Barack Obama has been forced to face several questions surrounding his exact origin of birth since his inauguration as US President, which either reflects a genuine concern or a unwelcome prejudice that lies beneath the surface of the social fabric. As Arizona governor Jan Brewer this week vetoed a bill that would have required presidential candidates prove their eligibility for office, America took a positive step towards challenging the concept of eligibility and also towards focusing their issues on the key issues that currently bight the US.

Although other states are moving forward with similar bills with a view to enforcing them, they are less likely to succeed in the wake of Jan Brewer’s decision and the inevitable protests against racial prejudice, repression and a specific interpretation of eligibility. Given the Arizona states reputation for backing more radical legislation concerning immigration, their stance came as something as a surprise to those who dispute the merits of the the so called ‘Birther’ bill, and raised relevant questions concerning both the existing law and exactly which qualities are important when running a country.

The Right to Set Presidential Qualification Requirements

Of course the US constitution does afford states the right to determine how its representatives are elected, while also allowing them to ensure that their candidate meets existing constitutional qualifications. What it forbids is any state attempting to impose new legislation that forces qualified candidates to refrain from standing for election, as this addition of criteria is unconstitutional and opposes the democratic foundation of the US. What has further confused recent issues is that the relevant article in the US constitution is open to interpretation in terms of being a natural citizen of the United States.

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