John mcCian,George Romney & Barry Goldwater were not born in the USA ------------- this should put an end to the President Barack Obama citizenship conflict ----------------
The US Constitution (Article II, Section 1, Subsection 4) says: "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."
The term "natural born citizen" is not used anywhere else in the Constitution, and it has never been the subject of any federal court ruling. Hence, its exact meaning could be subject to controversy.
While some have suggested that perhaps a "natural born citizen" must have been born on US territory (i.e., in keeping with the definition of a citizen given in the 14th Amendment) -- and news reports dealing with presidential eligibility almost invariably misstate the rule in this manner -- the majority opinion of legal experts seems to be that the term refers to anyone who has US citizenship from the moment of his or her birth -- i.e., someone who did not have to be "naturalized" because he/she was born "natural" (i.e., born a citizen).
The first Congress enacted a citizenship law which stated that "the children of citizens of the United States, that may be born beyond sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born citizens". [Act of Mar. 26, 1790, ch. 3, 1 Stat. 104.] This strongly suggests that the phrase was understood by the framers of the Constitution to refer to citizenship by birth.
At least three Presidential candidates in recent memory were born outside the US proper:
- Barry Goldwater, the 1964 Republican candidate, was born in the Arizona Territory in 1909 (Arizona did not become the 48th state until 1912). Goldwater lost the 1964 election to Lyndon Johnson.
- George Romney, a 1968 Republican hopeful, was born in Mexico in 1907 to American parents who had moved there to escape anti-Mormon persecution in the US. (Contrary to a widely held popular misconception, by the way, Romney's parents were settlers in Mexico, not missionaries.) Romney's campaign fizzled following a gaffe about his having been "brainwashed" by the military establishment into supporting US involvement in the Vietnam conflict.
- John McCain, the 2008 Republican candidate (and also an early Republican hopeful in 2000), was born in the Panama Canal Zone in 1936 to American parents.
Some questions were raised at the time regarding both Goldwater and Romney's eligibility for the nation's highest office, but no formal legal challenge was mounted in either case. McCain's eligibility for the Presidency was also questioned by some (both in 2008, and also during his 2000 campaign). The US Senate passed a resolution (S.Res. 511) in April 2008, expressing their non-binding opinion that McCain did qualify as a natural-born citizen. And in a federal district court case in September 2008 (Robinson v. Bowen), a judge denied a request for a preliminary injunction against McCain's appearing on the ballot in California.
We will probably never really know whether an American citizen born outside the US can become President (or Vice-President) until a lawsuit involving such a candidate finds its way into the courts. This could happen, of course, if a foreign-born candidate were elected and the electoral college's choice were challenged in court; or, more likely, if such a candidate's right to federal campaign subsidies (matching funds) were questioned, or if a challenge were mounted against a foreign-born candidate's right to be included on a state ballot.