United States presidential eligibility legislation
of the United States
Article Two, Section 1 of the United States Constitution sets forth the eligibility requirements for serving as President of the United States:
No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.
The Twenty-second Amendment to the United States Constitution also sets constraints on who may be elected to the Presidency:
No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once.
The controversy arising from conspiracy theories over Barack Obama's citizenship and eligibility for the presidency prompted a number of Republican state and federal legislators to propose legislation aimed at requiring future presidential candidates to release copies of their birth certificates. The Hawaii State legislature went in the opposite direction, to limit the lengths that proponents can go in pursuit of this issue, as the pursuits have drained resources from the state.
- 1 Federal initiatives
- 2 State initiatives
- 2.1 Alabama
- 2.2 Arizona
- 2.3 Colorado
- 2.4 Connecticut
- 2.5 Georgia
- 2.6 Hawaii
- 2.7 Indiana
- 2.8 Iowa
- 2.9 Kansas
- 2.10 Louisiana
- 2.11 Maine
- 2.12 Michigan
- 2.13 Missouri
- 2.14 Montana
- 2.15 Nebraska
- 2.16 New Hampshire
- 2.17 Oklahoma
- 2.18 Pennsylvania
- 2.19 Tennessee
- 2.20 Texas
- 3 See also
- 4 References
Activists lobbied members of Congress to reject the Electoral College vote and block Obama's election as president in its sitting on January 8, 2009, to certify and tally the results of the election. Two Republican members of the House of Representatives, John Linder and Ron Paul, were heavily lobbied by activists who believed that the two lawmakers would be more willing than other members of Congress to raise objections to Obama's confirmation. The lobbying was unsuccessful and Congress unanimously declared Obama to be the winner of the election.
|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
In March 2009, Representative Bill Posey, a newly elected Republican from Florida's 15th congressional district, introduced a bill, H.R. 1503, in the U.S. House of Representatives. Had this bill been enacted into law, it would have amended the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to require candidates for the Presidency "to include with the [campaign] committee's statement of organization a copy of the candidate's birth certificate" plus supporting documentation.
The bill did not initially have any co-sponsors and was introduced without the Republican leadership being informed. Florida Today, the newspaper serving his constituency, commented that the bill "stems from fringe opponents of President Barack Obama who, during the 2008 election campaign, questioned whether Obama was born in Hawaii," but added that Posey's office "does not question Obama's citizenship." Posey explained his motivation as being to "prevent something like this [controversy] from happening in the future" by requiring "the birth certificate up front and take [the issue] off the table". His initiative was strongly criticized by Florida Democrats, who accused Posey of trying to "fan the rumors on the extreme fringe of the Republican Party" and "pandering to the right wing".
Satirist Stephen Colbert also mocked Posey for not addressing rumors that he was "part alligator"; Posey responded by commenting that there was "no reason to say that I'm the illegitimate grandson of an alligator". He also stated that there was now "no reason to question" that Obama is a U.S. citizen.
Posey's bill gained the support of twelve Republican co-sponsors - Representatives John R. Carter, Kenny Marchant, Louie Gohmert, John Culberson, Randy Neugebauer, Mike Conaway and Ted Poe (all from Texas), Rep. John Campbell (California), Rep. Bob Goodlatte (Virginia), Rep. Dan Burton (Indiana), Rep. Marsha Blackburn (Tennessee), and Rep. Trent Franks (Arizona). Republican Senator Tom Coburn (Oklahoma) also stated that he would "likely support it" if the bill reached the Senate, saying that Obama "meets the constitutional requirement to be president," and that "It is each state's responsibility to determine the eligibility of those running for federal office." H.R. 1503 was never voted upon by either house of Congress and died when the 111th Congress adjourned at the end of 2010.
On July 27, 2009, the House of Representatives passed a resolution commemorating the 50th anniversary of Hawaii's statehood. The resolution, containing language recognizing Hawaii as President Obama's birth state, passed by a vote of 378 to 0. Some of the cosponsors of the Posey bill, namely Campbell, Carter and Marchant, did not cast a vote. The House has 435 members when all seats are filled.
