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  #2501  
Old 03-23-2012, 07:40 PM
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Default Re: Best Birther Lunacy Evar

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Originally Posted by seebs View Post
This is pretty much purely a non-sequitur. Nothing whatsoever prevents the legislature from saying "apparently we were not clear enough" and clarifying a law. Now, in this case, right now it seems that there is no need to -- after all, the courts have consistently found what we believe to be the intended answer.
First of all, the legislature did not write the Constitution, and the Constitution is not like a law that the legislature writes. It is not theirs to clarify. That would effectively vest sovereignty in the Congress and obliterate the separation of powers. Nothing prevents Congress from passing a law saying whatever they like. But they cannot define the Constitution by statute. They can define the term for purposes of, say, a federal law. But not for the purposes of the Constitution. That is up to the Courts.
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But look at the history of case law, and you will find that there are cases where, over the course of history, courts have reversed previous opinions that had been generally accepted as clear.
So? That is how the law works.
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If we all say "yes, it is up to the courts to decide what a natural-born citizen is", then the courts of the future can change that rule arbitrarily, because it is up the the courts, and the law itself never says it explicitly, leaving it open for the courts to reinterpret and change it.
So? A future Congress can repeal a law and change the definition.
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If an amendment were put in that states explicitly what the term means, then the courts would no longer have room to say "oh, well, obviously it doesn't mean that." As is, the more you clarify that the courts interpret it, the more you make me think that this means that a hypothetical future court staffed by birthers could interpret it differently.
That is why a Constitutional amendment is required.

But guess what! A future Congress could come along and repeal that amendment! There is no immutable and constant law.

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Originally Posted by seebs View Post
This is ... interesting. See. I was under the impression that Congress could write laws as vaguely or as specifically as they wanted, and then it was up to the courts to interpret those laws. And that if Congress disliked how a law was interpreted, they could change the law, and then the courts were obliged to interpret the new law.
The legislature did not write the Constitution, nor can it interpret the Constitution by legislative authority. That is the province of the Judicial branch.
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There are tons of laws which provide explicit definitions of a term they use, and either this means that Congress is even stupider than we all thought, or that there exist circumstances under which Congress can, by putting definitions in laws, influence how the courts will interpret those laws.
Those are laws passed by Congress. The Congress did not write the Constitution, nor can it interpret the Constitution by legislative authority. That is the province of the Judicial branch.
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Congress does not get to decide what the words of the Constitution mean. They certainly get to decide what the words of the Constitution are. If the house and senate were to amend the constitution, they could change what words are there to interpret.
That is a Constitutional power of Congress, yes.
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They might not be able to do this by adding a paragraph later that says what they think natural-born citizen is, but they could easily do it by amending the formal rule for who is eligible to be President. And they certainly have the authority to change the rules.
Yes, they do. By proposing an amendment the Constitution and obtaining the requisite consent of the states. That is not the same thing as passing a law. There's a whole section of the Constitution that explains how to do that.
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So if they were to amend the Constitution to provide a rule for who may be president that does not depend on the court's interpretation of that phrase, that'd be effective. Again, can't see it mattering, but I'm not sure there's a downside, and it might help shut some people up.
They could do that. That is a completely different process from passing a law defining a term in the Constitution. An amendment has Constitutional effect. A law defining a term in the Constitution does not. This is why I said:
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Originally Posted by ChuckF View Post
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Originally Posted by Angakuk View Post
I don't think that it requires a constitutional amendment to define the meaning of a concept that is used in the constitution.
If you want a "clear and unambiguous definition" of natural born citizen, it is.
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Personally, I would be fine with either a legislative solution or a judicial solution.
Congress does not dictate by statute what the Constitution means. It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is. Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137, 177.
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  #2502  
Old 03-23-2012, 07:41 PM
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Default Re: Best Birther Lunacy Evar

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Originally Posted by yguy View Post
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Originally Posted by LadyShea View Post
Did you read the law on who is considered a citizen at birth? Seebs your birth is clearly within the criteria for birthright citizenship.

