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Born to run

By Tom Toles

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By Tom Toles  | August 8, 2010; 4:37 PM ET
Categories:  GOP, Obama White House  
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Ohio Congressman John Bingham, principal author of the 14th Amendment, judge advocate in the trial of Abraham Lincoln's assassination, prosecutor in the impeachment of Andrew Johnson, and ardent abolitionist, delivered a pre-ratification speech to a joint session of Congress in 1866.

The following is just one sentence from a remarkable speech.

“I find no fault with the introductory clause, which is simply declaratory of what is written in the Constitution, that 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;”

Obama's father was a citizen of Kenya.

The cartoon is factually incorrect. It is impossible Obama can be a natural born citizen based on the citizenship of his father.

This cannot be suppressed forever. Obama and his supporters in Congress are depending on the continued ignorance of the public.

The cartoon is an example of misinformation. A natural born citizen is born on our soil of citizen parents.

Posted by: dancingrabbit |

--------------

You left out the fact that his mother is an American. Typical one sided argument.

Posted by: beeker25 | August 11, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Markpkessinger, First of all you assume I am a conservative...I assure you I am not.
Second....you forgot the REST of my OPINION.....

If an illegal immigrant crosses the border to give birth to a child specifically for the purpose of citizenship....there is a problem. If illegals have been living here without citizenship and have children...it is not a discrimitive response to deny citizenship to the child.
I have to also agree that those illegals who have children in a foreign country should return with their children to their homeland. SEEK CITIZENSHIP, WITHIN THE LAW, in the future if you choose to live here.
As times,life, and circumstance progress so should the "laws that govern us".

Posted by: bertzel | August 9, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

First, the republicans arer against intelligence, they think Palin is smart. Second, the republicans are against taxing the rich. As an example, if you make $1 million your taxs are about $80k, poor babies will have to live on $920k a year. Than republicans are against religion tolerance, against healthcare, against START treaty and so on. But this is not enough for them, now they have to be against babies, children who are americans. Yes, born here makes you an american, period. Wow they surely are against a lot, what are they for? Oh yeah, they are for the rich and corporations that line their pockets...I got it now.

Posted by: Realistic5 | August 9, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

bertzel writes: "markpkessinger,
Oh Please language is ALWAYS misconstrued."

The point is the senators who were debating the ratification of the amendment considered the language, and its ramifications, and chose to retain the broader language .

bertzel continues:

"If I, being a US citizen, happen to be traveling (against Drs. orders) to another country and happen to give birth in said foreign country, I would still consider my newborn an American Citizen even tho he/she was not born in MY HOMELAND. AM I EXPECTING TOO MUCH??"

That's a fair line of discussion, and if the country wants to have a discussion about changing the 14th Amendment, that's fine. If you want to make the case that the Amendment is in need of change, by all means do so. But what supporters of such change CANNOT claim, in light of the record of the Senate floor ratification debate, is that the Amendment was solely intended to apply to former slaves and their offspring. The record of the Senate floor debate makes it quite clear that those Senators knew full well that the law would have wider applicability.

Senator Cossens (D-CA), who I quoted in my previous post, also said the following in the same debate:

"... I have heard more about Gypsies within the last two or three months than I have heard before in my life. It cannot be because they have increased so much of late. It cannot be because they have been felt to be particularly oppressive in this or that locality. It must be that the Gypsy element is to be added to our political agitation, so that hereafter the negro alone shall not claim our entire attention."

In other words, he is pointing out that the consternation over the Amendment is over the fact that it would apply more widely than to "the negro alone."

So, if conservatives are going to be at all intellectually honest in this discussion, then they must give up arguments based on appeals to the "original intent" of the Amendment.

Posted by: markpkessinger | August 9, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

From Minor v. Happersett, 88 U.S. 162 from 1874, Chief Justice Morrison Waite's Opinion of the Court: “At common law, with the nomenclature of which he framers of the Constitution were familiar, it was never doubted that all children born in a country of parents who were its citizens became themselves, upon their birth, citizens also. These were natives or natural-born citizens, as distinguished from aliens or foreigners.”

Posted by: dancingrabbit | August 9, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Chief Justice, John Marshall who cited Vattel's Law of Nations in The Venus, 12 U.S. 253 at paragraph 289 and repeated the definition of natural born citizen - “born on the soil of citizen parents.”

John Jay wrote to George Washington, the letter is dated 25 July 1787:

"Permit me to hint whether it would not be wise and reasonable to provide a strong check to the admission of foreigners into the administration of our national government, and to declare expressly that the commander in chief of the American army shall not be given to nor devolve on but a natural born citizen."

