In one last, desperate move, the birthers decided to beg Chief Justice Roberts to refuse to administer the oath of office to President Obama in an effort to keep him from taking office for a second term. In fact, Craig McMillan of WorldNetDaily said that, should Justice Roberts go on with the oath, he will face impeachment as well as dishonor.
Mr. McMillan’s open letter to Justice Roberts insists that administering the oath of office to an unqualified individual is a violation of his own office, and calls on him to acknowledge the supposed fact that Obama is not a natural born citizen of the U.S. due to the fact that his father was a Kenyan citizen.
The Constitution itself does not define “natural born citizen,” so there are questions as to how the term should be interpreted from a legal standpoint. Generally, according to the Cornell University Law School’s website, a natural born citizen is considered to be someone who was born on U.S. soil. The example they use is of someone born to British citizens in Hawaii; at birth he is subject to the jurisdiction of the State of Hawaii, and by extension the United States, therefore he is a natural born citizen of the U.S. under 8 USC § 1401.
President Obama was born in Hawaii according to his long form birth certificate and various people who witnessed and/or recorded his birth. Under this interpretation of the law, that makes him a natural born citizen regardless of his parents’ citizenship.
For the birthers, 8 USC § 1401 isn’t enough. Obama may be a native born citizen (although there are many birthers who don’t believe even that), but he is not natural born because both his parents were not U.S. citizens. They insist on a literal, originalist interpretation of the Constitution, which, as previously noted, does not define “natural born” in any way, shape or form. An essay titled “The Constitutional Meaning of ‘Natural Born Citizen,‘” explains that “natural born” can’t be defined by man-made laws because it is defined by natural law. However, this essay goes into very complicated detail about the differences between natural born, native born and naturalized, and in essence, calls the natural born status of many into question, based on its explanations and analyses.
Obama is qualified to be the President of the United States because the law, despite being a man-made law, says he is natural born, and the courts have upheld that. The Supreme Court, in fact, refused to hear a lawsuit challenging Obama’s citizenship and eligibility status, and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the plaintiffs did not have legal standing to file the lawsuit.
That’s the birthers’ first problem. Their second problem is that they don’t seem to know what the Constitution actually says as regards to who can administer the oath of office to the President. An article by the Daily Kos quotes Article II, Section 1, Paragraph 8 of the Constitution and mentions that the birthers, who are so insistent on adhering to the Constitution, have no idea what it actually says about the oath of office. Paragraph 8 says, in full:
“Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:–‘I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.'”
The Daily Kos correctly notes that it says nothing whatsoever about who must administer the oath, and that having the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court do it is merely tradition. In other words, anybody who is legally able to administer a legal oath can administer this one, and it will be perfectly acceptable in the eyes of the Constitution.
Therefore, the birthers’ final push to prevent the President from taking office for a second term is, at best, a completely futile effort, much like the Tea Party states effort to petition their electors to refuse to cast their votes for the President back in December.