Authored by Jack Maskell, the legislative attorney in the American
Law Division of the Congressional Research Service (CRS), the document
was a memorandum written for the subject "Qualifications for the Office
of President of the United States and Legal Challenges to the
Eligibility of a Candidate"
He explained he wrote it only for
distribution to congressional offices, not for public distribution, and
it was not posted on any of the CRS report sites where the public might
have been able to find it.
The document reveals that no
authority, including Congress has the duty to verify a candidate running
for POTUS be eligible.
This would seem to discredit the
Court’s position the POTUS eligibility is handled by Congress.
The joint-session of Congress considers objections involving the actual
votes cast by the electors of each state. The Court has been
overreaching in stating the POTUS eligibility rest with Congress on the
theoretical possibility of some Congress member raising an objection of
ineligibility even though it would not be related to actual electoral
In the end this document does prove that there may be
real possibility that Obama is ineligible and it certainly vindicates
those who want to see proof of Obama’s birth in Hawaii.
The Fallacies Of Congressional Legislative
Attorney Jack Maskell’s Definition Of A "Natural Born Citizen"
Bob Quasius at Café Con Leche Republicans recently said:
“The citizenship of Ted Cruz’s father is irrelevant. Ted Cruz was
born a citizen of the United States based upon his mother’s
citizenship and many years of residency in the U.S., per the federal
statutes in effect at the time Ted Cruz was born. A natural born
citizen is one who was born a citizen, as compared to someone not
born a citizen and naturalized. Ted Cruz was born a citizen, and
therefore he’s a natural born citizen.”
Quasius’ argument is the classic example of Jack Maskell’s formal
and informal logical fallacies of what the definition of a “natural
born Citizen” is which are contained in his two Congressional
Research (CRS) Memos. Jack Maskell wrote in his CRS memo
published in 2009:
“[T]he weight of scholarly legal and historical opinion
appears to support the notion that 'natural born citizen' means one
who is entitled under the Constitution or laws of the United States
to U.S. citizenship 'at birth' or 'by birth,' including any child
born ‘in’ the United States (other than to foreign diplomats serving
their country), the children of United States citizens born abroad
of one citizen parent who has met U.S. residency requirements."
“The weight of legal and historical authority indicates that the
term ‘natural born’ citizen would mean a person who is entitled to
U.S. citizenship ‘by birth’ or ‘at birth,’ either by being born ‘in’
the United States and under its jurisdiction, even those born to
alien parents; by being born abroad to U.S. citizen-parents; or by
being born in other situations meeting legal requirements for U.S.
citizenship ‘at birth.’” In this memo, he also added: “there
is no Supreme Court case which has ruled specifically on the
presidential eligibility requirements, although several cases have
addressed the term ‘natural born’ citizen. And this clause has been
the subject of several legal and historical treatises over the
years, as well as more recent litigation.”
Maskell made his 2009 statement with little force and
certitude. He said that this “scholarly legal and historical
opinion” “appears to support the notion” as to what the “natural
born Citizen” clause means. A “notion” is defined, in relevant
part, as: “1. A general idea 2. a belief; opinion 3. an
inclination; whim.” Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American
Language 410 (1983). Here is another definition: “1: Idea,
conception 2: a belief
held: opinion, view 3: whim, fancy. The
Merriam-Webster Dictionary 480 (1974). And this “opinion” only
“appears to support” that notion. Here, we can see that Maskell did
not give us a clear and definite statement as to what the definition
of a “natural born Citizen” is. Rather, he only put forth a theory
that this “scholarly legal and historical opinion” supported this
general idea, belief, or opinion of what the definition of a
“natural born citizen” is.
While his 2011 statement
contained more force, Maskell still stated that a “natural born
citizen” “would mean” any person who is a “citizen by birth” or
“citizen at birth,” regardless of the means by which the person
obtained that birth status. Maskell said “would mean.” That means
that the meaning that he gave to a “natural born citizen” is
conditioned upon something else also being true. But he did not
tell us what that something else is, let alone demonstrate that
whatever it is, it is true. He also stated that “there is no
Supreme Court case which has ruled specifically on the presidential
eligibility requirements.” As we shall see below, this is not true,
for there are U.S. Supreme Court cases which have addressed the
“common-law” definition of a “natural-born citizen” and that is a
presidential eligibility requirement.
First, as to the formal logical fallacy, let us break down what
Maskell and Quasius actually said into its logical form. I will use
the following symbols: Natural born Citizen=NBC, and Citizen at
All NBCs are CABs.
All persons like Ted Cruz (born in Canada to a U.S “citizen” mother
and non-U.S. “citizen” father) are CABs.
Therefore, all persons like Ted Cruz are NBCs.
First, it is a tautology to argue that a “natural born
Citizen” is a born citizen. Second, this argument commits the
fallacy of affirming the consequent (affirming that one is a CAB
does not prove that one is a NBC). Third, this argument suffers
from fallacy in that it violates the rule of the undistributed
middle (the middle term CABs is not distributed in either the major
or minor premise meaning the term has not been defined as belonging
or not belonging within the class of NBCs). So, while the major and
minor premises are both true, the conclusion, which equates a CAB to
a NBC is false. We should see intuitively that the conclusion does
not follow from the two premises. An easy way to see the
invalidity of the argument is the following:
All poodles are dogs.
Bubbles is a dog.
Therefore, Bubbles is a poodle.
We know that this argument is not valid because, with dogs being
comprised of more than just poodles, Bubbles can be a German
Shepherd or some other type of dog.
Second, now let us examine the informal fallacy of the
Maskell/Quasius statement. Now we will test the truth of the major
and minor premises of the argument. To do that, we need to help
Maskell and Quasius a little by converting their invalid argument
into a valid one. Here we go:
All CABs are NBCs.
