Saturday, February 6, 2016

Aborting the Birther Canard

Recently, I wasted an evening dialoging on social media with political activists insistent that a series of Presidential candidates were disqualified from being elected because of their "natural born citizen" status.  These perseverating politicos railed against the Cubans.  One was disparaged as the Canadian candidate (a.k.a. Senator Ted Cruz R-TX), who was born in Calgary, Alberta to an American mother.  The other was described as an anchor baby (a.k.a. Senator Marco Rubio R-FL), who was born in Miami, Florida but his parents were not American Citizens (although they were Permanent Residents).

This tiresome conundrum seems to fascinate tin-foil hat conspiracy types as well as some racists. Some push citations from their blogs that insist that even the parents of candidates must be natural born citizens in order to qualify to be elected to the White House.  They did not cotton to the fact that such an interpretation would disqualify Donald Trump, as his mother was born in Scotland.

Some Trump-eteers echo their dear leader's Dutch uncle's advice that Cruz (and presumably Rubio) should get Declaratory Judgments in their favor.  The catch is two fold. Courts adjudicate legal disputes so someone has to be injured before such a judicial pronouncement can be made.  So the issue is not ripe.  And pro arguendo, if there is not settled law on natural born citizens, the judicial branch ought to kick the case out as it is a political matter. Of course they may not like the Illinois Election Board decision.

In a futile attempt to educate individuals of their invincible ignorance, it is worth considering a Harvard Law Review piece written a year ago by two Solicitor General of the United States [editor's note--that is the chief lawyer for the President who usually argues cases for the Administration before the Supreme Court]  Clinton acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal and George W. Bush Solicitor General Paul Clement examined examines the phrase natural born citizen and concludes that if someone is born outside of the US but has an American born parent who lived at least one year in the US, then they are a natural born citizen.

For those who can not be troubled to read the Harvard Law Review piece, Fox News Legal Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano comes to the same conclusion a nearly a year later and assuages Donald Trump's eligibility assertions.

Those who keep seeking to make this a campaign crucible seem unwilling to listen to reason.  They love the fight and seize upon this thread even when it exposed as a canard, because otherwise they would need to delve into policy. I've had one colloquy with someone who wanted her birther question answered. It was asked and answered even with a citation intended for laymen.  She thanked me and claimed that she was a German Grandma who just wanted to know more.  A week later, she was posting the same shtick so I asked if she had read my referral. She could find no fault with the legal argument but was not a lawyer so her simple question remained.

I had hoped that the No Nothing Party disappeared from America in 1860. Regrettably, they are devolving our civil discourse today. Their logical rivals the mental machinations of the Loose Change crowd 150 years later.

When it comes to human life I am a pro-life advocate.  That being said, we ought to abort the birther canard. But it is daunting to get chase away trolls and clean up after their blustery bi-products.

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