On April 19, 2010, the Arizona House of Representatives voted in favor of a rider to require presidential candidates "to submit documents proving they meet the constitutional requirements to be president". If enacted, the law would give the Arizona Secretary of State the power to omit a candidate's name on the state ballot if there is "reasonable cause" to believe that the documents are not adequate proof of the requirements for office. The rider passed the Arizona House of Representatives on a 31–29 vote, with only Republicans voting in favor and some Republicans joining with Democrats to oppose. The bill then went to the Arizona State Senate, which declined to vote on the bill before the April 2010 end of legislative session, the deadline for the bill's passage.
In reaction to the proposed legislation, The Arizona Republic referred to it as a "nutty birther bill" that would make Arizona seem to be a place where "any crackpot whim can be enshrined in law". Arizona Republican State Representative Cecil Ash, who supported the bill, appeared on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360° to discuss the bill. Ash stated that he believed President Obama was an American citizen, but there has been "a lot of controversy over the issue". Cooper then likened the people who believe there is a birth certificate controversy to people who believe the moon is made of cheese and asked Ash if he knew the moon was not made of cheese without investigation. Ash responded in the affirmative.
In January 2011, similar legislation again was introduced in the Arizona House of Representatives. On April 14, 2011 the Arizona legislature passed a bill requiring presidential and vice presidential candidates to show the Arizona secretary of state proof that they are natural-born citizens. Such proof could be either a long-form birth certificate or at least two other forms of accepted proof, such as an early baptismal certificate, circumcision certificate or hospital birth record. On April 18, Governor Jan Brewer vetoed the bill.
A state legislator introduced a similar bill in 2012. In March 2012, a senate committee voted favorably on a bill that would require candidates for the presidency and vice presidency to submit an affidavit attesting to their eligibility to serve.
Legislation introduced in April 2011 by 11 Republican state legislators would require any elected official to provide proof of citizenship before being sworn in. The bill was not voted out of committee.
In January 2011, Connecticut state Sen. Michael McLachlan introduced legislation that would mandate presidential and vice presidential candidates to provide their birth certificates for their names to be placed on the ballot. The bill did not make it out of committee.
In April 2010, Georgia state representative Mark Hatfield introduced legislation that would require presidential and vice presidential candidates to submit an affidavit "stating the candidate’s citizenship and age and shall append to the affidavit documents that prove the candidate is a natural born citizen, prove the candidate’s age, and prove that the candidate meets the residency requirements for President of the United States."
In January 2011, Hawaii state representative Rida Cabanilla introduced legislation allowing the Hawaii Department of Health to provide upon request a copy of the birth certificate of a "Person of civic prominence" (that is, a candidate or officeholder for which United States citizenship is required), and to charge the requesting party a surcharge of $100.
In January 2011, Indiana state senator Mike Delph introduced legislation requiring presidential candidates to file a certified copy of a birth certificate along with additional documentation to be on the Indiana ballot. The legislation was not voted out of committee.
In March 2011, Iowa state Senator Kent Sorenson introduced legislation that would require presidential or vice presidential candidates to submit certified copies of their birth certificates, which would be available for public inspection.
Legislation introduced in April 2011 by state Senator A.G. Crowe and state Representative Alan Seabaugh would require candidates for federal office to file a birth certificate. The legislation was not voted out of committee.
State representative Richard Cebra introduced legislation requiring candidates to submit a birth certificate and government-issued identification.
Legislation introduced in April 2011 by state Representative Mike Callton would require presidential candidates to submit their birth certificates.
Fifteen Republican members of the Missouri House of Representatives sponsored an amendment to the Missouri Constitution in March 2009 that would require "candidates who are required by the Constitution of the United States to be natural born citizens" to provide a birth certificate to the Missouri Secretary of State to confirm their eligibility. A certificate of live birth would not be accepted. Failure to comply would result in the candidate being deemed ineligible to stand. The only political offices to be affected would be the President and Vice President, which are the only two positions for which there is a specific constitutional citizenship requirement. The proposed amendment is part of a "voter’s bill of rights", which would serve "as a defense against corruption, fraud, and tyranny". Political commentators interpreted the proposal as being "aimed at advancing the claims of the fringe movement that doubts President Barack Obama's eligibility to serve as president". The proposed amendment, House Joint Resolution No. 34, was subsequently withdrawn.