It is time for America to wake up.

Posted by: dancingrabbit | August 9, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Ohio Congressman John Bingham, principal author of the 14th Amendment, judge advocate in the trial of Abraham Lincoln's assassination, prosecutor in the impeachment of Andrew Johnson, and ardent abolitionist, delivered a pre-ratification speech to a joint session of Congress in 1866.

The following is just one sentence from a remarkable speech.

“I find no fault with the introductory clause, which is simply declaratory of what is written in the Constitution, that 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;”

Obama's father was a citizen of Kenya.

The cartoon is factually incorrect. It is impossible Obama can be a natural born citizen based on the citizenship of his father.

This cannot be suppressed forever. Obama and his supporters in Congress are depending on the continued ignorance of the public.

The cartoon is an example of misinformation. A natural born citizen is born on our soil of citizen parents.

Posted by: dancingrabbit | August 9, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Honestly, right-wing crackpots take idiocy to a new level every single day. Dancingrabbit wrote:

"It matters not where Obama was born. He is not a natural born citizen."

*****

My question for dancingrabbit is: are you the same rabbit that Alice chased down the rabbit hole? You seem equally preposterous and deranged. God. What a bunch.

Posted by: chert | August 9, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

All of this is really amazing. Literally, if you are not Native American (Indian), then you are an involuntary illegal immigrant or an illegal immigrant. Just because no law existed prior to the founding fathers making one does not mean that the laws established by them are legitimate by any standard other than force.

As we discuss this the relevance of the issue the issue itself becomes meaningless because the assumptions associated with the law are false. We choose to except and believe that the system we live in is valid simply because we are told it is. If the American Indians had been as arrogant and paranoid as we are they would have killed all the settlers and none of this experiment we call the United States would exist in its current configuration.

America wasn't discovered, there were plenty of people living here under a set of laws. Europeans didn't recognize that law and beat everyone into submission. Since apparently might makes right then we are setting the stage for our own demise and the festering has begun.

Posted by: JBM2 | August 9, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

“Because he was born to American citizens, there is no doubt in my mind that Senator McCain is a natural born citizen,” said Leahy.

“I expect that this will be a unanimous resolution of the Senate.”


“It is silly for anyone to argue that Senator McCain is not eligible to become president,” said McCaskill.

“I would hope that this is something we can all agree on, for goodness sakes.”


At a Judiciary Committee hearing on April 3, Leahy asked Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, himself a former Federal judge, if he had doubts that McCain was eligible to serve as President.


“My assumption and my understanding is that if you are born of American parents, you are naturally a natural-born American citizen,” Chertoff replied.

“That is mine, too,” said Leahy.”

Posted by: dancingrabbit | August 8, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

The Obama trolls have infested the news media, the internet putting out false information regarding his natural born citizen status.

Do not believe them. Obama is not a natural born citizen. There is a natural born citizen research thread posted on freerepublic.com.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-backroom/2512143/posts.

It is a rich thread posting 100's of documents showing Obama cannot be a natural born citizen.

It matters not where Obama was born. He is not a natural born citizen.

Posted by: dancingrabbit | August 8, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

The Founders relied on the Law of Nations to assist them writing the Constitution. There is a letter by Franklin stating this. Thomas Jefferson recommended the book to his nephew.

The 1797 English translation edition states the following in chapter XIX:

The natives or natural born citizens, are those born in the country of parents who are citizens.

The country of father is that of the children.

I say, that, in order to be of the country, it is necessary that a person be born of a father who is a citizen; for if he is born there of a foreigner, it will only be his place of birth and not his country.

Posted by: dancingrabbit | August 8, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

markpkessinger,
Oh Please language is ALWAYS misconstrued.

wwjjawest...I agree.

If I, being a US citizen, happen to be traveling (against Drs. orders) to another country and happen to give birth in said foreign country, I would still consider my newborn an American Citizen even tho he/she was not born in MY HOMELAND. AM I EXPECTING TOO MUCH??
If an illegal immigrant crosses the border to give birth to a child specifically for the purpose of citizenship....there is a problem. If illegals have been living here without citizenship and have children...it is not a discrimitive response to deny citizenship to the child.
I have to also agree that those illegals who have children in a foreign country should return with their children to their homeland. Seek citizenship, within the law, in the future if you choose to live here.
As times,life, and circumstance progress so should the "laws that govern us".

Slaves were FORCED to come to this country...that is no longer the issue.

