A contention continues to be expressed among some conservatives that President Obama is not a “natural born citizen” of the United States as required by Article II Section 1 of the Constitution, and is therefore ineligible to serve as President. They note that the President’s father was not an American citizen. They conjure up tales of Obama being born outside of the U.S. and assert that he has no actual U.S. birth certificate.

The claims of nonexistent or falsified birth certificate continue despite the fact that they have been debunked by reliable sources (as explained here) and courts have thrown out as groundless challenges based on these claims. But even if you assume that these people are right and that Obama was born outside of the U.S., it still would not mean he fails the “natural born citizen” test.

No one seriously (or at least effectively) disputes the fact that Obama’s mother was a U.S. citizen at the time of his birth. Wikipedia makes it clear that case law is unsettled about the term “natural born citizen,” but it has long been the practice of the U.S. government to recognize as natural born citizens the natural children of any U.S. citizen regardless of where in the world those children are born.

When I lived in Norway, I knew two families where the wife was a U.S. citizen and the husband was Norwegian. The children born to these families in Norway were recognized as U.S. citizens. They had Social Security numbers and citizenship papers. The sons had to register with Selective Service at age 18. If any of these children ended up living at least 14 years in the U.S. and reached at least 35 years of age, they would not be barred from running for the office of President or Vice President, despite the facts that their father was not a U.S. citizen and they were born in a foreign country.

The weight of evidence is against those that believe that Obama is rendered ineligible to serve as President due to the natural born citizen clause. There are only two ways for these people to achieve their goal of ousting the President from office on this basis. Since the courts have refused (and will likely continue to refuse) such challenges, that leaves only the avenue of impeachment.

Impeachment requires that the House of Representatives create a case and vote to impeach the President. Then representatives selected by the House present the case to the Senate, which must then vote to convict the President. How likely is this to happen, given the current formulation of Congress? Besides, even this method is questionable, because this issue may not rise to the level of “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors” codified in Article II Section 4 of the Constitution.

Those that claim that the election of President Obama flouts the Constitution’s natural born citizen clause are not on a firm legal footing. They frequently claim that they are trying to save the Constitution when they are simply trying to narrowly interpret the document in a way that pleases them but is not reflected in actual law.

It would be difficult if not impossible for anyone to prove in a way that settles U.S. law that President Obama is not a natural born citizen of the U.S. Those that buy the line that Obama is ineligible because of this and those that go around trying to sell this message off to others are wasting their time and talents, which could and should be used on something actually worthwhile.

Why do I care whether the anti-Obama-ites continue to rage about this non-issue? Because pretty much all of them are identified as conservatives and their rhetoric on this matter serves to discredit the cause for which they purport to stand. They are distracting from real conservative issues. They are giving conservatism a worse name and driving people away when they should be working to attract people to conservative principles. So, please lay off the Obama citizenship thing. It serves no good purpose.

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