In January 2011, Republican State Representative Lyle Rowland introduced legislation that would require "proof of identity and proof of United States citizenship" for all presidential and vice-presidential candidates." In May 2011, the requirement that presidential candidates present proof of natural born citizenship was added but later trimmed from an omnibus election law reform bill. Rowland introduced similar legislation in 2012. On March 29, 2012, the House of Representatives passed legislation that would require presidential or vice presidential candidates to prove their U.S. citizenship before appearing on the ballot. The bill then passed a Missouri senate committee.
A number of Missouri Republican politicians have continued to support claims and litigation on the citizenship issue. State Representatives Cynthia L. Davis, Timothy W. Jones and Casey Guernsey have committed to participating as plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in Missouri challenging Obama's citizenship. State Representative Edgar G. H. Emery told reporters in July 2009 that he "questions Obama’s citizenship and ... believes his alleged lack of a legitimate birth certificate ignores the Constitution."
In January 2011, Montana state representative Bob Wagner introduced legislation requiring all candidates for federal office file affidavits with the Montana secretary of state verifying that they are qualified; presidential candidates would be required to provide the state with a valid copy of their birth certificates.
Proposed legislation introduced in January 2011 would have required a presidential or vice presidential candidate to provide proof of birth that includes the names of the candidate's parents, and proof that the parents were United States citizens at the time of the candidate's birth; the candidate would also have to swear of affirm, "I was born a citizen of the United States of America and was subject exclusively to the jurisdiction of the United States of America, owing allegiance to no other country at the time of my birth. On the day I was born, both my birth mother and birth father were citizens of the United States of America." The proposed legislation failed to be voted out of committee.
Legislation introduced in March 2011 would have required presidential candidates to present their birth certificates when filing their nomination papers; the proposed enactment date was changed to 2013 and thus would not have affected the 2012 presidential elections. The proposed legislation was not voted out of committee.
Similar legislation proposed in 2012 also was not voted out of committee.
Oklahoma Republican state Representative Mike Ritze proposed a bill in December 2008, requiring any candidate for public office in Oklahoma to show proof of citizenship. Ritze declared that he "does not believe Obama submitted an authentic copy of his birth certificate". He also unsuccessfully approached Oklahoma Republican Senators Tom Coburn and James Inhofe to persuade them to mount a challenge to Obama's confirmation by Congress. The bill, House Bill 1329, was criticized by The Norman Transcript newspaper as "an outright attempt to embarrass President Barack Obama whose own citizenship was questioned, mostly by those pajama guerrillas trolling on the Internet". The bill gained a 23–20 vote in favor, but failed to meet the 25-vote threshold required to pass.
In February 2011, similar legislation was reintroduced in the Oklahoma state senate.
Legislation introduced in April 2011 by state Representative Daryl Metcalfe would require candidates for president and vice president to provide proof of citizenship to qualify for a spot on the state ballot.
In Tennessee, four Republican state Representatives—Stacey Campfield, Glen Casada, Frank S. Niceley and Eric H. Swafford—announced in February 2009 that they would be joining a legal action to force Obama to release his birth certificate and prove his citizenship. Casada, the Tennessee House Republican caucus chairman, said that he believes Obama has further proof of eligibility, and would like him to make it available: "Yes, people may say, you're just chasing some conspiracy theory ... [but] it's a simple act on his part to just do, and we're done—move on." The alternative newspaper Nashville Scene described Swafford as joining a "wacky legal action" and quoted Tennessee house Democrat Larry Miller as saying: "What is the mentality of these kind of people who continuously make these kind of goofy statements? It's embarrassing." Attorney Orly Taitz of California said she planned to file the suit, representing the Defend Our Freedoms Foundation.
