Tuesday, November 04, 2008
ELECTION DAY QUICK QUIZ
This is a two part quiz, and there is no extra credit.
Where was John McCain born?
Where was Barack Obama born?
What is the rule in regard to where someone has to be born in order to run for the Presidency of the United States, or is there a birthplace rule?
Posted by Ben Witherington at 1:45 PM
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John McCain was born into a Naval officer's family while that officer was stationed in the Panama Canal Zone when it was under US control - August 29, 1936.
Barack Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii which had become the 50th state on August 21, 1959. His father was from Kenya and his mother was a US citizen from Wichita, Kansas.
In any case, the citizenship and residency requirements for President and Vice-president are found in the US Constitution, Article II, Section 1, to wit: "No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States."
McCain: Panama (U.S. base)
Obama: Hawaii (or was it Kenya)
Rule: Must be a natural born citizen, which by definition can include those born of citizens temporarily abroad.
Interesting observation about the election.
Part 1 -
John McCain - Panama Canal Zone (military installation)
Barack Obama - Honalulu, Hawaii
(birth cert. has been "sealed")
Part 2 -
The POTUS must be a "natural-born citizen." The phrase "natural-born" is what seems ambiguous. FYI, Goldwater was born in the Arizona territory.
1. Some military base in Panoma.
2. Honolulu, Hawaii.
3. Must be a "natural born citizen" though the meaning of this is disputed.
BOTH are ineligible to be President.
McCain was born at the Coco Solo Air Base on the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal.
Obama was born in Kenya. And the birth certificate that Obama has provided has been studied by forensic experts and deemed to be a fake.
The Constitution states that you must be a natural born citizen to hold the office of the Presidency.
Quite clearly no one cares though. The Constitution was last seen September 10th 2001.
McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone. Obama was born in Hawaii.
The constitution states that the candidate must be a natural born citizen of the United States. That's now taken to mean that they are either born on US soil (or territories) or to parents who are US citizens.
Barack Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii.
John McCain was born at Coco Solo Naval Air Station in the Panama Canal Zone.
Section I, article II of the US Constitution reads, in part:
No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President;
This leaves things somewhat vague, since "natural born citizen" is never defined.
Obama: Hawaii (Honolulu)
Is there a birthplace rule?
The only eligibility rules for presidents are:
"No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States."
That is all the constitution has to say on the issue of eligibility for president, and it's the controlling legal authority.
That means there is no birthplace rule. As long as your parents are US citizens, you can be born anywhere.
McCain: Panama Canal Zone(stolen property, by the way -- see the 10 Commandments for specifics).
Obama: Hawaii (also stolen). He was born there two years after it became a state.
As an aside: Dr. Witherinton, could your next project be something along the lines of "Jesus' Sermon on the Mount Teachings for Dummies"?
Apropos, the "God and Guns!" signs frequently seen at Palin rallies.
The U.S. Constitution requires presidents to be natural-born citizens who are at least 35 years old. That's it. But you can be sure, assuming Obama is elected, lawyers will be swarming all over this. I guess the Supreme Court will end up deciding this election, too.
No idea where Sen. McCain was born. Arizona?
I believe Sen. Obama was born in Kansas, yes?
The rule is that one has to have been born in the US to be president. So an American citizen born abroad does not qualify.
McCain: American Panama Canal zone
Obama: allegedly Hawaii
"No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States." (Art. II sec. 1)
We've already played "is a person born on a foreign military base a citizen." The answer is yes. And we thought rather poorly of the people who asked the question.
And at least McCain provided proof of where he was born.
Of the top of my head, McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone. Obama was born in Hawaii. I could be wrong. I think the wording is that the candidate must be a "natural-born citizen." I'm not if that restricts the birthplace of the candidate or not.
McCain - Coco Solo Air Base on the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal Zone.
Obama - Honolulu, Hawaii
2. 14th Amendment (depending on your interpretation of it).
Excellent! Most of you pass your civics test (anyone old enough to remember civics class?). There is no residency rule, and the meaning of 'natural born' seems to be interpreted to mean born of at least one parent who is a U.S. citizen. Thus for example Arnold Swartznegger cannot be President. Why not? Because he was born overseas AND his parents were not either natural born or naturalized U.S. citizens. I would take the term natural born to be in contrast to 'naturalized' by way of definition which is what eliminates Arnold.
Wow, I was wrong on all three questions. My excuse? I'm Canadian. Do you have a clue where Stephen Harper was born?
