Comment: NBC Phrase

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NBC Phrase

Vattel is discussing all aspects of CITIZENSHIP. He is not writing a treatise about NATURAL BORN CITIZENSHIP (NBC). In fact, until our founders chose to incorporate NBC into Article II, Section 1 of the US Constitution as a criterion for the US Presidency, I am unaware of any nation that had required NBC as a condition for holding public office or of any other that has done so to date. Remember, in 1787 there were few if any Constitutional republics, certainly none with a written constitution that I am aware of. It is ONLY the definition of NBC, which Vattel mentions in passing, that our founders chose to adopt for Presidential eligibility. That definition is clearly those born in the country to citizen parents: a twofold requirement: 1) birth in the country; and 2) citizenship of parents (plural). The more extensive discussion of citizenship and all its aspects are essentially irrelevant to the definition of NBC, which is the ONLY issue relevant to interpreting NBC and the requirements of Article II, Section.

By the way, the term "the fathers" was virtually synonomous with "the parents" in the 18th century, since in all nations of the time the mothers took the citizenship of their husbands, had no vote and few other rights, and their husbands had sole authority to own and control property, vote, and determine and implement the major family decisions, including the religious and educational upbringing of their sons.

More importantly, it is the Supreme Court's 1875 ruling in Minor v. Happersett that is controlling. Before ultimately determining that Mrs. Minor was not given the right to vote by the US Constitution despite the fact that she was a US CITIZEN (nor was anyone else, including men - it was up to the STATE's to decide who could vote!), it FIRST had to DECIDE if she was a US CITIZEN. It did so in an elegant way, by avoiding a general definition of US CITIZENSHIP, but instead finding that she was a CITIZEN because the facts of the case
demonstrated that she happened be an NBC, which it defined as those born in the country to citizen parents, citing Vattel and several earlier Supreme Court decisions, and therefore since she met the criteria for a NBC, she was of course a CITIZEN.

This FINDING of NBC was essential to its FINDING that she was a CITIZEN, which finding was essential to its ultimate ruling that, though a citizen, Mrs. Minor was not granted the right to vote by the US CONSTITUTION. So its definition of NBC was essential to its holdings in the case, is not mere DICTA (ie. comment not necessary for its holding) and is therefore binding LAW on all Courts unless and until is is reversed. Minor has been cited as law in several subsequent Supreme Court cases and has never been overruled. So its definition of NBC is binding on all Courts and should be precedent for any future Court rulings and should clearly inform us today on the meaning of NBC.

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