Is Obama’s Candidacy Constitutional?

Obama is not even elected yet and already he may be in trouble with the law.

Bloggers are raising questions about Illinois Sen. Barack Obama’s qualifications to be U.S. president, because of the secrecy over his birth certificate and the requirement presidents be “natural-born” U.S. citizens.

Jim Geraghty, reporting on the Campaign Spot, cited the “unlikely” but still circulating rumor that Obama was born not within the United States, but elsewhere, possibly Kenya.

Geraghty defined the concerns most clearly, stating: “If Obama were born outside the United States, one could argue that he would not meet the legal definition of natural-born citizen … because U.S. law at the time of his birth required his natural-born parent (his mother) to have resided in the United States for ’10 years, at least [f]ive of which had to be after the age of 16.'”

He then points out Ann Dunham, Obama’s mother, was 18 when Obama was born “so she wouldn’t have met the requirement of five years after the age of 16.”

Geraghty continues: ” (Interestingly, apparently there isn’t much paperwork on Obama’s parents’ marriage. ‘Obama: From Promise to Power,’ page. 27: ‘Obama later confessed that he never searched for the government documents on the marriage, although Madelyn (Obama’s maternal grandmother) insisted they were legally married.’ Also note that Obama’s father apparently was not legally divorced from his first wife back in Kenya at the time, a point of contention that ultimately led to their separation.)”

The reports released to date show Obama was born in Honolulu to Barack Hussein Obama Sr., of Nyangoma-Kogelo, Kenya, and Ann Dunham, of Wichita, Kan.

According to FindLaw.com, which is cited by Geraghty, the requirements that were in force from Dec. 24, 1952 to Nov. 13, 1986, encompassing the time of Obama’s birth, state, “If only one parent was a U.S. citizen at the time of your birth, that parent must have resided in the United States for at least 10 years, at least five of which had to be after the age of 16.”

Obama’s father, a student sent to the United States from Africa, lived several places in the United States while attending class. He then returned to his homeland. Obama’s mother later married another man and moved to Indonesia.

Geraghty said the Obama campaign could “debunk” the rumors about his birth simply by releasing a copy of his birth certificate, but the campaign has so far chosen not to do that.

“The campaign cited the birth certificate in their ‘Fact Check’ on William Ayers, so presumably, someone in the campaign has access to it,” he said.

Hawaii doesn’t make public information from birth certificates.

“If the concern of the Obama campaign is that the certificate includes his Social Security number or some other data that could be useful to identity thieves, that information could easily be blocked out and the rest released. (Although I wonder if identity thieves would find Obama a tougher than usual target, since using the name on purchases would almost inevitably bring closer scrutiny.),” Geraghty said.

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