General Question

Aster's avatar

What is your opinion of the authenticity of Obama's birth certificate?

Asked by Aster (20021points) April 22nd, 2012
59 responses
“Great Question” (1points)

On the news yesterday his lawyer informed the judge, which I saw on BBC news, “Mr Obama’s birth certificate is irrelevant.” What is your opinion of it’s authenticity and does it matter?

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Mariah's avatar

My opinion is that the “birther” movement is ridiculous and has its roots in racism. We’ve never doubted the citizenship of our white presidents.

beachbum76's avatar

I think it should be old news and left to die.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Of course Obama’s birth certificate is irrelevant. The whole thing is a conspiracy theory and when have the facts ever changed anyones opinion on a conspiracy theory.

ragingloli's avatar

They are both authentic.

SavoirFaire's avatar

My opinion is that President Obama has provided more evidence of his citizenship than any president in history, going above and beyond the standard to which every other president has been held. If that’s not enough, better start the impeachment process with George Washington. It is also my opinion that this question was solved a long time ago. Further discussion of it can serve no honest purpose.

gailcalled's avatar

“On the news yesterday” is so yesterday’s news.

Ron_C's avatar

Oh, come on! This is ridiculous. The question has been settled and is only brought up by right wing racists. Obama is as American as you can get and like @SavoirFaire says, “Further discussion of it can serve no honest purpose.”

Aster's avatar

@SavoirFaire I don’t think it was solved a long time ago . There was a discussion with lawyers present in a courtroom recently and I’ve heard it will be a major point of contention during the elections. Quite a few so-called experts have accused the administration of forging the certificate which has only served to stimulate renewed interest in it. We’ll see.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Aster I’m sorry, I should have been more clear: it was solved to the satisfaction of all rational people. There is no satisfying fools.

Keep_on_running's avatar

If it’s not authentic, then he is definitely an Islamic terrorist. Let’s just get that straight – right here, right now.

quiddidyquestions's avatar

A discussion with lawyers present?!?!

Lawyers can be crazy, racist conspiracy theorists too. Hate mongers probably will try to make it a major point in the elections.

tinyfaery's avatar

OMFG. This so 2008.

Qingu's avatar

My opinion is that anyone who doubts that Obama is an American citizen is mentally challenged, racist, or most likely both. Or else is a lying politician catering to mentally challenged/racist Republican base voters.

DominicX's avatar

The “birther” movement is just as bad as the “truther” movement. But every president needs to have a conspiracy about them :)

AngryWhiteMale's avatar

It’s a non-issue. First of all, if there was anything fake about his birth certificate or citizenship, Hillary Clinton would have used it during the 2008 election. For me, that fact alone trumps everything else.

Second, as @Mariah points out, the whole “birther” movement is deeply racist. If this was a white man we were talking about, no one would be questioning his bona fides.

Finally, I think the whole non-controversy (and it is a non-controversy) began because John McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone, and there were some questions about whether he was eligible for the Presidency.

If you really don’t like Obama, there’s plenty of other stuff to object about (or even pursue impeachment on), but the birth certificate issue is the weakest, most racist objection I can think of. The only reason it still gets attention is because we have a Corporate Media that panders to the right-wing whenever possible.

wilma's avatar

I didn’t know that his citizenship was ever in question. I thought that it was just the location of his birth that some people questioned.

Aster's avatar

I didn’t even know the questioning of it had to do with racism. I thought it had to do with people saying it was forged and, if so, that’s a crime. So if it is found to be a forgery by experts , possibly few will care and he’ll be re-elected regardless.

wilma's avatar

I would also say that I think his birth certificate is very relevant. Wouldn’t that be the proof needed to verify where he was born?
No I am not a birther and I’m not suggesting that he wasn’t born in the United States. I am saying that I think his birth certificate is very relevant to this issue and should prove that he was born in the US.

janbb's avatar

@Aster You might want to think about why this has never come up as an issue with any other President? Some people would like to make President Obama an outsider and a foreigner. He is neither.

chyna's avatar

He has presented his birth certificate, it’s been proven he is a U.S. citizen. This is old news and I don’t understand why it is coming up again.
Has Romney been asked for his? If so, I haven’t seen a word about it.

wilma's avatar

As @AngryWhiteMale said, it did come up with John McCain.
Aren’t we confusing citizenship with place of birth? I didn’t think that anyone ever questioned his citizenship. His mother was a citizen and so is he.

marinelife's avatar

There is no question that he is a citizen of the United States. His birth certificate is legitimate as the governor of Hawaii confirmed.

