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> Is McCain a "Natural Born Citizen"?
scubatim
post Feb 28 2008, 09:29 PM
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Just thought that this would be an interesting discussion, or at least to see what temperature the water is here at ad.gif on the topic.

The NYT published a story discussing whether or not Senator McCain is considered a natural born citizen based on the fact that he was born in the Panama Canal Zone.

Questions for debate:

Is there any validity to the question of McCain being a natural born citizen of the United States?
Do you think Congress should amend the constitution in order to better define "Natural Born Citizen"?
Is that particular qualification archaic in today's United States? In other words, should that requirement be eliminated from our Constitution to be President of the United States?
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Mrs. Pigpen
post Mar 6 2008, 12:59 PM
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For what it's worth, I found a very detailed analysis of this question in the Yale Journal of Law. The summary, after a lengthy explanation with a corresponding plethora of legal documentation is this:
QUOTE
This Note's approach removes the confusion caused by Supreme Court dicta asserting that there are only two classes of citizens, native-born and naturalized. As historical and textual analysis has shown, a citizen may be both "naturalized" and "natural born." Under the naturalized born approach, any person with a right to American citizenship under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States at the time of his or her birth is a natural-born citizen for purposes of presidential eligibility.


Amazing how a lawyer can manage to take twenty pages of writing to finally conclude the self-evident (IMO).

This post has been edited by Mrs. Pigpen: Mar 6 2008, 01:00 PM
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Hobbes
post Mar 6 2008, 02:13 PM
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QUOTE
Under the naturalized born approach, any person with a right to American citizenship under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States at the time of his or her birth is a natural-born citizen for purposes of presidential eligibility.


Exactly. The question then becomes simply "Were you born a U.S. citizen?" If the answer is "Yes", then you qualify. Was McCain born a U.S. citizen? Yes. End of issue (not that there ever should have been one to begin with).
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entspeak
post Mar 6 2008, 02:41 PM
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QUOTE(Mrs. Pigpen @ Mar 6 2008, 06:59 AM) *
For what it's worth, I found a very detailed analysis of this question in the Yale Journal of Law. The summary, after a lengthy explanation with a corresponding plethora of legal documentation is this:
QUOTE
This Note's approach removes the confusion caused by Supreme Court dicta asserting that there are only two classes of citizens, native-born and naturalized. As historical and textual analysis has shown, a citizen may be both "naturalized" and "natural born." Under the naturalized born approach, any person with a right to American citizenship under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States at the time of his or her birth is a natural-born citizen for purposes of presidential eligibility.


Amazing how a lawyer can manage to take twenty pages of writing to finally conclude the self-evident (IMO).


Well, I haven't read it all yet - just the first couple of pages, but allow me to point out the first flaw in her reasoning:

She makes the assumption that, because the 14th Amendment says "all persons born or naturalized in the United States", that all persons born with citizenship must be natural born regardless of where they are born. That is flawed, however, because the section clearly says "born... in the United States." So, the 14th Amendment does not serve her argument in the way that she claims.

I'll keep reading.
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Hobbes
post Mar 6 2008, 04:00 PM
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QUOTE(entspeak @ Mar 6 2008, 09:41 AM) *
She makes the assumption that, because the 14th Amendment says "all persons born or naturalized in the United States", that all persons born with citizenship must be natural born regardless of where they are born. That is flawed, however, because the section clearly says "born... in the United States." So, the 14th Amendment does not serve her argument in the way that she claims.

I'll keep reading.


Yes, that seems to be exactly what the conclusion was. I wouldn't call it an assumption, it is actually the conclusion based on their research of the law. Again, their can only be two types of citizens, natural born or naturalized. Therefore, if you are a citizen, and you were not granted that through the naturalization process, then you must have been natural born.
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entspeak
post Mar 6 2008, 05:52 PM
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QUOTE(Hobbes @ Mar 6 2008, 10:00 AM) *
Yes, that seems to be exactly what the conclusion was. I wouldn't call it an assumption, it is actually the conclusion based on their research of the law. Again, their can only be two types of citizens, natural born or naturalized. Therefore, if you are a citizen, and you were not granted that through the naturalization process, then you must have been natural born.


Well, as regards the 14th Amendment, it is an assumption. Perhaps you can point to the "research of the law" that makes this not an assumption?

According to current State Department Policy,

QUOTE
Despite widespread popular belief, U.S. military installations abroad and U.S.diplomatic or consular facilities are not part of the United States within the meaning of the14th Amendment. A child born on the premises of such a facility is not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and does not acquire U.S. citizenship by reason of birth.