INA: ACT 301 - NATIONALS AND CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES AT BIRTH
The problem with any federal statute conferring natural born citizenship on those born outside the US is that nowhere in the Constitution is Congress granted such authority, which is therefore reserved to the states respectively.
:lol: yguy, C.J., dissenting
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  #2503  
Old 03-23-2012, 07:50 PM
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Default Re: Best Birther Lunacy Evar

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Originally Posted by Demimonde View Post
Gah, Chuck. You and your tricky lawyering folks, with your legalize and your stacks and stacks of case law, can't you just give The People a Cliff's Notes? You are just being obtuse or the sake of job security.

This is just another case of Humanities retards just messing up the world with our messy word games. Can't somebody create a GUI in visual basic to fix all this?
I KNOW RIGHT, and I don't even know what to do with all of this job security I have, working part time with no real prospects for full-time legal employment!
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  #2504  
Old 03-23-2012, 07:52 PM
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Default Re: Best Birther Lunacy Evar

Right, forgot about the states thing. I am always quick to forget the details of rules (because, hey, you can always look 'em up if you need to, right?). And also quick to forget to look them up (because, hey, I sorta remember that one, right?).

I guess it seems to me that life would be simpler here if the original Constitutional text had been explicit about what natural-born means, rather than leaving it open for courts to figure out. On the other hand, it also seems pretty obvious, given that additional background, that they almost certainly meant exactly what the courts have thus far consistently concluded.

@yguy: It seems pretty clear that the question of who is a citizen of the US is a federal matter, not a state matter. Imagine that it were in fact an authority reserved to the state. Which state would be determining whether a given person born outside the US was a citizen of the US? Obviously, someone born outside the US is born outside every state of the US. No state can claim meaningful authority in this matter, nor can any state be identified as having a better right to make that determination than another. Obviously, it has to be federal. I'm not a citizen of a state; I may be a resident, but that's citizenship. The only thing I'm a citizen of is the US as a whole, which means it's federal.

Seriously, just think things through. This is one of the rare cases where it is obviously logically impossible for it to be a state question.
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  #2505  
Old 03-23-2012, 07:55 PM
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Default Re: Best Birther Lunacy Evar

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Originally Posted by seebs View Post
Right, forgot about the states thing. I am always quick to forget the details of rules (because, hey, you can always look 'em up if you need to, right?). And also quick to forget to look them up (because, hey, I sorta remember that one, right?).

I guess it seems to me that life would be simpler here if the original Constitutional text had been explicit about what natural-born means, rather than leaving it open for courts to figure out. On the other hand, it also seems pretty obvious, given that additional background, that they almost certainly meant exactly what the courts have thus far consistently concluded.
As a rule, the Constitution does not define the terms used in the Constitution. There is a persuasive argument that this was done with purpose.
Quote:
@yguy: It seems pretty clear that the question of who is a citizen of the US is a federal matter, not a state matter. Imagine that it were in fact an authority reserved to the state. Which state would be determining whether a given person born outside the US was a citizen of the US? Obviously, someone born outside the US is born outside every state of the US. No state can claim meaningful authority in this matter, nor can any state be identified as having a better right to make that determination than another. Obviously, it has to be federal. I'm not a citizen of a state; I may be a resident, but that's citizenship. The only thing I'm a citizen of is the US as a whole, which means it's federal.

