I might eventually want to run for the office of the President. However, I was born on
- at least 35 year's old,
- inhabitant of the
for at least fourteen years, and United States
- a natural born citizen (or a "Citizen of the
, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution"). United States
I will meet the first two requirements by the time of the next election (2012), if I were to choose to run, but what about the third one; what is a "natural born citizen"? Everyone agrees that anyone born in the 50-state union of
Guam is an organized unincorporated Territory of the
- Incorporated organized Territories: Lands contiguous with a full-fledged state, and with a set of laws put forth through an Organic Act by the national Congress.
- Unincorporated organized Territories: Lands not contiguous with a full-fledged state, and with a set of laws put forth through an Organic Act by the national Congress.
- Incorporated unorganized Territories: Lands contiguous with a full-fledged state, and without a set of laws put forth through an Organic Act by the national Congress.
- Unincorporated unorganized Territories: Lands not contiguous with a full-fledged state, and without a set of laws put forth through an Organic Act by the national Congress.
What's a Territory?
Under Article IV (Sec. 3, Clause 2) of the United States Constitution: "The Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State."
So... Article IV provides definitions of what Congress can do with Territories (or other property) belonging to the
Since Guam was ceded from
The Panama Canal Zone (PCZ) is an interesting case, since it was effectively purchased from the newly-independent country of
Creation of the (Un)Organized Category
The presence or absence of an "Organic Act" is what determines a Territory’s “Organized” status. The act sets forth the rules for government (a pseudo-Constitution, if you will) in a Territory of the United States, establishing, in the case of Guam, branches of government, and moving its federal governance from the Dept. of the Navy to the Dept. of the Interior, and providing a level of independent governance. I assume that Organic Acts for other organized Territories are similar in the creation of government bodies and federal oversight. Just as a reminder, "organized" Territories have Organic Acts, "unorganized" Territories don't have an Organic Act.
Creating the (Un)Incorporated Category
Early in 1901, there were a series of Supreme Court decisions regarding the status of import duties (DeLima v. Bidwell), export duties (Dooley v. United States), and whether Article I, Section 8, clause 1 of the Constitution included the newly acquired Territory of Puerto Rico (Downes v. Bidwell) - and, by extension, the other Territories acquired by the United States. The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 on DeLima and 5-4 on Dooley, effectively stating that no import or export duties could be levied on trade with
Since the creation of the state of
So, what do we learn from the case of
I placed IOTs at the highest "level" of Territory, since IOTs are legally contiguous with the mainland of the
Isn't D.C. technically an IOT? According to thegreenpapers.com, it is the only one left, but is a special case (being a federal district specially created by the Constitution), but I don't want to get into that discussion. However, one can look here for some history about DC's slow march toward self-representation.
Unincorporated Organized Territories (UOTs)
Those possessions the United States gained following the Spanish-American War (Philippines, Guam, Puerto Rico), became the first Territories of the United States that were unincorporated, that is, they were not legally contiguous with the United States mainland.
Since these Territories are organized, they all have an Organic Act that outlines how the Territory is to be governed, written by the United States Congress. No UOT has yet become a full-fledged state in the
I placed UOTs at the second-highest "level" of Territory, since these Territories do have an Organic Act, but do not meet the benefits of full Constitutional protections that are guaranteed to incorporated Territories.
I’ve only been able to find one current example of an IUT: Palmyra Atoll. It was created when it was split off from Hawai’i Territory once
In both incorporated and unincorporated Territories, "fundamental rights" under the Constitution apply. "Procedural rights" only automatically apply to incorporated Territories. Unincorporated Territories can only gain these procedural rights by an Act of Congress. (Yay for the executive decision - backed by Congress - on creating a reactive legal framework for the
I placed IUTs at the third-place “level” of Territory, since they do not have an Organic Act, even though the residents do get full Constitutional protections. The lack of an Organic Act, however, means there is not a document describing how the Territory is to be governed. The need for an Organic Act, I feel, is greater than the need for “incorporation,” since an Act of Congress can allow for the increased Constitutional protections guaranteed to incorporated Territories, while the lack of an Organic Act means the chance for self-governance is limited.
Unincorporated Unorganized Territories (UUTs)
There are many UUTs, almost all of which are in the
The other islands (Baker Island, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, Petrel Island, Serranilla Bank, Midway Islands, Navassa Island, and Wake Atoll) are all either uninhabited or have no indigenous population. Wake Atoll does have non-military residents, but serving only as contractors from the
I placed UUTs at the bottom “level” of Territory, since they do not have an Organic Act, and don’t have all the Constitutional protections as incorporated territories. Also, due to a lack of indigenous populations, they are unlikely to ever have an Organic Act, let alone have an Act of Congress passed providing them with the full protections of the Constitution.
