Thursday, September 29, 2011

The FEC's extraordinary eligibility ruling

Joseph Farah

The biggest non-story of the week is that the Federal Elections Commission has redefined the Constitution's requirement for presidential eligibility to allow any citizen to run – even those who are foreign-born.

This should be front-page news everywhere.

It would mean Arnold Schwarzenegger, previously thought to be ineligible by everyone, could run for president – not that he would have a ghost of a chance of winning.

But, even more to the point, it would mean the children of Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman, twins just born in a Los Angeles area hospital last month, would be eligible to run for president! Guzman has a $5 million bounty on his head in the U.S.

In fact, according to this ruling, any person in the world who moved to the U.S. and became a citizen would be eligible to be president – something no other government agency has even before suggested.

And there's a good reason for that.

The ruling is contrary to the Constitution's unique presidential and vice presidential requirement for only a "natural born citizen" – something clearly distinctive from "native-born citizen" or "naturalized citizen." And the FEC has no standing or power to overrule the Constitution of the United States.

It was just three years ago, in 2008, that the U.S. Senate held an extraordinary session to determine whether John McCain, born in Panama to U.S. citizen parents, was eligible to be president. The conclusion of that proceeding was that because both his parents were U.S. citizens, and his father was serving in the U.S. military overseas, that he was indeed eligible.

But it has really been Barack Obama's elevation to the White House that has resulted in so much confusion over eligibility – literally dumbing down expectations to the point at which the Founding Fathers' very legitimate concerns about split loyalties have become obscured.

It was because Obama chose to obfuscate his own background – from concealing for three years his long-form birth certificate, then releasing what appears to be a fraudulent document, to hiding his own school and college records from the public, to stonewalling questions about his own Social Security number.

The media contributed mightily to the confusion by turning the entire birth-certificate controversy into a matter of whether Obama was born in the U.S. – an issue still not settled but probably irrelevant to the question of "natural born citizen" status, which has more to do with the status of his parents, according to the McCain Senate ruling of 2008.

The details of this FEC ruling in the case of a Guyana-born naturalized U.S. citizen and attorney named Abdul Hassan needs to be shouted from the rooftops by every American with allegiance to the Constitution.

It needs to trigger a sober national debate and dialogue on presidential eligibility – particularly in the midst of another presidential election campaign.

Are we really ready in 2011 to conclude that any mere "citizen" is eligible to be president, as the FEC ruling suggests?

Is it not time for the Congress of the United States to step in and demand that the Constitution be followed?

Is it not time for every presidential candidate in 2012 to answer the question of what it means to be a "natural born citizen" given that one of them will need to name a vice-presidential running mate who meets that requirement?

I have been working in the news media professionally since 1977 – 35 years. In that time, I have never seen my profession fail so miserably on an issue of such magnitude.

The Constitution is being de facto "amended" through a bumbling process of neglect, fear and delinquency.

If you care about the Constitution, please spread help me spread this message far and wide.