Since the issue of Natural Born Citizenship is of personal interest to us, we’ve been following closely the many discussions of the issue. An incredibly large number of news articles include a misleading phrase like:
Monmouth University asked Republicans nationally how they felt about Cruz’s eligibility to be president, given his birthplace. (Legal experts broadly agree that it is not an issue.) Nearly all Republicans felt confident that Trump is a “natural-born citizen” — the requirement for serving as president.
(click here to continue reading The increasing signs that Donald Trump’s ‘birther’ attack could be hurting Ted Cruz – The Washington Post.)
Did you catch that parenthetical: Legal experts broadly agree that it is not an issue. Except that statement is demonstratedly not true. There are no Supreme Court cases to cite because there are none, not because they are hidden or obscure. And legal experts are not in broad agreement.
or this aside, also from The Washington Post:
Legal scholars agree that Cruz meets the Constitution’s natural-born citizenship requirement, though it is untested in the courts.
(click here to continue reading Trump says Cruz’s Canadian birth could be ‘very precarious’ for GOP – The Washington Post.)
or this one from USA Today/Arizona Republic:
The legal consensus would appear to deem Cruz eligible to be president, as most legal scholars use historical context to interpret the intentions of the constitution’s framers.
(click here to continue reading Fact Check: Ted Cruz on constitutional clarity of ‘natural-born citizen’.)
Yeah, not so much. You get the idea, notice for yourself how many news articles will slip in a variation of “nothing to see here”.
On the other hand, there are smarter journalists like the Chicago Tribune’s Steve Chapman, who writes, in part:
There is no dispute that the Texas senator was a U.S. citizen from birth, since his mother was an American. Donald Trump has raised questions, though, about whether Cruz, being born in the great state of Alberta, qualifies as “a natural born citizen.”
Cruz dismisses the issue. “It’s settled law,” he says. “As a legal matter it’s quite straightforward.”
In fact, it’s never been settled, it’s not straightforward and some experts don’t agree with his reading.
The fact that it was Trump who raised the issue made it deeply suspect. But though it’s unlikely that anything coming out of Trump’s mouth is true, it’s not impossible. And his claim that this is an unresolved question that could end up throwing the election into doubt happens to be correct.
When it comes to parsing the crucial phrase, Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe has noted, “No Supreme Court decision in the past two centuries has ever done so. In truth, the constitutional definition of a ‘natural born citizen’ is completely unsettled.”
Tribe says that under an originalist interpretation of the Constitution — the type Cruz champions — he “wouldn’t be eligible, because the legal principles that prevailed in the 1780s and ’90s required that someone actually be born on U.S. soil to be a ‘natural born citizen.'”
Nor is Tribe alone among experts. University of Chicago law professor Eric Posner says, “The ordinary meaning of the language suggests to me that one must be born on U.S. territory.”
Chapman University’s Ronald Rotunda, co-author of a widely used constitutional law textbook, told me a couple of weeks ago he had no doubt that Cruz is eligible. But when he investigated the issue, he concluded that under the relevant Supreme Court precedents, “Cruz simply is not a natural born citizen.”
Catholic University law professor Sarah Helene Duggin wrote in 2005, “Natural born citizenship is absolutely certain only for United States citizens born post-statehood in one of the 50 states, provided that they are not members of Native American tribes.”
Steven Lubet, a Northwestern University law professor, spies another possible land mine. Cruz qualified for citizenship because his mother was an American citizen (unlike his father). But “under the law in effect in 1970, Cruz would only have acquired U.S. citizenship if his mother had been ‘physically present’ in the United States for 10 years prior to his birth, including five years after she reached the age of 14,” Lubet wrote in Salon.
(click here to continue reading Ted Cruz could be disqualified. GOP, is that worth the risk? – Chicago Tribune.)
In other words, this does not seem to be a settled matter, and it will not be until the SCOTUS takes the case, after someone with proper standing asks them to.
probably not this guy:
A Utah man has filed a federal lawsuit against Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, claiming he is not a natural-born citizen and thus, cannot be President of the United States.
Walter Wagner filed the lawsuit on his own in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City. He claims Cruz’s parents were seeking Canadian citizenship at the time of his birth.
(click here to continue reading Utah man suing Ted Cruz claiming he’s not a natural-born citizen | fox13now.com.)
and probably not this guy either:
An 85-year-old Houston trial lawyer has had enough of political debate over whether Sen. Ted Cruz’s Canadian birth affects his presidential eligibility, deciding Thursday to attempt to raise the issue in court.
Newton B. Schwartz, Sr. filed a complaint Thursday in U.S. District Court in Texas asking for a judgment concerning whether Mr. Cruz can run or serve as president.
Now a leading Republican presidential candidate, Mr. Cruz was born in Calgary, Alberta in 1970 to an American mother. His U.S. citizenship is not in doubt, but the Constitution sets out a requirement that the president and vice president be “natural-born” citizens. The phrase is left undefined by the Constitution and the question of presidential eligibility has never been firmly settled by the Supreme Court.
A former assistant U.S. attorney, Mr. Schwartz in an interview said he was surprised “nobody else filed it.” Mr. Schwartz in the complaint names himself as the plaintiff – noting in the complaint he was filing it “pro se and pro bono,” legal jargon meaning he would represent himself free.
“This 229-year question has never been pled, presented to or finally decided by or resolved by the U. S. Supreme Court and by any other U. S. Court of Appeals,” the lawsuit said.
Filing the case may be the easy part. Mr. Schwartz must now convince a judge he has standing, or the right, to bring the case and then that he has raised an issue the court must decide. He claims he has standing based on his eligibility as a voter in the Texas presidential primary and the November general election.
(click here to continue reading Houston Trial Lawyer Files Lawsuit on Ted Cruz’s Presidential Eligibility – Washington Wire – WSJ.)
There is also the irony that the target of the Natural Born controversy is Mr. Smug himself, Teddy Cruz…
The more natural reading of the language and original understanding of the “natural born” citizenship requirement therefore would seem to be that one needed to be born, as the 14th Amendment put it, “in the United States,” rather than that one had an American parent. The Constitution, as opposed to any statute, prescribes birthright citizenship, not lineage, as the constitutional definition of acquiring citizenship at birth. Any statute expanding that definition to take into account the massively increased mobility of American citizens since the rural agrarian roots of the Constitution in 1787 would provide a means of automatic naturalization. In short, the framers of both the original Constitution and the 14th Amendment seem to have distinguished between constitutionally and legislatively conferred citizenship. Those who acquire their citizenship by virtue of birth in the United States are, according to the 14th Amendment, constitutionally conferred citizens, which also seems to be the original understanding of “natural born” citizens. All others must secure their citizenship through legislative enactment, i.e. naturalization, whether with or without any required process or prerequisites.
The irony, of course, which cannot be lost on Sen. Ted Cruz, is that under the Constitution anyone born in the United States to a set of undocumented immigrants has a much clearer and more certain legal entitlement to run for president of the United States than he does. No wonder Cruz has railed against birthright citizenship, even though it is expressly contained in the first sentence of the 14th Amendment, a document he swore an oath of office to uphold.
(click here to continue reading Ted Cruz Is Not a ‘Natural Born’ Citizen According to the Constitution – US News.)