Now, this could be interpreted to protect against foreign nationals going to one of the above facilities and having their child so that it could be considered a US Citizen by reason of birth and could be questioned regarding it's applicability to the current situation, but here is another law that specifically relates to the area in which John McCain was born:

QUOTE
8 USC 1403 (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.


So, this would mean that prior to the passing of this legislation in 1952, a person born in the Canal Zone regardless of who the parents were was not a citizen. This would mean that John McCain was naturalized as a citizen at the age of 16 when this law was passed and would not be considered natural born.

Naturalization, under US Law, is defined as:

QUOTE
8 USC 1101 (a)(23)

...the conferring of nationality of a state upon a person after birth, by any means whatsoever.


This would include the conferring of nationality of a state upon a person after birth by legislation.

This post has been edited by entspeak: Mar 6 2008, 07:07 PM
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Mrs. Pigpen
post Mar 6 2008, 09:33 PM
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QUOTE(entspeak @ Mar 6 2008, 12:52 PM) *
According to current State Department Policy,

QUOTE
Despite widespread popular belief, U.S. military installations abroad and U.S.diplomatic or consular facilities are not part of the United States within the meaning of the14th Amendment. A child born on the premises of such a facility is not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and does not acquire U.S. citizenship by reason of birth.


Now, this could be interpreted to protect against foreign nationals going to one of the above facilities and having their child so that it could be considered a US Citizen by reason of birth and could be questioned regarding it's applicability to the current situation,


Yes. All the above means is that the scores of foreign personel who work on the overseas bases (for example) cannot give birth on the base and have babies who are automatically US citizens.

QUOTE
but here is another law that specifically relates to the area in which John McCain was born:

QUOTE
8 USC 1403 (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.


So, this would mean that prior to the passing of this legislation in 1952, a person born in the Canal Zone regardless of who the parents were was not a citizen. This would mean that John McCain was naturalized as a citizen at the age of 16 when this law was passed and would not be considered natural born.


How did you find the date when this legislation was passed? I didn't see the year 1952. The answer to the above of course, would depend on what the prior legislation this usurped said. This issue didn't just come up in 1952. Do you have a link to the first piece of legislation?
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entspeak
post Mar 6 2008, 11:07 PM
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QUOTE(Mrs. Pigpen @ Mar 6 2008, 03:33 PM) *
QUOTE(entspeak @ Mar 6 2008, 12:52 PM) *
According to current State Department Policy,

QUOTE
Despite widespread popular belief, U.S. military installations abroad and U.S.diplomatic or consular facilities are not part of the United States within the meaning of the14th Amendment. A child born on the premises of such a facility is not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and does not acquire U.S. citizenship by reason of birth.


Now, this could be interpreted to protect against foreign nationals going to one of the above facilities and having their child so that it could be considered a US Citizen by reason of birth and could be questioned regarding it's applicability to the current situation,


Yes. All the above means is that the scores of foreign personel who work on the overseas bases (for example) cannot give birth on the base and have babies who are automatically US citizens.

QUOTE
but here is another law that specifically relates to the area in which John McCain was born:

QUOTE
8 USC 1403 (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.


So, this would mean that prior to the passing of this legislation in 1952, a person born in the Canal Zone regardless of who the parents were was not a citizen. This would mean that John McCain was naturalized as a citizen at the age of 16 when this law was passed and would not be considered natural born.


How did you find the date when this legislation was passed? I didn't see the year 1952. The answer to the above of course, would depend on what the prior legislation this usurped said. This issue didn't just come up in 1952. Do you have a link to the first piece of legislation?



The Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1952 was passed in... well, 1952. In terms of previous legislation, what previous legislation are you referring to that deals with establishing the citizenship of persons in the Canal Zone?
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Dontreadonme
post Mar 6 2008, 11:36 PM
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I haven't kept up with this thread since my initial post, but hadn't we already discovered that children born to servicemembers overseas, had American citizenship? Am I missing something as to why this is still an issue?
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Mrs. Pigpen
post Mar 6 2008, 11:58 PM
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QUOTE(entspeak @ Mar 6 2008, 06:07 PM) *
The Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1952 was passed in... well, 1952. In terms of previous legislation, what previous legislation are you referring to that deals with establishing the citizenship of persons in the Canal Zone?


