This article explores the controversy surrounding the natural born citizenship proviso in order to demonstrate why a constitutional amendment is necessary to eliminate its inherent inequity and uncertain applicability, and to offer substantive recommendations for initiating such an amendment. Part I begins with a brief discussion of the historical and legal context of the natural born citizenship proviso. Part II explores the elusive nature of the term "natural bom Citizen," and Part III focuses on the perils of passively awaiting judicial resolution of its meaning. The structural and policy reasons why limiting the Presidency to natural born citizens is inconsistent with the spirit of modern American democracy are discussed in Part IV, and Part V concludes with an examination of past efforts to modify the proviso and offers substantive recommendations for doing so today.
Sarah Helene Duggin & Mary Beth Collins, Natural Born in the U.S.A.: The Striking Unfairness and Dangerous Ambiguity of the Constitution’s Presidential Qualifications Clause and Why We Need to Fix It, 85 B.U. L. REV. 53 (2005).