As United States Senator Marco Rubio prepares to deliver what his office describes as a “major foreign policy speech” Wednesday at The Brookings Institution, it’s understandable that many Americans see this fresh, young conservative leader as a good choice to serve as Republican Mitt Romney’s running mate this fall. Unfortunately, the Florida Republican of Cuban ancestry is not a Constitutionally-eligible choice to serve should the GOP ticket prevail in November.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)
If you think I’m crazy, think again. In an article published nine months ago, longtime conservative Beltway insider Paul R. Hollrah outlined the reasons why neither the Florida Republican nor his Louisiana Republican colleague, Gov. Bobby Jindal, meet the Constitutional requirements for eligibility to serve as either vice president or president of the United States. Below is a lengthy excerpt:
The performance of these two young men, Jindal and Rubio… one the son of Indian immigrants, the other the son of Cuban refugees… has caused many conservatives and Republicans to think in terms of a future President Bobby Jindal or a future President Marco Rubio.
There is no doubt that either of these men, on their worst day, would make a more capable and competent leader than the narcissistic bungler, Barack Obama, on his best day. Unfortunately, neither of these men can ever hold that office because they are not “natural born” citizens, as required by Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution.
Contrary to widely-held “birther” opinion, it is not necessary to be born on American soil to qualify as a “natural born” citizen. Former Michigan Governor and American Motors CEO George Romney, a 1968 candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, was born in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. However, Romney qualified as a “natural born” citizen because both of his parents were American citizens. Similarly, Sen. John McCain, born in the Panama Canal Zone in 1936, qualifies as “natural born” because both of his parents were U.S. citizens.
Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-La.)
Governor Jindal was born on June 10, 1971, in Baton Rouge, La. However, according to a WorldNetDaily report of May 22, his father, Amar Jindal, a permanent legal resident of the United States, did not become a U.S. citizen until December 4, 1986. His mother, Raj Jindal, also a permanent legal resident, became a naturalized U.S. citizen on Sept. 21, 1976.
Senator Rubio was born on May 28, 1971, in Miami. Both parents, Mario and Oriales Rubio, were born in Cuba and came to the U.S. as refugees from Castro’s communist regime. Both were given political asylum and permanent legal residency; however, the Rubios did not become citizens until Nov. 5, 1975, four and one-half years after Marco Rubio was born.
While some, liberals and conservatives alike, are fond of saying that the Founding Fathers did not define the term “natural born” in the Constitution, the fact is they did. By direct implication, they defined the term “natural born Citizen” by describing what a “natural born Citizen” is not. Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution reads, in part, as follows:
“No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President…”
At the time the U.S. Constitution became the law of the land on June 21, 1788, there were two categories of citizens: there were “citizens” and there were “natural born” citizens. Those in the “citizen” category included the former British subjects who became citizens on July 4, 1776, the day on which the Declaration of Independence was signed, as well as those later naturalized by act of law and those who were dual citizens by automatic operation of foreign laws.
The “natural born” citizens were the children born after July 4, 1776 to parents who became U.S. citizens on that date. They were the first “natural born” citizens of the United States, and all were less than twelve years old when the Constitution was ratified on June 21, 1788.
As WorldNetDaily reminds us, the first U.S. Congress, which included eight members of the Committee of Eleven that drafted the Constitution’s “natural-born citizen” clause, defined a “natural born citizen” as a child born of two American parents. The Naturalization Act of 1790 (later repealed) specified that a natural-born citizen need not be born on U.S. soil. It proclaimed, “The children of citizens of the United States, that may be born beyond sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born citizens… ”
The subsequent repeal of that law does not alter the way in which the first Congress, and those who authored the “natural born citizen” clause, understood the meaning of the term.
John Jay, who later became president of the Continental Congress and the first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, wrote:
“Permit me to hint, whether it would be wise and seasonable to provide a strong check to the admission of Foreigners into the administration of our national Government; and to declare expressly that the Commander in Chief of the American army shall not be given to nor devolve on, any but a natural born Citizen.”
The above represent rather clear parameters showing that neither Governor Jindal nor Senator Rubio can claim status as “natural born” citizens… but neither can Barack Obama. Barack Obama’s mother was a 17-year-old girl, an American citizen, but his father was a Luo tribesman from the African village of Nyang’oma Kogelo, Nyanza Province, in Kenya. Not only was he not an American citizen, he was not a permanent legal resident and was kicked out of the country because he was a self-confessed bigamist.
In a November 2010 broadcast, speculating on a future Rubio candidacy, Rush Limbaugh suggested that liberal “birthers” would almost certainly demand to see Rubio’s birth certificate. He went on to say, “I’m not worried about it. If Obama’s taught us anything, it’s that the news media doesn’t care where our presidents are born… Well, let’s see if it does. Let’s see if all of a sudden the media starts caring where Republicans are born…”
Clearly, Limbaugh makes a rather common mistake. He confuses “native born” with “natural born.” Assuming their birth certificates are all valid (Obama’s birth certificate leaves much doubt in that regard), Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio, and Barack Obama are all “native born,” but none are “natural born” and are, therefore, ineligible to serve as president of the United States.
When asked specifically if Senator Rubio considers himself to be a “natural born” citizen, his press secretary, Alex Burgos, is quoted as saying, “Yes.” Similarly, Kyle Plotkin, Governor Jindal’s press secretary, is quoted by WorldNetDaily as saying, “The governor is obviously a natural-born citizen.”
Not so fast, gentlemen. It’s nice to demonstrate loyalty, and it would be nice to have a common sense conservatives such as Bobby Jindal or Marco Rubio in the White House, but we can never forget that, unlike Democrats, we Republicans not only believe in the rule of law, we actually demand that our laws be enforced and that the demands of the U.S. Constitution be adhered to.
The American people deserve to have at least one political party that can be counted on to do what’s right, and two wrongs don’t make a right.
Paul R. Hollrah
While not popular, especially among conservatives who long for real leadership and new blood in our nation’s capitol, Hollrah’s explanation of why neither Senator Rubio nor Governor Jindal are eligible for the nation’s highest office is rock-solid.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Something Hollrah didn’t point out could, in my mind, be equally important. If Senator Rubio’s name appears on the ticket, it will be as if the Republicans are tacitly agreeing to set aside the evidence and overlook the widely-held belief that Obama is not eligible to serve as president of the United States. That, my friends, should not happen.
Be sure to check out my new book, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice.