Marco Rubio, Birthers, Citizenship, and Presidential Eligibility

Posted By on October 22, 2011 at 10:50 am

So, color me shocked, the Washington Post ran a hit piece against Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL). Weak and easily refuted, the only thing surprising about the story is that they chose to run it now instead of waiting until he becomes a presidential contender, which he surely will be some day.*

The story wasn’t terribly serious, but it’s already being used by elements of the Left (as well as the usual members of the Tinfoil Hat Brigade [link via Flopping Aces]) to make the argument that, although he was indisputably born in the United States, his parents were not yet naturalized citizens, and therefore Rubio, not being a “natural born citizen,” is Constitutionally ineligible to be President.

The problem lays in what makes a “natural born” citizen. The Rubio Birthers, borrowing an argument from the Obama Birthers, claim that the parents must be US citizens for a child to be a “natural born” citizen. This is rankest nonsense of the first order.

Let’s move forward from here with one premise: that the Constitution was written for ordinary people like you and me to read and understand, without requiring gaggles of lawyers, Supreme Court penumbras, and stare decisis to make plain — or worse, alter — the meaning of the black-letter text of our founding document.

Article 2, Section 1, Clause 5 of the Constitution tells us the requirements for holding the office of President:

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’s fine as it is, though of course the “or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution” part is quite obsolete.

Now let’s look at the Section 1 of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution, which defines what a citizen is:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.

You, like I, may have noticed the utter lack of the qualifier “natural” preceding the word “born.” So there are only two qualifications for being a citizen:

  1. you have to be either
    • born here or
    • naturalized, and
  2. you must be “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States.

The “born here” bit has in practice been extended to include US territories, overseas military bases, embassies, and whatnot.

Item 2, by the way, would tend to militate against birthright citizenship for the children of illegal aliens, as the parents are not “subject to the jurisdiction,” which means a great deal more than merely being “subject to being arrested and deported.”

So a plain reading of the Constitution would indicate that the expression “natural born” is used only to distinguish “born here” from “not born here, but here as of 1787″… and of course the second type no longer exists.**

In practice, then, as well as in the black-letter text of the 14th Amendment, you’re either born here or you’re naturalized. Rubio, having been born here to parents legally (“subject to the jurisdiction”) here, is clearly eligible for offices under Article 2, Section 1, Clause 5 of the Constitution — that is, the Presidency or Vice Presidency.

* I’m going to guess 2024 — he’s a young guy, with plenty of time.

** Unless there are some 230+ year olds that have escaped our notice. Hey, you never know.


One Response to “Marco Rubio, Birthers, Citizenship, and Presidential Eligibility”

  1. Dave Francis says:


    These immigration issues calls for a Congressional corrections, after the ‘2006 Secure Fence act’ is resurrected and built as planned. This was a double-layer fence parallel to each other, as signed into law by former president Bush. Currently waiting in the wings is Lamar Smith’s ‘Legal Workforce Act’ that disinclined GOP leaders who are wavering in bringing (H.R. 2885 bill) to the floor of the House. It’s blatantly obvious the usual suspects have been whining at these lawmakers door, from the Special Interest lobbyists. Mandating E-Verify could easily be the epitome of returning America to the “Rule of Law” for all law-abiding Americans. It could be foreseen as a series of steps, to curtail the foothold baby- citizenship financial dilemma, probably one of the highest costs to taxpayers. Illegal aliens unable to procure work, will pack up their possessions and leave.

    In a study by the (FAIR) Federation of American Immigration Reform, they have estimated that somewhere between 20 million and upwards of illegal immigrants have unlawful roots here, not the numbers offered by previous or today’s administrations. The investment firm analysts for Bear-Stearns claimed that the US illegal immigrant population, also agreed with this number of 20 million people.” This was prior to the demise of the company in 2008.

