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What did Congress know about ‘natural-born citizen’?

8 tries at eliminating requirement suggests organized strategy in place

Published: 07/01/2011 at 8:17 PM

author-image by Bob Unruh Email | Archive

Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after spending nearly three decades writing on a wide range of issues for several Upper Midwest newspapers and the Associated Press. Sports, tornadoes, homicidal survivalists, and legislative battles all fell within his bailiwick. His scenic photography has been used commercially, and he sometimes plays in a church worship band.

There were eight attempts by members of Congress during the years Barack Obama was developing a power base and running for president to remove the Constitution’s requirement that a president be a “natural-born citizen,” suggesting an organized strategy, according to a new video.

The video documentary was produced by Carl Gallups, the senior pastor at Hickory Hammock Baptist Church for more than 24 years with a long history of community and law enforcement involvement.

Gallups was a Florida law enforcement officer for 10 years, a youth minister before that and is a national and international youth evangelist with outreaches across the United States and in Canada since 1989. He’s also on the board of regents at the University of Mobile and hosts several weekly radio programs in the northwest Florida region.

Get the New York Times best-seller “Where’s the Birth Certificate? The Case that Barack Obama Is Not Eligible to be President,” autographed by Jerome Corsi, Ph.D.

Documentation for his video comes from a variety of congressional records showing that beginning June 11, 2003, and continuing through the most recent effort, Feb. 28, 2008, there were eight proposals targeting that constitutional requirement.

The video:

He outlines the specifics:

  • June 11, 2003, Rep. Vic Snyder, D-Ark., brought HJR 59. It was intended to “permit persons who are not natural born citizens of the United States, but who have been citizens of the United States for at least 35 years, to be eligible to hold the offices of president and vice president.”
  • Sept. 3, 2003, Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., brought HJR67, which would have done the same as Snyder’s, only the requirement to be a citizen was lowered to 20 years.
  • Feb. 25, 2004, Sen. Don Nickles, R-Okla., brought S.B. 2128 to “try to counter the growing Democrat onslaught aimed at removing the natural born citizen requirement.” But it defined NBC as someone who was born in and is subject to the United States,” which was not the understanding of the framers of the Constitution.
  • Sept. 15, 2004, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., brought HJR 104, “to make eligible for the office of president a person who is not a natural born citizen of the United States but has been a United States citizen for at least 20 years.”
  • Jan. 4, 2005, Conyers, D-Mich., HJR2, the same as Rohrabacher’s.
  • Feb. 1, 2005, HJR15, Rohrabacher, to require only 20 years citizenship to be eligible for the office of president.
  • April 14, 2005, Snyder, HJR42, requiring 35 years’ citizenship.
  • Feb. 28, 2008, Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., tried to attach to SB 2678, Children of Military Families Natural Born Citizen Act, an amendment clarifying what “natural-born citizen” includes. Obama and then-Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., were sponsors.

Gallups reports that finally, on April 10, 2008, “unable to alter or remove” the requirement, the Senate changed the focus of the issue, with Senate Resolution 511, which addressed Sen. John McCain’s qualifications as a “natural-born citizen.”

Obama’s qualifications never were reviewed.

After his election, Gallups points out, Obama held a secret meeting with eight of the nine justices of the U.S. Supreme Court – from which no public information was released. The meeting was held even though there were legal challenges in which Obama was a defendant pending before the Supreme Court at the time. The attorneys for the plaintiffs never were told of the meeting or invited to participate in what critics have described as extrajudicial contact between the court and a defendant.

JB Williams, on The Patriot News, also examined the circumstances of the proposals in Congress, and carried the sequence a step further.

“As a result, the DNC was forced to remove the ‘constitutionally eligible’ language from the 2008 DNC certification of the Obama-Biden ticket, omitting from the certification the following language – ‘and that the following candidates for President and Vice President of the United States are legally qualified to serve under the provisions of the United States Constitution.’
Instead, the DNC only certified that the Obama-Biden ticket was duly nominated for the offices of President and Vice President, using the following language – ‘THIS IS TO CERTIFY that at the National Convention of the Democrat Party of the United States of America, held in Denver, Colorado on August 25 though 28, 2008, the following were duly nominated as candidates of said Party for President and Vice President of the United States respectively:’”

WND previously reported on another link between Obama and a campaign to change the constitutional provision. It came from an associate lawyer in a Chicago-based firm whose partner served on a finance committee for then-Sen. Barack Obama. She advocated for the elimination of the U.S. Constitution’s requirement that a president be a “natural-born” citizen, calling the requirement “stupid” and asserting it discriminates, is outdated and undemocratic.

Barack Obama and Raila Odinga
Barack Obama and Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga

The paper was written in 2006 by Sarah Herlihy, just two years after Obama had won a landslide election in Illinois to the U.S. Senate. Herlihy was listed as an associate at the Chicago firm of Kirkland & Ellis. A partner in the same firm, Bruce I. Ettelson, cited his membership on the finance committees for both  Obama and Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., on the corporate website.

The article by Herlihy was available online under law review articles from Kent University when it originally was the subject of reports but later was removed.

Herlihy’s published paper reveals that the requirement likely was considered in a negative light by organizations linked to Obama in the months before he announced in 2007 his candidacy for the presidency.

The natural born citizen requirement in Article II of the United States Constitution has been called the “stupidest provision” in the Constitution, “undecidedly un-American,” “blatantly discriminatory” and the “Constitution’s worst provision,” Herlihy begins in her introduction to the paper titled “Amending the Natural Born Citizen Requirement: Globalization as the Impetus and the Obstacle.”

She concludes that the “emotional” reasons to oppose changing the Constitution will prevail over the “rational” reasons demanding a change.

The current American perceptions about the effects of globalization and the misunderstanding about what globalization actually is will result in Americans deciding that naturalized citizens should not be president because this would, in effect, be promoting globalization, Herlihy wrote.

“Although this argument is admittedly circular, because globalization is the thing that makes the need to abolish the requirement more and more persuasive, Americans’ subsequent perceptions about globalization are the very things that will prevent Americans from embracing the idea of eliminating the natural born requirement.

“Logical Americans are looking for a reason to ignore the rational reasons promoted by globalization so that they may vote based on their own emotions and instincts,” she wrote.

In the body of her argument, Herlihy said the constitutional provision simply is outdated.

“Considering that the Founding Fathers presumably included the natural born citizen clause in the Constitution partly out of fear of foreign subversion, the current stability of the American government and the intense media scrutiny of presidential candidates virtually eliminates the possibility of a ‘foreigner’ coming to America, becoming a naturalized citizen, generating enough public support to become president, and somehow using the presidency to directly benefit his homeland,” she wrote.

“The natural born citizen clause of the United States Constitution should be repealed for numerous reasons. Limiting presidential eligibility to natural born citizens discriminates against naturalized citizens, is outdated and undemocratic, and incorrectly assumes that birthplace is a proxy for loyalty,” she wrote.

Many of the reasons for keeping the limit, she wrote, “are based primarily on emotion.”