Event he birthers have let this go, why can’t you?

Aster's avatar

@marinelife I’m sorry. I had time on my hands so I thought of a Fluther question.

AngryWhiteMale's avatar

@wilma, the two are linked by the birthers. If they can successfully challenge his place of birth, they can challenge his citizenship and thus his eligibility for the Presidency. A lot of the rhetoric coming from the base casts him as “Kenyan” and other similar digs that make it clear they’re basing their attack partially (if not wholly) on race.

As @janbb points out, why so much scrutiny for Obama, and not others? Although I’d add that back in 1880, this topic came up when Chester Arthur ran as Garfield’s running mate. His foes claimed he wasn’t born in Vermont, but in Canada. Damn socialist Canuck…

Some people have too much time on their hands, I think.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@wilma The issue was always his citizenship. People were trying to make him seem ineligible for the presidency, which meant showing that he failed the citizenship requirement. Having a single US citizen as a parent does not automatically make someone born outside of the United States a citizen, and the law in 1961 would certainly have disqualified Obama if he had been born outside of the US. As it turns out, however, he was born in the US—and we have ample proof of that.

lasarahxo's avatar

I think out of all the issues one should have with Obama, his birth certificate is the least of these…so in that way, yes, it’s irrelevant.

Coloma's avatar

I could care less. I don’t care what his origin is, if someone is living as an american citizen, regardless of birth place I see no reason they should not be able to run for political office.
What about good ol’ Ahnold Schwarzenager..(sp?) Personally I think we need an entire new SPECIES in office. I vote for my goose Marwyn.
Marwyn for president, he’ll stick his neck out for you. lol

I also nominate Milo for VP. ;-)

wilma's avatar

Ah, @SavoirFaire I thought that if your birth mother was a citizen, then your citizenship was automatic wherever you were born.
I thought that the sticky point was whether or not he was a “natural born citizen” meaning born on US Soil. It is my understanding that to be eligible for the presidency that you must be “natural born”... born on US soil.

Aster's avatar

Article II of the U.S. Constitution indeed specifies that only natural-born citizens are eligible for the office of the presidency:

“No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, 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.”
It’s just the law; it may have no effect on him being re-elected.

janbb's avatar

He was born in Hawaii – what is the problem with that??

Aster's avatar

@janbb No problem with that at all. It has a technicality having to do with his mother.

Lightlyseared's avatar

@Aster his mother has nothing to do with it as the constitution does not bother to define what is meant by a natural born citizen. Given that, it is fair to assume that if you are born in the US you are eligible.

Trillian's avatar


filmfann's avatar

According to Wikipedia
The Congressional Research Service has stated that the weight of scholarly legal and historical opinion indicates that the term (Natural Born Citizen) means one who is entitled under the Constitution or laws of the United States to U.S. citizenship “at birth” or “by birth,” including any child born “in” the United States, even to alien parents (other than to foreign diplomats serving their country), the children of United States citizens born abroad, and those born abroad of one citizen parent who has met U.S. residency requirements.

This would indicate that as long as Obama’s mother was an American citizen (of which there is no current dispute), and as long as he has met the US residency requirements (of which there is no current dispute), then his birth certificate would be irrellevant.
It isn’t that hard to understand, if you are thinking rationally.

ragingloli's avatar

Some (or rather, a lot) birthers say that “the children of United States citizens” means that both parents have to be citizens at the time of birth.of the child.

filmfann's avatar

@ragingloli from the above post:
and those born abroad of one citizen parent who has met U.S. residency requirements.

I also said it isn’t hard to understand, if you are thinking rationally. Clearly, this excludes most birthers.

Aster's avatar

Hence, a child born abroad to two US citizen parents is a natural-born citizen: Provided, That at least one citizen parent had previously resided in the UnitedStates or one of its outlying possessions. U.S. Code: Title 8, 1401.

Ron_C's avatar

@Aster I enjoy the irony of it all. John McCain was born in Panama, I suspect that if he was democrat they’re be claiming he wasn’t a natural born American either.

