Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Supreme Court’s Holding In Minor v. Happersett As Standing Precedent On Citizenship: Obama Not Eligible.

Lawyer Leo Donofrio Multiple Instances Of Historical Scholarship Conclusively Establish The Supreme Court’s Holding In Minor v. Happersett As Standing Precedent On Citizenship – Obama Not Eligible.

Minor v. Happersett

The citizenship issue decided in Minor v. Happersett has been documented as precedent by multiple sources of legal scholarship.

The Supreme Court issued two holdings in Minor; one on citizenship and the other on voting rights.

That the citizenship issue is precedent, and not dictum, has never been questioned in our national history until now, just as the very words of the Constitution are being scrubbed. My research indicates unequivocally that for over a century before the appearance of Obama, Minor was recognized and cited as precedent on the definition of federal citizenship.

REDERICK VAN DYNE, ASSISTANT SOLICITOR US DEPARTMENT OF STATE (Legal scholar and Government attorney who specialized in citizenship law.)

REDERICK VAN DYNE will provide unquestionable clarity on the issue of why Minor v. Happersett is precedent on citizenship as well as voting rights.

Frederick Van Dyne who, while holding the office of Assistant Solicitor for the US Department of State, published analysis that the citizenship decision in Minor v. Happersett was precedent.

Van Dyne argued that persons born of foreign parents on US soil were “native-born citizens” of the US prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and the adoption of the 14th Amendment. But Van Dyne, while discussing the holding in the New York case of Lynch v. Clark (not binding on the Federal Courts), failed to endorse that case’s opinion that all native-born citizens of foreign parentage were natural-born citizens. In his famous treatise, “Citizenship of the United States” (Lawyers Co-Operative Publishing Co., 1904), Van Dyne only went so far as to state that such persons were “native-born citizens”.

Where the US Supreme Court in Minor differs from Obama eligibility propaganda is that the former regards being “native-born” as just one element necessary to meeting the natural-born citizen standard of POTUS eligibility, whereas the latter incorrectly argue that it is the only element. As you will see below, Van Dyne directly recognized that the US Supreme Court’s decision in Minor was precedent on citizenship, and that the holding therein defined natural-born citizens as those born in the US of citizen parents.

In the following passage, Van Dyne argues that previous American cases recognized that persons born on US soil were US citizens regardless of the citizenship of the parents. However, Van Dyne also points out that a statement by the Supreme Court in the Slaughter-House Cases appears to contradict this theory. But Van Dyne’s analysis stresses that the contradictory statement in the Slaughter-House Cases is dictum.

He then refers to the “decision” in Minor v. Happersett on citizenship in order to counter the “dictum” from the Slaughter-House Cases. Van Dyne clearly recognized the Minor Court’s decision on citizenship as precedent which outweighs the dictum of the Slaughter-House Cases. In doing so, Van Dyne quotes the Minor Court’s definition of a natural-born citizen as one born in the US to citizen parents:

3. Children born in United States of alien parentage.-The Federal courts have almost uniformly held that birth in the United States, of itself, confers citizenship. In two cases the courts have used language which has been relied upon in support of a contrary view. These will now be considered.

In delivering the opinion of the court in the Slaughter-House Cases, 16 Wall. 73, 21 L. ed. 408, Mr. Justice Miller said: "The phrase, 'subject to the jurisdiction,' was intended to exclude from its operation children of ministers, consuls, and citizens or subjects of foreign states born within the United States."

This has been cited in support of the contention that the children born in this country to aliens are not citizens of the United States. It is to be observed, however, that this is only a dictum. The question was not involved in the decision of the case before the court. The classing together of foreign ministers and consuls, when it was at the time well-settled law that consuls, as such, and unless expressly invested with a diplomatic character, are not entitled, by the law of nations, to the privileges and immunities of ambassadors, shows that the statement was not formulated with the same care and exactness as if the case before the court had called for a precise definition of the phrase. And the fact that neither Mr. Justice Miller, nor any of the justices who took part in the decision above referred to, understood the court to be committed to the view that children born in the United States of alien parents were excluded from the operation of the first sentence of the 14th Amendment, is shown by the unanimous opinion of the court in the case of Minor v. Happersett, 21 Wall. 162, 22 L. ed. 627, decided but two years later, when all those judges but Chief Justice Chase were still on the bench.

