Letter to Commission on Presidential Debates
Article II Super PAC, Letter to Commission on Presidential Debates, 8-30-2012
RE: Commission on Presidential Debates: 2012 Nonpartisan Selection Criteria
Dear Mr. Fahrenkopf and Mr. McCurry:
As advocates for the Framers' original intent, establishing in Article II, Section 1 that every President must be a "natural born Citizen," the Article II Super PAC wishes to extend our sincere thanks to the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) for the proper priority you place on the faithful observation of this national security provision of the Constitution by citing it in the first of your 2012 Nonpartisan Selection Criteria.
It has come to our attention that CPD may not recognize or apply any specific definition for "natural born Citizen" in the process of qualifying candidates' satisfaction of Presidential eligibility. If this is in error, we would appreciate any information on how you qualify Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates' eligibility as natural born Citizens.
We are deeply concerned with the efficacy of our electoral process in general since we learned in recent years that no known state or federal government office, nor any agency or elected official makes any effort to authenticate Presidential or Vice Presidential candidates' constitutional eligibility prior to their name appearing on the ballot. Instead, we are genuinely alarmed to find that stewardship of this keystone of our national security is deferred to the same biased, unelected and unaccountable political parties which advance their respective nominees. Furthermore, no official examination to substantiate any party's claims of their candidate's eligibility is ever conducted or even sought. For example, it is the FBI's position that they do not presume to contravene the will of voters, so no background checks are conducted on candidates for any office.
As you are aware, a simple majority vote cannot overturn Constitutional requirements.
This utter failure of ballot security and blatant voter disenfranchisement, still unknown to most of the US electorate, represents a profound breach of public trust. Questions raised by the electorate in the 2008 presidential election cycle as to candidates' true legal identity have exposed a lethal vulnerability in the Constitutional integrity of the Presidential election process. These unanswered questions remain an issue in the ongoing 2012 election cycle and must be addressed immediately.
Citizens pay for elections with their taxes and rely on elected officials, the media, and non-profit entities such as CPD to ensure the integrity of our election process. Voters harbor a very reasonable expectation that the true legal identity of all candidates be authenticated, that candidates are eligible for the office they seek, and that the elections, and the debates which precede and shape them, are incontrovertibly legitimate. In 2008, the media completely failed to meet its obligation in this process and, as we have already stated, our elected officials do not seem willing to accept the responsibility.
CPD performs a key leadership role as organizers of the Presidential debates and has a unique opportunity now to help mend this rift in our social fabric. Consequently, CPD's working definition of "natural born Citizen" plays a central role in this unprecedented controversy.
Obviously, Presidential debates are, and have always been, an integral part of the election process. Because these iconic events have fallen under the direct control of the CPD since 1988, we urge you to take very seriously the ethical obligation established by your charter, your mission statement, and your candidate selection criteria to assertively act in the public interest to ensure that all Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates are constitutionally eligible for office.
Toward that end, please be aware that, at this time, surveys consistently show that at least one-third of American voters either are suspicious of or completely reject representations of Barack Obama's constitutional eligibility for the office of President. A considerably smaller number question whether or not Mitt Romney's parents were US citizens when he was born, partly because his father was born in Mexico. That concern merits equal examination and resolution.
The point is that the issue of presidential constitutional eligibility persistently plagues the electoral process and aggravates the relationship between taxpayers/voters and their representative government.
Supreme Court precedent, recorded in Minor v. Happersett, recognizes a natural born Citizen as one who is "born in a country of parents who were its citizens." This definition is a logical extension of the progressively restrictive citizenship requirements for House Representatives (seven years) and Senators (nine years). It is also the definition most in keeping with the underlying intent of the Framers to avoid, to the greatest possible extent within a free society, the insinuation of any foreign influence on the power vested in the Oval Office.
The idea that "citizen" and "natural born Citizen" are equivalent in status completely ignores the fact that the Constitution itself distinguishes between these two citizenship classes in the same paragraph of Article II Section 1 that establishes Presidential eligibility qualifications. It is important to bear in mind that the Constitution has never been amended to eliminate this distinction, and that the Fourteenth Amendment does not address natural born citizenship at all. (For more information, see: https://www.art2superpac.com/issues.html)
Some suggest that any "anchor baby" is a natural born Citizen, regardless of citizenship status of the child's parents. However, Article II Super PAC absolutely rejects that any such interpretation could be reconciled with the Framers' original intent. The Founding Fathers intended that a person who would be President after the founding generation had passed must be born with unity of citizenship and sole allegiance at birth. The President must have sole allegiance to the United States and natural born citizen status is the Constitution's primary tool to secure that objective.
To say that every child born in America is a natural born Citizen is also to say that any foreign citizen whose child was born in the US could be allowed to raise that child abroad as an enemy of the US and return that child to this country in time to meet the Constitution's 14-year residency requirement for President. By that reasoning, world class terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki, born in Las Cruces, NM to Yemeni parents, but raised and trained in the culture of Al Qaida, should have been eligible as a natural born Citizen at some point, assuming only that his tactics had remained law-abiding.
The assertion that mere place of birth or length of residency establishes natural born Citizen status flies in the face of repeated attempts over decades by numerous members of Congress – all failed - to modify the definition of "natural-born Citizen" to that very effect, or to abolish the requirement entirely. However, most recently, non-binding Senate Resolution 511, dated April 30, 2008 and ironically co-sponsored by Sen. Barack Obama, recognizes Sen. John McCain as a natural born Citizen, partly on the basis that he "was born to American citizens" (plural) which would seem to contradict Obama's claim to eligibility.
Despite his full knowledge of and participation in this controversy, and his avowed credentials as a Constitutional law professor, Barack Obama has never publicly claimed to be a "natural born Citizen" of the United States. His eligibility has appropriately remained in question since he admits that he was born with dual citizenship by virtue of the fact that his father's citizenship was governed by the British Nationality Act of 1948. In addition, various corroborating evidence indicates that Obama may have become a citizen of Indonesia as a youth.
His repeated denials and ridicule for those who question his constitutional eligibility notwithstanding, Mr. Obama's birthplace remains unknown since the "documentation" offered to authenticate his birthplace has been determined to be an outright forgery by the only duly-elected law enforcement officer in America who has ever conducted an official investigation into the matter, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, of Maricopa County, Arizona. Rather than an official certification, it is believed to be an electronic composite of selected data from his birth records and possibly from other sources. Sheriff Arpaio has pointedly asked Congress to investigate.
In summary, we ask that the CPD clarify its official position on this national security issue and explain how the CPD qualifies Presidential candidates' constitutional eligibility as natural born Citizens of the United States.
We look forward to the opportunity to share your response with our membership and associated organizations.
Helen Tansey, Executive Director
Article II Super PAC
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