Sucks to be proven wrong. Some people are speculating that Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama was born in Kenya and not the United States. A person that I was talking to – making an argument about media bias – said that several months ago the media was saying that John McCain might be ineligible for the presidency because he was born in Panama and is thus not a “Natural Born Citizen”.

I called BS, but he was right and I was wrong. There were in fact a couple of articles on the subject that suggested that there could potentially be an issue, though the tone of the articles leaned towards the notion that it was likely that McCain was eligible but that it wasn’t a “slam dunk”.

It’s all a pretty silly question. There is no way that any court would ever rule that someone is ineligible for the presidency because he was born overseas while his father was serving our country in the military. It’s also extremely unlikely that if Obama was in fact born in Kenya that Republicans – who also nominated a foreign-born candidate – would suggest that neither of the two party’s nominees could Constitutionally be elected president.

What is a bit distressing, though, is reading a few blogs and whatnot where people have actually invested themselves in the argument that McCain is not eligible. It’s such a transparently political argument (made both by Democrats and anti-McCain Republicans) dressed up as Constitutional scholarship.

Category: Newsroom, Statehouse

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9 Responses to Two Eligible Candidates

  1. Abel says:

    There’s a lot of crap out there that people claim is “Constitutional scholarship” but is really just applying their own biases to the Constitution and coming to their own conclusion.

    As for the McCain thing, legal scholars have all said that it’s unlikely that the Supreme Court (or any other court) would rule McCain ineligible since he was born on a military base. I also believe that Obama co-sponsored some legislation in the Senate saying that people born overseas on US military installations were eligible to serve as president.

  2. Webmaster says:

    I simply find it funny that one candidate is actually a bastard, in the literal sense (as well as figurative) of the word.

  3. Willard Lake says:

    Oh, come on… McCain’s not THAT bad!

    Obama probably sponsored it to ensure his pick for VP (Retired Lt. Gen. Claudia Kennedy) will be possible.

  4. trumwill says:


    Is Obama an illegitimate child? From what I understand (correct me if I’m wrong here) his parents married the same year after he was conceived but before he was born. There is the matter that his father was married to someone else, but at most I’d say that puts it in a gray area.

    Kinda like my friend Kelvin whose parents had their marriage annulled when he was 20 and said “Man, I’m retroactively a bastard now.” 🙂

  5. trumwill says:

    Abel, I’d actually be more tolerant if it were about constitutional biases, but I’m willing to bet that most of the people that were saying that McCain were ineligible to be president because he was born overseas would, if asked a week before finding out about McCain, their thoughts on the matter, they’d go with the common sense approach that “Natural born citizen” means someone that is born a citizen and not naturalized. Instead, they see a way to argue that McCain is objectively illegitimate and pounce on it.

  6. Brandon Berg says:

    It’s such a transparently political argument (made both by Democrats and anti-McCain Republicans) dressed up as Constitutional scholarship.

    Well…yeah. Virtually all mainstream Constitutional scholarship these days is transparently political. An honest reading of the Constitution makes it clear that most of the things Congress does are unconstitutional, but almost no one will acknowledge that, e.g., Social Security, Medicare, the minimum wage, and the war on drugs are unconstitutional. The preferred method is to go through whatever gymnastics are necessary to conclude that the Constitution means exactly what you want it to mean.

  7. Willard Lake says:

    The Commerce Clause is overused, but many things the Congress does can be linked back to it… however tenuously.

  8. Brandon Berg says:

    In Federalist #43, James Madison ridiculed the idea that the general welfare clause might someday be interpreted as granting Congress broad powers. He said, essentially, that if the intention were for Congress to be able to do just about anything, he’d have said just that instead of explicitly enumerating the powers of Congress. I don’t know if he ever said anything about the interstate commerce clause specifically, but certainly the same logic applies here.

  9. Willard Lake says:

    Oh, I agree, but the various forms of the Supreme Court seem to find the other opinion more politically correct.

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