Obama citizenship and the Constitution PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jim Capo
Wednesday, 29 October 2008 12:33

Background on the issue

It is difficult to weigh in on the issue of the "natural born" citizenship status of Barack Obama without sounding like a GOP partisan or a sore loser supporter of Hillary Clinton.

We do however want to make people aware of the Constitutional crisis that would ensue if, after November 4th, it was determined that president-elect Obama was found short of meeting the strict application of "natural-born" citizenship status. In such a case, we would be presented with a situation far more serious than in the contested 2000 election.

The victory of a slightly less than qualified "natural-born" citizen cannot be allowed to stand without resolution. If anyone has any doubts on this, please read the article published today by Constitutional scholar Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr.

As there were calls in 2000 to abolish our electoral college, expect even more strident calls to change the "natural-born" clause. This would be the more likely route the controlled media would lead the ensuing debate. "Obama won fair and square. It's only by an antiquated technicality that he falls just short of meeting the strictest interpretations of the 'natural-born' clause." Once elected, how many in officialdom will risk mass civil unrest, by denying "the will of the people" in order to accommodate an obscure clause in a now widely disregarded document. "Does Congress still declare war like the Constitution calls for? No. President Bush did not have to meet the requirements of this clause. Selectively enforcing a little used clause of the Constitution to deny Obama his historic victory is a blatant act of..."

You get the picture. Denying Obama the office of the presidency will not be offered as an option. Instead, the push will be on to alter the Constitution as necessary and move on. To the extent the immediate resolution of the issue will be called for, look for yet another call for the ultimate solution: an article V Con-Con (constitutional convention). This is what battle hardened members of The John Birch Society should be most on guard for.

What you can do to be pro-active

Hopefully, it will turn out that a President Obama will be a fully qualified President Obama. If not though, defenders of the Constitution can stake out some turf for any upcoming battle - if they act immediately. Attached as an example is a letter that was sent today by a duly organized county GOP organization to the North Carolina State Board of Elections (SBOE).

The essential wording is simple:

We officially request that, prior to November 4th, the North Carolina State Board of Elections issue an official statement indicating the grounds upon which the board has determined, beyond any reasonable doubt, that Barack Obama does in fact meet the Constitutional requirement of being a "natural-born citizen," such that his name can legally appear on the ballot for President in the State of North Carolina.

Activists in some states will note that it is the Secretary of States office that is in charge of oversight for the election process. Do not however be misled by uninformed or otherwise officials who claim that this is not a matter under their jurisdiction but rather falls under the purview of the Federal Elections Commission (FEC). The mandate of the FEC, which was not even formed until 1975, is to oversee campaign financing of elections. That's it. The FEC does not determine if candidates meet the qualifications detailed in the U.S. Constitution. This is still a function conducted by the sovereign states, which make up our federal union.

That said, it does not mean that all states dutifully and without prejudice meet their obligation to qualify the candidates they allow to appear on election ballots offered under their jurisdiction. In the case of North Carolina, the SBOE simply accepts for placement on the statewide ballot, all names submitted by the two parties certified by the state to hold primary elections. That is, the state accepts as qualified all potential presidential candidates submitted to them by the state Democratic and Republican parties.

What this means: Barack Obama has not been required to make a legal claim to be qualified to run for President of the United States in the state of North Carolina — or probably any other state. Whatever claims he may have made were with the privately organized and operated National Democratic Party who in turn informed its state affiliates to place his name on state ballots.

If you wish your duly recognized local organization to have a chance of standing in part of any statewide effort or legal action to resolve this potential issue, it would be best to get your letters of clarification into your state board of elections or secretary of state offices by no later than Friday morning. The absolute latest you should get your letter in, would before the close of business hours on election day. Starting an effort after election day will make you look like a sore loser or worse.

Update - November 3rd am:

The North Carolina State Board of Elections has been responding to inquiries.
1) NC SBOE confirms they accept, without question names for the presidential ballot as submitted to them by the state certified parties. DEM, GOP and Libertarian for 2008.

2) As the state DEM party submits names they are told to by the DNC, it appears there no requirement that a candidate legally certify to a private political party that they are eligible to be president.

3) Because it is the Electoral College that elects our POTUS, voters nor a BOE have standing to challenge the constitutional qualifications of a POTUS.

4) Outside of driving a novel case all the way up to the Supreme Court, the convening of the electoral college to count votes is the step where a formal challenge can occur…and is required to be resolved.

5) If I understand the US code correctly (go to section 15), to challenge the electoral votes as they are being counted in Congress, requires a minimum of one House member and one Senate member from the same state, to submit in writing, during the time of counting, the reason for their challenge to the votes from a particular state being counted. (States ballots are counted in alphabetical order) The challenge must be resolved before the counting of elector votes is allowed to continue.

There were calls to contest the election results in the Electoral College in 2000 and 2004. There may be again for 2008.