The 14th Amendment
Now, my original question was whether I could run for President, and it seems to me that none of the above – while interesting and highly informative – directly answers that question. Therefore, I look again to the Constitution to see the requirements of citizenship. I’m assuming that if one can claim citizenship at birth – due to the geographic location of birth – that one can call oneself a “natural born” citizen.
The text of the 14th Amendment (Section 1) states:
All persons born or naturalized in the The key clause in my case is (apparently), “All persons born … in the
Natives are all persons born within the jurisdiction and allegiance of theI could base the question of whether I am “natural born” on this argument. Unfortunately, the Wing Kim Ark case does not directly specify whether or not I am “natural born”, since
. This is the rule of the common law, without any regard or reference to the political condition or allegiance of their parents, with the exception of the children of ambassadors, who are in theory born within the allegiance of the foreign power they represent. . . . To create allegiance by birth, the party must be born not only within the territory, but within the ligeance of the government. If a portion of the country be taken and held by conquest in war, the conqueror acquires the rights of the conquered as to its dominion and government, and children born in the armies of a State, while abroad and occupying a foreign country, are deemed to be born in the allegiance of the sovereign to whom the army belongs. It is equally the doctrine of the English common law that, during such hostile occupation of a territory, and the parents be adhering to the enemy as subjects de facto, their children, born under such a temporary dominion, are not born under the ligeance of the conquered. United States
So, can I run for President? Well, if Senator McCain wins the Republican nomination, this question will probably be answered for me. I believe he will be the first Presidential candidate born in a territory not in the mainland of the
UPDATE (February 12, 2008): Based on an online conversation over at Dispatches, "Alex" made me aware of George W. Romney's (admittedly unsuccessful) Presidential bid in 1968. G.W. Romney was Galeana, Mexico. When he made his bid, he had to defend his "natural born" status, which - due to the extension of common law blockquoted above - he was eventually considered to be. If G.W.R. was able to run for the G.O.P. nomination for President in 1968, having been born outside the jurisdiction of the United States, then there is no reason why McCain shouldn't also be allowed to do so. (That G.W.R. didn't eventually get the nomination - which went to Nixon - is beside the point.)
In addition, Steve Reuland also pointed out that Title 8 of the US Code (Chapter 12, Subchapter III, Part 1, Section 1401) sets out the criteria for citizenship at birth. More specifically (for McCain's purposes), section 1403 states:
(a) Any person born in the Canal Zone on or after February 26, 1904, and whether before or after the effective date of this chapter, whose father or mother or both at the time of the birth of such person was or is a citizen of the United States, is declared to be a citizen of the United States.Looks like Jonny's in the clear. As for me, seeing that I was born on Guam, section 1407 pertains to me:
(b) Any person born in the Republic of Panama on or after February 26, 1904, and whether before or after the effective date of this chapter, whose father or mother or both at the time of the birth of such person was or is a citizen of the United States employed by the Government of the United States or by the Panama Railroad Company, or its successor in title, is declared to be a citizen of the United States.
(a) The following persons, and their children born after April 11, 1899, are declared to be citizens of the United States as of August 1, 1950, if they were residing on August 1, 1950, on the island of Guam or other territory over which the United States exercises rights of sovereignty:
(1) All inhabitants of the island of Guam on April 11, 1899, including those temporarily absent from the island on that date, who were Spanish subjects, who after that date continued to reside in Guam or other territory over which the United States exercises sovereignty, and who have taken no affirmative steps to preserve or acquire foreign nationality; and
(2) All persons born in the island of Guam who resided in Guam on April 11, 1899, including those temporarily absent from the island on that date, who after that date continued to reside in Guam or other territory over which the United States exercises sovereignty, and who have taken no affirmative steps to preserve or acquire foreign nationality.
(b) All persons born in the island of Guam on or after April 11, 1899 (whether before or after August 1, 1950) subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, are declared to be citizens of the United States: Provided, That in the case of any person born before August 1, 1950, he has taken no affirmative steps to preserve or acquire foreign nationality.
(c) Any person hereinbefore described who is a citizen or national of a country other than the United States and desires to retain his present political status shall have made, prior to August 1, 1952, a declaration under oath of such desire, said declaration to be in form and executed in the manner prescribed by regulations. From and after the making of such a declaration any such person shall be held not to be a national of the United States by virtue of this chapter.
Hmm... let's see this is how the parts of section 1407 read for me:
(a): "The following persons [born before I was] are declared to be citizens of the United States as of August 1, 1950, if they were residing on August 1, 1950, on the island of Guam or other territory over which the United States exercises rights of sovereignty:
(a)(1): [Not applicable.]
(a)(2): [Not applicable.]
(b): All persons born in the island of Guam [well before I was] subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, are declared to be citizens of the United States: Provided, [a non-applicable case].
(c): [Not applicable.]"
Apparently, therefore, I'm "natural-born"!