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Birthright Citizenship

Orrin Hatch's Constitutional Amendment to Abolish the Natural Born Citizen Clause

In 2003, the prominent conservative Republican senator proposed an amendment that would have eliminated the requirement that the president be a "natural born citizen."


Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).


In a previous post, I outlined the reasons why we should pass a constitutional amendment to abolish the requirement that the president must be a "natural born" citizen of the United States. It's worth noting that I am far from the first person to propose such an idea. Perhaps the most prominent previous proposal of this type was that of conservative Republican Senator Orrin Hatch (Utah), who put forward the Equal Opportunity to Govern Amendment in 2003. It would have opened up the presidency to anyone who has been a US citizen for at least 20 years.

Hatch retired in 2019, after serving for in the Senate for over forty years. But his October 2004 statement in favor of the amendment makes points that remain just as relevant today; though, sadly, the GOP's descent into anti-immigrant xenophobia makes it much less likely that a prominent conservative politician would submit a similar amendment now:

While there was scant debate on this provision during the Constitutional Convention, it is apparent that the decision to include the natural born citizen requirement in our Constitution was driven largely by the concern over 200 years ago that a European monarch might be imported to rule the United States.

This restriction has become an anachronism that is decidedly un-American. Consistent with our democratic form of government, our citizens should have every opportunity to choose their leaders free of unreasonable limitations. Indeed, no similar restriction bars other critical members of the government from holding office, including the Senate, the House of Representatives, the United States Supreme Court, or the President's most trusted cabinet officials.

The history of the United States is replete with scores of great and patriotic Americans whose dedication to this country is beyond reproach, but who happen to have been born outside of our borders. These include former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and Madeline Albright, the current Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao, and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Mel Martinez, who is now running for a Senate seat in Florida. As our Constitution reads today, none of these well-qualified, patriotic United States citizens could be a lawful candidate for President….

This is also true for the more than 700 immigrant recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor—our nation's highest decoration for valor—who risked their lives defending the freedoms and liberties of this great nation. But no matter how great their sacrifice, leadership, or love for this country, they remain ineligible to be a candidate for President. This amendment would remove this unfounded inequity.

Hatch's 20 year requirement strikes me as far too long. A much shorter period—say, five or ten years—should be enough to capture any possible benefit of imposing a waiting period, such as ensuring that the would-be candidate is loyal to US and knowledgeable about US politics. But, as a practical matter, few if any serious potential candidates are likely to have been citizens for much less than twenty years.  Even if imperfect, Hatch's amendment would be a huge improvement over the status quo, and would render eligible nearly all those naturalized citizens who would have a serious chance of winning a presidential election.

As noted in my last post on this topic, it is highly unlikely that an amendment like this can pass in the near future. But, for reasons also explained there, it is very possible that will change over time.

NEXT: Today in Supreme Court History: August 16, 1933

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163 responses to “Orrin Hatch's Constitutional Amendment to Abolish the Natural Born Citizen Clause

  1. Orrin Hatch? Lol RINO.

      1. I was just channeling you to save you the trouble.

        1. I quit working at shoprite and now I make $65-85 per/h. How? I’m working online! My work didn’t exactly make me happy so I decided to take a chance on something new…OPl after 4 years it was so hard to quit my day job but now I couldn’t be happier.

          Here’s what I do………….>> Click here

    1. Orrin Hatch was wrong.

  2. “Hatch’s 20 year requirement strikes me as far too long. A much shorter period—say, five or ten years—should be enough to capture any possible benefit of imposing a waiting period, such as ensuring that the would-be candidate is loyal to US and knowledgeable about US politics.”

    OK, now you’re being totally unserious. A person who comes to the US as an adult, and spends a mere five or ten years here, has a substantial likelihood of remaining culturally an alien.

    Especially if we couple this with your other immigration proposals, which reduce the US to little more than a line on the map.

    1. unserious began at least with this observation – ” …the GOP’s descent into anti-immigrant xenophobia…”

      1. the Republican Party should be welcoming Latin American immigrants — they are typically hard working, Christian, entrepreneurial, and pro-family and traditional values. They are natural Republicans.

    2. Whether or a presidential candidate remains “culturally an alien,” is something that the voters can consider.

      You remind me of a weird girl I went to high school with, whose objection to getting rid of the citizenship clause was “Fidel Castro could then run for president.” I recall thinking “Let him lose the election if he really wants to.”

      1. Right, whether a candidate is culturally an alien can be decided by the voters. Whether they’re old enough can be decided by the voters. EVERYTHING, in principle, could be decided by the voters.

