Court Interpretations : Merrill Vs. Clarke ( 1844 )

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Court interpretations Lynch vs. Clarke (1844) was the most important case before the passage of the Fourteenth amendment dealing with this matter. It involved the discussion of whether Julia Lynch was a citizen or not. The nature of this case meant that she must either have been born a natural born citizen because she was born to her parents, that although were aliens, on U.S. soil, or that she was not a citizen at all because her parents were aliens regardless of the place of her birth that she had never made any attempt to be naturalized. The court ruled in her favor. The ruling established that under the common law of England, Julia Lunch would be considered a natural born citizen of the U.S., the common law of England formed the basis of the law of New York, and both of the Constitutions the state had used up until 1844 made this evident, and the United States Constitution and our national institutions were formed on the basis of common law. Regarding the eligibility to seek the Presidency, the court opines that “the only standard which existed of a natural born citizen was the rule of common law, and no different standard has been adopted since. Suppose a person should be elected president who was native born, out of alien parents; could there be any reasonable doubt that he was eligible under the Constitution? I think not. The position would be decisive in his favor, that the rule of the common law, In force when the Constitution was adopted, he is a citizen.” While this case attempted to lay out the citizenship eligibility, it failed to define what a natural born citizen is, which continues to be a source of controversy to this day. The Fourteenth Amendment and different case laws gave rise to the current doctrine of au... ... middle of paper ... born in Puerto Rico and other United states territories?” Moreover, are those born outside the United States with rights to citizenship different from those born within the territorial constrictions? The ambiguity of the language is the first reason why this particular clause requires modification. Changing the language to ‘No person except a citizen of the U.S.’ can be eligible for president because it levels out the standards for this position, limits the debate surrounding the natural born clause, and stipulates that there is no difference between naturalized immigrants, those born within the U.S. and those born abroad to U.S. parents. Beyond that, the changing of this amendment will expand the democratic nature of the U.S. to reflect its reality as a nation of immigrants and eliminates the possibility of different tiers within the gaining of the citizenship.

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