Seriously, just think things through. This is one of the rare cases where it is obviously logically impossible for it to be a state question.
Like many of his particular stripe, yguy is probably not a fan of the Fourteenth amendment, which states pretty explictly:
Quote:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
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  #2506  
Old 03-23-2012, 07:57 PM
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Default Re: Best Birther Lunacy Evar

Getting a Constitutional amendment passed and ratified is as far from simple as is imaginable....and to what end? To shut up some racist CT's...as if in the long run they even matter?
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  #2507  
Old 03-23-2012, 07:57 PM
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Default Re: Best Birther Lunacy Evar

Exactly. It would solve a problem that doesn't exist outside of fevered birther imagination.
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  #2508  
Old 03-23-2012, 08:00 PM
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Default Re: Best Birther Lunacy Evar

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Originally Posted by ChuckF View Post
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Originally Posted by seebs View Post
Right, forgot about the states thing. I am always quick to forget the details of rules (because, hey, you can always look 'em up if you need to, right?). And also quick to forget to look them up (because, hey, I sorta remember that one, right?).

I guess it seems to me that life would be simpler here if the original Constitutional text had been explicit about what natural-born means, rather than leaving it open for courts to figure out. On the other hand, it also seems pretty obvious, given that additional background, that they almost certainly meant exactly what the courts have thus far consistently concluded.
As a rule, the Constitution does not define the terms used in the Constitution. There is a persuasive argument that this was done with purpose.
Oooh.

That is... a very interesting insight, and a good one.

Quote:
Quote:
@yguy: It seems pretty clear that the question of who is a citizen of the US is a federal matter, not a state matter. Imagine that it were in fact an authority reserved to the state. Which state would be determining whether a given person born outside the US was a citizen of the US? Obviously, someone born outside the US is born outside every state of the US. No state can claim meaningful authority in this matter, nor can any state be identified as having a better right to make that determination than another. Obviously, it has to be federal. I'm not a citizen of a state; I may be a resident, but that's citizenship. The only thing I'm a citizen of is the US as a whole, which means it's federal.

Seriously, just think things through. This is one of the rare cases where it is obviously logically impossible for it to be a state question.
Like many of his particular stripe, yguy is probably not a fan of the Fourteenth amendment, which states pretty explictly:
Quote:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
While that hurts his case, given that Obama was born in the US, you will note that the amendment there does not say anything about people born outside the US, regardless of their parentage. So I bet this is where people get the idea that "natural born" means "born inside the borders".
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  #2509  
Old 03-23-2012, 08:03 PM
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Default Re: Best Birther Lunacy Evar

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Originally Posted by LadyShea View Post
Getting a Constitutional amendment passed and ratified is as far from simple as is imaginable....and to what end? To shut up some racist CT's...as if in the long run they even matter?
Well, mostly, I just like to have things stated unambiguously and explicitly if there's any dispute, even if the dispute is stupid.

There's a social pattern of events in which someone asks a question, and other people spend more time arguing that the question is disingenuous or stupid than it would take to just answer the question. This turns out to be a huge waste of time; straight answers are nearly always a better tactic than second-guessing people.

In this case, the amount of work it would take to make the answer more explicit and unambiguous is probably huge, but consider the amount of time and court effort we've wasted on birther lunacy so far, and how long it's likely to continue.
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  #2510  
Old 03-23-2012, 08:06 PM
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Default Re: Best Birther Lunacy Evar

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Originally Posted by seebs View Post
Quote:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
While that hurts his case, given that Obama was born in the US, you will note that the amendment there does not say anything about people born outside the US, regardless of their parentage. So I bet this is where people get the idea that "natural born" means "born inside the borders".
Perhaps. That does not make the idea less wrong with respect to the law as it presently exists.
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  #2511  
Old 03-23-2012, 08:11 PM
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Default Re: Best Birther Lunacy Evar

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Originally Posted by seebs View Post
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Originally Posted by LadyShea View Post
Getting a Constitutional amendment passed and ratified is as far from simple as is imaginable....and to what end? To shut up some racist CT's...as if in the long run they even matter?
Well, mostly, I just like to have things stated unambiguously and explicitly if there's any dispute, even if the dispute is stupid.

There's a social pattern of events in which someone asks a question, and other people spend more time arguing that the question is disingenuous or stupid than it would take to just answer the question. This turns out to be a huge waste of time; straight answers are nearly always a better tactic than second-guessing people.