        So, why have any qualifications for an office at all? Any elective office?

        1. Ya got me. Why don’t you tell us?

          1. So people like Obama can break the rules?

        2. I agree that we should get rid of the age restriction too. It’s not like the American public is going to choose a 16-year-old Korean girl as president soon.

          1. But as to a 17-year-old Swedish girl….

            1. If the progs were going to make a big deal about a 17 year old Swedish chick, they could have at least picked a hot one. Especially from that country,

            2. how about a 30 year old bartender?

        3. I think you’re mixing up quantitative and qualitative here.

          ‘culturally alien.’ That’s some birther-sounding business for sure.

          1. See, there’s the problem in a nutshell.

            Why is this country successful? Why is that country a wreck?

            Climate? No, you’ve got examples of both sorts of countries with the same climate.

            Institutions and laws? Closer, but WHY does this country have institutions and laws conducive to success, and that country doesn’t? And why are the nominally good institutions functional in one country, and corrupt in another? Why are the laws followed in one country, and violated in another?

            Culture, that’s why.

            And culture isn’t something in the water, that just works automatically, such that you take somebody from one of Trump’s shithole countries, plop them in a successful country, and after a few swigs of the local water they join the PTA and start obeying traffic laws.

            Culture is something in the PEOPLE. Ideas and habits of thought that are logically prior to the laws and institutions.

            You could have somebody from a different culture come here, they like the place, they’re very happy it works well, and they want to give their all to advance it. And they get into a position of influence, and turn it into where they came from.

            So, we don’t just have to worry about the immigrant President seething with hidden ill will. We have to worry about the immigrant President who, with the best intentions, will labor to turn their new country into their old country. Without even realizing they’re doing it!

            Ilya doesn’t want to accept the importance of culture. He wants to think that you can take any random person around the globe, drop them into a successful country, and slap a coat of citizenship on them, and you’re good. They’ll be a success, and the country won’t change, except for the better. Because they’ll magically only bring with them the positive parts of their culture!

            The truth is, “you are what you eat”; Assimilation runs both ways. The immigrant assimilates to the country, and the country assimilates to the immigrant.

            And if you don’t want to become more like Mexico, say, you probably don’t want a lot of people immigrating from Mexico. Because they’re sure as Hell not going to make the US LESS like Mexico, now, are they?

            1. I note you don’t really define America’s culture. It’s just the ‘x-factor’ that makes America exceptional. I presume that’s because it mostly entails agreeing with you.

              People that become citizens have bought into America’s culture. Have you talked to a naturalized citizen lately? Their old country does not tend to loom large in their eyes.

              There’s a lot of middle ground between ‘anyone will do’ and ‘you must be born here.’

              1. There are plenty of immigrants who become citizens for practical reasons yet either hate US culture it simply don’t understand it.

            2. Because they’re sure as Hell not going to make the US LESS like Mexico, now, are they?

              Why not?

              I mean, there’s a reason they left Mexico, after all. immigrants are not a random sample of the population of the country they left. They are people who don’t like things in their home country.

              And if their home country is undemocratic then they were powerless to change things. In other words, there is no reason to think they want to make the US more like that.

              IOW, your argument is xenophobic bullshit.

              1. There is a reason they left Mexico, it is called economics. The amount of money sent back to Mexico by Mexicans working in the US (legally or illegally) is massive. Many of them would rather be in Mexico if they could make the same money and get the same benefits.

                1. Many of them would rather be in Mexico if they could make the same money and get the same benefits.

                  That does not sound like you’re not talking about those that choose to become citizens. Citizenship brings a lot with it; additional money isn’t part of that.

                  1. That’s incorrect. Until you become a citizen, you cannot take full advantage of America’s government’s largess.

                    1. You can take advantage of an awful lot of it without becoming a citizen, especially if you spring for the good fake ID.

              2. Plenty of people give to the US for money but otherwise dunt care or even hate traditional US culture. Increasingly, people just come for government benefits.

            3. Our culture is shit. It’s a bunch of irresponsible social media users who are addicted to virtue signaling. They accept without scrutiny any fly by night Marxist organization that comes to their city screeching about random injustices that they’ve never even witnessed in their lives.

              All for a goddamn like or follow. Useful idiots.

              1. Maybe you should move.

                Or get offline.

                1. Sarcastr0
                  August.17.2020 at 12:19 pm
                  [Don’t like the culture around you?] Maybe you should move.

                  Bookmark applied.

