Monthly Archives: January 2011

Spring Will Come

They who wait for the Lord

State Legislators:Why This is Critical

This is a letter that can be sent to  a state legislator when asking them to introduce and pass the bill at . Deadlines are fast approaching so PRETTY PLEASE WITH A CHERRY ON TOP (or however else I can beg. lol) present this to your state legislator ASAP. Thanks!     Nellie

Dear legislator:

With all the urgent business today, you’re probably asking yourself why an eligibility bill is needed now, when the country has gotten along fine all these years. I’m writing to give as concisely as possible a few of the reasons why this issue is among the most urgent of all. There is much, much more, but these are some of the main reasons:

1. National security. There is no security clearance for POTUS and VP. The vote itself is the only vetting done, and voters have no access to official records. Unresolved questions about eligibility mean that any person or foreign government that has incriminating records can blackmail the person who holds the nuclear football, appoints SCOTUS justices, cabinet members, and unaccountable “czars”, makes executive orders, and has the power to veto anything our elected officials pass .

2. Frustration of legitimate state government functions. There is no legal definition of “natural born citizen” and the courts are evading any cases which would require the definition to be resolved. This means that nobody in this country can say for sure whether someone is eligible. Leo Donofrio challenged the eligibility of 3 Presidential candidates in NJ – McCain (who was born in Panama), Obama (whose father was not a US citizen), and Roger Calero (a green card holder born in Nicaragua) – all of whom were placed on the ballot without any records being checked, even though NJ requires their SOS to “verify Constitutional eligibility”. The issue has been raised by both sides of the political aisle; this transcends politics and extends far beyond one particular election.

 We have a slate of young political leaders who come from a variety of situations, and this issue is only going to get more complicated if we don’t resolve the questions BEFORE it becomes a referendum on a particular candidate. It is unfair to ask our Secretary of State, Congress, or the chairs of the DNC and RNC to decide who is eligible, when they are not authorized to interpret the Constitution and have no ruling on the definition by those who ARE supposed to interpret the Constitution. Having 50 different Secretaries of State decide for themselves what the definition is will present a chaotic situation. We clearly need a SCOTUS ruling on the definition of “natural born citizen”.

The definition at the time of the Founders was not just “a citizen at birth” (as would  later be governed by the 14th Amendment), but was given in Vattel’s “Law of Nations” as someone born of citizen parents on US soil. George Washington (who chaired the Constitutional Convention) just two years after the Constitution was ratified signed the Naturalization Act of 1790 which extended “natural born citizenship” to those born OUTSIDE the country to two citizen parents – making parents’ citizenship the ONLY criteria for natural born citizenship.  (Not surprisingly, the founders relied on “Law of Nations” enough that Ben Franklin bought 5 English-language copies for himself; George Washington checked it out of the library and never returned it. As a professor, Barack Obama cited “Law of Nations” as one of the prevailing legal sources for the Founders.) The Constitutional requirement is that the President be a “natural born citizen”, so an eligibility law should seek to fulfill that requirement. 

3. Denial of the people’s First Amendment right to “petition the government for a redress of grievances”. The only civilians the courts allow to challenge either a candidate’s eligibility or bureaucrats’ refusal to do their legally-required duties (such as in NJ, referenced above) are those the court thinks would “probably” win the election. Donofrio and all others who have sued – including another candidate and an elector – have been denied “standing”. When the entire citizenry is told they don’t have standing they are being told it is none of their business if the Constitution is followed or not. In a form of government which is critically dependent on accountability from a vigilant citizenry, that situation is literally a death sentence for America.

4. That refusal to allow real accountability creates a dangerous, toxic situation where government is distrusted, conspiracy theories abound because there is nobody who is trusted for accurate information, and the nation is split into violently polarized factions. Over the weekend David Gregory pushed very hard to get Eric Cantor to label as “crazy” the 60% or so of Americans who aren’t confident that Obama was born in America. After all the talk about softening the rhetoric we still have 60% of Americans being demonized by the media, and politicians caught between the agenda of the media and the very real anger and frustration of the American public. That’s not healthy for anybody – least of all the country as a whole.

Right now a decorated military surgeon is sitting in jail with his family’s livelihood and $800,000 of his own money gone, rather than being in Afghanistan where he wants to be, helping to heal our wounded warriors of wounds like Gabrielle Giffords’ – all because in over a year of asking his leaders for assurances that the Commander in Chief was truly compliant with the Constitution he swore to protect and defend, he could not find even ONE leader who would take the issue seriously – including his Congressman and the Commander in Chief. What message does that give our military officers who make those oaths? What message does that give our wounded heroes in Afghanistan?

Presenting proof of eligibility is something every teenager who wants to detassel corn has to do, but the media contends it is “crazy” if people want the United States President to have to do the same. It feels like an alternate universe to many who feel like the country they know and love is slipping away, where there is one set of laws for the people and another set – that no one can even enforce – for the ruling class. As if the ruling class is “untouchable” by legitimate means of legal accountability. The government needs the goodwill of the American people, and they are not going to get it by mocking the deepest-held convictions that we all supposedly share in the Constitution.

Divided we fall. That’s why this issue matters so much.

Please Encourage Your State to Pass This Bill

After much input and thought, this is the eligibility bill I am finally asking people to lobby their state legislators to pass.