I didn't know that the document you linked to was based on the Immigration and Naturalization Act. What would that have to do with US citizens born overseas? They are neither considered immigrants, nor "naturalized". I thought you had something for a minute, but now that I know this....your previous statement is a logical fallacy. There is nothing whatsoever to indicate that "prior to the passing of the legislation in 1952, a person born in the Canal Zone regardless of who the parents were was not a citizen" unless you actually have proof of some change in policy respective to military children born overseas, and all evidence presented so far points to the contrary.

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entspeak
post Mar 7 2008, 05:35 AM
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QUOTE(Mrs. Pigpen @ Mar 6 2008, 05:58 PM) *
I didn't know that the document you linked to was based on the Immigration and Naturalization Act. What would that have to do with US citizens born overseas? They are neither considered immigrants, nor "naturalized".


I'm glad you are so familiar with the Act that I refer to. I am sure, then, that you are aware that it also mentions other situations regarding the conferring of citizenship at birth.

Before I continue, let me state that there are two ways of attaining citizenship under the Constitution: by birth in the United States or by naturalization.

Congress - under Article I, Sec 8 - has the power "[t]o establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization".

Congress has passed many laws over the years regarding derivative citizenship - citizenship as a result of the status of one or both parents as citizens.

Naturalization means "...the conferring of nationality of a state upon a person after birth, by any means whatsoever." This would include citizenship established at birth by an act of Congress in exerting its power under Article I, Sec 8 of the Constitution. The derivative birthright only exists via statute and is not embodied in the Constitution. So, one could argue that a citizen at birth would be either born in the United States or automatically naturalized via US law at birth.

So, what does this mean regarding the definition of "natural born", well... those children born abroad to US citizens are also citizens. Those children born abroad to US citizens between 1790 and 1795 would be considered "natural born" under the Naturalization Act of 1795 - even though that appears to go against the very concept of "natural born" in the Constitution. After 1795, those children born abroad to US citizens are citizens, but not natural born... they are citizens by statute.

One might argue that the term "natural born" was removed from the Naturalization Act because a natural born citizen would not need a law to establish birth right... they would be naturally born a citizen.

So, upon further research, I stand corrected in one sense... the law at the time of John McCain's birth was such that he would be a citizen.

U.S. Citizenship Acquired By Birth Abroad

But that doesn't mean he is a natural born citizen under the Constitution.

QUOTE
unless you actually have proof of some change in policy respective to military children born overseas, and all evidence presented so far points to the contrary.


Current State Department policy - since you bring up policy - also states that the concept of jus sanguis is not embodied in the Constitution.

QUOTE
7 FAM 1111.2 Citizenship

Jus sanguinis (the law of the bloodline ), a concept of Roman or civil law under which a person€šš€šžs citizenship is determined by the citizenship of one or both parents. This rule, frequently called €šš€š€œcitizenship by descent€šš or €šš€š€œderivative citizenship€šš, is not embodied in the U.S. Constitution, but such citizenship is granted through statute. As laws have changed, the requirements for conferring and retaining derivative citizenship have also changed.


The US Congress could never constitutionally pass a law that altered or limited the citizenship of anyone born in the United States. Anyone born in the United States is, under the Constitution, regardless of parental nationality and irrespective of any act of Congress, a citizen... such a person is a natural born citizen.

QUOTE(Dontreadonme)
I haven't kept up with this thread since my initial post, but hadn't we already discovered that children born to servicemembers overseas, had American citizenship? Am I missing something as to why this is still an issue?


American citizen and natural born citizen are not mutually exclusive. One can be an American citizen and not be a natural born citizen.

This post has been edited by entspeak: Mar 7 2008, 05:44 AM
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Jobius
post Mar 7 2008, 06:09 AM
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QUOTE(entspeak @ Mar 6 2008, 09:35 PM) *
QUOTE(Mrs. Pigpen @ Mar 6 2008, 05:58 PM) *
I didn't know that the document you linked to was based on the Immigration and Naturalization Act. What would that have to do with US citizens born overseas? They are neither considered immigrants, nor "naturalized".


I'm glad you are so familiar with the Act that I refer to. I am sure, then, that you are aware that it also mentions other situations regarding the conferring of citizenship at birth.

Before I continue, let me state that there are two ways of attaining citizenship under the Constitution: by birth in the United States or by naturalization.

Congress - under Article I, Sec 8 - has the power "[t]o establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization".

Congress has passed many laws over the years regarding derivative citizenship - citizenship as a result of the status of one or both parents as citizens.

