meaning. Hence, when the 14th Amendment says "Citizen," it must be referring to the same "Citizen" found in Article II and in other parts of the Constitution and not to Article II's "natural born Citizen." Additionally, we cannot simply assume that the 14th Amendment amended Article II. There is simply no such evidence that the 14th Amendment framers did or even intended to amend the meaning of an Article II "natural born Citizen." Amending the Constitution is a very serious and solemn undertaking. We surely cannot have constitutional amendments by assumptions or implications.

We know that an Article II "Citizen" was grandfathered to be eligible to be President and that the grandfather clause is now obsolete. Hence, today one must be a "natural born Citizen" to be eligible to be President. Being a "Citizen" is not sufficient. A "Citizen" is defined by the 14th Amendment and Congressional Acts. An Article II "natural born Citizen" is defined by federal common law (emanating from natural law and the law of nations) which provides that it is a child born in the country to a citizen mother and father.