Legislation proposed in January 2011 would require anyone running for elected office to furnish a birth certificate before being declared an eligible candidate." It failed to be voted out of a subcommittee.
In January 2016, two Democratic legislators proposed barring the Secretary of State from placing on the ballot any presidential or vice-presidential candidate who was not a natural-born citizen.
On November 16, 2010, Texas state representative Leo Berman introduced legislation requiring any candidate for president or vice president running in Texas to submit to the Texas Secretary of State an "original birth certificate indicating that the person is a natural-born United States citizen.” In introducing the bill, Berman said that the "bill is necessary because we have a president whom the American people don’t know whether he was born in Kenya or some other place.” If signed into law, the bill would take effect September 1, 2011, about 6 months ahead of the Texas presidential primaries for the 2012 presidential election.
By inserting the word "original" into the bill, Berman addressed concerns by conspiracy theorists that other bills that do not contain that word are "flawed". His bill would therefore specifically disallow the use of the reproduced certificate that Obama has used since June 2008 as evidence. The legality of such a bill is unknown, as reproduced certificates are generally accepted by government agencies as proof of birth.
- The U.S. Constitution With Declaration of Independence, US Government Printing Office
- The U.S. Constitution With Declaration of Independence, US Government Printing Office
- Smith, Ben (May 13, 2010). "Hawaii's 'birther bill'". Politico.
- Weigel, David (January 8, 2009). "GOP Senators Give Hope to Anti-Obama Activists". Washington Independent. Retrieved January 9, 2009.
- Abrams, Jim (2009-01-08). "Congress Declares Obama the Next President". Seattle, Washington: Seattle Times. Associated Press. Retrieved 2010-06-12.
In centuries-old tradition, Congress confirms Obama as the next president
- Smith, Ben (March 13, 2009). "Birther bill hits Congress". Politico.com. Retrieved March 13, 2009.
- Preston, Mark (March 13, 2009). "Republican wants WH candidates to prove citizenship". Political Ticker blog. CNN. Retrieved March 13, 2009.
- Kim Eun Kyung (March 14, 2009). "Posey to president hopefuls: Prove it". Florida Today. Retrieved March 14, 2011.
- Matthews, Mark (March 13, 2009). "Posey: Future presidential candidates should show their birth certificates; won't say whether he believes Obama is a US citizen". Orlando Sentinel. Florida. Archived from the original on 2009-03-19. Retrieved 2009-03-13.
- Colbert, Stephen (March 19, 2009). "Bill Posey Alligator Rumors". The Colbert Report. Retrieved June 23, 2009.
- Matthews, Mark K. (April 9, 2009). "New Rep. Bill Posey gains his footing after rough start". The Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved September 14, 2010.
- Bill Summary & Status: 111th Congress (2009 - 2010): H.R.1503: Cosponsors
- Smith, Ben (June 19, 2009). "Coburn backing Birther bill". Politico.com. Retrieved June 23, 2009.
- Bill Summary & Status: 111th Congress (2009 - 2010): H.R.1503
- Stein, Sam (July 27, 2009). "Resolution Proclaiming Hawaii Obama's Birthplace Passes House Unanimously". The Huffington Post. Retrieved July 27, 2009.
- "Final vote results for roll call 647". Clerk of the House of Representatives. July 27, 2009. Retrieved July 28, 2009.
- Beyerle, Dana (April 22, 2011). "DANA BEYERLE: Have senators offered 'birther' bill?". Gadsden Times.
- "Ariz House: Check Obama's Citizenship". April 19, 2010.
- "Arizona birthers: No clue, but plenty of company". The Washington Post. April 21, 2010.
- "Arizona 'birther bill' won't get Senate vote". The Arizona Republic. Phoenix, Arizona. Associated Press. April 29, 2010. Retrieved June 7, 2010.
- "Welcome to the Arizona State Legislature". Phoenix, Arizona: Arizona Legislature. Retrieved June 7, 2010.
