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Full-Text Articles in Legal History

Constitutional Backdrops, Stephen E. Sachs Jan 2012

Constitutional Backdrops, Stephen E. Sachs

Stephen E. Sachs

The Constitution is often said to leave important questions unanswered. These include, for example, the existence of a congressional contempt power or an executive removal power, the role of stare decisis, and the scope of state sovereign immunity. Bereft of clear text, many scholars have sought answers to such questions in Founding-era history. But why should the historical answers be valid today, if they were never codified in the Constitution's text? This Article describes a category of legal rules that weren't adopted in the text, expressly or implicitly, but which nonetheless have continuing legal force under the written ...


John Mccain's Citizenship: A Tentative Defense, Stephen E. Sachs Aug 2008

John Mccain's Citizenship: A Tentative Defense, Stephen E. Sachs

Stephen E. Sachs

Sen. John McCain was born a U.S. citizen and is eligible to be president. The most serious challenge to his status, recently posed by Prof. Gabriel Chin, contends that the statute granting citizenship to Americans born abroad did not include the Panama Canal Zone, where McCain was born in 1936. When Congress amended the law in 1937, he concludes, it was too late for McCain to be "natural born." Even assuming, however, that McCain's citizenship depended on this statute - and ignoring his claim to citizenship at common law - Chin's argument may be based on a misreading. When ...


Why John Mccain Was A Citizen At Birth, Stephen E. Sachs Jan 2008

Why John Mccain Was A Citizen At Birth, Stephen E. Sachs

Stephen E. Sachs

Senator John McCain was born a citizen in 1936. Professor Gabriel J. Chin challenges this view in this Symposium, arguing that McCain’s birth in the Panama Canal Zone (while his father was stationed there by the Navy) fell into a loophole in the governing statute. The best historical evidence, however, suggests that this loophole is an illusion and that McCain is a "natural born Citizen" eligible to be president.