By: Nathanael

He is one or the other. Either way, he is constitutionally disqualified to be elected President. He is not a natural born citizen.  

Article 2 Section 1 Clause 5 of the Constitution states:

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; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States. 

John McCain was born on August 29, 1936 at the Coco Solo Air Base in the Panama Canal Zone.  The Panama Canal Zone was not even a territory of the United States but was leased property. To learn more on the background of John McCain III and his father Admiral John S. “Jack” McCain click here.    

The issue of whether the Constitution should be amended in order for a naturalized citizen to be president is not an unfamiliar topic in the GOP primaries. Chris Matthews of Hardball on MSNBC posed this question with regard to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to all the candidates.  

The following is the relevant excerpt from the transcript of that first GOP debate held on May 03, 2007. 

MR. MATTHEWS: Okay. Let me ask you a question regarding immigration. One of prized guests here today, Governor Schwarzenegger. Looking this man in the eye, answer this question. I’m going to go down the line starting with Governor Romney.  

Should we change our Constitution which we believe is divinely inspired – (laughter) – to allow men like Mel Martinez, the chairman of your party, born in Cuba , great patriot, senator from Florida , and Arnold Schwarzenegger to stand here some night?  

Governor Romney. 

MR. ROMNEY: Never given that a lot of thought, but with Arnold sitting there, I’ll give it some thought, but probably not.  


Yes or no?  

MR. : I love the governator, but –  

MR. MATTHEWS: (Laughs.) Well, we’ve got two no’s.  

MR. : -- no, because I think there are other ideas that we can should be putting forward.  

MR. MATTHEWS: Governor Gilmore. Two no’s. We’re moving here.  

MR. GILMORE: No, I don’t tend to want to amend this Constitution in a variety of different ways, and this would be not a good start to do it that way.  

MR. MATTHEWS: So that’s a no.  

MR. GILMORE: That’s a no.  

MR. MATTHEWS: Three no’s in a row.  

REP. HUNTER: After I’ve served eight years as president, I’d be happy to change the Constitution for Governor Schwarzenegger. (Laughter.)  

MR. MATTHEWS: Three to one.  

MR. THOMPSON: We haven’t seen his endorsement yet, Chris.  

MR. MATTHEWS: Okay. Three to one; the no’s show.

 MR. THOMPSON: That’s a no.  

MR. MATTHEWS: Okay. Four no’s to one.



MR. MATTHEWS: Five to one.


SEN. MCCAIN: That depends on whether he endorses me or not. (Laughter.) He and I have many similar attributes, so I have to seriously consider it.  

MR. MATTHEWS: Okay. We don’t know there. We got an overwhelming vote against you, Governor, in your own house. (Laughter.)


REP. PAUL: I’m “no” because I am a strong supporter of the original intent.  

MR. MATTHEWS: Oh, God.  

Okay, Mayor Giuliani.  

MR. GIULIANI: When he called me up to endorse him, he got me on the phone he said, “Will you endorse me,” and I was too afraid to say no. (Laughter.) So –  

MR. MATTHEWS: Okay, Congressman Tancredo, is it a no or yes?  

MR. GIULIANI: I would say yes.  

REP. TANCREDO: Intimidating as he might be, I’m saying no.  

MR. MATTHEWS: Okay, we got two yeses here.

Jim – I mean John. Jim. I’m sorry.  

It was clearly understood by Chris Matthews and all the candidates, including Senator John McCain that:

  • Only someone physically born within one of the States is lawfully qualified to be elected president, and that …
  • In order for naturalized citizens like Arnold and John McCain to be qualified an Amendment to the Constitution under Article V would have to be passed before a naturalized citizen could legally be elected President.

It has been assumed incorrectly that children born overseas to US citizens are considered to be "natural born". They are automatically "naturalized citizens" as a result of their parents but they are not "natural born citizens". That misunderstanding is likely rooted in the Naturalization Act of 1790. First Congress, Session II, Chapter 4, pages 103-104, wherein the relevant part states: 

"... And the children of citizens of the United States, that may be born beyond sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born citizens:" 

The use of the phrase "natural born" in the Act of 1790 raises the issue of it having been unconstitutional, since it was in conflict with the language of Article 2, Section 1, Clause 5 cited above. The Act of 1790 was not an Article V modification and could not lawfully change the Constitution.  

