Bench Memos

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Correction Time


Three weeks ago, I blogged here about the darkly hilarious conspiracy theories bouncing around the blogosphere about whether Barack Obama is a “natural born Citizen” eligible to serve as president.  Speaking to an unsubstantiated “what if he was born in Kenya and not Hawaii?” I said that it seemed the relevant statutes governing foreign-born offspring of one citizen and one alien parent were on Obama’s side.  I based that quickly drawn conclusion on the reading of the statutes provided to the Chicago Tribune by UCLA law prof Eugene Volokh.  He has now offered a correction, saying he misread the law when speaking to the Trib, and it appears that he did misread it.  Like Volokh I think this is a pure hypothetical, since no one has shown Obama was born on foreign soil.  I still think this is no court’s business, as I said three weeks ago.  And I will add a final thought, that it strikes me as a strange proposition to say that Congress can define out of existence the “natural” citizenship of a person born to an adult American mother who happens to be sojourning outside the country rather than emigrating and expatriating herself, merely because her husband is not an American.

Oh boy.  Now I’ll get a few dozen more e-mails . . .


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