Obama Presidential Eligibility – An Introductory Primer
Despite the mainstream news media’s silence regarding this matter, an increasing number of Americans are concerned that Barack Obama might not be eligible, under the Constitution, to serve as President.
According to the U.S. Constitution, an individual born after 1787 cannot legally or legitimately serve as U.S. President unless he or she is a “natural born citizen” of the United States.
Among members of Congress and the mainstream news media, the consensus of opinion is that anyone born in the United States is a “natural born citizen”. However, when we researched this issue a bit more carefully, we found that the consensus opinion is not consistent with American history.
In Minor v. Happersett (1874), the Supreme Court said that, if you were born in the United States and both of your parents were U.S. citizens at the time of your birth, you are, without doubt, a natural born citizen. In the same case, the Supreme Court also said that, if you were born in the United States and one of your parents was not a U.S. citizen when you were born, your natural born citizenship is in doubt. So far, the Supreme Court has not resolved this doubt because, until now, there has never been any need to do so.
With only two exceptions, every American President, who was born after 1787, was born in the United States, to parents who were both U.S. citizens. The two exceptions were Chester Arthur and Barack Obama. When Chester Arthur ran for office, the public did not know about his eligibility problem. Only recently did historians learn that, when Arthur was born, his father was not a U.S. citizen. The 2008 election was the first time in history that the United States knowingly elected a President who was born after 1787 and whose parents were not both U.S. citizens.
Barack Obama publicly admits that his father was not a U.S. citizen. According to Minor v. Happersett, there is unresolved doubt as to whether the child of a non-citizen parent is a natural born citizen. This doubt is not based on the imaginings of some tin-foil-hat-wearing conspiracy theorists on the lunatic fringe of society. This doubt comes from what the Supreme Court has actually said, as well as a variety of other historical and legal sources which are presented and discussed here.
This Primer introduces and explains the Obama Eligibility Controversy, in question-and-answer format, for a non-technical general audience. We’ve double-checked the facts presented here, and we’ve cited the sources of each fact.