    Much of these illegal entries has attributed to the 49 Percent of poverty in the United States. Since 1963 the U.S. has spent over $11 trillion on anti-poverty programs, given out money, food, Section 8 housing, medical care, and assistance to the poor and near underprivileged. Since the immigration reforms of the 1960s, the U.S. has imported unsustainable poverty through immigration measures that were permitted and encouraged entry and the residence of millions of low-skill immigrants into the nation. Low-skill migrants and immigrants are liable to be poor, having babies who, in turn, are adding to America’s propagating poverty problem, driving up governmental benefits, public service, and education costs. We are now topping $113 billion dollars annually, as according to the Heritage Foundation.

    Under the Liberals, Democrats and GOP elitists nothing will ever be done, against the increasing numbers of foreign nationals coming here. The subsidizing costs are reaching astronomical unprecedented dollars, especially if President Obama passes Amnesty; if the voters offer him a second four year term a reform package would devastate any chance of climbing out this deepening recession. A 2.6 Trillion price tag as analyzed by the Heritage Foundation.

    Get in touch with Members of the Ways & Means Committee to phone or fax for free at NumbersUSA. You can also contact all these lawmakers through their Internet websites. But you insist on the Legal Workforce Act today and start putting Americans back to a job, taken by foreign nationals.

    Bombard Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) ((202-225-0600); House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) (202-225-2815); House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) (202) 225-2915); House Chairman of Ways & Means Committee Dave Camp (R-MI) (202-225-3561).
    NEBRASKA, Rep. Berg, Rick (GOP) (202-225-2611) ; NEBRASKA, Rep. Smith, Adrian (GOP) (202-225-6435); LOUISIANA, Rep. Boustany, Charles (GOP) (202-225-2031); (202-225-2031); KENTUCKY, Rep. Davis, Geoff (GOP) (202-225-3465); PENNSYLVANIA, Rep. Gerlach, Jim (GOP)(202-225-4315); KANSAS, Rep. Jenkins, Lynn (GOP)(202-225-6601); MINNESOTA, Rep. Paulsen, Erik (GOP)(202-225-2871); WASHINGTON, Rep. Reichert, Dave (GOP) (202-225-7761); WISCONSIN, Rep. Ryan, Paul (GOP) (202-225-3031) Tell these unwilling lawmakers that you are a voter and that they will be hearing from you in 2012.

    If you want to free fax, go to NumbersUSA or please call Washington at 202-224-3121 and ask for your U.S. Senator or Representative’s office to urge action on mandatory E-Verify.

    First on the lists, a Bracero type program, to allow workers to be admitted for farm employment and agriculture legally, who can then—BE TRACKED–if they abscond from the jobs allocated to them? Between 1942 and 1964, some 4.6 million Mexicans were admitted to do farm work and despite protests from US farm labor advocacy groups there was no lack of labor, only a shortage of respectable living wages and decent working conditions. By paying a fair wage, but their conditions must include health care, schooling for their kids—not placed as a financial burden on taxpayers as it mostly is today. The Bracero project should be resurrected as with the 2006 Secure Fence Act with two fences–instead of the half–completed one fence we have now and decked with nasty concertina razor wire.

    Give a priority to highly skilled workers, with proven credentials of exceptional experiences and offer preferences to entrepreneurs, and wealthy businessman and women who can contribute to American society. Stop the travesty of the million legal immigrants a year, who are being covertly brought here by corporate owners through Department of Labor immigration loopholes. Through financial necessity we must reduce and stop illegal immigration at the porous borders, using one way flight tickets and using every tool available to seek out those already here. IF SOVEREIGNTY MINDED, PATRIOTIC AMERICANS WANT THERE COUNTRY BACK, AND THEN JOIN THE TENS OF MILLIONS OF MEMBERS OF THE TEA PARTY BRANCHES THROUGHOUT OUR NATION. THE TEA PARTY IS AN OPEN, FORUM FOR EVERY CITIZEN AND LEGAL RESIDENT, NO MATTER A PERSON RACE OR SPIRITUAL STANDING.

    Certainly in 2012 we must safe-guard our elections, as illegal aliens do vote and as it’s been predominately shown before.