The 49th Legislature, 2nd Regular Session Adjourned Sine Die on Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 11:07 p.m.
- "Bill Status Overview – SB1024". Phoenix, Arizona: Arizona Legislature. Retrieved July 26, 2010.
- "Lawmakers, bury the 'birther bill'". Editorial. Arizona Republic. April 21, 2010.
- "Birthers Reemerge; Will Ash Cloud Threat Continue?". Anderson Cooper. CNN. April 21, 2010.
- "Anderson Cooper Confronts Birther Legislator". Jason Linkins. Huffington Post. April 22, 2010.
- "'Birther Bill' back in Arizona; Rep. Judy Burges pitches birth certificate legislation again". Michael Sheridan. Daily News. January 26, 2011.
- Condon, Stephanie (April 15, 2011). ""Birther" bill passes in Arizona legislature". CBS News.
- "Gov. Brewer Vetoes Birther Bill, Guns on Campus". myfoxphoenix.com. Phoenix: KSAZ-TV. April 18, 2011. Retrieved April 18, 2011.
- "Political Insider: For Arpaio, all publicity is good". Arizona Republic. December 10, 2011.
- Powers, Ashley (March 15, 2012). "Arizona Senate panel joins Sheriff Arpaio on 'birther' bandwagon". Los Angeles Times.
- "GOP introduces 'birther' resolution at state legislature". KDVR. April 25, 2011.
- ""Birther" bill killed in committee". The Colorado Independent. May 3, 2011.
- Davis, Stacy (January 31, 2011). "McLachlan sponsors birth certificate bill in Hartford". The News-Times. Danbury, Connecticut: Hearst Corporation. Retrieved February 3, 2011.
- Perrefort, Dirk (April 26, 2011). "Danbury lawmaker's 'birther' bill dead". The News-Times. Danbury, Connecticut: Hearst Corporation. Retrieved April 26, 2011.
- Galloway, Jim (April 21, 2010). "A measure to force Obama to address citizenship in 2012". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved March 1, 2011.
- Hunt, April (March 1, 2011). "94 Georgia lawmakers back 'birther' bill". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved March 1, 2011.
- Hunt, April (March 15, 2011). "Birther bill sponsor tries, fails to get vote". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved March 16, 2011.
- "Hawaii considering law to ignore 'birthers'". msnbc.com. Associated Press. March 17, 2010. Retrieved February 9, 2011.
- Niesse, Mark (March 17, 2010). "Hawaii Mulls Law to Ignore Obama 'Birthers'". ABC News. Associated Press. Retrieved February 9, 2011.
- Sheridan, Michael (May 13, 2010). "Aloha 'Birthers': Hawaii law lets state ignore repeated demands for Obama's birth certificate". Daily News. New York. Retrieved February 9, 2011.
- "Hawaii State Legislature 2010 Regular Session SB2937 SD1 HD1 CD1".
- "New Hawaii law shuns Obama birth document requests". KHON-TV. Associated Press. May 12, 2010.
- Niesse, Mark (January 27, 2011). "Hawaii lawmakers want release of Obama birth info". Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Associated Press. Retrieved February 9, 2011.
- "Social issues return to agenda". Niki Kelly. Journal Gazette. January 9, 2011.
- "'Birther' bill fails, will be studied again". Ty Jepson. The Exponent. March 11, 2011.
- Hancock, Jason (March 4, 2011). "'Birther' legislation introduced by Sorenson". Iowa Independent. Retrieved March 7, 2011.
- Carpenter, Tim (February 15, 2012). "House panel passes bill derided as 'birther' inspired". Topeka Capital-Journal.
- Moller, Jan (April 18, 2011). "Gov. Jindal will sign 'birther' bill if it reaches his desk". Times-Picayune.
- Moller, Jan (June 14, 2011). "Author of presidential birth-certificate bill gives up without a hearing". Times-Picayune.
- Mistler, Steve (February 10, 2011). "Secretary of state backs bill requiring proof of citizenship to run for state office". Sun Journal.