Nope. No clue about Stephen Harper--- Nova Scotia???
Another point, or question....
Did both McCain and Obama have dual citizenship up to age 18 where they had to declair their citizenship? That is normal for children born overseas as well as children of foreign parents born in the US. Do your homework...
McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone, which is US property. Because you was born by two US citizens, who were residents of the US, he is still eligible. A person doesn't loose their citizenship just because his parents were out of the country when he was born. Besides, he was, in fact, born on US soil.
Obama is another matter. There is currently an investigation as to whether or not he switched his birth certificate with his sister. One of them was born in Hawaii, the other in Kenya. Which was born where is currently a matter of investigation. If there was a switch, not only would this be a class A felony, this would put the entire election in doubt. I dont know whether McCain or Biden. I doubt they would hold another election though.
My understanding is that the purpose of the 'natural born' rule was originally to rule out those who might be British sympathizers. Methodists were often viewed as Tories during the American Revolution - even those who fought against Britain - because of John Wesley's firm belief that God appointed Kings and governments.
I'm not disagreeing with anything that has been said, just adding some historical perspective.
Human beings do love to divide the world into 'us and them'; it's part of our sinful nature, I believe.
"That means there is no birthplace rule. As long as your parents are US citizens, you can be born anywhere."
I'm pretty sure that is incorrect. My roommate was born abroad to two US citizens, and he cannot even vote.
Mr. Harper is certainly not a Bluenoser!
Matt in NS
My own daughter was born in Durham in the United Kingdom and she has always been able to vote or so far as I can tell run for office, as she has two parents born in the U.S. Perhaps the issue has to do with legal residence of the parents?
If your head hurts, then you are on the right track as it is complex and confusing. Yes, I think there is some humor in there,
I could be totally wrong, but as far as I know, there is no general law that says that a person born on foreign soil of parents with citizenship is a citizen (except the Naturalization Act of 1790, which was superceded by the Naturalization Act of 1795). But, a specific law was passed in 1937 (after McCain was born) retroactively making people born in the Panama Canal Zone citizens. Now, whether that constitutes "natural born" is still up to constitutional debate, as "natural born" is nowhere defined in the Constitution.
Persons born in the Canal Zone or Republic of Panama on or after February 26, 1904
(a) Any person born in the Canal Zone on or after February 26, 1904, and whether before or after the effective date of this chapter, whose father or mother or both at the time of the birth of such person was or is a citizen of the United States, is declared to be a citizen of the United States.
Ross a Canadian said - Our Prime Minister Stephen Harper was born in Toronto, Ontario, on April 30, 1959.
It is true that it does not matter where you are born as long as at least one parent is a U.S. citizen. I have a friend who was born in England to American parents and she has dual citizenship and always has. Interestingly, she did not have to make a choice at the age of eighteen and still has dual citizenship and has studied in both countries for college and grad work. It makes it incredibly easy for her to travel just about anywhere, because she has the two passports. And since she's not a "foreigner" in either place, it also knocks off all those out of country school fees. I admit, I'm envious.
According to the chatrooms of the Pennsylvania Firearm Owners' Association Obama was born in Kenya. I think that settles it.
It doesn't matter where Obama was born. His mother was a U.S. Citizen. Even if he was born in Kenya, he's still a natural born citizen.
You need to make a distinction between being a citizen and being eligible to be President.
As I understand it, if one you were born abroad, you are still a citizen of the US if:
You were born after on or after November 14 1986 and one of your parents was a citizen who had lived at least 5 years in the US
You were born before November 14 1986 and both of your parents were US citizens, at least one of whom had lived in the US at some time.
All of that gets you US citizenship, and the right to vote. But not the right to be President.
Yes, there are further requirements to be president. While the details seem to be open to some debate, just being a citizen, even being a citizen from birth, does not qualify you to be president.
This is mostly for johno's comment: As a parent of three children from a dual-national family (I am a U.S. citizen - my wife is Brazilian), I can say that it could be that one may be born to two U.S. citizens and never declare their birth abroad with appropriate authorities which would make the child legally ineligible to vote or become president of the U.S. Two of ours have dual-citizenship, but the third one has been tricky because it is apparently easier to get a U.S. born child of Brazilian parents registered at a consulate in the U.S. than it is to just get the U.S. birth certificate acknowledged and a Brazilian one issued when you're actually in Brazil. Bureaucracy is wonderful, neh? (Ironically, they issued a passport to my third child - to recognize here as a citizen of Brazil, but still make it next to impossible to get her a birth certificate here)
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