            4. the people who immigrate aren’t randomly transferred from one country to another though. they are ambitious people who take a chance and bet on themselves.

      2. And if you had learned anything in high school, you would know that your ivory tower faith in the collective intelligence of others is misplaced. Hitler was popular, Castro was popular, and the idea that we open up our highest office to people fresh off the boat is insane.

        If there’s any point to restricting the Presidency now, it’s to make sure that someone is tied to the land. I don’t want a President with a plan B. Ever notice how most of these leftist radical leaders don’t have children?

        1. Well if we want to make sure the Prez is always tied to the land, maybe we should limit nominees to being a potato

      3. Then why even have a requirement? If its all ‘something the voters can consider’ then let’s get rid of all the requirements.

      4. No, voters cannot decide that because they usually just get a couple of choices and have to pick the lesser of two evils.

      5. Fidel would still carry California.

    3. Just wait. Lines on maps will be called xenophobic soon enough.

    4. What do other countries do?

      As I understand it Mexico doesn’t even let immigrants *vote*.

      You *might*, repeat *might* have a little credibility had you insisted that the immigrant be a US Citizen for 35 years (which an American must be) but the bottom line is “welcome to my country, if you don’t like our rules, you can go back home.”

      1. Right. Ilya is a huge fan of voting with one’s feet; maybe mother Russia would like to have him as president.

        “A candidate for office must be a citizen of the Russian Federation who is at least 35 years old, has “permanently resided” in Russia for at least 25 years and does not have and has never previously had a foreign citizenship or residence permit.”

        Whoops, even Russia has a quite sensible residency requirement, one of have actually lived continuously as a Russian, and without risk of foreign acculturation.

        1. The foreign citizenship must mean outside the USSR.

        2. Yes, I definitely think Russia should be the guidestar for how to run a democracy.

    5. OK, now you’re being totally unserious. A person who comes to the US as an adult, and spends a mere five or ten years here, has a substantial likelihood of remaining culturally an alien.

      Under the current constitution, in addition to being a NBC and 35 years old, one has to be 14 years a resident of the U.S. I don’t know if Prof. Somin is proposing to eliminate the last restriction as well.

  3. “A much shorter period—say, five or ten years—should be enough”

    OK, there’s a nine-year waiting period for naturalized citizens to be U. S. Senators. (US Constitution, Art. I, Sec. 3)

    A mere five year wait for Pres or VP would mean a naturalized citizen would be eligible for Pres or VP four years before being eligible for being a Senator.

    “We’ll trust you in the White House, but we don’t trust you in the Senate!”

    1. Presumably, the amendment changing the “natural born citizenship” clause would also change the citizenship requirements for senator.

      1. Really? What complaints have there been about the 9-year Senate rule, and are those complaints justifiable?

    2. It’s not like being a Senator is a great lead in to being VP or President.

  4. You write as if Hatch was “trying to do the right thing”. In fact the party wanted to clear the way for Schwarzenegger who at that point was their up and coming star. Republicans were already virulently nativist, most notably in the 1988 campaign where WASPs like Barbara Bush called Michael Dukakis a foreigner.

    1. Why did you use the racists term WASP? Especially when all racists terms are being expunged form the vocabulary?

      1. Person’s of non-color? Persons of paleness? White devils?

        1. A pox on you all. If an amendment on this subject is proposed it should be required to be a natural born citizen of a natural born citizen father and a natural born citizen mother just to vote.
          My ancestors stole this land from the previous occupants fair and square.
          The proof of natural born citizenship should be a birth certificate, rebuttable on sufficient evidence. As birth certificates recorded with the states started in the early 1900s and were not virtually universal until the WWII era, the natural born citizen requirement should go back one generation of ancestry every 20-25 years.
          I would prefer the natural born citizen requirement to go back to the mid-17th century when my invad… settler ancestors came here, but documentation is not workable.
          American aborigines, being natural born citizens, Black Americans however their immigrant ancestors came here, Latinos. If their parents, grandparents were natural born citizens, they’re good.
          While I’m on proposing constitutional amendments that will never make it, how about some that are already proposed, received at least one state ratification, then stalled? The 27th Amendment, ratified 1992, was originally proposed in 1792.
          •The “Titles of Nobility” amendment, which was ratified, published then ignored, gradually disappearing from the state statute books.
          •The “Corwin” amendment, which was endorsed by President Abraham Lincoln and submitted to the states, which would partially repeal the Slavery Amendment, and would make slavery legal throughout the USA. Not slavery restricted to Blacks but slavery of anyone. We should stop pretending that slavery and involuntary servitude have been abolished. All that was accomplished was establishing a government monopoly of slavery. (Read the “13th Amendment.”) This is not right. Anyone should be able to own a slave or to be owned by a master (or mistress in that sense). In ancient Babylon, slaves could themselves own slaves.