The court said: "Allegiance and protection are, in this connection [in relation to citizenship], reciprocal obligations. ... At common law, with the nomenclature of which the framers of the Constitution were familiar, it was never doubted that all children born in a country, of parents who were its citizens, became themselves, upon their birth, citizens also. These were natives or natural-bor n citizens, as distinguished from aliens or foreigners. Some authorities go further, and include as citizens children born within the jurisdiction, without reference to the citizenship of their parents. As to this class there have been doubts, but never as to the first. For the purposes of this case it is not necessary to solve these doubts. It is sufficient for everything we have now to consider that all children born of citizen parents within the jurisdiction are themselves citizens."

The decision in this case was that a woman born of citizen parents within the United States was a citizen of the United States, although not entitled to vote, the elective franchise not l>eing essential to citizenship.

Very rarely, whilst doing research, does one come upon historical evidence that so perfectly establishes the point in question. Examine the last paragraph again:

“The decision in this case was that a woman born of citizen parents within the United States was a citizen of the United States, although not entitled to vote, the elective franchise not being essential to citizenship.” (Emphasis added.)

The “decision” in Minor is twofold:

1) woman are equal citizens to men;

2) voting is not a right of citizenship.

The first point is still good law. This may seem obvious now, but in 1875 it wasn’t. Virginia Minor did not accept that citizenship without voting rights was equal citizenship. She argued that women were being treated as “halfway citizens” and she directly petitioned the Court for a determination which stated that women were equal citizens to men.

The Court in Minor, referring directly to Article 2 Section 1, and specifically avoiding the 14th Amendment, held that women, if born in the US to citizen parents, were citizens and that their citizenship was equal to men. The Court further stated that this “class” of persons were “natives, or natural-born citizens.”.

PART I.CITIZENSHIP BY BIRTH. Citizenship of the United States
By Frederick Van Dyne, United States


The Court also held that while women were equal citizens to men, the Constitution did not provide a right to vote to anyone, male or female. This part of the holding was later erased by the 19th Amendment, but the citizenship determination remains as good law today. Therefore, the Court’s decision in Minor operates against Obama being eligible, since his father was never a US citizen.

Van Dyne examines the Slaughter-House dictum carefully since it is a statement made by the highest court in the nation which contrasts his view that all persons born on US soil are native-born citizens. In classifying the Slaughter-House statement as dictum, Van Dyne notes that determining the citizenship of persons born on US soil to alien parents was not an issue before the court in that case. He then points to the “decision” on citizenship from Minor to contrast the Slaughter-House dictum, and in doing so Van Dyne makes clear that Virginia Minor’s citizenship was an issue directly before the Court in Minor.

Note the following crucial passage from Justice Waite’s opinion again, paying particular attention to the punchline:

“[T]he Constitution…provides that ‘no person except a natural-born citizen, or a citizen of the United States at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President’…The Constitution does not, in words, say who shall be natural-born citizens. Resort must be had elsewhere to ascertain that. At common-law, with the nomenclature of which the framers of the Constitution were familiar, it was never doubted that all children born in a country of parents who were its citizens became themselves, upon their birth, citizens also. These were natives, or natural-born citizens, as distinguished from aliens or foreigners. Some authorities go further and include as citizens children born within the jurisdiction without reference to the citizenship of their [88 U.S. 162, 168] parents. As to this class there have been doubts, but never as to the first. For the purposes of this case it is not necessary to solve these doubts. It is sufficient for everything we have now to consider that all children born of citizen parents within the jurisdiction are themselves citizens. The words ‘all children’ are certainly as comprehensive, when used in this connection, as ‘all persons,’ and if females are included in the last they must be in the first. That they are included in the last is not denied. In fact the whole argument of the plaintiffs proceeds upon that idea.” (Emphasis added.)

Current propaganda attempting to sanitize Obama in light of the Supreme Court’s precedent in Minor mis-directs that Minor’s citizenship was not an issue directly before the Court. But in the passage above, the Court’s unanimous opinion clearly states that “the whole argument of the plaintiffs proceeds upon that idea.” So, squarely before the Court was the issue of whether women were equal citizens.

Read More About Multiple Instances Of Historical Scholarship Conclusively Establish The Supreme Court’s Holding In Minor v. Happersett As Standing Precedent On Citizenship – Obama Not Eligible. At Leo Donofrio's Blog

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