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Coming to an election soon: President Schwarzenegger?

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Old 11-18-2003, 08:24 PM
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Default Coming to an election soon: President Schwarzenegger?

A foreign-born president?


"Only those born in the U.S.A. may apply." That, in effect, is what the Constitution says to naturalized citizens who might think about running for president. They may not do so. "No Person," states Article II, Section 1, "except a natural born Citizen ... shall be eligible to the Office of President."

The natural-born citizen requirement is one of those parts of the Constitution that has operated silently over the years, without litigation. But now comes Sen. Orrin Hatch, Utah Republican, to say we should amend the Constitution to take down that "do not apply" sign.

Mr. Hatch acknowledges what most scholars regard as the reason the Framers denied eligibility to naturalized citizens: concern that a foreign power might place someone inside the young and fragile nation and contrive to have that person elected president.

But that concern, says Mr. Hatch, is hardly so compelling today. And so, he argues, the natural-born requirement shouldn't be allowed to stand, especially not since it works in what the senator calls a "decidedly un-American" manner. By which he means that it's unfair to naturalized citizens, because they are denied an "equal opportunity" to run for president; and unfair to us voters, because we are denied "every opportunity to choose" our leaders. Not surprisingly, Mr. Hatch calls his proposal the "Equal Opportunity to Govern" amendment.

Because Mr. Hatch and Austrian-born Arnold Schwarzenegger, the soon-to-be California governor, are said to be close friends, the senator's measure has been skeptically dubbed the Schwarzenegger amendment. But the amendment is no respecter of political parties. It would equally affect the career options of Jennifer Granholm, the Canadian-born Democratic governor of Michigan. Moreover, the interest in making foreign-born citizens eligible for the presidency is bipartisan. In the House, Arkansas Democratic Rep. Vic Snyder has proposed an amendment similar to Mr. Hatch's.

The natural-born citizen requirement is conspicuous on account of the fact that nowhere else in our law is there a distinction drawn between those who are citizens at birth and those who become citizens via naturalization. Yet this seeming anomaly has an interesting and not irrelevant history.

In his forthcoming book, "America's Constitution: A Guided Tour," Akhil Amar of the Yale Law School points out that the Constitution's approach to eligibility for office actually "represented a considerable liberalization of 18th-century English practice." As he explains, under England's 1701 Act of Settlement, naturalized foreigners were prohibited from serving in the Privy Council or Parliament, and from holding any office or place of trust, whether civil or military. "By contrast, the Constitution opened virtually all federal positions the Congress, the judiciary, the Cabinet and the military to naturalized citizens."


Notably, even as they reserved the presidency for naturalized citizens, the Framers refused to make that reservation absolute, since they made eligible for the office immigrants who were already American citizens in 1787.

Mr. Amar credits the Framers with operating according to a general rule of openness to immigrant Americans. They departed from that rule in writing the natural-born citizen requirement because of their worry a foreign duke might come to America "with immense wealth and a vast retinue and then use his European riches to buy friends on a scale that virtually no homegrown citizen could match." Here, too, observes Mr. Amar, America differed from England since the 1701 Act imposed no natural-born requirement on the head of state and in fact contemplated the foreign-born monarchs that soon would rule.

The chances that Mr. Hatch's amendment might be added to the Constitution are, it must be said, very slight. Since the Founding, members of Congress have suggested thousands of amendments, but Congress has actually proposed only 33, and of those just 27 have been ratified. So far, no groups have organized on behalf of Mr. Hatch's amendment. Nor does anyone really believe the country has a problem supplying itself with qualified presidential candidates.

Ultimately, what's most striking about the Hatch and Snyder proposals is that under both there would still be a distinction between immigrant and natural-born citizens. Which is to say, there would not be complete equality. A foreign-born American must be a U.S. citizen for 20 years before gaining eligibility under Mr. Hatch's amendment, and 35 years under Mr. Snyder's.

Those waiting periods evince a concern that foreign-born citizens who aspire to the presidency must be essentially American. Were they living today, the Framers would understand that concern, just as they would also understand the desire to liberalize requirements for holding office, even the nation's highest.
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Old 11-18-2003, 08:30 PM
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Default President Schwarzenegger?

The rest of the country would have to be as star struck as California to elect him. Worked for Reagan.
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Old 11-18-2003, 08:49 PM
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I say let him eat cake. Like GLH said, he still has to pass the mustard with us. It would really be a low point for the American Public to vote for someone because he/she is visible and a household name. 80 + % of the population just looks at the ballot and says...hey I know that dude...and viola, he is running the country. God Help Us.
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Old 11-18-2003, 09:06 PM
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Kinda scary when you think about it huh?
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Old 11-18-2003, 09:16 PM
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I knew the car tax would be the first order of business, does'nt he own like 17 cars or something? I know a guy that claimed his Murcielago had a value of $75k so he only paid about $1500 annually. In TX your registration is $65 I think no matter what the cars value is.
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Old 11-18-2003, 10:10 PM
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'Natural born citizen'

Has this allways stood up?
Were our first few presidents born in the states?
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Old 11-18-2003, 11:01 PM
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I have to go with 'American-Born'. You really have to grow up in America to really get America. It has to be part of the fabric of your soul. From kindergarten on, I was proud of being an American.
Imagine for whatever reason, Schwarznegger is elected President. He has to choose between nuking two countries, and Austria is one of them. He cannot possibly make an impartial decision.
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Old 11-19-2003, 12:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by rouxsterre
I have to go with 'American-Born'. You really have to grow up in America to really get America. It has to be part of the fabric of your soul. From kindergarten on, I was proud of being an American.
Imagine for whatever reason, Schwarznegger is elected President. He has to choose between nuking two countries, and Austria is one of them. He cannot possibly make an impartial decision.
Good point! (but they are one of the "good guys" right now)
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Old 11-19-2003, 08:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Winston Smith
I agree Troutly

He promised not to raise taxes

But we all know that he has to raise taxes to fix Kali

How long till his lie is exposed ?
God forbid someone should suggest cutting bloated, non necessary government giveaways.

Yep, just keep raising taxes.

Here is a hint...If you need a car, do you run out and buy a Lamborghini or do you see what you can afford and purchase accordingly.

If you can't afford a Lamborghini, do you run and demand a massive raise from your employer??? Better yet, do you hold him up at gunpoint to get it?

I swear, I can't figure out the mentality that thinks raising taxes is the answer to everything.
 
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Old 11-19-2003, 08:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by mlitefan
God forbid someone should suggest cutting bloated, non necessary government giveaways.

Yep, just keep raising taxes.

Here is a hint...If you need a car, do you run out and buy a Lamborghini or do you see what you can afford and purchase accordingly.

If you can't afford a Lamborghini, do you run and demand a massive raise from your employer??? Better yet, do you hold him up at gunpoint to get it?

I swear, I can't figure out the mentality that thinks raising taxes is the answer to everything.
Excellent point and articulated well!
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