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