This is testimony for the committee hearing Thursday, March 10, for LB 654, Nebraska’s eligibility bill:
I’m Nellie (redacted) and I’m representing myself.
NJ law requires their SOS to verify Constitutional eligibility of Presidential candidates before placing them on the ballot. The Constitution says that only natural born citizens who are at least 35 years old and have resided in the US for 14 years are eligible. In 2008 their SOS placed these 3 candidates on the ballot:
- John McCain, a white republican who was not born in the United States.
- Barack Obama, a black democrat whose father was not a US citizen.
- Roger Calero, a Hispanic communist who was not born in the US, whose parents were both non-citizens, and who is not a US citizen himself.
A concerned citizen, Leo Donofrio, sued to have NJ law upheld, saying that the Constitutional eligibility of all 3 candidates was legally uncertain. The courts ruled that he had no legal standing – that it was “not his business” whether or not either NJ law or the US Constitution had been violated. The Supreme Court can take up a case regardless of standing but declined to hear that case or any of the 50+ cases regarding eligibility.
This case tells us a few things. First, it tells us that this is not about political party, since the candidates for 3 parties were challenged. Nor is it about race, since those 3 candidates were of 3 different ethnicities. The issue is the rule of law at both state and federal levels, involving state statute and the US Constitution.
Second, it tells us what doesn’t work. Only statutes that require specific documentation and what it needs to document mean anything, and only statutes which give citizens standing to sue will ever actually be enforced.
The reason LB 654 is necessary is because of the confusion over whose “business” Presidential eligibility is. For brevity I’ve written up a series of “headlines” to concisely show the current situation:
- US Constitution: “President Must be Natural Born Citizen”
- Congressional Research Service: “Eligibility Is States’, Congress, and Courts’ Business”
- Congress: “It’s State and Court Business”
- States: “It’s Congress and Court Business”
- Lower Courts: “It’s Nobody’s Business”
- Judge Robertson: “It’s Twitter’s Business”
- Supreme Court: No Comment
- Secretaries of State: “Everybody is eligible”
- Media: “If We Don’t Report it You’re Crazy to Care About It”
- Current NE Statute: “Trust Politicians and Media”
Sounds just like my kids when it’s time to sort the laundry. Always somebody else’s business so nobody gets it done. Except in this case, the only people who CAN interpret the Constitution are the courts (and they refuse) and the only people who WANT to enforce the Constitution are the people (and the courts won’t even let them raise the issue, saying they lack standing).
LB 654 would create a case with “standing”, so the courts can rule on the definition of “natural born citizen”. Any arguments saying that LB 654 is unconstitutional miss the key point: the only way we will get a definition for NBC is if there IS a law or candidate that is challenged in the courts.
There is every reason in the world to believe that LB 654 IS Constitutional, though, because the legal source which defined “natural born citizen” when the Constitution was ratified (de Vattel) said a “natural born citizen” is someone born on the country’s soil to citizen parents. Even 7 years after the 14th Amendment was ratified, the Supreme Court said that any other definition would be questionable because it is not known whether children born to non-citizens are “subject to the jurisdiction” of the US (as required by the 14th Amendment) or to the country of their parents’ citizenship.
And indeed, when the US Senate unanimously passed a non-binding resolution declaring John McCain a “natural born citizen” even though born in Panama, they based that on him having 2 citizen parents. So those who say that parents’ citizenship is only an issue for the “fringe of the fringe” will be happy to know that the “fringe of the fringe” includes all 100 US Senators in 2008 – including Barack Obama, his current VP Joe Biden, and his current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
I’ve written up a booklet which gives details. I sent this booklet out to each of the committee members ahead-of-time because it has a lot of important information. It addresses the Constitutional issues that have been raised, and why I believe LB 654 is Constitutional in every way. And I will happily entertain any questions on those issues at the close of my testimony. But ultimately, the only parts of LB 654 that will survive are those which pass Constitutional muster, which will leave us with a definition of “natural born citizen” and the means to implement that definition in the State of Nebraska – which is exactly what we need if we are serious about defending the United States Constitution.
One state to our south, a decorated Iraq war vet sits in jail because his officer’s oath to protect and defend the United States Constitution would not allow him in good conscience to say, “It’s somebody else’s business.” His oath meant something to him. Regardless of what anybody thinks of how Lt Col Terry Lakin chose to protect the US Constitution, nobody should question how much his oath meant to him. He gave up $800,000 of his personal savings, the rest of his career as a military surgeon including benefits, and a comfortable military retirement – easily adding up to 3 million dollars. Trying to uphold his oath also cost him his reputation and 6 months in prison. Defending the US Constitution was worth that much to him.
His Commander in Chief could have spent 2 minutes authorizing the release of records he claimed to already have disclosed, and put Lakin’s conscience at ease. Apparently it wasn’t worth 2 minutes of the Commander in Chief’s time.
And now the question that I place before this committee is this: How much is your word worth? When you made the oath to support the US Constitution, did you mean it, or are you expecting somebody else to do it for you? The way you vote today will answer that question.
I don’t know if the committee has actually voted on the bill, but an article here has Committee Chair Bill Avery saying the bill will not make it out of committee. Apparently the answer to my question was “no”. They didn’t mean it. When I can find out how the individual members voted I will post it here.
I’m going to see if I can find video of the hearing. If so, I’ll link it. If not, I’ll write up a post describing the questions and answers as best I can remember them (which may not be the best since my memory is terrible, but I’ll do the best I can).