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Loyalty and Birth

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Obama released a version of his birth certificate. It has flaws. Whether those defects are intentional and relevant are separate, but related problems. Sure, there will always be some who will not believe. But why did the White House have to meddle with the scan before they released it?

An fascinating point has arisen in the speculations about what happened between the Hawai’ian record book and the White House website. The document was released as a True Copy, a term which I am led to believe has some legal importance. Altering the contrast, or other entirely benign modificiations to a document disqualifies it as a legal true copy.

The contention is that someone in the Failed Obama Administration™ is guilty of a felony for falsifying or forging a legal document. It’s a technicality. But all law is technicalities. I am sure that almost nobody cares to press the issue and find out if this was, indeed, a felony. The ruling class is permitted such small indiscretions these days. It hung Nixon, but that was soo last century.

The point of law that matters, which may yet be pressed (Hilary needs a reason to be called), is the meaning of “Natural Born”. Taking the facts as presented, Obama Sr. was a British Citizen and Ms. Dunham was too young to confer citizenship. There are arguments to be made on both sides.

I propose a thought experiment.

The year is 1808. The candidate for President has been living in the United States for a couple of decades, about as long as there have been a “United States”.

He was born to a father from the British West Indies, a subject of King George. The future candidate was born in South Carolina, one of the more remote colonies. His mother was known to be a Tory loyalist, and took the candidate (as a child) to live in England for the bulk of his childhood. As rebellion raged in the Colonies, the future candidate was living with a new father, an immigrant employee of the British East India Company. Reaching adulthood, the candidate returned to the now-United States around the time the Constitution was adopted. He spent those decades before his Presidential bid working as an advocate for those with grievances against the new nation.

Would the people of the United States in 1808 consider such a person Natural Born? Would there be any loyalty test too extreme?