          1. Hey man, why you bringing that shit up? Don’t say the R word, it just arouses contempt in the SJW heart.

    2. Capt, it was still the right thing, even if it was trying to help Schwarzenegger.

      1. I see no problem with compartmentalizing. And motives do matter. The right thing done for benevolent reasons is better than the right thing done for selfish ones. Which in turn is better than the wrong thing done for selfish ones (otherwise known as “everything Trump does”). We can approve of the good thing Hatch did for partisan reasons without having to commend him for it.

        1. “Which in turn is better than the wrong thing done for selfish ones ”

          Worst of all is wrong things done for benevolent reasons.

        2. I think one of the biggest problems is political discourse is people finding excuses to never praise a political opponent even when they do the right thing.

          1. I happen to agree. But giving due credit requires determining how much credit is due. That can’t be done while excluding nuance.

    3. Citation please.

      Barbara Bush was old school WASP, she had way too much class to say something like that.

      I doubt that Bush 41 did either…

      1. Bush 41 was a Cold Warrior and Greece nearly went over to the other side. Dukakis is Greek — I can’t see him saying what is alleged, and Barbara — never. Not publicly…

    4. In fact the party wanted to clear the way for Schwarzenegger

      Do you mean that Hatch wanted to? What evidence is there that the party wanted to? (What evidence is there that Hatch wanted to? At the time Hatch introduced this proposal, Arnold had never been elected to any office.)

      most notably in the 1988 campaign where WASPs like Barbara Bush called Michael Dukakis a foreigner.

      Sorry, but I’m going to need a citation for that one.

      1. Yeah, that sounds fishy.

        1. You can look it up. Barbara Bush saying “What kind of name is that? I don’t know where he’s from.”

          It was laughable to see the Bush campaign portray Dukakis as a Harvard elite and Bush as a “man of the people”, considering their contrasting family histories.

          1. I tried to look it up. The only hit on Google was… your comment in this thread.

  5. As always, so very, very many seem extremely interested in helping anyone not born here. When someone born here could use some help, who cares? Anyone born here should apparently be thankful for whatever crumbs fall from the table of the people who matter.

    1. Grievance-consumed, whining white males are among my favorite culture war casualties — and the target audience of this blog.

      1. Hey reverend – why don’t you get a real job? I hear Soros is hiring.

        1. Soros hired Rev and I back in 2012, man. Can’t you tell?

          1. I got promoted — I hire for Soros now.

            (Wanna know the names of the two new Supreme Court justices?)

            1. Would I!
              Just put it in the next Q drop and I’ll decode.

    2. When someone born here could use some help, who cares?

      Certainly not the Republicans.

      1. We’d certainly never expect someone like you to ever show any humanity toward an American.

    3. You sound like you want a hug. I wish I could give you a hug. Whenever people say things that make you sad, just you remember: “I am Ben_”. Now go get ’em, tiger.

      1. I’m not the one who needs help. There are lots of Americans who are desperate and we see Prof. Somin and company here focused on the bottom-of-the-list immigrant complaint.

        1. You keep sticking up for poor, persecuted, disaffected straight white rural males who claim to be Christians, Ben.

          The Volokh Conspirators thank you for your help.

          1. Kirkland is playing with fire.

            1. I can’t believe you guys still read his posts. Do you also look for messages in the toilet? Just flush.

            2. Your English instructor owes you a refund. The phrase is “cooking with gas,” not “playing with fire.”

              1. So go take a shit, and wash your hands, before you continue cooking. Yeesh.

        2. There are lots of Americans who are desperate


          Tell McConnell and Trump to get off their asses and do something. The Democrats introduced a bill in May. But since the ones who are desperate aren’t billionaires the GOP doesn’t give a FF.

          1. Responding to Americans in desperate need with dishonest political rhetoric is the Democrat way.

            A bill that can never become law is zero help to anyone.

            1. Democrats offer dishonest political rhetoric.

              Republicans offer bigotry, backwardness, childish superstition, bigotry, ignorance, and more bigotry.

              Where is the hope for America?

              In particular, who will at least try to defend the honor of poor, abandoned, humiliated Heidi Cruz?

