The Absurdity of the “US Birth = Natural Born” Position

“No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President…” U.S. Const. art. II, § 1, cl 5.

Two circumstances are enumerated, each specifying the requirements applicable in that circumstance.

The circumstances are “at the time of the adoption of this Constitution”, and “all other times”.

The requirements applicable in each circumstance are “citizen” and “natural born citizen”, respectively.

Citizens are added to the United States by naturalization and by birth in the United States. The 14th Amendment defined “all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside”.

Art. I, § 8, cl. 4 delegates to Congress the power to “establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization”.

Legislation enabling Art. I, § 8, cl. 4 can add individuals to the set of people termed “citizen”, or remove individuals from the set of people termed “citizen”. The only other way an individual can be termed “citizen” is by birth in the United States.

The term “citizen” is applicable only “at the time of the adoption of this Constitution”

At all other times the requirement is “natural born citizen”.

There is no provision in the Constitution delegating to Congress the power to “establish a Rule of Natural Born Citizenship”. Accordingly, there is no enabling legislation which adds individuals to the set of people termed “natural born citizen”, or remove individuals from the set of people termed “natural born citizen”.

This tells us two things:

1) “natural born citizen” exists without any requirement for enabling legislation
2) the meaning is generally understood

What individuals could be in the set of people termed “natural born citizen”?

Obviously, naturalized citizens can not be included due to reliance on enabling legislation as well as the fact that naturalization produces indivduals termed “citizen” rather than “natural born citizen”

What about all persons born in the United States as per the 14th Amendment? The 14th Amend. defines persons termed “citizen” rather than “natural born citizen”

There must be some other factor.

The noun “citizen” in the first clause is qualified by the adjective “natural born”. This rule is ordinary English, the noun is modified by the adjective such that only those nouns having the specific characteristic are included. Therefore:

1) “Natural born citizen” is more specific than “citizen”
2) “Natural born citizen” is a subset of “citizen”
3) “Natural born” is a specific characteristic appertaining to some citizens but not all

Birth in the United States is a necessary element for “citizen” and is, on its own, sufficient for “citizen”.

“Natural born citizens” are a subset of “citizens”. Therefore birth in the United States is a necessary element for “natural born citizen” but is, on its own, insufficient for “natural born citizen”.

Only some citizens “born in the United States” are “natural born citizens”.

People “born in the United States” are born to parents who are either citizens or aliens.

Which citizens “born in the United States” are “natural born citizens”, the children of citizens or the children of aliens?

It would be irrational to grant to the children of aliens, and deny to the children of citizens, the privilege of eligibility for the Office of President.

“Natural born citizen” must mean citizens born from citizen parents.

The meaning of Article II is self-evident.

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