In this case, the amount of work it would take to make the answer more explicit and unambiguous is probably huge, but consider the amount of time and court effort we've wasted on birther lunacy so far, and how long it's likely to continue.
The amount of court time spent on birther lunacy so far has been miniscule in comparison to what would be required to effect a Constitutional amendment.

What you are describing is basically a civil law system as one may find in Continental Europe. It is not our system. Certain states, like Colorado and Alabama, have adopted Constitutional regimes that permit easy amendment of the Constitution. The results are generally trainwrecks.

I understand that the American common law may not conceptually satisfying for people who like the unambiguous and explicit. But it is very, very difficult to, say, write a statute that contemplates all scenarios. That is why there are tens of thousands of pages of regulations implementing statutes. Our system of factfinding and precedent is actually pretty efficient and effective at solving the problem.

Personally, I am of the belief that justice rather than efficiency should be the primary consideration where legal rights are concerned.

Last edited by ChuckF; 03-23-2012 at 08:30 PM. Reason: durrrrr
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  #2512  
Old 03-23-2012, 08:16 PM
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Default Re: Best Birther Lunacy Evar

Quote:
There's a social pattern of events in which someone asks a question, and other people spend more time arguing that the question is disingenuous or stupid than it would take to just answer the question. This turns out to be a huge waste of time; straight answers are nearly always a better tactic than second-guessing people.
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  #2513  
Old 03-23-2012, 08:25 PM
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Default Re: Best Birther Lunacy Evar

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Originally Posted by ChuckF View Post
Perhaps. That does not make the idea less wrong with respect to the law as it presently exists.
Sure. But it does offer an explanation of where the idea comes from, and if people are wrong, it's usually a heck of a lot more effective to correct them if you can figure out where their bad idea came from, because then you can argue with the bad premises, not just assert that the conclusion is wrong.

The bad premise appears to be the assumption that the 14th amendment is offering an exhaustive list of ways to become a citizen, rather than clarifying that a specific pattern of events necessarily confers citizenship.
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  #2514  
Old 03-23-2012, 08:26 PM
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Default Re: Best Birther Lunacy Evar

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Personally, I am of the belief that justice and efficiency should not be the primary consideration where legal rights are concerned.
What should be?

(And you're right, systems in which amending the constitution is easy are usually crappy systems; see also California.)
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  #2515  
Old 03-23-2012, 08:29 PM
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Default Re: Best Birther Lunacy Evar

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Originally Posted by seebs View Post
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Originally Posted by ChuckF View Post
Personally, I am of the belief that justice and efficiency should not be the primary consideration where legal rights are concerned.
What should be?
That is me being all derp da derp da doh doh. What I meant to write is:

Personally, I am of the belief that justice and rather than efficiency should not be the primary consideration where legal rights are concerned.
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  #2516  
Old 03-23-2012, 08:37 PM
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Default Re: Best Birther Lunacy Evar

Ohh.

Okay, total agreement on that one.

Okay, things I've learned since this started:
1. Reminder of how fancy constitutional amendments are.
2. I now know where people would get the idea that birth-in-borders is the formal definition of "natural-born citizen".
3. I also see compelling arguments that this is not what the 14th amendment was expressing.
4. The existing wealth of court cases seems to be adequately clear on this.

So I'm convinced that this is at most a cosmetic issue that doesn't deserve significant effort. The key thing for me is having a clear model of where people would get the idea that location of birth was the only requirement, or that the term did not have a clear meaning, and also of where that reasonably clear meaning can now be found.

As expected, the birthers are idiots.
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  #2517  
Old 03-24-2012, 01:18 AM
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Default Re: Best Birther Lunacy Evar

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Originally Posted by ChuckF View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by yguy View Post
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Originally Posted by LadyShea View Post
Did you read the law on who is considered a citizen at birth? Seebs your birth is clearly within the criteria for birthright citizenship.

