WorldNetDaily's foot-dragging on covering Ted Cruz birtherism is finally getting a little less foot-draggy. First WND editor Joseph Farah has had to address it; now birther extraordinaire Jerome Corsi has been foot-dragged into it -- and he's changing his birther tune.
In a Jan. 17 WND article, Corsi hits a couple of the old birther notes, referencing Vattel and sneering that Obama's birth certificate was "supposedly issued in 1961 by the Hawaii Department of Health." Apparently he's forgotten that the Cold Case Posse he was a part of learned that Hawaii has officially verified Obama's Hawaiian birth, even if state officials wouldn't let Corsi, Mike Zullo and the other amateur sleuths see the physical certificate.
Corsi also throws in this unusually even-handed passage:
On Nov. 14, 2011, the Congressional Research Service published a research report authored by legislative attorney Jack Maskell, titled “Qualifications for President and the ‘Natural Born’ Citizenship Eligibility Requirement.” The document was published as Obama was being pressed to make public his original long-form birth certificate, supposedly issued in 1961 by the Hawaii Department of Health as proof Obama was born in Hawaii.
The CRS document said the applicable standard for defining “natural born citizen” was the 1790 Naturalization Act.
The 1790 First Congress, which included 20 members who had been delegates to the original Constitutional Convention – eight of whom were members of the Committee of Eleven that drafted the “natural born Citizen” clause – passed the Naturalization Act of 1790 (1 Stat. 103, 104). It provided: “And the children of citizens of the United States that may be born beyond the sea or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born citizens.”
If this meaning of “natural born” is considered with regard to Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution, there is no requirement that the person be born in the United States to be a “natural born Citizen,” as long as he or she is born to parents who are U.S. citizens.
The CRS argued that the applicable legal precedent for the 1790 Naturalization Act was not the political theory of natural law relied upon by Vattel, but English common law.
“Concerning the history of the constitutional provision, the clause’s apparent intent, the English common law expressly applicable in the American colonies and in all of the original states, the common use and meaning of the phrase ‘natural born’ subject in England and the American colonies in the 1700s, and the subsequent action of the first Congress in enacting the Naturalization Act of 1790 (expressly defining the term ‘natural born Citizen’ to include those born abroad to U.S. citizens), it appears that the most logical inferences would indicate that the phrase ‘natural born Citizen’ would mean a person who is entitled to U.S. citizenship ‘by birth’ or ‘at birth,’” Maskall wrote on page 3 of the CRS report.
“Such interpretation, as evidenced by over a century of American case law, would include as natural born citizens those born in the United States and subject to its jurisdiction regardless of the citizenship status of one’s parents, or those born abroad of one or more parents who are U.S. citizens (as recognized by statute), as opposed to a person who is not a citizen by birth and thus an ‘alien’ required to go through the legal process of naturalization to become a U.S. citizen,” Maskall continued.
Under this definition, all three – Obama, Cruz and Rubio – would be “natural born citizens” under the meaning of Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution. None of the three had to undergo a naturalization process to become U.S. citizens, but rather were considered U.S. citizens from the time of their birth.
But when the Maskell research report was first issued, Corsi was much less even-handed, accusing the writer (without evidence, of course) of shilling for Obama.
In a November 2011 WND article, Corsi huffed that the very same Maskell report he's now uncritically reciting "appears aimed at providing members of Congress with talking points to respond to constituents contending that Barack Obama is not a “natural born citizen” within the meaning of Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution." Corsi went on to grumble:
The end result of Maskell’s analysis is that an anchor baby born to two illegal immigrants, or a baby born in “birth tourism” to two foreign national parents and raised outside the United States would both be eligible to be president, provided the person was 35 years old and had spent 14 years as a resident living within the United States before running for president.
Maskell typically states as established fact legal principles that truthfully remain in dispute – for instance, on page 1 of the report, where he asserts that a person born “in” the United States of one or more alien parents is “clearly a U.S. citizen ‘at birth’ by the 14th Amendment.”
In so concluding, Maskell intentionally ignores the “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof” qualification within the language of the 14th Amendment that opponents to anchor babies and birth tourism feel invalidates the entire concept that being born in the U.S. is sufficient to being deemed a “U.S. citizen at birth.”
Moreover, even if the 14th Amendment were to establish being born a native to the U.S. is sufficient to being deemed a “U.S. citizen at birth,” that does not make a “natural born citizen” equivalent to being a “U.S. citizen at birth.”
Similarly, Maskell wants to read English Common Law into the “natural born citizen” requirement of Article 2, Section 1, because under English Common Law a “natural born subject” is anyone born on English soil, a principle known as jus soli – a right conferred by place of birth – rather than jus sanguinis – a right conferred by blood, requiring an inquiry into the citizenship of the parents at the time a child is born.
That English Common Law is applicable to the interpretation of Article 2, Section 1, was advanced by the Supreme Court in dicta – i.e., arguments made by the justices that are not central to the decision in the case, hence arguments that are not considered determinative for the purposes of legal precedent – in United States v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649 (1898).
While Maskell accepts the dicta in Wong Kim Ark because he agrees with the argument, he dismisses as dicta the only Supreme Court definition of “natural born citizen” that is on point regarding the meaning of Article 2, Section 1, namely, Minor v. Happersett, 88 U.S. 21 Wall. 162 (1874), where the Supreme Court implied “natural born citizens” were those born on U.S. soil to parents who were U.S. citizens at the time the child was born.
Corsi repeats none of these attacks on the Maskell report in his new article, nor does he mention the Minor v. Happersett case long clinged to by birthers like himself as the controlling precedent.
Corsi also writes in the 2011 article that amongh the "several obvious liabilities" Obama has regarding the "the natural-born-citizen question" is that "Obama’s father was a citizen of Kenya when Obama was born in 1961, hence both Barack Obama Sr. and his son at birth were citizens of the Commonwealth of Great Britain." That very same issue is a "liability" for Cruz as well, but Corsi does not describe it as such in his new article.
In 2010, Corsi further attacked previous research Maskell did on eligibility for a member of Congress because it included "copies of four articles from the Internet aimed at debunking and dismissing arguments questioning Obama’s eligibility" and not "published articles questioning Obama’s eligibility" (read: Corsi's birther conspiracy theories). Corsi actually interviewed Maskell for that article; Corsi noted that "he ended the call abruptly saying, 'I am getting contacted by irate people over this memo. It was meant as an advisory to a member of Congress. It was never meant to be released to the public'."
Corsi ended his 2011 article this way:
Unfortunately, rather than advance the eligibility debate with a truly scholarly analysis, Maskell produced for Congress what amounts to a footnoted polemic aimed at appearing scholarly to prop up Obama’s eligibility defense.
In the final analysis, Maskell’s purpose appears thinly disguised – namely, to advance the ongoing cover-up regarding Obama nativity facts and evidence by quashing with arguments couched in legalese the continuing concerns held by millions of Americans that Obama has truly not proved to the American public or any duly-constituted governmental institution that he is eligible to be president.
Corsi is much less harsh on Maskell now because his work supports the idea that Cruz is eligible to be president. The fact that Corsi has flip-flopped on the report is more evidence that his birther crusade was never about the Constitution and was completely about trying to destroy Obama.
Does Corsi have the guts to publicly admit this truth? Doubtful. We'd ask Corsi ourselves, but he's blocked us from following him on Twitter.