Comment: Heh

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Heh

I wouldn't think speaking on the floor defines anything.

You would be correct there. The idea that any words spoken from the floor of the House that go unchallenged establish some kind of legal definition is really pretty funny.

As for Justice Marshall defining 'natural born citizen' in that SCOTUS decision, there are a few minor issues worth mentioning. First, it's not from the SC decision. It's from the dissenting opinion, i.e., it's quoting from someone explaining why they disagree with the SC decision. If he did define 'natural born citizen' it might still carry some weight, but he doesn't define 'natural born citizen' or use the phrase 'natural born citizen' even once. Third, if you read beyond the quoted section of the dissenting opinion it's clear that he's referring to Vattel to make a point about the definition of 'domicile,' not about citizenship much less about natural born citizenship.

But actually your reading of that section from Vattel is exactly in line with what Vattel goes on to say in the next few paragraphs of that book that the birthers seem to always forget to quote. Vattel argues explicitly that if a child is born in a foreign country, the citizenship *given by nature* (i.e., not a matter of naturalization by law) depends only on the father's citizenship and loyalty, and the place of birth doesn't change that fact.