Naturalization means "...the conferring of nationality of a state upon a person after birth, by any means whatsoever." This would include citizenship established at birth by an act of Congress in exerting its power under Article I, Sec 8 of the Constitution. The derivative birthright only exists via statute and is not embodied in the Constitution. So, one could argue that a citizen at birth would be either born in the United States or automatically naturalized via US law at birth.

So, what does this mean regarding the definition of "natural born", well... those children born abroad to US citizens are also citizens. Those children born abroad to US citizens between 1790 and 1795 would be considered "natural born" under the Naturalization Act of 1795 - even though that appears to go against the very concept of "natural born" in the Constitution. After 1795, those children born abroad to US citizens are citizens, but not natural born... they are citizens by statute.

Citizens at birth, but not natural born... so in 1936, baby John McCain was a citizen at birth, but not a "natural born citizen," by your reading.

QUOTE(entspeak @ Mar 6 2008, 06:41 AM) *
She makes the assumption that, because the 14th Amendment says "all persons born or naturalized in the United States", that all persons born with citizenship must be natural born regardless of where they are born. That is flawed, however, because the section clearly says "born... in the United States." So, the 14th Amendment does not serve her argument in the way that she claims.

If McCain was a citizen at the moment of his birth in Panama, he clearly wasn't naturalized "in the United States." He was outside the United States at the time. You have conclusively proven, Entspeak, that John McCain is not only ineligible for the presidency, he is also outside the protection of the 14th Amendment!

Either that, or you're wrong. But since you agree that Congress was within its powers to pass the 1790 law, you'll surely agree that Claire McCaskill's bill (cosponsored by a certain Senator Obama) would clear this issue up in a constitutional manner, proving to all that Senator McCain is eligible for the presidency.
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entspeak
post Mar 7 2008, 08:41 AM
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QUOTE(Jobius @ Mar 7 2008, 12:09 AM) *
If McCain was a citizen at the moment of his birth in Panama, he clearly wasn't naturalized "in the United States." He was outside the United States at the time. You have conclusively proven, Entspeak, that John McCain is not only ineligible for the presidency, he is also outside the protection of the 14th Amendment!


Congress has the power to make the rules regarding naturalization.

QUOTE
Either that, or you're wrong. But since you agree that Congress was within its powers to pass the 1790 law, you'll surely agree that Claire McCaskill's bill (cosponsored by a certain Senator Obama) would clear this issue up in a constitutional manner, proving to all that Senator McCain is eligible for the presidency.


It's a silly idea because such a law would not apply to McCain, considering it will have been passed long after his birth - ex post facto laws are, by and large, unconstitutional in the United States. And I don't know that I agree that Congress has the power to determine who is "natural born" and who isn't. Congress was given explicit powers regarding naturalization, but does not have the power to confer "natural born" status upon citizens. I think an Amendment to the Constitution would be required.

You are either natural born or naturalized; one can't become natural born through a naturalization process.
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Mrs. Pigpen
post Mar 7 2008, 11:52 AM
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QUOTE(entspeak @ Mar 7 2008, 12:35 AM) *
QUOTE(Mrs. Pigpen @ Mar 6 2008, 05:58 PM) *
I didn't know that the document you linked to was based on the Immigration and Naturalization Act. What would that have to do with US citizens born overseas? They are neither considered immigrants, nor "naturalized".


I'm glad you are so familiar with the Act that I refer to. I am sure, then, that you are aware that it also mentions other situations regarding the conferring of citizenship at birth.

Before I continue, let me state that there are two ways of attaining citizenship under the Constitution: by birth in the United States or by naturalization.

Congress - under Article I, Sec 8 - has the power "[t]o establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization".

Congress has passed many laws over the years regarding derivative citizenship - citizenship as a result of the status of one or both parents as citizens.

Naturalization means "...the conferring of nationality of a state upon a person after birth, by any means whatsoever." This would include citizenship established at birth by an act of Congress in exerting its power under Article I, Sec 8 of the Constitution. The derivative birthright only exists via statute and is not embodied in the Constitution. So, one could argue that a citizen at birth would be either born in the United States or automatically naturalized via US law at birth.

So, what does this mean regarding the definition of "natural born", well... those children born abroad to US citizens are also citizens. Those children born abroad to US citizens between 1790 and 1795 would be considered "natural born" under the Naturalization Act of 1795 - even though that appears to go against the very concept of "natural born" in the Constitution. After 1795, those children born abroad to US citizens are citizens, but not natural born... they are citizens by statute.

One might argue that the term "natural born" was removed from the Naturalization Act because a natural born citizen would not need a law to establish birth right... they would be naturally born a citizen.

