Thursday, December 4, 2008

Why I signed a petition about Obama's Birth Certificate

The issue of whether a candidate for the Presidency is a "Natural Born Citizen" has come up in the past. One instance I remember is in the 60's when George Romney was running in the primaries for President. It was alleged that he was born in Mexico and therefore wasn't a natural born citizen. In the election of 2008 not only Obama's natural born status was questioned, but McCain's as well. McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone. In 1790 Congress passed a law which defined the son or daughter of an American born overseas as a natural born citizen. The Wikipedia in the entry which can be found by Googling "natural born citizen" states

The 1790 Congress, many of whose members had been members of the Constitutional Convention, provided in the Naturalization Act of 1790 that "And the children of citizens of the United States that may be born beyond the sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born citizens."

But in 1795, according to the Wikipedia

the Congress passed the Naturalization Act of 1795 which removed the words "natural born" from this statement to state that such children born to citizens beyond the seas are citizens of the U.S., but are not legally to be considered "natural born citizens" of the U.S.

I had always been under the impression that the son or daughter of an American citizen was considered a citizen even though born overseas, and I was vaguely aware of the 1790 law which defined "natural born" to include the sons and daughters of Americans born outside the U. S.
But I signed the petition in the hopes that the Supreme Court would hear the case and rule and clear this issue up once and for all. So far as I'm concerned Obama won the election fair and square. He will be our next president. But please, Supreme Court, clear this issue up.

1 comment:

Ted said...

Posted in Uncategorized on December 4, 2008 by naturalborncitizen
Below is the text of a letter Leo Donofrio just sent to ABC News:

Dear Mr. Terry Owens and ABC News.

The story you printed today with the headline, “Supreme Court to Decide Obama Citizenship” is riddled with errors. Allow me to correct the record for you. I have said in my law suit that I believe Obama was born in Hawaii, so I have no idea why your story makes it seem as if my law suit is centered on the issue of where Obama was born. You wrote,

“The President-elect has maintained he was born in the United States.”

The main argument of my law suit alleges that since Obama was a British citizen - at birth - a fact he admits is true, then he cannot be a “natural born citizen”. The word “born” has meaning. It deals with the status of a presidential candidate “at birth”. Obama had dual nationality at birth. The status of the candidate at the time of the election is not as relevant to the provisions of the Constitution as is his status “at birth.” If one is not “born” a natural born citizen, he can never be a natural born citizen.

Furthermore, the case is scheduled for conference of all nine Justices, not eight. You should correct that.

And your reporting, which could have been complete with a simple phone call to the Public Information Office, is also deficient in that it wasn’t Justice Thomas alone who distributed the case for conference of December 5, 2008. That was a decision taken after consideration of the full Court.

There are two docket entries for Nov. 19. One of them shows that Justice Thomas referred the case to the full court. The other indicates that the full court distributed the case for conference of Dec. 5. I suggest you call Patricia McCabe Estrada, Deputy Public Information Officer for the United States Supreme Court. She will set you and your story straight.

The case could have easily been denied after Justice Thomas referred it to the full court. There was no requirement that it be distributed for conference. In fact, the normal procedure in referred applications involves no public mention of such cases until after the full Court has taken some action. There is an official Supreme Court Publication entitled

“A REPORTER’S GUIDE TO APPLICATIONS Pending Before The Supreme Court of the United States”

You may find it here:

It will guide you with accuracy to the actions involved in the case you are reporting upon. On page 3, it states:

“The Circuit Justice may act on an application alone or refer it to the full Court for consideration. The fact that an application has been referred to the full Court may not be known publicly until the Court acts on the application and the referral is noted in the Court’s order.“
Now go back and check the docket url for my case.

Another misleading element of your story is the headline. The Supreme Court will be focused on the issue of Obama’s eligibility to be President, not on his citizenship status. Just being a “Citizen” is not enough to be President. I have no doubt, and I’m sure the Supreme Court concurs, that Obama is a United States citizen.

But the Constitution draws a direct distinction between “Citizens” and “Natural Born Citizens”. Citizens may be Senators and Representatives, but it takes something else to be President. So, your headline is wrong as well as your story.

If you would like to respond to this letter, which I have just published in my blog about the case, feel free to do so and I will publish your response as is.

My blog URL is

Yesterday, a reporter from the Kansas City Star wrote an equally misleading report about my case. After readers of this blog confronted him, he had the decency to call me and apologize for the wrong treatment my case received in his report. We struck up a good conversation and I gave him proper respect for his admission. I am here to talk any time you like. I understand the concepts are technical and non-lawyers have problems with them.


Leo C. Donofrio