LostInParadise's avatar

It is of interest that Romney’s father George Romney, who ran for president, was born in Mexico. Romney’s grandfather moved there, because he thought it would be easier to practice polygamy there. The Mexicans say that Romney is eligible for Mexican citizenship.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@wilma Most people with at least one US citizen for a parent will qualify, but there is a residency requirement as well. It’s not completely automatic. Due to his mother’s age at the time of his birth, it is an open question whether or not Obama would have qualified had he been born elsewhere.

As has been noted by others, there is no unambiguous definition of “natural-born citizen” approved of by the courts. It seems that being born on US soil is unnecessary, however, as no court took any of the challenges to McCain’s eligibility seriously (despite the fact that he was born in Panama).

zigmund's avatar

Well you asked for our views, Aster. And you certainly got them. Now then for the record, would you like to answer your own question? What, Ms. Aster is your opinion on the authenticity of President Obama’s birth certificate?

Aster's avatar

I haven’t decided yet. One reason I asked the question. Ask me again at Thanksgiving.

zigmund's avatar

But I’m guessing (and you should let me know if I’m wrong) nothing said here, none of the comments stating the overwhelming evidence that your president is a natural American citizen, has done anything to persuade you. Am I right?

augustlan's avatar

I can’t believe there is still any deciding to do on this matter. What more could anyone possibly do to convince the birthers that this is not a legitimate problem???

tom_g's avatar

Sorry. Very late and I’m doing the whole “didn’t read a single response above” thing….

I don’t care if he was born in Venezuela and his father (Hugo) allowed Castro to adopt him. After spending his childhood in Cuba, he spent a few years in North Korea and was a citizen there. Finally, when he decided to become president, he hired a real good accent coach and slipped into the USA with help from ex KGB operatives.

I wouldn’t lose a single moment of sleep over that. Does that answer the question?

ro_in_motion's avatar

@Aster If you’re not trolling – well, even if you are – I feel sorry for you. Please seriously consider not voting if you are so easily drawn into something as false, incredibly stupid, racist and hate-filled as the birther screed at this late date.

I know that sounds cruel and I wish it didn’t. I have to ask: Where have you been the last 4+ years? This has been covered so extensively by the media and internet that I am stunned you only discovered it now.

Your most recent poll about waiting for Thanksgiving for you to make up your mind is stunning. Even if you didn’t before you posted, by this time you should have read this based on what people have told you here. That article ends with 232 citations. How is it possible this has eluded your attention until now?

This is a racist smear campaign of the simplest sort. It is the same as the attempt to portray his as Muslim or the anti-christ.

All you need to know is: He is an American citizen. His mother was American. That’s it. End of discussion. Move on.

Yes, I am angry that this is still being brought up.

If you need to think about this until Thanksgiving, and even if you decide to vote for Obama, I truly hope you don’t vote.

Qingu's avatar

@Aster, I’ve noticed you ask a lot of questions like this. You seem to have difficulty “deciding” what to believe in virtually any case where a fringe community questions the so-called mainstream explanation.

The problem is, you aren’t actually evaluating these claims. You come across an issue where some people say X and other people say Y. And instead of using your brain to evaluate whether X or Y is more reasonable, you throw up your hands and say “I’m undecided.”

tinyfaery's avatar

66ttttttttttttttt7. That’s what slapping my head on my keyboard looks like.

Aster's avatar

@Qingu I’m sorry . I can find lots more to do than to irritate people. Honest !

Aster's avatar

@ro_in_motion I won’t vote but I can’t wait to see if this “old and worn out” issue is non-existent during the elections. Have a nice day.

augustlan's avatar

@Aster I’m just curious… if you are not planning on voting anyway, why does this even interest you? I do agree with @Qingu, about your seeming credulity. You appear to fall for a lot of conspiracy theories. What’s up with that?

tedd's avatar

Who cares?

His mother is a US citizen (daughter of a WW2 hero for christ’s sake). Using that fact alone he could’ve been born on the moon, and he would still be a US citizen.

Qingu's avatar

@Aster, you don’t irritate me at all. :)

I’m just hoping that you’ll think critically about this. I mean, why are you even asking these questions if you’ve already decided to remain “undecided” about them?

