Pushed by state Rep. Mark Hatfield, R-Waycross, the legislation currently has approximately 93 co-sponsors — a majority of the House. (One of those signatures belongs to Democrat Glenn Baker of Jonesboro.)
As we're pretty busy this week, we were quite happy not to write about the legislation, which is basically another cartoonish attempt to grab media attention and appease far-right voters. But since it's gaining momentum and signatures, why not take a look at the language, no?
The bill is blatantly unconstitutional, but for reasons that reporters have failed to note in print. After discussing birth certificates, the bill requires Presidential candidates to provide affidavits that include the following:
48 (B) Recitations in the affidavit attesting that the candidate has never been a citizen of
49 any country or nation other than the United States of America; that the candidate has
50 never held dual or multiple citizenship; and that the candidate has never owed
51 allegiance to any country or nation other than the United States of America;
These are not legitimate Constitutional requirements for Presidential eligibility. Many Presidents and Presidential candidates have been dual citizens at some point in their lives. The current President was a dual citizen until his early 20s, so Hatfield's bill would necessarily forbid Obama's name from appearing on the Georgia primary ballot. And that is guaranteed to result in a lawsuit, a lawsuit that Georgia is guaranteed to lose.
Such a fiasco will be a blight on Georgia, not to mention a huge waste of time and money. Laws requiring birth certificates are one thing, but extra-constitutional qualifications grounded in foreign law are beyond the pale. Rep. Hatfield's bill proposes that Georgia rely not on the U.S. Constitution, but rather on other countries' citizenship statutes to determine who can and cannot appear on Presidential ballots.
Sounds like some of the bill's co-sponsors might want to check with their 2012 presidential hopefuls and see if this might pose a problem.
House Speaker David Ralston has hinted that, aside from some colorful, time-wasting debate in committee, the bill's most likely not going anywhere. But some big names, including the powerful House Rules chairman, are on the list of co-sponsors, which you can view here. Stranger things have happened.
Send ole Hans an email, let him know he's doing such a great job, firstname.lastname@example.org
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