Monday, May 02, 2011

"Natural Born Citizen" Before the Fourteenth Amendment

I quote here from a United States Supreme Court case, 1847, discussing the citizenship of a child who is born in the United States of a British citizen father and United States citizen mother:
4. The plaintiff in error being of legeance to the crown of England, his child, though born in the United States during its father's temporary residence therein,-twenty-two months and twenty days,-notwithstanding its mother be an American citizen, is not a citizen of the United States. It is incapacitated by its infancy from making any present election, follows the legeance of its father, partus sequitur patrem, and is a British subject. The father being domiciled and resident within the dominions of her Britannic Majesty, such is also the proper and rightful domicil of his wife and child, and he has a legal right to remove them thither. The child being detained from the father, its natural guardian and protector, without authority of law, the writ of habeas corpus ad subjiciendum is his appropriate legal remedy for its restoration to him from its present illegal detention and restraint; Constitution United States, art. 3, 2; Judiciary Act, 1789, 11; Inglis v. Trustees Sail. Snug Harb., 3 Pet., 99; 7 Anne, cap. 5; 4 Geo. 3, cap. 21; Warrender v. Warrender, 2 Cl. & F., 523; Story Confl. L., 30, 36, 43, 74, 160; Shelf. Marriage, Ferg., 397, 398.
Barry v. Mercein (1847), 46 U.S. 103, 46 U.S. 103 (How.)(Footnote 4).

Of course this rule of law as to citizenship of the child changed with the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment, but it illustrates that a "natural born citizen" as used in Article II, Section 1 of United States Constitution when it was adopted excluded a child to a father who was a British subject, even though the child was born in the United States. The child had to be born with fealty to the United States alone.

Of course it will ultimately be up to the Supreme Court (eventually) to decide whether under the Fourteenth Amendment a "natural born citizen" is fully equivalent to a "born citizen" who may be born with dual allegiance. Stated differently, is sole allegiance to the United States at birth the determiner of "natural born citizen?" Or did the Fourteenth Amendment change that requirement?

1 comment:

Patrick said...

You birthers are so absolutely appalling in your dishonesty, it's not even funny. Why don't you tell your readers the truth? That this case wasn't even HEARD by SCOTUS! It was DISMISSED!

And the excerpt your quoting isn't a ruling. It's the opinion of one Justice who was DISSENTING with the decision to dismiss! You want to know how much legal weight the opinions of one dissenting judge holds? None. Zip. Nada.