Tales from the Trail

Democrats, Republicans agree McCain is a ‘natural’

April 24, 2008

WASHINGTON – In a rare display of political harmony, Democrats and Republicans on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee came together on behalf of presidential candidate Sen. John McCain.rtr1ik2w.jpg

On a 19-0 vote on Thursday, they approved a sense of the Senate resolution that declares McCain is indeed a “natural born” U.S. citizen and thus eligible under the Constitution to be president.

Questions have been raised because McCain was born outside of the United States — to Americans parents on a military base in 1936 in the Panama Canal Zone, then under U.S. control.

McCain, a Republican, insists he meets the “natural born” requirement. Many Democrats and Republicans agree. But the Senate panel approved the resolution and sent it to the full Senate for a vote as a statement and precautionary move.

A sense of the Senate resolution is not binding. But if there is a court challenge of McCain’s eligibility, it could help influence the decision.

“The Senate should adopt this resolution and put to rest any question of Sen. McCain’s status as a ‘natural born citizen’,” said Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat and a chief sponsor of the resolution.

Senate backers include Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, who are competing for the Democratic presidential nomination and the right to face McCain in the November election. 

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage

- Photo credit: Reuters/Jose Gomez

Comments
4 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

It’s like an honorary degree. If congress wants you to be a natural born Citizen, they can call you that.

Will it all just go away if McCain is elected and sworn into office? I think not. This will make the election of George Bush in 2000 look like just so much chad. See the discussion as it escalates at http://panamajohn.dominates.us/forum and participate.

PanamaJohn.dominates.us

 

Since when does ‘natural born’ mean ‘territorially born’? John McCain came into this world an American, never had to be ‘naturalized’, and thus there shouldn’t be any question whatsoever.

Posted by Chaz P | Report as abusive
 

There is no need for a “sense of the Senate resolution” declaring Senator John McCain as a “natural-born citizen.” The Senate should instead reread–grammatically–the Citizenship Clause and study more closely the Congressional Globe transcripts during the debate on May 30, 1866.

During the same year Congress debated and approved the Citizenship Clause in 1866 (ratified 1868), Justice Noah Haynes Swayne in U.S. v. Rhodes (cited in U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark, 1898) declared:

“All persons born in the allegiance of the United States are natural-born citizens. Birth and allegiance go together.”

Judiciary Committee Chair Senator Lyman Trumbull during the Citizenship Clause debate (Congressional Globe 39th Congress, 1st Session, p. 2894, Col. 1, May 30, 1866), said:

“Mr. TRUMBULL … What do we mean by ‘subject to the jurisdiction of the United States’? Not owing allegiance to anybody else. That is what it means.”

In this regard, Chief Justice Morrison R. Waite in Minor v. Happersett (1874) held that:

“Allegiance and protection are, in this connection (that is, in relation to citizenship) reciprocal obligations. The one is a compensation for the other; allegiance for protection, and protection for allegiance.”

Thus, what Senator Trumbull is actually conveying in his definition of the phrase is that “owing allegiance” is simply the “reciprocal obligation” in compensation for “protection” extended to persons “subject to the jurisdiction of the United States” and, of course, in return for the attendant rights, privileges and immunities persons “owing allegiance” are guaranteed to enjoy as citizens of the United States.

As the debate was about to close, Senator James Doolittle directly quoted (shown printed in quotation marks in the scanned original transcript of the Congressional Globe, 39th Congress, 1st Session, page 2897, Col. 1, 2nd par., May 30, 1866) how “the language” of the phrase, “subject to the jurisdiction thereof,” that Senator Jacob Merritt Howard authored, was understood to be read:

“Mr. DOOLITTLE … But, sir, the Senator has drawn me off from the immediate question before the Senate. The immediate question is whether the language which he [the author, Senator Howard] uses, ‘all persons subject to the jurisdiction of the United States,’ includes these Indians. I maintain that it does …”

To repeat for emphasis the phrase Senator Doolittle quoted as “the language which he [Senator Howard, the author] uses”:

“All persons subject to the jurisdiction of the United States”

Reciprocally read, is this not the very definition of citizens of the United States–“all persons owing allegiance to the United States” at birth (“natural-born”) or afterbirth (“naturalized”)?

Now why would Senator Doolittle in citing Senator Howard’s “language” in the draft add the words “all persons” to the phrase “subject to the jurisdiction thereof”?

It’s obviously the PAIR OF COMMAS. For, grammatically read–owing to the commas enclosing the phrase “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof,” particularly the first comma before the conjunction “and”–the clause actually consists of a COMPOUND subject joined together by the conjunction “and” with a common predicate.

First subject– “All persons born in the United States
Second subject – “[All persons] subject to the jurisdiction thereof”

(Note: The phrase “or naturalized” in the Clause was inserted and “agreed to” a week later on June 8th at page 3040, Col. 2, (Congressional Globe, 39th Congress, 1st Session) upon motion of Senator William Pitt Fessenden, Chair of the powerful Committee on Reconstruction, after the Senate debated and approved Senator Howard’s draft of the Clause on the same day the author submitted it on May 30, 1866.)

The phrase “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” is the ELLIPTICAL for the complete construction Senator Doolittle cited, with its main noun phrase, “all persons,” omitted rather than repeated for brevity or style, inferable from the main noun phrase in the first subject it is coordinate with–is the SECOND subject of the compound and is certainly not a “qualifying phrase” of the element preceding it as read under U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark.

Surprisingly, Senator Doolittle’s direct quotation of how the phrase was understood to be employed in the Clause has never been accorded the critical attention and widespread scrutiny it deserves and remains to this day lamentably unnoticed.

Senator John McCain is a “natural-born citizen,” having been born of parents “subject to the jurisdiction of the United States” or, reciprocally, “in the allegiance of the United States” which falls under the still-unrecognized category of citizens of the United States the Citizenship Clause confers.

My analysis at http://natural-born-american.blogspot.co m/

 

> McCain a ‘natural’

Does the media really need to bend THAT far over to positively frame John McCain? Would it have been too much to ask that “citizen” be appended to the post title to make it more clear, and less praise-y of John McCain?

Sheesh.

Posted by plooger | Report as abusive
 

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