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Presidential Eligibility and the Natural Right of Citizenship

The Executive Branch of Government Must Be Preserved, (A Response to Alabama's Indecision on Presidential Eligibility)
April 22, 2014

Last month, the Supreme Court of Alabama affirmed that their Secretary of State was under no legal obligation to verify Mr. Obama's eligibility for the 2012 presidential ballot.[1]

Having read the concurring and dissenting opinions of the Justices, I would like to bring up several points relating to the matter.

All will acknowledge that only a natural born citizen may be president, yet Barack Obama was born with a foreign citizenship which he held until the age of 23, his father being a foreigner.[2] While dual-citizenship is not uncommon, it may fall well short of being a natural born U.S. citizen, even if one later becomes a U.S. citizen exclusively.[3] Besides this is the other issue, that if Obama was actually born abroad he may not hold citizenship at all under U.S. law.[4]

Questions about Obama's eligibility persist, yet many of our public servants hesitate to face up to them, and even resist them with great endurance.


Numerous cases such as this one have been bought forward around the country, and many people have been following the matter closely and writing letters.

Alabama's former Secretary of State, Beth Chapman, was one of many officials I myself had written to, pointing out the obvious: that determining presidential eligibility is a necessary and unavoidable requirement.

A copy of this letter is available at:


It is impossible for the eligibility issue to simply fade away when the presidency next changes hands, as many officeholders seem to be counting on.

Attempting to pretend the matter of Mr. Obama's eligibility away will result in a perpetual sham. No state official will afterwards be able to verify presidential candidates without potentially declaring the Obama administration to have been a farce.

Even under a new administration, governors and state officials will continually be in the position of enforcing legislation which is not actual law, if in fact such legislation has not been presented to or signed by an actual president.


Justice Bolin, in concurring with the Alabama court, opined that while a standard procedure for verifying the eligibility of presidential candidates is needed, had Mr. Obama actually been investigated and removed from the ballot it would have been a financial burden to the state to have them reprinted.[5]

Indeed, reprinting the ballots would have been an inconvenience, but a much greater inconvenience is the failure of the executive office, one-third of our federal government.

It is absurd to suppose that some technicality exists which would permit an elected official to operate within the federal government without the executive branch intact. What would be the purpose of writing legislation if is not presented to one whose presidential eligibility has been substantiated? Likewise, there is no point in overseeing an efficient election process if it results in the office being left vacant or undetermined.

Too many of our country's officials must have deluded themselves into thinking that by distorting and magnifying certain technicalities of the law, they will be able to avoid the responsibility of supporting their own Constitution and the very government in which they serve. This could never have been the intention of those sections of our Constitution which say that:

"No Person except a natural born Citizen shall be eligible to the Office of President" and "This Constitution shall be the supreme Law of the Land. All Senators, Representatives, executive Officers, and judicial Officers, both federal and state, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution." (Articles 2 and 6, Summarized)


In Alabama's 2012 Voter Guide, Beth Chapman wrote:

"I have pledged to the people of Alabama that there is no more important duty of my office of Secretary of State than ensuring honest elections."[6]

Supporting our Constitution is the natural duty of every citizen, and it is a duty recognized by special oath by the men and women elected to office for the very purpose of carrying it out.

Who better to look into a candidate whose eligibility is in question than the Chief Elections Official of a State?[7] What better time to look into the matter than whenever such a matter presents itself?[8] Those who have taken the oath recognize that they cannot absolve themselves of their duty to support the Constitution.

It should not be presumed that justice will not return to America. Those who reaffirm their support of our government, our laws, and our constitution by amending their behavior stand to gain much for their country and for themselves.


[1] To be precise, the Alabama Court simply affirmed without opinion the Secretary of State's motion for case dismissal. Justices Bolin and Bryan independently expressed the opinion that Alabama state code does not impose an affirmative obligation on the Secretary of State to verify the eligibility of candidates before placing them on the presidential ballot. Chief Justice Moore and Justice Parker dissented.

Beth Chapman resigned while this case was pending on appeal, and Jim Bennett, who took office as the new Secretary of State on Aug 1, 2013, was automatically substituted as the defendant.

This case is now filed under Hugh McInnish and Virgil H. Goode, Jr. v. Jim Bennett, Alabama Secretary of State:

For an overview of this case see Justice Bryan's concurring opinion, page 26, and Justice Parker's dissenting opinion, pages 81 thru 83. For a comprehensive timeline see the first several pages of Chief Justice Moore's dissenting opinion starting at page 27.

[2] Presuming Obama did not maintain his Kenyan citizenship he would have lost it at the age of 23.

[3] "...every human being born within the jurisdiction of the United States of parents not owing allegiance to any foreign sovereignty is, in the language of your Constitution itself, a natural-born citizen" -John Bingham on natural citizenship, The Congressional Globe, March 9, 1866, page 1291, (2nd column, 3rd paragraph).

[4] U.S. law at the time did not grant automatic citizenship to children born abroad to married couples if one parent was a foreigner, and the other was under the age of nineteen, as Obama's mother was.

[5] Justice Bolin, concurring, says, "...reprinting and distribution of general-election ballots would have come, at that late date, at great financial cost to the State". See pages 5 and 6 of the court document referenced.

[6] The 2012 Alabama Voter Guide is available through the Secretary of State's website under election resources:

[7] Justice Bolin affirms that the Alabama Secretary of State, being the Chief Elections Official, would be the appropriate office to verify the eligibility of potential candidates. Yet he does not apply to the Secretary of State the constitutional mandate that only qualified candidates shall be eligible to the presidency. See pages 7, 16, and 17 of the court document referenced.

[8] The eligibility mandate of the Constitution and the oath it requires is effective upon both state and federal officers. (See those sections of the Constitution referenced.) If reasonable questions are raised or if a discovery is made as to the eligibility of an individual, whether during or after an election, it is obligatory upon members of government to look into the matter, within the capacity that their office affords and as the nature of their office requires.

Even after an election has concluded, if a Secretary of State discovers that one of the individuals placed on the ballot and now elected may not be eligible for the office he occupies, prudence and the nature of the Secretary’s office would require him, in retrospect, to review that individuals qualification. Though the matter may then be out of his immediate jurisdiction, if he discovers that the individual is not in fact eligible, he should cause a letter to be sent to the governing department which has jurisdiction. On the other hand, if after a preliminary review he discovers that the individual in question is eligible after all, he will be able to apply his findings to the same candidate should he decide to run for a second term, or to future candidates who may have similar factors of qualification.

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