Is Arizona's Birther Bill Constitutional?
Let's look at the Constitution:
Arizona's "birther bill" has passed the state Senate. The bill requires a sworn statement confirming the candidates residents and... drum roll... (sorry for the caps):A CERTIFIED COPY OF THE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE'S LONG FORM BIRTH CERTIFICATE THAT INCLUDES AT LEAST THE DATE AND PLACE OF BIRTH, THE NAMES OF THE CANDIDATE'S MOTHER AND FATHER, INCLUDING INFORMATION SUFFICIENT TO DETERMINE THE CITIZENSHIP OF BOTH PARENTS, THE NAMES OF THE HOSPITAL AND THE ATTENDING PHYSICIAN, IF APPLICABLE, AND SIGNATURES OF ANY WITNESSES IN ATTENDANCE.
Section. 1.The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows:
Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress [. . .]
[. . .] The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.
No Person except a natural born Citizen [. . .] 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.
(Emphasis supplied.) In his concurrence in Bush v. Gore, Chief Justice Rehnquist wrote:
Article II, §1, cl. 2, provides that “[e]ach State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct,” electors for President and Vice President. [. . .] In McPherson v. Blacker, 146 U.S. 1 (1892), we explained that Art. II, §1, cl. 2, “convey[s] the broadest power of determination” and “leaves it to the legislature exclusively to define the method” of appointment. Id., at 27. A significant departure from the legislative scheme for appointing Presidential electors presents a federal constitutional question.
(Emphasis supplied.) It is clearly true that the Constitution conveys broad power upon the States to determine its Electors for the "chusing" of the President. This clause, standing alone, would appear to provide constitutional cover for almost any legislative enactment by a State on this issue, including the abolition of elections for the Presidency.
However, the Constitution also provides that "No Person except a natural born Citizen [. . .] shall be eligible to the Office of President." To what degree can the State impose requirements that may exclude a "natural born citizen" from seeking the office of the Presidency? Arizona would argue that its bill intends to insure the application of this constitutional requirement. However, it is clear that not all "natural born citizens" may be able to meet the requirements of the Arizona bill. Most states do not issue birth certificates in the manner required by the proposed Arizona law.
For this reason, I believe the Arizona birther bill would violate the Constitution.
It goes without saying I hope that the bill is insane. But it also appears to be unconstitutional.
Speaking for me only
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