The founders (such as the first Speaker of the House Fredrick Muhlenberg, VP John Adams and President George Washington) likely recognized this error and made the appropriate correction/change in the The Naturalization Act of 1795 by taking out the two words "natural born". The 1795 Act repealed and superseded the 1790 Act clearing up any potential confusion.

SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, that the children of persons duly naturalized, dwelling within the United States, and being under the age of twenty-one years at the time of such naturalization, and the children of citizens of the United States born out of the limits and jurisdiction of the United States, shall be considered as citizens of the United States. Provided, that the right of citizenship shall not descend on persons whose fathers have never been resident of the United States. No person heretofore proscribed by any state, or who has been legally convicted of having joined the army of Great Britain during the late war, shall be admitted as foresaid, without the consent of the legislature of the state in which such person was proscribed.

SEC. 4. And be it further enacted, that the Act, intitled, "An act to establish an uniform rule of naturalization," passed the twenty-sixth day of March, one thousand seven hundred and ninety, be, and the same is hereby repealed.

FREDERICK AUGUSTUS MUHLENBERG, Speaker of the House of Representatives.

JOHN ADAMS, Vice-President of the United States, And President of the Senate.

APPROVED, January the 29th, 1795:

GEORGE WASHINGTON, President of the United States

The need to modify the Constitution with regard to citizenship is not a new topic for Ron Paul. He recognizes and calls for amending the Constitution to end the automatic citizenship of anchor babies from illegal aliens. Here are his words from the official Ron Paul 2008 web site.

No other wealthy, western nations grant automatic citizenship to those who simply happen to be born within their borders to non-citizens. These nations recognize that citizenship involves more than the physical location of one’s birth; it also involves some measure of cultural connection and allegiance. In most cases this means the parents must be citizens of a nation in order for their newborn children to receive automatic citizenship.

Make no mistake, Americans are happy to welcome immigrants who follow our immigration laws and seek a better life here. America is far more welcoming and tolerant of newcomers than virtually any nation on earth. But our modern welfare state creates perverse incentives for immigrants, incentives that cloud the issue of why people choose to come here. The real problem is not immigration, but rather the welfare state magnet.

Hospitals bear the costs when illegal immigrants enter the country for the express purpose of giving birth. But illegal immigrants also use emergency rooms, public roads, and public schools. In many cases they are able to obtain Medicaid, food stamps, public housing, and even unemployment benefits. Some have fraudulently collected Social Security benefits.

Of course many American citizens also use or abuse the welfare system. But we cannot afford to open our pocketbooks to the rest of the world. We must end the perverse incentives that encourage immigrants to come here illegally, including the anchor baby incentive.

I’ve introduced legislation that would amend the Constitution and end automatic birthright citizenship. The 14th amendment was ratified in 1868, on the heels of the Civil War. The country, especially the western territories, was wide open and ripe for homesteading. There was no welfare state to exploit, and the modern problems associated with immigration could not have been imagined.

Our founders knew that unforeseen problems with our system of government would arise, and that’s precisely why they gave us a method for amending the Constitution. It’s time to rethink birthright citizenship by amending the 14th amendment.

So then these questions go to Rep. Ron Paul, the self professed defender of the Constitution: 

“Will you stand up for the Constitution and publicly demand that John McCain withdraw his candidacy for cause?"  

"If McCain refuses to step down, will you follow through on your oath of office and file the requisite legal action to stop his candidacy?”  

Ron Paul should stay in the race all the way to the end hammering the other candidates with the Constitution. He should go on national TV and provide detailed examples of how it has been shredded by GWBush and the vast majority in Congress.  

This is a premier opportunity for Ron Paul to dramatically demonstrate to the nation and the world that he is fully commitment to uphold and defend the Constitution. He can catapult his candidacy into the front of the GOP, if he speaks the undiluted truth.  

The people who understand liberty, that the united States of America is a republic and not a democracy, those have given their money and campaigned relentlessly for him deserve no less. His oath of office demands it of him as well.

"Published originally at : republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact."

Nathanael is a self-employed engineer and lives in metropolitan area of Dallas, Texas. He had only ever been a life long registered Republican but changed to the Constitution Party in May of 2004. He is a regular columnist for Ether Zone.

Nathanael can be reached at

Published in the February 11, 2008 issue of  Ether Zone.
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