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Ted Olson on McCain and 'natural born'

From NBC's Joel Seidman
Ted Olson, the former Solicitor General under Bush who is advising McCain's camp on whether the Arizona senator being born in the Panama Canal Zone qualifies him to be president, emails NBC News: "Although I am continuing to research the matter, there is little doubt in my mind that Senator McCain fully meets the Constitution's qualifications to be President of the United States. In my view, the plain meaning of 'natural born citizen' includes persons who become citizens of this nation 'naturally,' that is by virtue of their birth to parents who are citizens, particularly when the birth takes place on territory occupied and controlled by the United States, in Senator McCain's case, a U. S. military base in the Panama Canal Zone. Indeed, the very First Congress, containing many Members who were the actual Framers of the Constitution, explicitly declared that children of United States citizens, born outside the limits of the United States, were 'natural born' citizens. I am confident that the United States Supreme Court, should it ever address the issue, would agree."

*** UPDATE *** I sent Jill Pryor, an Atlanta attorney, who 20 years ago wrote in the Yale Law Journal about the "Natural Born Enigma" an e-mail about Olson's remarks, and she said, in part, "Eligibility for ... children born on American military bases ... is also uncertain."

Here's what she wrote in full: "While I agree with Mr. Olson's conclusion, what I said in my article 20 years ago remains true today: 'Whether a person born abroad of American parents  ... qualifies as natural born has never been resolved,' and that 'Eligibility for ... children born on American military bases ... is also uncertain.' Some have taken the view that 'natural born' means native born, that is, born in the United States, and there is no authority expressly to the contrary. The 'natural born' language in the naturalization statute passed by the first Congress, to which Mr. Olson refers, was deleted from a later version of the statute for unknown reasons. The early common law did not always provide that the children of citizens born abroad were citizens themselves, see for example dicta in Weedin v. Chin Bow, 274 U.S. 657, 663 (1927), and the automatic citizenship of persons born in United States territories or on military bases is of much more recent origin."