Posted by: bertzel | August 8, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

@WWJawest

You write: "The XIV Amendment to our Costitiution is one bit of legality that should have had a "Sunset" Provision. The XIV was written to ensure that freed slaves had legitimate Ctizenship that could not be denied or taken away by States that wwanted to do so."

A review of the record of the Senate floor debate on the 14th Amendment suggests that legislators were well aware that the Amendment would be applied more broadly than just to the children of freed slaves. Specifically, Senator Edgar Cowan (R-PA), was concerned that the Amendment's language would would increase the number of Chinese in California and the number of “Gypsies” in Pennsylvania by granting birthright citizenship to their children, even (as he put it) the children of those who owe no allegiance to the United States and routinely commit “trespass” within the country. Senator John Conness of California defended the lanugage:

"[With] respect to the children begotten of Chinese parents in California, … it is proposed to declare that they shall be citizens …. I am in favor of doing so …. We are entirely ready to accept the provision proposed in this constitutional amendment, that the children born here of Mongolian parents shall be declared by the Constitution of the United States to be entitled to civil rights and to equal protection before the law with others."

This indicates that the senators were fully aware of the full ramifications of what they were passing. Although the situation concerning children of former slaves was the thing that gave rise to the Amendment, they were well aware that by passing an Amendment with such broad language, that it would apply to others as well. The fact is, if they had intended to limit the Amendment's applicability to the children of former slaves, the language could have, and would have, reflected that, and the fact that the issue was contemplated in the course of the floor debate clearly demonstrates that.

Posted by: markpkessinger | August 8, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

The XIV Amendment to our Costitiution is one bit of legality that should have had a "Sunset" Provision. The XIV was written to ensure that freed slaves had legitimate Ctizenship that could not be denied or taken away by States that wwanted to do so. It was encted in 1868, durimg the Southern Reconstruct period.
However in the year 2010, and earlier. the basis for the XIV is long gone. But persons, i.e. John McCain, born outside the US is a Citizen because his parents were were Citizens. The place of birth in todays world is no standard for being a Citizen; however, the parentage relationship is a valid reason for Citizenshup!
Chaging the Constituition is dangerous and must done with a sense of Unaminty and care. However the XIV as it now stands needs to be changed, for America now and in its future.

Posted by: WJJAWEST | August 8, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

We wouldn't have such a problem with illegal immigration if the Nations that these people leave weren't so lousy to live in. The Left used to defend the Communist countries which had walls to keep people in. As far as the 14th Amendment I would be interested to know how many members of Congress have violated Section 3. I would be willing to wager that there are several. All Democrats.

Posted by: bobbo2 | August 8, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

FatherTime...If you are referring to Illegal Immigration, I don't believe that to be just a passing fad...

Posted by: bertzel | August 7, 2010 10:24 PM | Report abuse

bobbo2, now why would the government take away your 5 leaf clover? Not all fringes are government related...
bobbo2, try saying Mufasa...that is a fun word to say as well. Go ahead say it : )
Let me know how that goes for you.
Mufasa : )
by the way, I have plenty of 4 leaf clovers, you can have one if you like.
the 5 leaf is a keeper tho.

Posted by: bertzel | August 7, 2010 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Dear bertzel, I found a five leaf clover once. But the government took it from me.

Posted by: bobbo2 | August 7, 2010 8:48 PM | Report abuse

I'm so glad they made it difficult to amend the constitution so that not every new stupid political fad like this one becomes law.

I'll be enjoying the 14th for a long time.

Posted by: FatherTime89 | August 7, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse

bobbo2, you are asking the wrong person that question. I like the word fringe. The word fringe rolls off the tongue quite easily. It sounds pretty nice too. I would much rather discuss the fringe than point at a party, any party, call names and play the blame game. Though I do in fact like to party now and then.
Fringe, fringe, f r i n g e, FRINGE,fringe......on and on...after all what is life without fringe?
nope, still not tired.
Hey bobbo2, ever find a 5 leaf clover?
Just saw one....another fringe eh?

Posted by: bertzel | August 7, 2010 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Dear bertzel, no, but it grows tiring to see over and over again cartoons that are directed at a fringe, any fringe. Fringes are not the party, any party. But Mr. Toles always argues about and to a fringe. As if the readers of the Washington Post are all fringe. Hey, bertzel, how many times can you say fringe without it becoming tiring?

Posted by: bobbo2 | August 7, 2010 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Calling for hearings on the 14th amendment is truly brilliant political strategy.

