Friday News Flash: Obama Constitutionally Ineligible for Presidency! (Okay, Maybe Not)
In a sign of increasing election-eve desperation on the Right, respectable Republicans (Andrew McCarthy, for one) appear now to be taking seriously the argument that Obama does not meet constitutional eligibility requirements for the presidency. A suit has been filed in Pennsylvania seeking declarative relief to that effect, on two grounds: 1) he was born not in Hawaii but rather in Kenya, and thus doesn’t qualify as a “natural born” citizen, and 2) Obama isn’t a citizen at all, having lost his nationality as a minor when his mother married an Indonesian national and moved to Indonesia, or, alternatively, having lost his citizenship upon adoption by his stepfather. (You can find the semi-literate complaint here.)
Dave Hoffman has the procedural details over at Concurring Opinions. As for the substance of the first claim, there is the small problem of pretty convincing documentation of Obama’s birth in Hawaii. (Check out the certificate itself — I didn’t know that it’s Barack Hussein Obama II, as in the Second — why not “junior”?) So the facts don’t support the claim. Even if Obama had been born in Kenya, he would have been a citizen at birth by statute. Though there might still be an argument against constitutional eligibility, I don’t think it’s a very strong one.
The second claim is nonsense. Although it was once the case that women lost their nationality upon marriage to a foreigner, that practice was eliminated under the Cable Act of 1922 and the Equal Nationality Act of 1934. Obama’s mother did not lose her citizenship by marrying a noncitizen; so neither did Obama. Nor would Obama have lost his US citizenship if he had been adopted by his Indonesian stepfather. Under section 349 of the Nationality Act, citizenship would have been lost by virtue of naturalization in another state only where the individual was over the age of 18.
Let’s remember who was actually born outside the United States. Anyone detect a pattern here?