Response moderated (Flame-Bait)
SavoirFaire's avatar

@tedd As already noted above, that’s false. Having a single US citizen for a parent is not sufficient under all conditions to make a child a US citizen. There is a residency requirement on the parent, and it is unclear whether or not Obama’s mother met it. As such, showing that he had been born outside of the United States could have led to legitimate proceedings. This is not to say that Obama would have been declared ineligible: the residency requirement has not been evaluated by the courts in circumstances like those of Obama’s mother. Still, it would have been much more complicated were it not the verifiable fact that it is that Obama was born in the United States.

jerv's avatar

@SavoirFaire How is it that I know so many people that are natural-born US citizens (or dual citizens) who only had one parent that was a US citizen? And how is the territory versus state thing contentious here, but not for John Mccain?

tedd's avatar

@SavoirFaire Under current US law you would be correct. Under US law 1961, you only had to have a US parent to be a US citizen.. regardless of where you were born. So again I point out, he could have been born on the moon and he would still be a US citizen.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@jerv It seems to me that the territory versus state issue was just a last-ditch effort to make voters wary of Obama. Hawaii was already a state by the time Obama was born, so the claim had absolutely no legal basis. It was just a red herring to try and increase doubt in those people who were too lazy to look it up. It is worth noting, however, that McCain did actually have to deal with the issue. In fact, some people thought he had an even bigger problem given that the Panama Canal Zone where McCain was born was not even considered a US territory in 1936 (McCain’s year of birth). But in 1937, revisions to 8 USC § 1403 were passed retroactively declaring those born in the Canal Zone on or after 26 February 1904 to be citizens (link).

As for the natural-born US citizens and dual citizens you know who have only one US citizen for a parent, there are two possibilities. First, the law changes from time to time. They may have been born at a time when having one parent was itself sufficient. Second, they may have been born to parents who also met whatever residency requirements existed at the time. In 1961, for instance, the requirement was that the parent must have lived in the United States for at least five years after his or her fourteenth birthday. This was the issue raised against Obama, whose mother gave birth prior to her nineteenth birthday. It is possible that the courts would have considered Obama to be natural-born anyway (as the residency requirement may have been interpreted to apply to people living abroad), but it is unclear since no challenge of that sort ever made it all the way through the courts.

@tedd It’s actually quite the other way around. The current laws regarding natural-born citizenship are more lenient than the laws of 1961. Being born on US soil has always been sufficient for being a US citizen. When someone is born outside of the US, however, facts about the parents and/or the place of birth become relevant. If Obama had been born in the Kenya Colony, then his mother would have needed to have been a resident of the United States for 10 years, five of which would have needed to have been after her 14th birthday. As Obama was born when his mother was 18, the residency requirement would not have been met.

This discrepancy is part of why we find such divergent positions as Andrew Malcolm’s claim that Obama’s mother “could have been on Mars when wee Barry emerged and he’d still be American” (this being the claim you paraphrased above, replacing the moon for Mars), and the rival birther claim that his mother’s age at the time of Obama’s birth makes him ineligible. Despite the fact that courts have routinely ruled individual children born to one US citizen to be citizens themselves, birthers point out that the issues in those cases have not been the residency requirement they are attempting to use as the basis of their legal theory.

As it turns out, however, both sides are mistaken. Malcolm is incorrect to assert that merely having one US citizen for a parent is enough (this is false now, and it was false in 1961). The birthers are also incorrect, however, that they have a legitimate claim in need of testing. Here’s what is an open question: whether or not Obama would have been ruled a citizen by a court in 1961 had he been born in the Kenya Colony. This is an open question because the residency requirement has never been tested in a situation where it is the age of the mother causing the issue (or, if it has been tested, I cannot find the case or any report of anyone who has found it).

Here, though, is what is not an open question: whether or not Obama would have been ruled a citizen by a court in 2008 had he been born in the Kenya Colony. When the law was changed in 1986, it was made retroactive to 24 December 1952—which is, of course, almost nine years prior to Obama’s birth. So while the residency requirement certainly is relevant, no one denies that Obama’s mother stayed in the US until at least her 16th birthday. Thus no one can claim that the requirement wasn’t met by the time it became relevant.

For the change to the law, see 8 USC § 1401(g)(B) (link).

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