Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Natural Born Citizenship

A friend asked for my thoughts on this article:
Author Contentions:
''The 18th-century English jurist William Blackstone, the preeminent authority on it, declared natural-born citizens are “such as are born within the dominions of the crown of England,” while aliens are “such as are born out of it.” The key to this division is the assumption of allegiance to one’s country of birth.''

-Rebuttal- ''Dominion'' in this sense means under the inferred authority of the government. As a citizen at birth, you have responsibilities to the authorities of government (not to be a traitor, pay taxes etc.). But Blackstone is functionally irrelevant to constitutional legal interpretation - the constitution is a deliberate manifestation of distinction against English common law. Put simply, it isn't relevant.

''Instead, Cruz was naturalized at birth. This provision has not always been available. For example, there were several decades in the 19th century when children of Americans born abroad were not given automatic naturalization. ''

-Rebuttal- He was born as a citizen at birth. Regardless, that the author uses the historical application of the law under Congressional direction as part of her argument, directly contradicts her other claim that Congress is irrelevant. But Congressional action in the 19th century is not relevant to the status of law in the 21st century. The key here is that the Supreme Court has given Congress great latitude to define the specific legal meaning of ‘natural born citizenship’. They have done so for the reasons I point out in my guardian piece from 2011 – here.

''But Article II of the Constitution expressly adopts the legal status of the natural-born citizen and requires that a president possess that status.''

-Rebuttal- This is a laughable stretch of Constitutional theory. Article 2 states that only natural born citizens can be Presidents. It expressly does not define natural born citizenship. Congress has been left to define that natural born citizenship status – section g– and the SCOTUS has accepted their judgment.

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