Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Native Born vs. Natural Born, by a reader Robert Stevens

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer nor do I play one on television. This is just my view of one aspect of this controversy. Robert Stevens

I have noticed in these discussions and debates on the Obama eligibility controversy, that there is a huge amount of confusion about the different terms and their definitions; that is, "natural born US citizen" is not the same as a "US citizen" which is not the same as a "naturalized US citizen" which is not the same as a "US citizen immediately at birth" which is not the same as a "US national" which is not the same as a "native born US citizen" which is not the same as a "US person", etc. People get these terms all confused, and then get into huge arguments because they are confused and have not obtained the correct definitions beforehand. 

Many claim that the SCOTUS case  U.S. V. WONG KIM ARK, 169 U.S. 649 (1898) demonstrates that Obama is a "natural born citizen". The argument is that since Wong Kim Ark was born in the US to non-US parents, SCOTUS declared him to be a "native born citizen". However, SCOTUS did not declare Wong Kim Ark to be a "natural born citizen". 

The entire point boils down to the question, is a "native born citizen" a "natural born citizen" or not? Many just want to sweep any potential distinction away and under the rug. However, this might not be appropriate.