The birthers are at it again. This time, the communications manager for the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University, Joe Montgomery, has made the birther case before the Kansas Objections Board, composed of Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer–all Republicans. He based the argument on several claims, the primary being that as the president’s father was a citizen of Kenya at the time of the president’s birth, it would automatically grant British citizenship upon his son upon birth, which would disqualify the president from being on the ballot. He presented several Supreme Court decisions in order to make his case.
His filing said, in part:
Barack Obama, according to multiple sources, was not born to a citizen father. His father was never even admitted to this country as a resident alien. Barack Obama Sr. retained his British and Kenyan citizenship and passed them onto his son, which Mr. Obama has publicly claimed on his Fight the Smears website. The Supreme Court specified that natural-born citizenship inherently excludes dual citizenship through a citation in U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark (which was citing U.S. v Rhodes, noting that one could only be a British subject or a natural-born citizen, and not hold both citizenships): All persons born in the allegiance of the King are natural-born subjects, and all persons born in the allegiance of the United States are natural-born citizens.
Unfortunately for Mr. Montgomery, the cases do not back up his case. One of the cases he cited as proof that the term “natural-born citizen” means someone born of two American citizens is United States v. Wong Kim Ark. The problem is, the case actually ruled the absolute opposite. For those of us unfamiliar with the case, Mr Wong was born in San Francisco to two Chinese citizens here for work. After a trip to visit relatives in China, Mr Wong found himself prevented from re-entering the country, claiming that he lacked citizenship. The case went all the way up to the Supreme Court, where the court ruled 7-2 that a child born in this country, regardless of the citizenship of his parents, was indeed a natural-born citizen.
As Hawaii was, at the time of the president’s birth, a state of the union, this would qualify him as a natural-born citizen.
The other case cited is United States vs Rhodes, which does contains this part; the lynchpin of Mr Montgomery’s claim in these regards: All persons born in the allegiance of the king are natural-born subjects, and all persons born in the allegiance of the United States are natural-born citizens. Birth and allegiance go together. Such is the rule of the common law, and it is the common law of this country, as well [**18] as of England. There are two exceptions, and only two, to the universality of its application. The children of ambassadors are in theory born in the allegiance of the powers the ambassadors represent, and slaves, in legal contemplation, are property, and not persons. 2 Kent, Comm. 1; Calvin’s Case, 7 Coke, 1; 1 Bl. Comm. 366; Lynch v. Clarke, 1 Sand. Ch. 583. At the time of the case in 1866, the decisions basis was on using the 1866 laws on British citizenship, and under the laws of Britain at the time, Mr Montgomery would indeed be correct.
Unfortunately for Mr Montgomery’s argument, however, the laws of the British commonwealth changed between 1866 and 1961, which destroyed the provision which he is citing. While Mr Montgomery is correct that Barack Obama Sr was indeed a Citizen of the British Commonwealth at the time of birth, as his son was not born in a member nation of the Commonwealth, the laws within Britain for the transfer of citizenship changed. The rules for citizenship inheritance were revised with the British Nationality Act of 1948, which would indeed have passed that citizenship on to Obama Sr’s children, should it be requested at the British embassy or council. However, with Kenya’s independence in 1963, the new constitution of Kenya converted all Commonwealth citizens born in Kenya to Kenyan citizenship, unless the person purposefully requested to keep their Commonwealth citizenship and forego their Kenyan. However, the constitution of Kenya expressly forbids dual citizenship, although it does allow for children to claim Kenyan citizenship if they forego their other citizenship before the age of 23. The president failed to claim the option he had for Kenyan citizenship, and renounce his US citizenship, so he never became a citizen of Kenya.
While Mr Montgomery can claim doctored birth certificates as much as he wants, according to the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the US Constitution if the state of Hawaii states that the certificate presented by the president is legitimate, the state of Kansas must also accept it as legitimate. Hawaii’s former Republican governor Linda Lingle already confirmed the presidents birthplace in Hawaii.
The ignorance expressed by Mr Montgomery is clear.
*UPDATE* – Earlier today, Mr Montgomery withdrew his objection, citing that he had been contacted by multiple people over the subject. He then tried to backpedal his earlier filing, claiming it was to “achieve a constructive dialog.”