Herb Titus is a well known and respected Constitutional scholar. His discussion of the topic of what is a Natural Born Citizen is must viewing to understand the Obama eligibility controversy.
The question of Obama’s birth, where he was born, is an important question. But the more important question is whether or not he is a natural born citizen because he was born in Hawaii. The conventional wisdom is, that if he could produce a birth certificate showing that he was born in Hawaii, that would make him a natural born citizen. That’s not true. That only makes him a citizen by birth.
And there’s a distinction between the two terms. The “citizen by birth” is a person who becomes a citizen because he was born in the geographical limits of the United States and he was here lawfully or his parents were here lawfully, and therefore by birth, he’s a citizen. Now that’s because in the first sentence of the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution, it states specifically that a person who is born in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, is a citizen.
Now, most people think that’s a definition of a natural born citizen, but people forget that that was put into the Constitution not for the purpose of defining what a natural born citizen is as it applies to the President of the United States, but it was placed in to the Constitution for the specific purpose of declaring that people who were part of the newly freed slave class were citizens of the United States and of the state in which they resided because the United States Supreme Court had ruled in the Dred Scott case that a person who had been brought over to the United States against his will could never become a citizen of the United States much less a citizen of the state. So the place of birth that gives rise to citizenship by birth was addressed to the question of what to do with this entirely new group of people who would otherwise be stateless because they couldn’t under the Dred Scott rule become a citizen having been born in the United States.