So, upon further research, I stand corrected in one sense... the law at the time of John McCain's birth was such that he would be a citizen.

U.S. Citizenship Acquired By Birth Abroad

But that doesn't mean he is a natural born citizen under the Constitution.

QUOTE
unless you actually have proof of some change in policy respective to military children born overseas, and all evidence presented so far points to the contrary.


Current State Department policy - since you bring up policy - also states that the concept of jus sanguis is not embodied in the Constitution.

QUOTE
7 FAM 1111.2 Citizenship

Jus sanguinis (the law of the bloodline ), a concept of Roman or civil law under which a person€šš€šžs citizenship is determined by the citizenship of one or both parents. This rule, frequently called €šš€š€œcitizenship by descent€šš or €šš€š€œderivative citizenship€šš, is not embodied in the U.S. Constitution, but such citizenship is granted through statute. As laws have changed, the requirements for conferring and retaining derivative citizenship have also changed.


The US Congress could never constitutionally pass a law that altered or limited the citizenship of anyone born in the United States. Anyone born in the United States is, under the Constitution, regardless of parental nationality and irrespective of any act of Congress, a citizen... such a person is a natural born citizen.



I don't think I've ever seen a longer, more convoluted, meandering explanation to tell me I'm right. Okay, I'll accept your admission. Thanks. No need for the unnecessary sarcasm in the first line (particularly unbecoming since you go on to agree that the act itself is an irrelevancy to this topic, the entire point of my argument).

Think I'm through now. This thread is getting rather redundant. giveup.gif

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entspeak
post Mar 7 2008, 01:37 PM
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QUOTE(Mrs. Pigpen @ Mar 7 2008, 05:52 AM) *
I don't think I've ever seen a longer, more convoluted, meandering explanation to tell me I'm right. Okay, I'll accept your admission. Thanks. No need for the unnecessary sarcasm in the first line (particularly unbecoming since you go on to agree that the act itself is an irrelevancy to this topic, the entire point of my argument).

Think I'm through now. This thread is getting rather redundant. giveup.gif


I said that you were right only in the sense that he was a citizen. And, whoa... I don't go on to say that the Act itself is irrelevant to the entire topic. Where exactly do I do that? The Act incorporated scattered laws - including those in effect at the time of McCain's birth. It is through the laws incorporated in that Act that McCain gets his citizenship. Which is why he is not, or a case could be made that he is not, a "natural born" citizen. The fact that Congress has the power to make rules to establish naturalization is relevant to this topic.

I don't see the redundancy. I made the claim that McCain wasn't a citizen based on some research, you asked me to do some further research, in doing that I admit that McCain was a citizen. I am and try always willing to admit those areas where I'm mistaken. But that in no way means I am conceding to your entire argument - it is dishonest to claim that I have. That only brings us back to his being a citizen. But there are many types of citizens that aren't considered "natural born".

But, if you are giving up, okay... thanks for putting me back on the right path regarding his citizenship, but you haven't shown that McCain is a "natural born" citizen.

QUOTE
Exactly. The question then becomes simply "Were you born a U.S. citizen?" If the answer is "Yes", then you qualify. Was McCain born a U.S. citizen? Yes. End of issue (not that there ever should have been one to begin with).


I'm still working through the document... I will respond to this, though... thumbsup.gif I'm getting to it.

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post Mar 7 2008, 04:56 PM
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Guys, the Panama Canal Zone was a U.S. Territory in 1936 when McCain was born; not a military base; not part of another nation; it was U.S. Territory; it's governor was appointed by the President. It is like Manhattan as far as this issue is concerned. We do not even need to get to the issue of his two American parents, or any other issue.

QUOTE
The treaty granted rights to the United States "as if it were sovereign" in a zone roughly 10 miles wide and 50 miles long. In that zone, the U.S. would build a canal, then administer, fortify, and defend it "in perpetuity." In 1914, the United States completed the existing 83-kilometer (52 mile) canal, which is one of the world's greatest feats of engineering. The early 1960s saw the beginning of sustained pressure in Panama for the renegotiation of this treaty.



http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2030.htm


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post Mar 7 2008, 05:16 PM
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QUOTE(quick @ Mar 7 2008, 10:56 AM) *
Guys, the Panama Canal Zone was a U.S. Territory in 1936 when McCain was born; not a military base; not part of another nation; it was U.S. Territory; it's governor was appointed by the President. It is like Manhattan as far as this issue is concerned. We do not even need to get to the issue of his two American parents, or any other issue.