All persons like Ted Cruz are CABs.
All persons like Ted Cruz are NBCs.
This argument is valid because if the major and minor premises are
true, the conclusion must be true. But while the argument is valid
as to its logical form, it is not sound, meaning that the major or
minor premise or both are false. This adjusted Maskell argument is
not sound because its major premise is false. With the major
premise being false, so is its conclusion. Let me explain. First,
the major premise, all “citizens at birth” are “natural born
Citizens” is false because the Founders, Framers, and Ratifiers of
the Constitution did not so define a “citizens at birth” and there
does not exist any evidence that they did. Second, regardless of
how a “citizen at birth” may be defined, the text of Article II
specifically states “natural born Citizen,” not “Citizen at Birth”
or some variant thereof. Additionally, while it is true that all
“natural born Citizens” are “citizens at birth,” it does not follow
that all “citizens at birth” are “natural born Citizens.” If I am
wrong, Bob Quasius can cite for us an authoritative source which
provides that all “citizens at birth” are “natural born Citizens.”
So there is the challenge. Let Bob Quasius or anyone else who might
want to come to his aid provide one authoritative source which
demonstrates that all “citizens at birth” are “natural born
Citizens.” By doing this, he will also be proving that Jack Maskell
Anticipating that Bob Quasius will not be able to provide any such
source, I have therefore demonstrated how Jack Maskell is incorrect
in what he stated to be the definition of a “natural born Citizen.”
Using their exact words, they made an invalid argument about who is
included and excluded as a “natural born Citizen.” Even adjusting
what they said to make a valid argument, they made an unsound
argument, for they provided a non-existent definition of a “natural
born Citizen.” Either way, Jack Maskell and Bob Quasius lose.
Now as to the correct definition of a “natural born Citizen,” here
it is: A “natural born Citizen” is a child born in a country to
parents who are its “citizens” at the time of the child’s birth.
This is the settled definition of the clause under American national
common law. See Emer de Vattel, The Law of Nations,
Section 212 Citizens and natives (London 1797) (1st ed. Neuchatel
1758) (“The natives, or natural-born citizens, are those born in the
country, of parents who are citizens”); The Venus, 12 U.S. 8
Cranch 253, 289 (1814) (C.J. Marshall concurring); Inglis v.
Sailors’ Snug Harbor, 28 U.S. 99 (1830); Shanks v. Dupont,
28 U.S. 242, 245 (1830; Dred Scott v. Sandford,
60 U.S. 393, 476-77
(1857) (J. Daniels concurring); Minor v.
Happersett, 88 U.S. 162,
168-170 (1875); Ex parte Reynolds, 20
F.Cas. 582, 5 Dill. 394, No. 11,719 (C.C.W.D.Ark 1879); United
States v. Ward, 42 F.320 (C.C.S.D.Cal. 1890); United States v. Wong Kim Ark,
169 U.S. 649, 679-80 (1898) (all confirmed Vattel’s Section
212 of the The Law of Nations (London
1797) (1st ed. Neuchatel 1758) definition of the
“natural-born citizens” who “are those born in the country, of
parents who are citizens”). This is the only definition of the
clause that has ever existed and which has been recognized by our
U.S. Supreme Court. The conditions of being born in the country to
“citizen” parents are both necessary and sufficient conditions of
being a “natural born Citizen.” The definition of a “natural born
Citizen” therefore excludes anyone who is either not born in the
country (or its jurisdictional equivalent) or not born to parents
(both parents) who are its “citizens” at the time of the child’s
birth or both.
Here is what this definition produces as logical statements: I will
use the following symbols: Natural born Citizen=NBC; born in the
country =BIC; and born to citizen parents=BCPs
BIC and BCPs are NBC.
All Xs are BIC and BCPs.
Therefore, all Xs are NBC.
If NBC, then BIC and BCPs.
X is not BIC and BCP.
Therefore, X is not NBC.
If and only if BIC and BCP, then NBC.
X is not BIC and BCPs.
Therefore, X is not NBC.
All NBCs are BIC and BCPs.
No Xs are BIC and BCPs.
Therefore, no Xs are NBC.
The Founders, Framers, and Ratifiers required that future Presidents
and Commanders in Chief of the Military be “natural born Citizens.”
They required this because they wanted to protect these unique and
singular and all-powerful civil and military offices from
monarchical and foreign influence. For the sake of the safety of
those offices and the national security of the nation, they wanted
to make sure that all future Presidents and Commanders be born with
sole allegiance, faith, and loyalty to the United States. Barack
Obama (maybe born in Hawaii, but born to a U.S. "citizen" mother and
a non-U.S. “citizen” father), Ted Cruz (born in Canada to a U.S.
“citizen” mother and a non-U.S. “citizen” father), Marco Rubio (born
in Florida to two non-U.S. “citizen” parents), Bobby Jindal (born in
Louisiana to two non-U.S. “citizen” parents), and Nikki Haley (born
in South Carolina to two non-U.S. “citizen” parents) were not born
in the country (BIC) to citizen parents (BCPs). Because they
acquired foreign allegiance from either being born to one or two
alien parents (all of them) or from being born in a foreign nation
(Cruz and maybe also Obama), none of them were born with sole
allegiance, faith, and loyalty to the United States. Under all of
the above logical statements, none of these individuals are “natural
The inescapable conclusion is that since Obama, Cruz, Rubio, Jindal,
and Haley are neither “natural born Citizens” nor “Citizens of
the United States, at the time of the adoption of this
Constitution,” they are not eligible to be President.