John McCain, on the day of his christening, with his father and grandfather at the Coco Solo Naval Air Station in the Panama Canal Zone, 1936.
McCAIN’S NATURAL BORN PROBLEM
by Rod Ciferri
Even a cursory glance at Article 2, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution proves John McCain was never eligible to be President of the United States. The Constitution requires that the President be a natural born citizen which is different than just being a citizen. Natural born citizen is sufficient for eligibility, while citizen is not.
The U.S. congress may, and has, come up with any criteria for U.S. citizenship it wants. This power was given to congress by Article 1, Section 8, of the U.S. Constitution. No law that congress makes, however, can change the requirement that the President be a natural born citizen. Such can only be done via constitutional amendment.
McCain sought a congressional mandate stating he is a natural born citizen because of the facts I discuss below. These are void however because these Congressional acts have no legal authority. Congress cannot amend the Constitution’s requirement that the President be a natural born citizen.
No act of congress can change the fact that McCain was born in an unincorporated U.S. territory, the Panama Canal Zone. No act of congress can change the fact that the Panama Canal Zone was NEVER part of the United States.
This fact can readily be attained by reading the Hay-Bunau Varilla Treaty, which first recognized U.S. rights in the Panama Canal Zone. It is indisputable that such treaty gave the U.S. only proprietary rights to the Panama Canal Zone. The treaty was akin to an easement. An easement is the right to use another’s land. Article 1 of the treaty is the guarantee of the U.S. to maintain the sovereignty of the Republic of Panama over the area of the Panama Canal Zone. Furthermore, Article 14 of the treaty establishes the amount of money the U.S. must pay annually for the use of the Panama Canal Zone. All political rights in the Panama Canal Zone remained with the Republic of Panama.
Therefore, the U.S. only acquired proprietary, rather than political control over the Panama Canal Zone. The United States Supreme Court has confirmed that proprietary rights in a territory do not equate to the full political power necessary to make such a territory part of the United States. See, Downes v. Bidwell, 182 U.S. 244, 251 (1901).
While the United States eventually extended citizenship to those born in the Panama Canal Zone of at least one U.S. citizen, it did not, and could not without constitutional amendment make such a citizen a natural born citizen.
Like Obama, McCain is bound by the natural born citizen requirement of the U.S. Constitution in order to be eligible for president. That is, he must have been born in the country to parents (or at least a father) who were U.S. citizens. While he was born to U.S. citizen parents, unfortunately for him, he was not born in the country.
As a result of McCain’s natural born problem, he cannot be President of the United States.