What Happens when the President is Actually An Alien?

Supergirl knows how to create a Constitutional crisis. The big surprise at the end of “Distant Sun” is that the President of the United States is a shape-shifting alien.

This…is legally problematic. What the real President Olivia Marsdin kidnapped? Or has she been an alien all along?

The requirements to be President are that the individual must be a natural born citizen, at least thirty-five years old, and a resident within the United States for fourteen years. Article II, Section 1, United States Constitution.

A “natural born” citizen is someone who was born in the United States or their parents are US Citizens, thus they are a citizen by birth. Elliott v. Cruz, 137 A.3d 646, 655-56 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2016). While this has made interesting debates for Presidential candidates born on military bases abroad or to US citizens while overseas, there is a key similarity between all of them: they are human beings.

An actual “alien” born on a different planet, or born in the United States to non-human parents, is not a human being. The Framers intended for human beings to serve as President, which is why there is a lengthy debate as to human beings who are foreign born. There is nothing more foreign than being born on a different planet.

This raises interesting issues on Supergirl. If the President was kidnapped and replaced by a shape-shifting alien, any acts by the imposter would be unlawful. Bills signed would be invalid, because the President did not sign the legislation or Executive Order.

The situation is more complicated if the President was an alien all along who committed fraud on the American people. If that is the case, “Olivia Marsdin” was never eligible to serve, thus any actions by her would be unenforceable. The Vice President of the United States would then assume the presidency, assuming that individual is also a human being.

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Josh Gilliland

Josh Gilliland is a California attorney who focuses his practice on eDiscovery. Josh is the co-creator of The Legal Geeks, which has made the ABA Journal Top Blawg 100 Blawg for 2013 to 2016, the ABA Web 100 for Best Legal Blog and Podcast categories, and was nominated for Best Podcast for the 2015 Geekie Awards. Josh has presented at legal conferences and comic book conventions across the United States. He also ties a mean bow tie.

1 COMMENT

  1. Technically I don’t think anything in the Constitution requires the person to be human. Obviously a sentient non-human was not anticipated. However, after this article it has been revealed that she was born on another planet. Thus she is ineligible to be President of the USA. The DEO folks promising to keep her secret is beyond their authority. Constitutionally, once revealed she would have to be removed from office and everything she signed would be invalid, no matter how good/bad she is and how good/bad her decisions.