Few of us knew that Mark McPherson, a news-reader on Channel 58, was also a Con Law/Historical scholar on the topic of "natural-born citizens". But Mark assured us--last night--that "OF COURSE" Kamala Harris is a "natural born" citizen of the US.
Not everyone agrees and they don't have to, as SCOTUS has never ruled precisely on the meaning of the term.
The current foofaffle has to do with Harris. A lawyer (not a news-reader) wrote an essay claiming that Harris does not fit the definition of "natural-born citizen" and therefore is not eligible to be the Vice-President.
The lawyer bases that opinion on very old precedent.
"The first and governing maxim in the interpretation of a statute is to discover the meaning of those who made it." --James Wilson, Of the Study of Law in the United States, 1790
What is the source of the term, "natural born citizen"? It is defined in the internationally published reference book, "Law of Nations", penned by Emmerich de Vattel in 1758. The definition states:
"The natives, or natural-born citizens, are those born in the country, of parents who are citizens." - Law of Nations
This is the one and only definition of the term, understood in international and US law, that existed when the Constitution was crafted. Its meaning has remained consistent for centuries as recognized by US law.
"This 1758 work by Swiss legal philosopher Emmerich de Vattel is of special importance to scholars of constitutional history and law, for it was read by many of the Founders of the United States of America, and informed their understanding of the principles of law which became established in the Constitution of 1787." - Constitution Society regarding "Law of Nations"
The historical record shows that "Law of Nations" was a primary reference used to craft the US Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution. In 1755, as the Founders determined to create their own nation from scratch, Benjamin Franklin received three copies of the original French edition from the editor Dumas for use by the Continental Congress.
Neither of Harris' parents were US citizens at the time of her birth. They were legal residents, on their way to citizenship--but they were simply not US citizens. Vattel's "Law of Nations" would exclude Harris from eligibility to be Vice-President.
This is in contrast to Obama, whose mother was a US citizen; thus (arguably) Obama fits the criteria. But note well that Snopes simply declares it to be so without evidence--not a good look for an entity which claims to be a 'neutral arbitrator.'
So it's good to have McPherson here to settle the matter for the US Supreme Court and for his viewers, no? You can sleep better knowing that Marky-Mark is on the job.