INA: ACT 301 - NATIONALS AND CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES AT BIRTH
The problem with any federal statute conferring natural born citizenship on those born outside the US is that nowhere in the Constitution is Congress granted such authority, which is therefore reserved to the states respectively.
:lol: yguy, C.J., dissenting
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  #2518  
Old 03-24-2012, 02:04 AM
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Default Re: Best Birther Lunacy Evar

seebs,

as a point of interest as to the crazy of the birther.

Iirc, they also claim that under the naturalization laws of the time, if a child was born outside of the united states their american parent can confer citizenship if they live for 5 years after the age of 16. This presumably is to preclude people moving to another country and remaining us citizens in perpetuity. Obama's mom was not 21 so she couldn't have lived for 5 years after the age of 16 in the US. So it is very important to them that he not be born in america so as to get him on this "legal fine print".

I think it is illustrative of their fevered imaginations also once I heard this it answered to me why they would give a shit where he was born at since his mother was in fact a us citizen.

Also of course, that reasoning is disjointed and fucking retarded, and only really makes sense if you start with the certainty that Obama is not in fact a legitimate president.
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  #2519  
Old 03-24-2012, 02:17 PM
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Default Re: Best Birther Lunacy Evar

Well that seems silly. I happen to know when Hawaii was made part of the US, since it is my birth year, 1959. Barack Obama was born in Hawaii when Hawaii was a state, two years later. Was this about her living in Hawaii before it was a state, then?
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  #2520  
Old 03-24-2012, 02:26 PM
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Default Re: Best Birther Lunacy Evar

Hawaii was claimed as a U.S. territory in 1898.
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  #2521  
Old 03-24-2012, 07:08 PM
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Default Re: Best Birther Lunacy Evar

Quote:
Originally Posted by rigorist View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChuckF View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by yguy View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by LadyShea View Post
Did you read the law on who is considered a citizen at birth? Seebs your birth is clearly within the criteria for birthright citizenship.

INA: ACT 301 - NATIONALS AND CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES AT BIRTH
The problem with any federal statute conferring natural born citizenship on those born outside the US is that nowhere in the Constitution is Congress granted such authority, which is therefore reserved to the states respectively.
:lol: yguy, C.J., dissenting
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Certainly nothing is more awe-inspiring than to see the :ff: intelligentsia open up with their heaviest artillery.

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  #2522  
Old 03-24-2012, 08:00 PM
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Sauron Sauron is offline
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Default Re: Best Birther Lunacy Evar

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Originally Posted by yguy View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by rigorist View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChuckF View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by yguy View Post
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Originally Posted by LadyShea View Post
Did you read the law on who is considered a citizen at birth? Seebs your birth is clearly within the criteria for birthright citizenship.

INA: ACT 301 - NATIONALS AND CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES AT BIRTH
The problem with any federal statute conferring natural born citizenship on those born outside the US is that nowhere in the Constitution is Congress granted such authority, which is therefore reserved to the states respectively.
:lol: yguy, C.J., dissenting
Cum jar?
Certainly nothing is more awe-inspiring than to see the :ff: intelligentsia open up with their heaviest artillery.

:yawn:
The right tool for the right target.

In this case, the target being another tool.
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  #2523  
Old 03-26-2012, 09:53 PM
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Stephen Maturin Stephen Maturin is offline
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Default Re: Best Birther Lunacy Evar

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Originally Posted by ChuckF View Post
Certain states, like Colorado and Alabama, have adopted Constitutional regimes that permit easy amendment of the Constitution. The results are generally trainwrecks.
Alabama's is worse by multiple orders of magnitude (over 800 amendments last time I looked), but we're hardly immune here in Coleradee. Thanks to the relative ease of amending the state constitution, English is the "official language" of our great state. We've also got that lovely anti-gay provision that SCOTUS shot down as violative of the U.S. Constitution awhile back. And don't even get me started on TABOR (taxpayer's bill of rights), thanks to which most 7-year-olds with lemonade stands have greater fiscal clout than our state government.

