Claim: Barack Obama does not qualify as a natural-born citizen of the U.S. because his mother was too young.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, June 2008]
CAN OBAMA BE PRESIDENT?
It seems that Barack Obama is not qualified to be president after all for the following reason:
Barack Obama is not legally a U.S. natural-born citizen according to the law on the books at the time of his birth, which falls between
*** Naturalized citizens are ineligible to hold the office of President.
*** Though Barack Obama was sent back to Hawaii at age 10, all the other info does not matter because his mother is the one who needed to have been a U.S. citizen for
Origins: The minimum qualifications for the presidency of the United States specified in
These qualifications aren’t quite so straightforward as they might seem, however. For example, what does the phrase “fourteen years a resident within the United States” mean? Can those fourteen years be cumulative, or do they have to be consecutive? Do the fourteen years of
immediately precede the presidential election, or can they have occurred at any period in a candidate’s life? These were issues that confronted Herbert Hoover, who, because of his work (first for a British mining firm, and later for the
Likewise, the “natural-born citizen” requirement is not so straightforward either, because the Constitution didn’t define what a natural-born citizen was. (The definition of “natural-born citizen” was left up to individual states to decide until the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868, but even that amendment has been subject to further interpretation.) What qualifies a person for natural-born citizenship status under
Some of these factors might seemingly come into play in the case of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama. Although his mother was herself a natural-born U.S. citizen, his father was a Kenyan national, and his parents may or may not have been legally married in the eyes of
The item quoted above posits that Barack Obama does not qualify as a natural-born citizen of the U.S. because the law in effect at the time he was born specified that “If only one parent was a U.S. citizen at the time of your birth, that parent must have resided in the United States for at least ten years, at least five of which had to be after the age of 16.” Since Barack Obama only had one U.S. citizen parent (his mother), and his mother had not been residing in the U.S. for at least five years after the age of 16 when Barack was born (because she herself was only 18 at the time), then he’s not a natural-born citizen.
A few facets of this claim immediately jump out as being far-fetched: first, that a sitting
The Fourteenth Amendment states that “all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States.” Since Hawaii is part of the United States, even if Barack Obama’s parents were both non-U.S. citizens who hadn’t even set foot in the country until just before he was born, he’d still qualify as a natural-born citizen.
Some have claimed that Barack Obama’s Hawaiian birthplace doesn’t qualify him as a natural-born citizen because Hawaii was not yet a state when he was born. This claim is wrong: Hawaii was admitted as the
Some outdated versions of this item conclude by stating that “It should be demanded that Obama produce his 1961 Hawaiian birth certificate,” but in fact his campaign made an image of his official state-issued birth document available on the Internet back in
In August 2008, Philadelphia attorney
Last updated: 17 October 2008