Let Me Overthink:
Instead of taking the easy way out, I started to think more in historical terms than political. So for this little piece just for the sake of argument, let’s label the Coast Province General Hospital birth certificate as legit. According to INA Act 301 (US Immigration and Nationality Act), Obama would have been a US citizen who was born overseas as the scan indicates that mother was born in the US (KS) and a resident of the US (HI). To declare Obama as ineligible to seek the office of President of the United States would also make John McCain ineligible as well since he was born in the Panama Canal Zone (there is a slight wrinkle with McCain and the implementation of sections of USC Title 8 http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/8/1403?quicktabs_8=1#quicktabs-8).
More closely related to the Obama situation if we suppose the birth certificate scan as legit, would be President Chester Arthur since both served as President. There were rumors that he had been born in Canada, but it can also be verified that his father did not become a US citizen until Chester Arthur was in his teens.
Other past candidates facing the same issue would include:
Charles Evans Hughes the Bull Moose and Republican nominee who was narrowly defeated by Woodrow Wilson in 1916 would be one. Although born in the US, issues arose on the subject of dual citizenship because of the citizenship of his parents.
Barry Goldwater faced the issue to a degree in 1964 since Arizona was still a territory at the time of his birth.
Even Mitt Romney’s father, George Romney was born in Mexico where Mitt’s grandparents had fled following the US enforcement of laws against polygamy in the 1880s. I may be mistaken, but I think they did not return to the US until sometime in the Teddy Roosevelt or Taft presidencies. Even though born in Mexico, George Romney would not have received Mexican citizenship because citizenship in Mexico was deemed a right of blood and not right of land as the US.
Like or dislike the political ideologies of any of the above, but my take from a history perspective is that all meet the citizenship requirements for President under Constitutional, Naturalization Acts of 1790 and 1795, and the Supreme Court decisions of the 19th and 20th centuries. I think cases from easiest to prove citizenship to hardest would be in the following order:
- Barry Goldwater
- Charles Evans Hughes
- Chester Arthur
- Barack Obama
- John McCain (due to the future inclusion of the Canal Zone in the Code)
- George Romney (my ignorance here would be whether they forfeited their US citizenship with the reasons for emigrating to Mexico)
Simply birther arguments in my opinion are great for Obama because it distracts from examining other issues. Some opponents use it because of the emotional outbursts which naturally occur. Others use it because they can’t find anything positive to argue about their candidate. Honestly if I were involved in the Obama campaign, I would probably endorse leaking “information” about a foreign birth to continue to distract the other side. That approach is coming from a boy who deplores the usage of “hatchet-men” in campaigning, although he recognizes the advantages they can bring to any election.
One of those history trivia lagniappe questions put on exams:
By any chance, can anyone name the first President of the United States to actually be born in the country of the United States?