    4. why does that matter? What extra specialness is conferred depending whether you were born in the US or moved here at 1 day old? if other qualifying conditions are met then treat all equally. This nativist entitlement is getting out of hand…

      1. They don’t even try to treat us equally. Everyone has a right to their own unique culture except Americans. Every country in history has always had border controls, but it’s evil when Americans want to have them. We must all be tolerant of everyone and kind to everyone except Americans.

        Someone from Mexico feels unwelcome: hate crime. Someone from Arkansas or Indiana feels unwelcome: heap on the slurs. Americans killed: not news. Immigrant hears words that upset her during her morning walk: front page.

        1. Modern American culture rejects bigotry, Ben. You’re fighting for an illusory America, although it was closer to your ideal a half-century ago.

          1. International Law permits repelling invasions, by killing the invaders if necessary.

            1. Especially those invaders running for President.

        2. Every country in history has always had border controls


      2. It’s not ”born here.” It’s “born to citizen parents.” If an American soldier and his American wife are posted to a military base in Germany, she goes to an off-base German hospital to give birth, the kid gets a German birth certificate, an American certificate of birth abroad, and is a natural born US citizen.

      3. Because being born here means you involuntarily signed on to the social contract and you don’t have somewhere else to go? You’re trying to be creative, but you limit yourself. The answer isn’t to destroy the concept of natural born citizenship. The answer is to restore it to what it conceptually should mean, which is native born to two legal US citizens. No birth tourism, no mass illegal migration, no exploits. Either you intend to stay here or you don’t. The US is a nation, not the village bicycle for anyone looking to make a quick buck.

    5. You know Ben, some of us do care about foreigners in addition to Americans. Why you mistake that for caring about foreigners instead of Americans I can’t say, but If I were you I’d be more concerned about the president you defend who wouldn’t piss on you if you were on fire.

      1. No mistake, just observation. When one group is treated well and the alternate group treated poorly, it’s clear for everyone to see.

        1. Dude quit whining. Who cares? Whites have been on the ass end of the deal for 20 years now. You’re not gonna change shit. Whining just makes you look like a Covid believer.

          1. Yeah, that’s typical. Americans want to be treated as well as immigrants and the answer is no, quit whining. Treat people like enemies, expect them to treat you like an enemy in return.

            1. This is about a policy wherein it is argued that immigrants – naturalize citizens WHO ARE ALREADY AMERICANS be brought up to the same status as natural born citizens. Your crying about loss of rights seems to be more about loss of unmerited privileged status.

              Also, Granite made it about white people, which is very, very telling. Did you even notice that, Ben_?

  6. Why should there be any delay in a naturalized citizen to run for any political office. The fact that that person came to the US and decides to be a citizen with all the trouble it takes to become a citizen should indicates that that person believes in the United States otherwise that person would not have chosen to become a citizen.

    1. I wonder the same thing. Extended waiting times don’t seem faithful to the American spirit.

    2. You’re right about the process to become naturalized as it stands today, but its absurd to think the politicians wont make that easier in the future, in particular for those who came here illegally.

    3. Utter nonsense. You might think what I have to say that, but there have been Soviet/Russian sleeper agents here longer than 9 years. They would go through all of the trouble,it they could get a shot at the presidency.

      1. NOOOOOOO. No one ever thought of that? A sleeper agent sufficiently brainwashed and programmed wouldn’t know that he (or she) was a sleeper agent!

    4. There should be a 30 year wait to vote.

      1. No you’ve gotta prioritize – it’s gotta be what is truly important in this day and age. Thus, we should just make the requirement be a minimum of 500 followers on social media – or one sjw rant with 500 likes. Then you can vote.

        All others are merely poseurs and shouldn’t have a voice.

    5. Natural born requirements tie you to the land. Want to infiltrate the US? You’re already a psycho if you want to do this, but now you have to share the burden with your children and hope you can condition them to be just like you.

  7. If the amendment said 35 years (that is, making the citizenship period equal the age a natural-born President has to be), and if the effective date was postponed until five years after ratification (in order to avoid the amendment being an immediate vehicle for any particular individual’s Presidential campaign), then I’d say go for it.

    1. This would abolish the idea that being born abroad would taint you for life, and it would allow for the eligibility of people born abroad but who spent most of their lives as citizens, but it wouldn’t open the White House gates to all and sundry.

      1. But opening the White House gates, indeed, ALL gates, to all and sundry is his aim.

        Your proposal is quite reasonable. Five years on American soil won’t make you an American culturally. Ten, maybe. Spending the majority of your life here? If that’s not going to do it, nothing will.

