Amendments

Many of you have asked, “What is the text of your amendment?” 

 The answer is, we don’t have one because there are so many versions floating around Congress already!

 Since the Civil War, there have been more than 30 attempts to amend the Constitution for naturalized citizens.  Some Constitutional scholars have argued that the 14th Amendment, which made slaves into citizens, also gave full citizen privileges to all naturalized citizens — including the right to be President of the United States.

 Despite that argument, over 12 million naturalized citizens still can’t be President today.   

 So we’ve listed below the various amendments that are floating around the House and the Senate at the moment.  (Note that #6 is not a Constitutional amendment but an attempt to redefine “naturalized citizen.”  Constitutional scholars think that’s a dorky idea because you can’t change the Constitution merely by legislation.  Such a law, if passed, would have to go to the Supreme Court — and they would promptly overturn it as unconstitutional!)

 Note — unless you’re a ConLaw addict, reading through these amendments can make your eyes glaze over. 

 Just so you know, we would accept and support any of them.

 But to be honest, we’re not wild about #3 (which requires 35 years of citizenship).  That version is just fine for naturalized citizens who were brought here as children.  But it doesn’t do much for foreign-borns who actually got off their rumps and emigrated here in their 20s or 30s….

 ……which includes that Schwarzenegger guy who caused us to get off our rumps to start this! 

1)  Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to make eligible for the Office of President a person who has been a United States citizen for twenty years. (Introduced in House)

HJ 88 IH

106th CONGRESS
2d Session
H. J. RES. 88

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to make eligible for the Office of President a person who has been a United States citizen for twenty years.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
February 29, 2000

Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts introduced the following joint resolution; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

JOINT RESOLUTION
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to make eligible for the Office of President a person who has been a United States citizen for twenty years.

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years after the date of its submission for ratification:

‘Article —
‘A person who is a citizen of the United States, who has been for twenty years a citizen of the United States, and who is otherwise eligible to the Office of President, is not ineligible to that Office by reason of not being a native born citizen of the United States.’

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2)  Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to make eligible for the Office of President a person who has been a United States citizen for twenty years. (Introduced in House)

HJ 47 IH

107th CONGRESS
1st Session
H. J. RES. 47

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to make eligible for the Office of President a person who has been a United States citizen for twenty years.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
May 2, 2001

Mr. FRANK (for himself and Mr. HOEKSTRA) introduced the following joint resolution; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary 

JOINT RESOLUTION

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to make eligible for the Office of President a person who has been a United States citizen for twenty years.

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years after the date of its submission for ratification:

‘Article–
‘A person who is a citizen of the United States, who has been for twenty years a citizen of the United States, and who is otherwise eligible to the Office of President, is not ineligible to that Office by reason of not being a natural born citizen of the United States.’.

 

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3)  Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to permit persons who are not natural-born citizens of the United States, but who have been citizens of the United States… (Introduced in House)

HJ 59 IH

108th CONGRESS
1st Session
H. J. RES. 59

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to permit persons who are not natural-born citizens of the United States, but who have been citizens of the United States for at least 35 years, to be eligible to hold the offices of President and Vice President.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
June 11, 2003

Mr. SNYDER (for himself, Mr. ISSA, and Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts) introduced the following joint resolution; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary 

JOINT RESOLUTION

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to permit persons who are not natural-born citizens of the United States, but who have been citizens of the United States for at least 35 years, to be eligible to hold the offices of President and Vice President.

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States after the date of its submission for ratification:

‘Article —
‘A person who has been a citizen of the United States for at least 35 years and who has been a resident within the United States for at least 14 years shall be eligible to hold the office of President or Vice President.’.

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4)  Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to make eligible for the Office of President a person who has been a United States citizen for 20 years. (Introduced in Senate)

SJ 15 IS

108th CONGRESS
1st Session
S. J. RES. 15

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to make eligible for the Office of President a person who has been a United States citizen for 20 years.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
July 10, 2003

Mr. HATCH introduced the following joint resolution; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

JOINT RESOLUTION

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to make eligible for the Office of President a person who has been a United States citizen for 20 years.

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States:

‘Article–
‘SECTION 1. A person who is a citizen of the United States, who has been for 20 years a citizen of the United States, and who is otherwise eligible to the Office of President, is not ineligible to that Office by reason of not being a native born citizen of the United States.
‘SECTION 2. This article shall not take effect unless it has been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States not later than 7 years from the date of its submission to the States by the Congress.’.

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5)  Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to permit persons who are not natural-born citizens of the United States, but who have been citizens of the United States… (Introduced in House)

HJ 67 IH

108th CONGRESS
1st Session
H. J. RES. 67

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to permit persons who are not natural-born citizens of the United States, but who have been citizens of the United States for at least 20 years, to be eligible to hold the Office of President.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
September 3, 2003

Mr. CONYERS introduced the following joint resolution; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

JOINT RESOLUTION

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to permit persons who are not natural-born citizens of the United States, but who have been citizens of the United States for at least 20 years, to be eligible to hold the Office of President.
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein),

SECTION 1. CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.
The following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States:

‘Article —
‘A person who has been a citizen of the United States for at least 20 years shall be eligible to hold the Office of President.’.

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6)  Natural Born Citizen Act (Introduced in Senate)

S 2128 IS

108th CONGRESS
2d Session
S. 2128

To define the term ‘natural born Citizen’ as used in the Constitution of the United States to establish eligibility for the Office of President .

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
February 25, 2004

Mr. NICKLES (for himself, Ms. LANDRIEU, and Mr. INHOFE) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

A BILL
To define the term ‘natural born Citizen’ as used in the Constitution of the United States to establish eligibility for the Office of President .
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ‘Natural Born Citizen Act’.

SEC. 2. DEFINITION OF ‘NATURAL BORN CITIZEN’.

(a) IN GENERAL- Congress finds and declares that the term ‘natural born Citizen’ in Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 of the Constitution of the United States means–
(1) any person born in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof; and
(2) any person born outside the United States–

(A) who derives citizenship at birth from a United States citizen parent or parents pursuant to an Act of Congress; or
(B) who is adopted by 18 years of age by a United States citizen parent or parents who are otherwise eligible to transmit citizenship to a biological child pursuant to an Act of Congress.

(b) UNITED STATES- In this section, the term ‘United States’, when used in a geographic sense, means the several States of the United States and the District of Columbia.

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7)  Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to make eligible for the Office of President a person who is not a natural born citizen of the United States but has… (Introduced in House)

HJ 104 IH

108th CONGRESS
2d Session
H. J. RES. 104

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to make eligible for the Office of President a person who is not a natural born citizen of the United States but has been a United States citizen for at least 20 years.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
September 15, 2004

Mr. ROHRABACHER introduced the following joint resolution; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

JOINT RESOLUTION
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to make eligible for the Office of President a person who is not a natural born citizen of the United States but has been a United States citizen for at least 20 years.

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years after the date of its submission for ratification:

‘Article —
‘A person who is a citizen of the United States, who has been a citizen of the United States for at least 20 years, and who is otherwise eligible to hold the Office of the President, is not ineligible to hold that Office by reason of not being a native born citizen of the United States.’.