Fortunately, the electorate has been largely immune to total wingnuttery in recent years. That's a good thing, considering that we'll probably be voting on this abomination come November:

Quote:
Article II of the constitution of the state of Colorado is amended BY THE ADDITION OF A NEW SECTION to read:

Section 32. The right to life.

(1) Purpose. IN ORDER TO AFFIRM BASIC HUMAN DIGNITY, BE IT RESOLVED THAT THE RIGHT TO LIFE IN THIS CONSTITUTION APPLIES EQUALLY TO ALL INNOCENT PERSONS.

(2) Effect. THE INTENTIONAL KILLING OF ANY INNOCENT PERSON IS PROHIBITED.

(a) ONLY BIRTH CONTROL THAT KILLS A PERSON SHALL BE AFFECTED BY THIS SECTION.

(b) ONLY IN VITRO FERTILIZATION AND ASSISTED REPRODUCTION THAT KILLS A PERSON SHALL BE AFFECTED BY THIS SECTION.

(c) MEDICAL TREATMENT FOR LIFE THREATENING PHYSICAL CONDITIONS INTENDED TO PRESERVE LIFE SHALL NOT BE AFFECTED BY THIS SECTION.

(d) SPONTANEOUS MISCARRIAGES SHALL NOT BE AFFECTED BY THIS SECTION.

(e) NO INNOCENT CHILD CREATED THROUGH RAPE OR INCEST SHALL BE KILLED FOR THE CRIME OF HIS OR HER FATHER.

(3) Definitions. AS USED IN THIS SECTION,

(a) “PERSON” APPLIES TO EVERY HUMAN BEING REGARDLESS OF THE METHOD OF CREATION.

(b) A “HUMAN BEING” IS A MEMBER OF THE SPECIES HOMO SAPIENS AT ANY STAGE OF DEVELOPMENT.

(c) “SPONTANEOUS MISCARRIAGE” IS THE UNINTENTIONAL TERMINATION OF A PREGNANCY.

(d) “CHILD” INCLUDES A HUMAN BEING PRIOR TO AND DURING BIRTH.

(e)“MEDICAL TREATMENT FOR LIFE THREATENING PHYSICAL CONDITIONS INTENDED TO PRESERVE LIFE” INCLUDES BUT IS NOT LIMITED TO TREATMENT FOR CANCER, ECTOPIC AND MOLAR PREGNANCY, TWIN-TO-TWIN TRANSFUSION SYNDROME, AND PLACENTA PREVIA.

(4) Self-executing, and severability provision. ALL PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION ARE SELF-EXECUTING AND ARE SEVERABLE.
The same assheads proposed a much tamer version of the proposed amendment in 2008 and 2010. The 2008 version netted a yes vote of 20%, but it got close to 30% in 2010. The assheads are all emboldened by the improved showing, so they've horked up the ghastly pile of shit and entrails quoted above.

All that remains to be seen is whether the assheads can get enough valid signatures to get the measure on the ballot. Shouldn't be a problem, sad to say, in light of the fact that they've had little trouble getting signatures in the past.
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  #2524  
Old 03-26-2012, 10:29 PM
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Default Re: Best Birther Lunacy Evar

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Originally Posted by Chris Porter View Post
Well that seems silly. I happen to know when Hawaii was made part of the US, since it is my birth year, 1959. Barack Obama was born in Hawaii when Hawaii was a state, two years later. Was this about her living in Hawaii before it was a state, then?
according to the crazy birther rhetoric, it is because she didn't live for 5 years after 16 (because she had him before she was 21.) before she had obama some place other than the state of hawaii.
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  #2525  
Old 03-27-2012, 02:05 AM
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Default Re: Best Birther Lunacy Evar

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Originally Posted by beyelzu View Post
crazy birther rhetoric
...........
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