        1. 70 years on American soil won’t necessarily make you an American culturally . . . look at how many disaffected, gay-bashing, immigrant-hating, stale-thinking racists who can’t stand modern America still haven’t been replaced yet.

          1. It’s so cute and nonthreatening when leftists talk about replacing and stomping on people, and forcing progress down their throat sideways.

            1. The replacement I envision occurs when a cranky old Republican takes that stale thinking to the grave in the natural course and is replaced in our electorate by a younger, better person, which also is the natural course.

              The stomping in the culture war is peaceful, admirable progress. The shoving of progress down whining throats is figurative.

              Enjoy your remaining time on the wrong side of history, Eddy. Shaping progress against your wishes and efforts has become a habit — an enjoyable, important, civic-minded habit.

              In a free country, of course, you get to whine about it as much as you wish.

              1. Kirkland, you’re talking subversion.

                Just be man enough to admit it.

                1. I am talking about continuing the glorious arc of American progress, shaped against the preferences of conservatives throughout my lifetime. The triumph of the liberal-libertarian alliance. The good guys winning the culture war, which has been settled and to my satisfaction.

                  I love modern, improving, diverse, educated, reasoning, inclusive America.

                  1. Lol. There’s a raging debate on twitter right now over whether two plus two equals four. Kirkland’s crew is on the wrong side.

                    1. There’s a raging debate on twitter right now over whether two plus two equals four. Kirkland’s crew is on the wrong side.

                      Clearly you’re just one of those backward mouthbreathers who have unduly restrictive notions of the truly glorious flexibility of the words “two,” “two,” and “four,” and are unwilling to submit to the superior judgment of your betters.

                      Carry on, clinger.

                      [How’d I do? LOL]

              2. In a free country, of course, you get to whine about it as much as you wish.

                We know, Rev, we know — you demonstrate that freedom to us dozens of times a day.

                1. A disaffected, bigoted casualty of the culture war nipping at the ankles of the victors?

          2. I know better than to engage with you, but this idea is quite interesting and pervasive. A lot of people seem to believe in their own personal conception of what makes a group. If the actual flesh and blood of the group decides in majority to be something else, then they are no true scotsman. Maybe they’be betrayed the cause in your eyes, but do you see how meaningless such statements are? Ironically, the very thing you decry is happening to you right as we speak; you’re being replaced.

      2. Americans born abroad to American citizen parents are natural born US citizens.

      3. If an US citizen is born abroad to US citizen parents such person is a natural born US citizen. No taint applies as long as the Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States (CRBA)(Form FS-240) is filed with supporting documents and $100 or € equivalent. This should be done at an US Embassy or Consulate as soon after the birth as practical.
        If a person born abroad to US citizen parents is over 18 and no FS-240 or earlier equivalent was filed, nevertheless he or she is a natural born US citizen. However, obtaining proof of natural born US citizenship is much more difficult and likely expensive. Such persons must apply through the naturalization process.
        The “natural born” part is rarely worth the trouble but it does prevent deportation by the US and taxation and military conscription by the country of birth. The IRS will perhaps be interested in back returns and, if income is above the exempt amount for income earned while abroad, back taxes, interest and penalties.
        So being born a US citizen in a foreign country and then not having the FS-240 on file, and never having entered US sovereign territory, wanting to come to the US can, and almost certainly will, be very cumbersome. At that, the sooner such a person goes to an US Embassy or Consulate to get started the better.

    2. This seems a perfectly reasonable compromise, and a natural evolution from the rules that are currently in place. I really can’t see anything to object to if this was proposed. Especially if it had the five years after ratification effective date.

    1. The US isn’t as strict as the Philippines. Their president must be “able to read and write”.

      1. Any evidence Biden can do either?

  8. From 2016: “According to a CBS News poll released Sunday, while 21% of Americans would favor changing the Constitution to allow people who aren’t natural born U.S. citizens to become President, 75% would oppose such a change.”

    This issue is dead in the water. Good riddance.

    1. Next after this ship is sunken is to get rid of this so-called birthright citizenship. The “14th Amendment,” which was not ratified by the states but by decree of Congress, a method of ratification not to be found in the Constitution, was never intended to grant citizenship to everyone whose mother could manage to get into the US by hook or by crook. It was intended to reverse the malevolent effects of the 1857 Dred Scott v Sandford ruling, which with the stroke of the pen of Democrat slaveowning US Supreme Court justice Roger Taney the natural born citizenship of persons of African origin whose ancestors were brought to the US as slaves was swept away.
      This was ludicrous as such persons had been counted by the census as citizens.

