This blog is about Hawaii's status as an independent country under prolonged illegal occupation by the United States, and the history, culture, law & politics of the islands.

By Scott Crawford, Hana, Maui


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Obama not a natural-born citizen, because Hawaii is not a state?

HuffPo has an amusing piece on “Obama’s Birth Certificate Through The Eyes Of A Birther” and pointing to the “State of Hawaii” in the upper left corner, they have “Is it 100% verified that Hawaii was a state in 1961?”  Well, as a matter of fact it wasn’t. And as Dr. Sai noted earlier:

As for President Obama, Nixon v. Fitzgerald would give immunity to the President from lawsuits, but President Obama can’t claim to be a bona fide President since the U.S. Constitution requires the President to be a natural born citizen. Since President Obama was born in the Hawaiian Kingdom, and not born in the United States, he is a President de facto (in fact). Nixon v. Fitzgerald only applies to Presidents de jure (by law). I am not claiming Barack Obama is not a U.S. citizen, because he is by his mother (jus sanguinis). He is, however, not a natural born citizen (jus soli), which is a constitutional requirement to be President. During occupations of a country, international law prevents individuals from acquiring the citizenship of the occupied state through birth on the soil (jus soli) and can only acquire citizenship from their parents (jus sanguinis).

Now that the “birthers” biggest argument—that Obama wasn’t born in Hawaii—has been even further discredited than it was already, I wonder if they will latch on to the idea that Obama isn’t a natural-born citizen because Hawaii was not truly part of the United States at the time. It’s a serious argument made for completely different reasons, but they may find it convenient for their purposes as well. That would put them in the seemingly uncomfortable position of agreeing with the argument that the U.S. presence in Hawaii is indeed an occupation…

16 comments to Obama not a natural-born citizen, because Hawaii is not a state?

  • Min09

    You really don’t want the Birther movement to be associated with the Hawaiian Independence movement. Any argument that the Birthers advance will be ridculed. Getting people to take the Hawaiian issue seriously is hard enough as it is.

  • You may be right, but I’m just putting out the facts as I see them. People will do what they want with the information. And many birthers appear willing to put forth any argument they can find to support their belief that Obama is illegitimate as president, so I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them pick up on this. It will be interesting to see if and how they resolve the cognitive dissonance of arguing that Hawaii isn’t part of the U.S….

  • Ken Ng

    “Birthers” are merely pawns of the Corporate State and that Corporate State overthrew the Hawaiian Kingdom. And that Corporate State will not give up its assets, but will keep us distracted and unorganised. Obama? A pawn.

  • The Huffington Post is a propaganda machine trying to make the so called “birther” look foolish.

    It matters not where he was born. A natural born Citizen is one born to parents who are citizens. Note the plurality of parents and citizens.

  • Cee El

    Greg can you direct us to the specific law that says specifically that jus sanguinis and not jus soli is the standard for determining whether one is natural born?

  • Actually if have to depend on a LAW you are not a natural born Citizen, hence the term.

    But I can direct you to comments made by John Bingham the father of the 14th amendment, something that people seem to rely on when describing Obama’s citizenship.

    “All from other lands, who by the terms of [congressional] laws and a compliance with their provisions become naturalized, are adopted citizens of the United States; all other persons born within the Republic, of parents owing allegiance to no other sovereignty, are natural born citizens. Gentleman can find no exception to this statement touching natural-born citizens except what is said in the Constitution relating to Indians.” (Cong. Globe, 37th, 2nd Sess., 1639 (1862)).

    And again;

    “every human being born within the jurisdiction of the United States of parents not owing allegiance to any foreign sovereignty is, in the language of your Constitution itself, a natural born citizen.” (Cong. Globe, 39th, 1st Sess., 1291 (1866))”

    These references are readily available as well as SCOTUS decisions but good source to start is here.

  • BTW both of these are required for NBC “jus sanguinis and not jus soli “

  • Kawik's

    Jus sanguinis is U.S. citizenship derived from parents of U.S. citizen(s) born outside of the territory of the United States, and jus soil is U.S. citizenship acquired through birth within U.S. territory irrespective of the citizenship of the parents. According to Black’s law dictionary, 6th ed., p. 863, jus soil is “The law of the place of one’s birth as contrasted with jus sanguine, the law of the place of one’s descent or parentage. The principle that a person’s citizenship is determined by place of birth rather than by the citizenship of one’s parents. The leading U.S. Supreme Court case that explains this is Wong Kim Ark v. United States, 169 U.S. 649 (1898) at

  • WKA was not about natural born Citizenship, it was a case of Citizenship. Was WKA a Citizen at birth, his parents were not US Citizens. He was ruled a Citizen at birth. But a Citizen at birth is not the same a natural born Citizen.

  • Cee El

    Good luck Greg. I doubt this argument will prevail, but good luck nonetheless. Your reference to John Bingham seems a little out of context. It’s unclear that the term “parents” actually requires two known parents of a single allegiance. This would unfairly discriminate between people of whom the father is unknown and the father Is known but of foreign parentage.

  • Good luck Greg. I doubt this argument will prevail, but good luck nonetheless. Your reference to John Bingham seems a little out of context. It’s unclear that the term “parents” actually requires two known parents of a single allegiance. This would unfairly discriminate between people of whom the father is unknown and the father Is known but of foreign parentage.

    Good point. When we look Vattel and the Law of Nations it becomes clear that allegiance is passed on by parentage, particularly the fathers lineage. In the case of an unknown father it would rely on the lineage of the mother. So for instance if a rape occurred or simply the father was unknown. The child would have no allegiance to a unknown father.
    After reading Vattel and the letters that went back and forth during the development of the Constitution, Bingham’s comments are clearly in context. I only singled his comments out because most Obama supportors cite the 14th amendment to declare Obama an NBC.

  • Cee El

    I still have to wish you a great deal of luck, Greg. The way I read your recent comment is that you’re picking and choosing laws. Although you may point to Vattel, that is insufficient. International Law does not dictate how an individual independent state may choose to define a natural born citizen. To do so would be a violation of sovereignty.

    It’s highly unlikely that the U.S. Supreme Court would agree with you and overturn Obama’s election as President. It’s also unlikely the the U.S. Senate and House would challenge Obama’s status as President.

  • Kawik's

    To challenge President Obama’s presidential authority would be a matter of quo warranto, which under U.S. law is filed as a complaint under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure The complaint can be filed by any U.S. citizen alleging that President Obama was not validly elected according to Article II of the U.S. Constitution, i.e. natural born citizenry. And that the U.S. Supreme Court case Nixon v. Fitzgerald (1982) cannot be used to bar the lawsuit because it would only apply to lawfully elected Presidents. I’m not trying to instigate anything and I think Obama is a good President, but the President’s authority is not dependent on whether or not the Senate or House would challenge his status.

  • Cee El


    If you really think it’s that simple, then you should file the complaint. You should understand however, that merely filing a complaint is not the same as winning that complaint. The American legal system allows anyone to file a complaint regarding a broad spectrum of issues. Whether complainants succeed is a different story. No one will succeed in challenging President Obama’s authority.

    I encourage you to do more than merely regurgitate someone else’s sloppy academic scholarship.

  • 2016- Now we have the issue of claim: Ted Cruz is not a natural born citizen of the U.S.A. and inelligible to be a US Presidential candidate this election.

    Ted Cruz was born in Calgary, Canada outside of the USA.

    It’s interesting and implosive because it’s mostly liberal “birthers” pushing this wheelbarrow this time, as opposed to “cookie-Trump” types who they dismissed around the time this post was first published.

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