The Obama "Birther" Conspiracy Theory
What is the “Birther” Conspiracy Theory?
A Birther is someone who believes in the Birther conspiracy theory. This theory states that President Obama was not born in the United States, that there is no birth certificate for Obama, and other related claims relating to his birth. These claims have led people to file lawsuits in efforts to try to get Obama disqualified from running for president, being sworn in, and possibly trying to get him removed on a constitutional basis.
Origins of the Birther Conspiracy Theory
Around the time of the Democratic Party's 2008 primaries rumors started flying about Obama's birth certificate, birth place, and religion. Soon these rumors grew from many sides - people who wanted Clinton to get ahead in the primaries and of course people outside the Democratic party decided would take anything they could get, and this seemed a good start for them.
As seen on the right Obama's Birth Certificate was released to the public. In 2008 this short form document was released and later in 2011 a long form birth certificate was posted on the White House website. Further proof has come out about Obama's birth in Hawaii ranging from his father's immigration file stating President Obama was born in Hawaii to people who claim witnessing his birth in Hawaii.
Natural Born Citizenship and the Law
There are more ways that Obama could be attacked on this issue which could actually lead to actual discussions about ineligibility rather than arguing with clear proof. Some of these arguments pertain parental citizenship and dual citizenship.
Some have argued that for a person to be a natural born citizen both parents would need to be U.S. Citizens at the time of the child's birth. This could be considered a legitimate point because Obama's father was not a U.S. Citizen at the time of his birth. The last time this was brought up was in 1875 (Minor v. Happersett) where they defined a natural born citizen as “all children born in a country of parents who were its citizens”. Would the court hold up a 137 year old law? Probably not, but at least the argument has a legal basis rather than denial of evidence.
What could Obama's citizenship be? If Obama's father was Kenyan and Mother was American then he has a dual citizenship right? This is the argument that some have come forward with: you cannot be a natural born citizen if you are born a dual citizen. This has mostly been dropped because Obama lost his citizenship with Kenya as Kenya does not allow adult dual citizenship along with the problem with Kenya gaining independence from Britain in 63 when Obama was born in 61, leading to questions of “British or Kenyan?” and a lot of messy legalities that people have not been willing to go into.
Is It Over Yet?
Unfortunately there are still claims that these documents are false. Many other conspiracy theories have been made to explain what the documents really are ranging from photoshop to presidential orders for a printing. With the election in 2012 there are still a few demanding proof of birth or for the President to step down. A poll recently indicated 13% of voters questioned Obama's birth. Who knows, if Obama is elected there may be four more years of birther claims that he was born outside the US.