      1. How do you figure that the 14th amendment was not ratified by the states? Or is the 14th amendment different than the “14th Amendment”?

        1. Well, technically, while the 14th amendment WAS ratified by the states, the Southern states were still under military occupation at the time, and didn’t actually have any choice about ratifying: They were expressly told that it was either ratify, or continue to be occupied territory, and ratification votes were held with Union soldiers present in the legislative chambers.

          So, much as I like the content of the Reconstruction amendments, on a strict legal level, the argument that they weren’t legitimately ratified is quite strong. Consent at gunpoint isn’t normally considered to be consent.

  9. 2003 was the year Arnold Schwarzenegger became Governor of California.

    1. The son of a Nazi. 😉

  10. We just went through a multi-year panic that Russia and other international influences were stacking our elections. Now we want to make it legal for those same countries just to up and run someone for President. So what was the moral panic over Russia about the last two years? Real concern about the “rule of law” and American independence? Or just a crafty way to “get Trump?”

    1. These things do not relater.

      I could as easily argue that Trump shows that home-grown Presidents can be just as disloyal as any foreigner.

      1. A skunk charge thrown out on the floor. Evidence? Zero. False accusations do not qualify as evidence.

  11. Somin, you are never going to be President of the United States but Mother Russia wants you back so don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.

    1. Actually, the only reason I’m waffling on the proposal is that I’d Professor Somin on the Supreme Court, where he’d do a lot more good for a lot longer than as POTUS.

      Among 100’s of other good votes and controlling opinions, he could write a definitive permanent smackdown of the nativist/birther interpretation of the 14th Amendment.

      1. I’d rather see Ann Coulter on the Supreme Court….

  12. “Right. Ilya is a huge fan of voting with one’s feet; maybe mother Russia would like to have him as president.”

    I wonder where Trump supporters may have gotten the idea it’s OK to tell American citizens to go back where they came from.

    1. I would swap a 100+ million of your and Somin’s diseased carcasses for just one more Ayn Rand.

      1. You seem nice.

      2. Just because 100 million carcasses are labeled as Covid-19 deaths, doesn’t mean they are actually diseased.

  13. When I see the words and phrases, “clearly” and “well-settled” I know it’s time to get my hop boots and gas mask out.

    1. No — full MOPP gear.

  14. “While there was scant debate on this provision during the Constitutional Convention, it is apparent that the decision to include the natural born citizen requirement in our Constitution was driven largely by the concern over 200 years ago that a European monarch might be imported to rule the United States.”

    But we play the long game, and the sixth and seventh in line to the throne have just moved to the US.

    One reason for you to consider importing a monarch is concern for the mental well-being of those over this side of the Atlantic. Hopefully we’d then be spared the ceaseless reporting of your election campaigns. Yes they are important but one does wonder why our media loves the on-the-spot reporting for years either side.

    Silly me, revert to cynicism, clearly nothing to do with trips to the US… clearly not….

  15. Iirc, this was tied to the momentary push to make Schwarzenegger president.

  16. We have a group of online assignments to help experts from top universities to help these students in the best possible manner.

  17. Professor Somin,

    Aren’t you an example of the problem the clause protects against? You’ve repeatedly demonstrated that, as an immigrant, your sympathies to those outside this country often trump your loyalty to it. You would hesitate to kill foreigners if it were in the interests of the United States to do so. You don’t really believe in your bones what the Supreme Court has recently definitively said, that a foreigner outside US territory has no constitutional rights whatsoever. Nor are you willing to accept the logical consequences Roe v. Wade implies for such a status, that so far as the constitution is concerned they might as well be Gloria Steinem’s appendix.

    It’s one thing for a doctor to have moral scruples and refuse to act in the sole interest of the patient and do an abortion when the patient requires it. The patient can always see another doctor.

    But a president whose moral scruples prevent him from acting solely in the interests of the United States when the United States requires it? The United States can’t exactly go see another President.

    As a former foreigner, you are inclined to have these sorts of self-limiting moral hangups that would interfere with your ability to focus exclusively on the needs of the United States prevent you from properly fulfilling your oath of office. You would have a hard time ordering the sort of hits on foreigners that have been part of US foreign policy since the CIA’s first covert assassination. Don’t deny that it’s in no small part because you are a former foreigner that you feel this way.

    You are an example of why the constitutional provision is there.

