Joe Kovacs, WND.com
It’s a simple question, but the answer may not be so easy.
The next national election is less than 18 months away, and both rising Republican stars have been touted as potential contenders for either the No. 1 or No. 2 spot on a presidential ticket.
But their eligibility is in doubt since both men’s parents were not U.S. citizens at the time their future political children were born, WND can reveal. That factor is important because the Constitution mandates a presidential candidate to be a “natural-born citizen,” a requirement that has dogged President Barack Obama since the 2008 campaign.
With 2011 being the apparent year of the birth certificate, Jindal this month released a copy of his own birth record, indicating he was born on American soil – specifically, Baton Rouge, La. – to parents who were born in India.
Based on that disclosure, the New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper declared him to be qualified for the White House, stating, “Piyush Jindal was born at Woman’s Hospital in Baton Rouge, a natural-born U.S. citizen, who like every other child born in America, could, constitutionally, grow up to be president.”
Kyle Plotkin, Jindal’s press secretary, echoed that proclamation, telling WND, “The governor is obviously a natural-born citizen.”
Meanwhile, Marco Rubio was born in Miami, Fla., on May 28, 1971, to Mario and Oriales Rubio who were born in Cuba, though the senator has not released his birth certificate for the world to scrutinize.
Last November, radio giant Rush Limbaugh commented about Rubio’s eligibility while making a point about general media non-interest in Obama’s eligibility.
“Liberal birthers may demand Marco Rubio’s birth certificate,” said Limbaugh. “If he did [run on a presidential ticket], he’ll produce it, I’m sure, but I’m not worried about it. If Obama’s taught us anything, it’s that the news media doesn’t care where our presidents are born. They don’t. Well, let’s see if it does. Let’s see if all of a sudden the media starts caring where Republicans are born. Up to now they haven’t cared where presidents are born. Let’s see if they now start caring.”
The fact that Rubio and Jindal were both born in America undoubtedly makes them “native-born” citizens, but does it mean they’re “natural-born” citizens?
Some would say no, based on the foreign births of their parents, an issue many claim disqualifies Obama from holding the presidency, since Obama’s father held British citizenship due to his birth in Kenya, which was under British rule at the time.
Regarding Bobby Jindal’s parents, they were not U.S. citizens when their son was born.
“They were both permanent legal residents at the time of his birth,” Plotkin told WND. “They became citizens after his birth.”
Plotkin says Jindal’s mother became a U.S. citizen Sept. 21, 1976, and his father was naturalized 10 years later on Dec. 4, 1986.
It’s a similar situation for Rubio, as his press secretary Alex Burgos said the senator’s parents “were permanent legal residents of the U.S.” at the time Marco was born in 1971.
Then four years after Marco was born, “Mario and Oriales Rubio became naturalized U.S. citizens on Nov. 5, 1975,” Burgos told WND.
When asked specifically if Sen. Rubio considered himself to be a natural-born citizen, Burgos responded, “Yes.”
While the Constitution itself does not define what a natural-born citizen is, some believe it refers to a child born on U.S. soil to parents who are both American citizens.
“‘Natural-born citizen’ status requires not only birth on U.S. soil but also birth to parents who are both U.S. citizens,” said New Jersey-based attorney Mario Apuzzo, one of several lawyers filing lawsuits over Obama’s eligibility and who also says Rubio and Jindal are definitely not natural-born citizens. “The reason they use that is because of allegiance. The founding fathers wanted undivided allegiance.”
Herb Titus, an attorney who has taught constitutional law for nearly 30 years and was the founding dean of the College of Law and Government at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Va., agrees with that definition completely.
“That’s precisely what a natural-born citizen is,” Titus said in a YouTube video, “one who is born to a father and a mother, each of whom is a citizen of the United States or whatever other country they’re claiming natural-born citizenship in.”
The framers of the Constitution often referred to “The Law of Nations” by Swiss legal philospher Emmerich de Vattel when it came to legal matters, and Chapter 19 of that 1757 treatise defined natural-born citizens as “those born in the country, of parents who are citizens.”
Vattel went on to say, “In order to be of the country, it is necessary that a person be born of a father who is a citizen; for, if he is born there of a foreigner, it will be only the place of his birth, and not his country.”
But that definition has its critics.
“There’s nothing that I’m aware of that says you have to have two American parents,” said Gary Kreep, executive director of the United States Justice Foundation. “My understanding of it is if you’re born in the United States, you’re a natural-born citizen, period.”
A consensus on the correct definition of “natural-born citizen” has eluded lawyers and scholars for more than 200 years. The Constitution’s silence, the absence of definitive Supreme Court rulings and a wide array of opinions through the centuries have only further confused the question of what “natural born” actually means.
Retired Navy Cmdr. Charles Kerchner who has filed a legal challenge against Obama’s eligibility, is among those critical of Jindal’s legal qualification.
“Governor Jindal is a ‘citizen of the United States’ since he was born in the USA, but he is not a ‘natural-born citizen of the United States’ since his parents were not citizens of the United States when Governor Jindal was born,” said Kerchner, who runs the ProtectOurLiberty website.
“As a citizen of the United States, he is, of course, eligible to a governor, senator, or U.S. representative, but he is not constitutionally eligible to be the president and commander in chief of our military (per Article II, Section 1) nor is he eligible to be the vice president (per the 12th Amendment) since he is not a “natural-born citizen of the United States.”