QUOTE
The treaty granted rights to the United States "as if it were sovereign" in a zone roughly 10 miles wide and 50 miles long. In that zone, the U.S. would build a canal, then administer, fortify, and defend it "in perpetuity." In 1914, the United States completed the existing 83-kilometer (52 mile) canal, which is one of the world's greatest feats of engineering. The early 1960s saw the beginning of sustained pressure in Panama for the renegotiation of this treaty.



http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2030.htm



The actual treaty states:

QUOTE
The Republic of Panama grants to the United States all the rights, power and authority within the zone mentioned and described in Article II of this agreement and within the limits of all auxiliary lands and waters mentioned and described in said Article II which the United States would possess and exercise if it were the sovereign of the territory within which said lands and waters are located to the entire exclusion of the exercise by the Republic of Panama of any such sovereign rights, power or authority.


So the Republic of Panama granted the United States the ability to treat the region as though it were the sovereign of the territory. This does not mean that the United States actually did so in terms of citizenship. In fact, in terms of legislation, it appears that the US didn't treat the Panama Canal Zone as native soil regarding citizenship.

This post has been edited by entspeak: Mar 7 2008, 05:18 PM
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Just Leave me Al...
post Mar 7 2008, 06:18 PM
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QUOTE(entspeak @ Mar 7 2008, 08:37 AM) *
But there are many types of citizens that aren't considered "natural born".

I am surprised that this is still going on too. This hopefully ends this.
QUOTE( US Code 1401)
The following shall be nationals and citizens of the United States at birth <snip>
a person born outside of the United States and its outlying possessions of parents both of whom are citizens of the United States and one of whom has had a residence in the United States or one of its outlying possessions, prior to the birth of such person; (emphasis mine)
Done. So McCain is a citizen at birth.
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entspeak
post Mar 7 2008, 06:59 PM
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QUOTE(Just Leave me Alone! @ Mar 7 2008, 12:18 PM) *
QUOTE(entspeak @ Mar 7 2008, 08:37 AM) *
But there are many types of citizens that aren't considered "natural born".

I am surprised that this is still going on too. This hopefully ends this.
QUOTE( US Code 1401)
The following shall be nationals and citizens of the United States at birth <snip>
a person born outside of the United States and its outlying possessions of parents both of whom are citizens of the United States and one of whom has had a residence in the United States or one of its outlying possessions, prior to the birth of such person; (emphasis mine)
Done. So McCain is a citizen at birth.


I am well aware of this statute, and yes, McCain is a citizen at birth. The question remains: is a citizen at birth who is not "born in" the United States a "natural born" citizen under the Constitution? Again, the Constitution recognizes citizenship one of two ways... "born in the United States" and naturalized. Congress has the power to establish rules of Naturalization... meaning they can create statutes like the one above. But such a process is naturalization under the Constitution. Citizenship by blood relation is not a concept embodied in the Constitution.

This post has been edited by entspeak: Mar 7 2008, 07:00 PM
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logophage
post Mar 7 2008, 08:02 PM
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So far I think entspeak has made a convincing case that McCain, while born a citizen of the US, is technically not a "natural born" citizen. McCain's citizenship status is a corner case within our legal system.

But, what does it mean to be born a citizen of the US but not be a "natural born" citizen? It makes no sense. Here is a case where the spirit of the law and the letter of the law are in conflict. A Constitutional constructionist, if she were true to her principals, must conclude that McCain is not a natural born citizen and thus is unable to become POTUS. But, again this flies in the face of common sense.
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post Mar 7 2008, 08:19 PM
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QUOTE(logophage @ Mar 7 2008, 02:02 PM) *
So far I think entspeak has made a convincing case that McCain, while born a citizen of the US, is technically not a "natural born" citizen. McCain's citizenship status is a corner case within our legal system.

But, what does it mean to be born a citizen of the US but not be a "natural born" citizen? It makes no sense. Here is a case where the spirit of the law and the letter of the law are in conflict. A Constitutional constructionist, if she were true to her principals, must conclude that McCain is not a natural born citizen and thus is unable to become POTUS. But, again this flies in the face of common sense.


Is a child born to one US citizen and one non-citizen a "natural born" citizen even though they are considered under US law to be a citizen at birth? Has this always been so in the United States? In terms of "common sense", I believe the question lies in how you define "natural born". As I understand what I've read, if you become a citizen as a result of statute, you are not a naturally born citizen. A natural born citizen would be one that is a citizen regardless of statute.

This post has been edited by entspeak: Mar 7 2008, 09:20 PM
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