Features of this bill:

  • 1. It gives the Constitutional basis for the law being needed.
  • 2. It is based upon the most restrictive interpretation of “natural born citizen” (born in the US to 2 US citizen parents), which will certainly be appealed by the DOJ – the only way to get SCOTUS to rule clearly on the definition of “natural born citizen”.
  • 3. It has a severability clause which means that even while the definition of “natural born citizen” is being decided the documentation and procedural elements will remain in effect.
  • 4. It will go into effect immediately upon signing, giving candidates for 2012 fair notice as they are deciding whether to run.
  • 5. It requires the candidate to consent for the SOS to receive certified copies of all his/her birth and citizenship records as well as citizenship records for his/her parents.
  • 6. It requires the written and embedded transaction logs to be received by the SOS so that any tampering with the official records must be identified. This is the only way to hold bureaucrats accountable to the law.
  • 7. It requires all the documentation to be posted on the SOS website so that any person can scrutinize for discrepancies or problems – thus empowering “we the people” to hold our government accountable.
  • 8. It requires originals to be available for public viewing so that the authenticating elements (signatures and seals) can be scrutinized by the public.
  • 9. It requires documents available to the public to be redacted according to legal standards, to protect the legitimate privacy interests of the candidate as determined by FOIA and state disclosure laws.
  • 10. It allows any person to contest the candidate’s eligibility and requires the judiciary to determine eligibility (when contested) before the candidate can be placed on the ballot, thus eliminating the “standing” problem for “we the people”.
  • 11. Because the SOS has to “show the work” transparently by posting the documentation and conclusions online, with the public able to contest the SOS conclusions, the politics or personal agenda of the SOS cannot frustrate the ability of “we the people” to see the law and Constitution enforced.
  • 12. It complies with the state’s Constitutional role of choosing presidential electors while complying with the judiciary’s Constitutional role of interpreting and applying the Constitution in both law and fact.
  • 13. Because the judiciary ultimately has to rule on the eligibility of any contested candidate, this law requires the judiciary – accountable to documentation already made public – and not the political workings of any party or state to decide this issue. States or political parties who defy a judicial ruling of ineligibility can be held accountable by contempt of court charges. This means that no matter how insignificant this state might be in the electoral vote, the rule of law will have nationwide effects – preventing a mish-mash of different SOS interpretations of the US Constitution.
  • 14. It requires expedited judicial procedures if a suit is filed in state court, in order to prevent any candidate from being sandbagged through court procedures, running out the clock so there is no ruling before the ballots are printed and the candidate has to be left off the ballot. State law can’t tell the federal judiciary to expedite the process, but by requiring the SOS to deny placement on the ballot, the State would automatically be a party in the suit, giving the US Supreme Court original jurisdiction in the case, which expedites the process for the sake of the candidate. This would also ultimately save both the candidate and the State money and time in getting to a lawful decision.
  • 15. The state AG would ultimately argue the case for the state before the US Supreme Court, but the AG is required to submit to the court any amicus briefs from the public in cases regarding either the initial constitutional challenge to the law (when “natural born citizen” will be defined) or any following cases filed because of the law’s provisions. That gives both the AG AND THE PEOPLE (“the public” from anywhere, not just a particular state, since the issue affects the entire nation) power to argue on both constitutional grounds and in specific cases, so that no input is censored. I believe that public access and transparency of the process are both critical to restoring public trust in government and its accountability to the people.
  • 16. This is all done in as few and as non-technical words as I think possible to still be understandable to the normal person.

I’m describing the elements of this bill so people can understand the legal reasons that this kind of law is necessary. There are constitutional, procedural, and accountability issues that need to be addressed that aren’t addressed by simply requiring a birth certificate to be shown to an SOS, who still has no SCOTUS clarification on what requirements he/she is even verifying in practical terms.

And we have the experience of what has happened in the last presidential election which also illuminates why this kind of law is necessary. I would be happy to summarize some of those experiences to any lawmaker who doesn’t know the history involved.

Ultimately, this is not really about Obama though. It is about creating a system where the will of the Constitution is implemented fairly and with due process by bureaucrats who are held accountable to both truthfulness and the rule of law. In addition, there are aspiring leaders who will need to know what the Constitution means for their particular situation, as they consider what path to take; this law would be for their good as well as for the good of the country. That is the real focus of this bill. This is not meant to favor or punish any person or group, but to allow a transparent and accountable process with input from all sides at every point in the process, so the nation can get the rules it needs and commence to play the game fairly for all.

All that being said, I appreciate any help I can get in presenting this to legislators in as many states as possible. It will be helpful to know who is covering what, so if somebody intends to work on this in a given state, it would be great to get a note to that effect so I know how to best spend my time and energy. Everybody is welcomed and even encouraged to print out this description and/or the proposed bill itself to pass on to lawmakers, neighbors, or whoever.

Final Short Form Eligibility Bill

Companion Eligibility Bills Draft

Eligibility Bill Draft 4 – Pair of Bills

Factcheck “Seal”

Proposed State Eligibility Bill

This is a bill that I would like to see at least one state enact. I believe it addresses the vulnerabilities in our current system and provides a Constitution-compliant way of ensuring that the Constitution’s requirements are met and the people are able to make their government accountable to the rule of law.Proposed Eligibility Bill 2