- McMillin, Zane (April 27, 2011). "Pres. hopefuls could face certificate requirements". State News.
- Smith, Ben (March 4, 2009). "Missouri Republicans push birth certificate questions to oppose 'tyranny'". Politico.com. Retrieved March 6, 2009.
- "House Joint Resolution No. 34, 95th General Assembly". Missouri House of Representatives. Retrieved March 6, 2009.
- "House Joint Resolution No. 34". Retrieved July 6, 2009.
- "Missouri Republicans Still Concerned With Obama's Citizenship". Fired Up! Missouri. January 21, 2011. Retrieved January 21, 2011.
- "'Birther' provision removed from election bill". Missouri News Horizon. May 11, 2011.
- Shapiro, John (February 15, 2012). "Missouri Lawmaker Says Show Me Your Papers". KMOX.
- Crisp, Elizabeth (March 29, 2012). "Missouri House approves "birther" bill". St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
- Karr, Cole (May 1, 2012). ""Born in the USA" Bill Takes Another Step Forward". KMOX.
- Noble, Jason (July 1, 2009). "Orly Taitz questions Obama's citizenship in Jeff City; receives support from 5 state lawmakers". Prime Buzz blog. Kansas City Star. Archived from the original on July 5, 2009. Retrieved July 6, 2009.
- Messenger, Tony (July 1, 2009). "Missouri Republicans continue to question Obama citizenship". Political Fix blog. St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved July 6, 2009.
- "Montana Lawmaker Introduces 'Birther' Bill". Kellyn Brown. Flathead Beacon. January 26, 2011.
- Weigel, David (February 3, 2011). "The Trouble with Birther Bills". Slate. Retrieved February 3, 2011.
- Schulte, Grant (March 11, 2011). "Neb. legislative committee kills bill requiring birth certificates for presidential hopefuls". The Republic. Associated Press. Retrieved March 11, 2011.
- Smith, Ben (March 9, 2011). "N.H. birther bill defanged". Politico. Retrieved March 9, 2011.
- "New Hampshire narrowly rejects seeking birth records from candidates". Daily Caller. Associated Press. March 9, 2011. Retrieved March 9, 2011.
- Spolar, Matthew (February 15, 2012). "Committee votes down birther bill". Concord Monitor.
- McNutt, Michael (December 12, 2008). "Law sought to prove candidate citizenship in Oklahoma". The Oklahoman. Oklahoma City. Retrieved December 12, 2008.
- "Oklahoma's department of frivolous". The Norman Transcript. Norman, Oklahoma. February 14, 2009. Retrieved February 14, 2009.
- "Bill to require citizenship proof fails". The Edmond Sun. Associated Press. April 29, 2009.
- Bar, Andy (February 14, 2011). "Birther debate alive across U.S." Politico. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- Latimer, John (April 14, 2011). "Local reps support birth certificate bill". Lebanon Daily News.
- Emery, Theo (February 13, 2009). "Four Tennessee legislators want Obama to prove citizenship". The Tennessean. Nashville. Retrieved February 13, 2009.[dead link]
- Woods, Jeff (February 12, 2009). "Democrats Ridicule Lawmaker for Demanding Obama's Birth Certificate". Nashville Scene. Archived from the original on February 15, 2009. Retrieved February 13, 2009.
- Daly, Kyle (February 17, 2011). "Birther bills flood state houses across USA, somehow avoiding Colorado". The Colorado Independent. Retrieved February 17, 2011.
- "Editorial: Two misguided bills crash in Nashville". Knoxville News Sentinel. April 5, 2011. Retrieved April 6, 2011.
- Associated Press (January 22, 2016). "Tennessee Dems want eligibility check on presidential ballot". WRCB.
- Enrique Rangel; Terry Greenberg (November 17, 2010). "State representatives file birth certificate bill filed for presidential candidates". Lubbock Avalanche Journal. Retrieved 2010-11-28.
- Weigel, David (November 17, 2010). "Texas Republican Files Birther Bill". Slate. Retrieved 2010-11-28.