Citing a 1758 legal treatise, H. Brooke Paige of Washington, VT claims that President Barack Obama is not a natural born citizen because both of his parents were not born in the United States. Paige has also asked for an expedited hearing.
Paige claims that the treatise is the basis for what constituted a natural born citizen in the British Colonies at the time of Independence and the eventual writing of the United States Constitution. The treatise, Emerich de Vattel’s “The Law Of Nations”, is a book of political philosophy that many of the Founders read, and some relied upon while forming the United States. Paige does not doubt that Obama was born in Hawaii.
According to Paige, “A ‘natural born citizen’ is an individual who is born of parents who were citizens at the time of the person’s birth.”
In 2011, the Congressional Research Serviced issued a report on what “natural born citizen” means and stated:
The weight of legal and historical authority indicates that the term “natural born” citizen would mean a person who is entitled to U.S. citizenship “by birth” or “at birth”, either by being born “in” the United States and under its jurisdiction, even those born to alien parents; by being born abroad to U.S. citizen-parents; or by being born in other situations meeting legal requirements for U.S. citizenship “at birth”. Such term, however, would not include a person who was not a U.S. citizen by birth or at birth, and who was thus born an “alien” required to go through the legal process of “naturalization” to become a U.S. citizen.
Paige’s reading of Le Droix de gens by de Vattel may be incorrect. The sentence that he is relying upon translates as “The natives, or natural-born citizens, are those born in the country of parents who are citizens.”
More importantly, Henry Campbell Black’s Black’s Law Dictionary defines a natural born citizen as “A person born within the jurisdiction of a national government.” That dictionary is integral to the American legal system.
Cheryl Hanna, a professor at Vermont Law School, expects that the case will have little traction. She stated that “The state court is not going to want to involve itself in what’s a political battle, not a legal battle, at this point.”
Paige was forced to get Mario Apuzzo, a lawyer from Jamesburg, NJ, in order to prepare the suit because no lawyer in Vermont was willing to be involved. Apuzzo has filed similar suits in his own state. Paige has stated that he will likely represent himself when the case is argued and have Apuzzo, who cannot practice law in Vermont, there as an advisor.
Paige lost his bid to be the Republican nominee for the Senate running against Senator Bernie Sanders.