  18. You’ve repeatedly demonstrated that, as an immigrant, your sympathies to those outside this country often trump your loyalty to it.

    Now, that’s BS. You don’t agree with him, but he pretty clearly thinks his preferred policies are good for America.

    As a former foreigner, you are inclined to have these sorts of self-limiting moral hangups that would interfere with your ability to focus exclusively on the needs of the United States

    Pulling this out of your ass.


    The Constitution is not going to be amended. Not to change eligibility to be prez, not to let DC be a state, and not for any other silly idea about an amendment.

    1. I think the Constitution is going to be extensively amended, just as soon as enough states get fed up and call a constitutional convention, so that Congress stops being a veto point. But I doubt most of the amendments will end up being very pleasing to the left.

      1. Has the Republican Party perfected a machine that mass-produces bigoted, superstitious, poorly educated, old, white, southern, rural males? If not, how do clingers propose to amend or control anything in a country becoming less white, less bigoted, less backward, less religious, and less rural?

  20. I would point tout tha t a least 4 of the 6 “Russians” at the famous Trump Tower meeting were naturalized US citizens, something that was rarely reported.

  21. I’d support this, if at the same time we should also clarify that the 14th Am. citizenship clause does not mandate that citizenship be granted to tourists and illegal immigrants.

    Shouldn’t need a constitutional amendment for that latter part, but it would do.

    1. Let’s make it clear. If we decouple birth place citizenship from requirements for President, let’s also decouple automatic citizenship from birth place.

      1. Your statement is vague. They are really two different issues.

        I’m not very concerned about the remote, theoretical possibility that a 20+ year citizen requirement will result in Presidents that are less loyal to the country, compared to the natural born citizen requirement. In terms of probabilities I understand the point, but keep in mind we have an awful lot of natural born citizens eager to sell this country out in a heartbeat, and that includes most politicians in my opinion, and we have some great immigrants who love this country.

        On the other hand, the practice of granting citizenship to children of illegal immigrants and birth tourists flooding birth hotels is a massive ongoing scam, spanning several decades and millions of instances. As Harry Reid said, “If making it easy to be an illegal alien isn’t enough, how about offering a reward to be an illegal immigrant. No sane country would do that, right? Guess again. If you break our laws by entering this country without permission and give birth to a child, we reward that child with U.S. citizenship and guarantee a full access to all public and social services this society provides — and that’s a lot of services.”

        1. It was 27 years ago Harry Reid said that! SMH

  22. The fact Nikki Haley has a slightly older sister that ineligible to run for president means that Nikki Haley is most likely ineligible to be president. That would also mean Rubio, Jindal, and Kamala are ineligible. So why is Governor Granholm ineligible even though she spent fewer years in Canada as a minor than Kamala??

  23. In a previous post, I outlined the reasons why we should pass a constitutional amendment to abolish the requirement that the president must be a “natural born” citizen of the United States.

    Sure, provided we get rid of another remnant of a bygone era as well: Jus Soli.

  24. Oh For F***s Sake, anyone with a brain knows Booby Hatch is NOT a conservative but is a Republican. What your title said reads the same as vegetarian cannibal. Buy a GD clue.

  25. Terrible idea. You want the CIC of the armed forces to be solely wholly and only an American.

    1. How could anyone argue with that? With a “soley wholly and only” (i.e. natural born) American CIC, we could all sleep well knowing our president would never cooperate with a foreign adversary to corrupt our elections, publicly credit the word of that adversary over that of our own intelligence agencies, and certainly never suck up to that adversary while it was arming our battlefield enemies and paying them bounties for dead American soldiers.

  26. The odd thing is, if we actually enforced the limitations on government imposed by the constitution, it wouldn’t matter very much.
    If it doesn’t pass the sniff test, it doesn’t fly, period. No matter which Whack-o-mole is trying to push it.

  27. I suggest at least changing the requirement and allowing anyone naturalized before their 18th birthday to be eligible for President. This would likely mean an 18 year waiting period at the earliest.

  28. If the clause kept Kissinger or Albright from becoming President, the Founders were even wiser than I thought.

    But the who point of the law was to pave the way for Arnold to run for Prez.

  29. NSDAP Oberlieutenant Hatch is offended the 14th Amendment and LP plank freed Vimmen from obedience to ze Army of God. But frau Schaffly and God’s Own Prohibitionists kept the Vimmen from passing the Equal Rights Amendment, which vould haff made ze 14th Amendment superfluous, repealable and no longer an impediment to questioning deficit spending. Oh vell… ve haff priorities, JA?