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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Discussion of Historical and Contemporary Meanings of “natural born Citizen”


by Rule of Law

Editor's Note: Re-posted with permission of The Post & Email.

Do the definitions in Black's Law Dictionary agree with those in the U.S. Constitution?

(Jan. 11, 2012) — Editor’s Note: On January 10, 2012, The Post & Email published an article about a ballot challenge dismissed in the state of Alabama on January 9 in which we said of Bradley Davidson, the Executive Director of the Alabama Democrat Party, “He stated that his understanding was that in order to be considered ‘natural born,’ one must be born on American soil or U.S. territory.” In response, a reader wrote:

I have finally figured out where this is coming from and it explains a lot of the hostility found in the courts against citizen voters and their concern with Constitutional Eligibility. It is the understanding of the definition of “natural born citizen” itself and the document that controls that definition.

Black’s Law Dictionary is considered secondary only to U.S. Supreme Court rulings as a legal source. It was first published in the 19th century and is in its Ninth Edition. However, in 1991, the Fifth Edition, the definition for natural born citizens was stated as follows:

Natural born citizen. Persons who are born within the jurisdiction of a national government, i.e. in its territorial limits, or those born of citizens temporarily residing abroad. (Black’s Law Dictionary, 6th Ed., 1991, p.1026) Section 4.1.

Native. A nature-born subject or citizen; a denizen by birth; one who owes his domicile or citizenship to the fact of his birth within the country referred to. The term may also include one born abroad, if his parents were citizens of the country, and not permanently residing in foreign parts. U. S. v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U. S. 649, 18 S.Ct. 456, 42 L.Ed. 890; New Hartford v. Canaan, 54 Conn. 39, 5 A. 360; Oken v. Johnson, 160 Minn. 217, 199 N.W. 910.

The word “native,” as used in Alien Enemy Act, refers to a person’s place of birth, so that a person remains a native of country of birth, though he has moved away therefrom. United States ex rel. D’Esquiva v. Uhi, C.C.A. N. Y. 137 F.2d. 903, 905.

One who was born in Germany and later becomes a citizen of France was a “native” of Germany. Ex parte Gregoire, D.C.Cal., 61 F.Supp. 92, 93.

But a person born in Alsace which at the time of his birth was a part of Germany but was restored to France by the Treaty of Versailles of 1919 was a “native” of France. United States ex rel. Umecker v. McCoy, D.C.N.D., 54 F.Supp. 679, 681, 682.

Black’s Law Dictionary, Fourth Edition (1951) page 1176.

This is the controlling definition being protected by the judicial system. It is not grounded in the Constitution but in British Common law. It is not grounded in the U.S. Constitution but in a misinterpreted U.S. Supreme Court case written by a justice appointed by then-President Chester Arthur. This is the definition of a natural born subject, not a natural born citizen as understood by the wording of Article II, Section 1, Clause 5.

And yet in another law dictionary:

Native, native citizen. A natural-born subject. 1 Bla. Com 366. Those born in a country, of parents of who are citizens. Morse, Citizenship 12. See Citizen. There is no distinction between native born as used in the French Extradition treaty and natural born as used in the extradition act; 37 W. R. 269.

Bouvier’s Law Dictionary, Third Revision (8th Edition)(1914), Volume 2, page 2297.

It would seem that the definition of “natural born citizen” has changed over the years, and yet the basic assumed understanding of the definition in the context of the Constitutional eligibility criteria for “natural born citizen” remains constant: a natural born citizen is a person born on U.S. soil to U.S.-citizen parents.

An article published by the Yale Law School written by Rebekka Susan Bonner (2008) acknowledges a near-universal acceptance of the assertion that all persons born within the United States are natural born (Bonner, p. 3).

It goes on to state that there is a concerted effort by lawyers and politicians to change the self-defining concept of “natural born citizen” in favor of a “new interpretative approach that would expand the number of American citizens who may be considered natural born for purposes of presidential eligibility; how Congress might operationalize these new understandings and why reconceptualization of the meaning of the citizen clause is preferable to previous interpretations of Article II.” (Bonner, Abstract).

The bottom line is that the majority of lawyers, politicians, and judges practicing in this country have subverted the definition of “natural born citizen” found in Minor v. Happersett with the definition for a British natural born subject and have chosen U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark to set the definition. It is clear that these two U.S. Supreme Court rulings are in conflict with one another and the definition of “natural born citizen” is yet to finalized.

Any lawsuit going forward needs to consider this and address it head-on by declaring the sitting judge a hostile participant to the hearing biased in favor of British common law instead of the U.S. Constitution.

It isn’t race. It is a profound and fundamental misunderstanding of what Black’s Law Dictionary is. It is a collection of British Common laws and not based on the U.S. Constitution. It works in the U.S. because many of the legal terms used today in the practice of law are the same whether utilized in English Common law or U.S. law.

What I would like to know is why someone felt the need to put this definition in Black’s Law Dictionary in 1991? In the second printing, there is a clear distinction between “subject” and “citizen.”

This is why the lawsuits are being dismissed for either lack of jurisdiction or lack of standing without hearings on the merits. The definition which the American people understand for the term “natural born citizen” based on its context in the U.S. Constitution is not the same definition under which the judicial system and lawyers are operating. The disconnect could not be more profound. Furthermore, this new definition has been implemented without the consent of the governed.

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