Can a Statutory U.S. Citizen, such as John McCain, be eligible for the Office of the President of the United States?
The Citizenship Clause does not protect persons who acquire U.S. citizenship by virtue of being born abroad to parents, at least one of whom is a U.S. citizen, because such persons are not "born or naturalized in the United States." U.S. Constitution amend. XIV, § 1. See Rogers v. Bellei, 401 U.S. 815, 827 (1971).
Individuals not protected by the Citizenship Clause acquire U.S. citizenship, if at all, solely by an act of Congress enacted pursuant to the Naturalization Clause, and not pursuant to the Constitution itself. See Rogers v. Bellei, 401 U.S. 815, 830 (1971) (Citizenship Clause does "'not touch the acquisition of citizenship by being born abroad of American parents; and has left that subject to be regulated, as it had always been, by Congress, in the exercise of the power conferred by the Constitution to establish an uniform rule of naturalization'") (quoting United States v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649, 688 (1898)). With respect to such individuals, Congress's power under the Naturalization Clause includes the power to set conditions subsequent to naturalization, failure of which may result in expatriation without consent.JOHN C. YOO Deputy Assistant Attorney General Office of Legal Counsel
The U.S. Constitution empowers the Congress to establish a uniform rule of naturalization. The Supreme Court of the United States has repeatedly held a native born U.S. Citizen and a U.S. Citizen who obtained their citizenship after completing the naturalization process are of the same dignity; with one exception, only a natural born citizen is eligible for the Office of the President of the United States. Statutory Citizens are not protected by the Citizenship Clause of the 14th Amendment. Consequently, Statutory Citizens are not eligible for the Office of the President of the United States because they are subject to expatriation without consent.