When it comes to political coverage in America, if it screams, it leads. Just look at how the greatest financial regulations since the Great Depression were swept away by the forced resignation of a lower level government official. Any topic that gets people riled up has great staying power in our media culture even when it’s made up. (See last year’s Death Panels.) Just like the first rule of wrongdoing in the NBA is deny, deny, deny, the first rule of winning elections when your message is No, No, No is distract, distract, distract. Preferably by a topic that fires up your base and drives the opposing side into disgust and apathy for the whole process resulting in an increase in your voter turnout and a decrease in theirs.

Congrats to the Republican strategists. Yo Karl Rove. You still got game!!!

But wait! The brilliance of Mr. Rove is that he says the opposite of what is true. So why wouldn’t Karl Rove want hearings about the 14th amendment?

A courageous judge in California, U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker, just ruled that the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment prohibits laws that discriminate among groups of citizens. Just because most Americans believe that homosexuality and gay marriage is morally wrong, any law that discriminates based solely on morality is unconstitutional.

The second major 14th amendment rulings this year are a result of the greatest act of judicial activism in the history of the United States. Namely, that the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment means that speech by corporations is the same as speech from citizens because after all, corporations are just groups of citizens bound together by a legal construct. (At least according to Chief Justice Roberts and the majority he leads.)

If only the Democratic Party was run by people as brilliant as Karl Rove. Imagine for a moment that the Democrats just stand aside for a while and let Republicans lay into illegal immigrants and scream for hearings on the 14th Amendment. Democrats could use the time to carefully plot to expand those hearing to include checking the constitutionality of the The Defense of Marriage Act and to point out that Corporations are not People.

Democrats would fire up their base among those that support equal rights for all people and fire up those of us who believe the job of Government is to protect the rights of citizens against Corporations that would use money and speech to hijack our elections for their profit.

Posted by: EarlyBird1 | August 7, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Toles, like the sketch : )

Posted by: bertzel | August 7, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

bobbo2...ouch.
rough night?

Posted by: bertzel | August 7, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Well at least they let them be born..

Posted by: jornolibist | August 7, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

The birthers argument is wrong if even if it they could prove that Obama was born in Kenya. They are making the error of assuming that because being born on US soil automatically grants citizenship, not being born here means you are not a citizen. Not true! Having ONE American parent makes you a citizen even if you are born in Antarctica - or on the moon. No one disputes that Obama's mother was a citizen. She qualifies three ways two US parents and born in US. Therefore Obama was born a citizen.

My grandchild who was recently born in eastern Europe already has a passport complete with picture (it is hilarious to see). THE US GRANTS PASSPORTS ONLY TO CITIZENS! I have to admit that when I heard the birther argument - with no clarification from journalists - I was worried until I did something called fact-checking.

By not making this clear the media is doing a huge disservice to our country. What American will be willing to be transferred to another country if they think any child they have while there would not be born a citizen? That would stop any hope of us being an international trade giant.

Posted by: BernieO | August 7, 2010 8:23 AM | Report abuse

I constantly wonder if the job listing that Mr. Toles responded to read like this. Tired old Liberal paper needs cartoonist to promote tired old knee jerk Liberal opinions with pictures. Ability to draw the human form not necessary. Actually no talent of any kind required.

Posted by: bobbo2 | August 7, 2010 4:25 AM | Report abuse

Oh, Pug, silly, old girl. Is sarcasm completely lost on you? Say it isn't so! Stating that "intolerance, bigotry and hatred, where they exist, are what make the Democrat party great!" is tantamount to stating that doctors love disease, or that our military love war. Silly Pug. You never fail to amuse.

Posted by: Kevin71707 | August 6, 2010 9:29 PM | Report abuse

simpleton1, no worries. The Spanish police have already moved any hoi-polloi off the nearby beaches so the filthy rich taxpayer-supported Dems can feel safe coming out of their ultra-resorts down to the sand. You thought the Dems vacationed where ordinary Spaniards could go? How declasse of you. You must be a Rebublican, or one of those horrid little private-industry beasts.

Posted by: ThisIsReality | August 6, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Right, Spain -- that prohibitively expensive luxury vacation destination populated entirely by Democratic fundraisers. Somebody better inform the millions of Spaniards living in Spain that they'll have to find somewhere else to live.

Posted by: simpleton1 | August 6, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

intolerance, bigotry and hatred, where they exist, are what make the Democrat party great! How else could we send our First Lady on multi-million dollar vacations to places no one but Obama, Madoff, and other Democrat fund-raisers can afford! Vote Democrat! We'll draw cartoons for you so you think you're smarter than you are!

Posted by: ThisIsReality | August 6, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

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