Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Obama Controversy and the Soiler Factor

Michael David Rawlings

Soilism is the commonly held fallacy that one must be born on American soil in order to be a natural-born citizen of the United States. Despite more than two-hundred years of statutory history showing otherwise, adherents desperately cling to this doctrine with the feverish, cult-like fanaticism of a Truther. The Soiler's typical response to anyone who attempts to talk them down, as it were, is to cover his ears and sing, "la-la-la-la-la, I can't hear you, la-la-la-la-la". This doctrine also includes the idea that the premises of U.S. military installations and diplomatic facilities beyond the several states of the Union and its incorporated territories are American soil for constitutional purposes.

This doctrine is indirectly associated with the Birther Movement because it goes to a shockingly widespread confusion about the law itself rather than to a disregard for the actual facts behind the Movement's claims about Obama's biographical peculiarities. While the latter are merely obscured by the Movement's general body of insinuations and flat-out lies, the former is due to an entrenched, self-imposed ignorance.

In this regard, the Movement's cleverest lies rely on very precise renderings of the law, and therein lies the rub. These involve a complex process of manipulation whereby the law is made to appear as something else in the minds of the unwitting. Typically, the prevailing circumstances beyond the law are merely stated in such a way as to signify something about the law other than what it is. These subtle misrepresentations—this magic—evinces a respectable degree of legal sophistication.

While the legal rationale behind the best of the claims that would "push" Obama off American soil at birth ultimately have nothing to do with where he was born, but when—this fact flies right over the heads of soiler-believing Birthers. But how sweet is that! That's what you call "a twofer in one".

At the time of Obama's birth, a child born abroad of one U.S. citizen and one foreign citizen was a U.S. citizen at birth, provided that the child was born after the citizen parent had resided in the U.S. for at least ten years, with at least five of those years occurring after the citizen parent's fourteenth birthday. Obama's mother continuously resided in the United States up to her twenty-fourth year, but she gave birth to Obama after her eighteenth year, roughly three months shy of her nineteenth birthday. For that reason, and that reason alone, Obama had to be born on U.S. soil in order to be a U.S. citizen at birth, but had he been born just over three months later in Kenya, for example, assuming that his mother remained in American up to her nineteenth birthday, he still would have been a U.S. citizen at birth and, therefore, eligible to run for the presidency.

An example of the convoluted trash of Soilism propagated by Birthers to sow confusion and dissent (YouTube, "What Exactly IS a Natural Born Citizen?",

The law established two distinct types of citizens: (1) U.S. citizens and (2) natural-born citizens.

A U.S. citizen is a person (1) born of at least one parent who is a U.S. citizen, (2) born on U.S. soil or (3) naturalized after birth.
Because the meaning of the context in which this statement is presented is false, the meaning of the stand-alone statement is false. All non-naturalized U.S. citizens (born of the soil and/or born of the blood of the nation) are by definition natural-born citizens under current law and, therefore, eligible to hold the Office of President. The legal distinction is between non-naturalized citizens and naturalized citizens, not between non-naturalized citizens and natural-born citizens. The latter two are one and the same! So, yes, of course, a naturalized U.S. citizen is a U.S. citizen. (Got tautological redundancy?)  A naturalized citizen is not in the same class as that of one who was duly born abroad of at least one U.S. citizen parent or one who was born on American soil. Anyone falling into either one of the latter two categories would be a U.S. citizen at birth and, therefore, a natural-born citizen. Period.

Only one born on American soil and born of parents who were both U.S. citizens at the time of one's birth is a natural-born citizen.

Natural-born citizenship as defined in the above constitutes the fundamental constitutional requirement for presidential eligibility.

Senate Resolution 511 proclaiming John McCain to be a natural-born citizen confirms this fundamental constitutional requirement.

The provision that excludes persons subject to the jurisdiction of foreign powers from U.S. citizenship pertains to all persons who have at any time in their lives been subject to said jurisdiction. While such persons can be naturalized citizens or native-born citizens, they can never be natural-born citizens or president of the United States.
Persons born abroad of U.S. citizens in countries that bestow birthright citizenship are necessarily subject to the jurisdiction of a foreign power, but they are also subject to Congress' constitutional authority. They are dual citizens at birth: natural-born citizens of the United States and citizens of the respective foreign country. The Fourteenth Amendment's phrase "and subject to the jurisdiction thereof" only excludes persons born in the United States of parents engaged in some official capacity by a foreign power, and, prior to United States v. Wong Kim Ark (1898), persons born in the United States of foreign nationals. Further, a native-born citizen of the United States is a natural-born citizen, and no one born in the United States of parents subject to the jurisdiction of a foreign power could ever be anything else but a naturalized citizen of the United States.
Related Articles:
Who are the Real Conspirators?
A House of Cards: The Case Against the Birther Movement

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