February 19, 2016
With law suits now piling up against his eligibility, Ted Cruz risks becoming a huge liability to the Republicans. Surely, the Democrats are waiting in the wings to pounce, should he get the nomination. In the meantime, there are challenges to his name on the ballot in Illinois, New York and Texas, with more to come. All he has to do is lose one.
A few weeks ago, on the SkyNews Debate, we broached the subject and, afterwards, I went into great detail on Facebook. Here is the prosecution case against Ted Cruz.
Ted Cruz was born in Canada, which is not disputed. His father is Cuban and his mother is American. But at the moment of his birth, Canadian citizenship was automatically ascribed to him. He is, in the eyes of Canada and the various treaties which recognize such things, including by the US, a natural born Canadian.
His American citizenship was bestowed upon him by US law through his mother. He also, most probably, could have claimed Cuban citizenship through his father. But his parents never asked for Cuban citizenship. They did however petition for US citizenship. Because this is a right granted to the children born abroad of at least one US citizen parent (with some very minor caveats) as soon as his mother requested a birth certificate from a competent US authority (embassy or consulate) it was automatically granted.
In other words, he is a citizen by statute.
Had she not requested it, moved her family back to the States and the day came when he wanted a US Passport, he would not have been given one. He would not have been considered a US citizen by virtue of his natural born Canadian status. That’s what it says on his original birth certificate. So she needed to ask for US citizenship to be granted.
Interestingly enough, he has not, to my knowledge, ever produced any papers confirming his US citizenship. Does he have a passport? How did he get it?. Does he have a certificate of birth of a US citizen born abroad? Did his mother ever bother to get one? Why doesn;t he produce it and let’s see what it says.
I understand the situation because I went through it with my children, both of whom were born in France. Within 12 hours of their birth, they had US Passports based on the issuance, by the US Consulate in Nice, of a certificate of birth of a US citizen born abroad. They are US citizens by statute. However, like Cruz, they are also natural born citizens of the country of their birth. In the case of my children, France.
And the term “natural born” is critical.
Like Cruz, my children hold dual-nationality. But you cannot be a “natural born citizen” of more than one country. You’re only born in one.
The Founding Fathers were well aware of this when they wrote the Constitution and set down, in stone, the requirements for the US Presidency.
Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 unequivocally states: “No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty-five years, and been fourteen years a resident within the United States.”
Cruz is over 35 and resident for more than 14 years. But he was not a citizen at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, nor is he a natural born citizen of the United States having been declared at birth a natural born citizen of Canada.
To highlight the fact that the Framers knew exactly what they were doing, saying that the presidency was not open to just any citizen but restricted to those born on US soil (ie, natural born) here’s what they said about requirements for election to the House and Senate.
“Qualifications of (House) Members: No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.”
“Qualifications of Senators: No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.”
Both clauses use the term “citizen of the United States.” Significantly, neither uses the term “natural born.” Any citizen can run for Congress. But the Framers specifically and purposely restricted the presidency to those citizens born on US soil, to wit “natural born.”
When it comes to the third branch of government, the judiciary, the Constitution does not set out any requirements for a seat on the Supreme Court. There is no mention of age or citizenship. In fact, a Supreme Court Justice doesn’t even need a law degree. It is only the president who must be “natural born.”
They knew exactly what they were doing.
There have been three presidential aspirants in recent times who have been subject to questions under the “natural born” requirement. The first was Barry Goldwater in 1964 who was born in the Arizona Territory before it became a state. No question, he was born on US soil. The second was Mitt Romney’s father George in 1968. He was born in a religious commune in Mexico. That both his parents were American citizens is of no importance. He was not a natural born American. He was a natural born Mexican. The third was John McCain who was born in the Panama Canal Zone. Although it was then technically a leasehold and not at the time officially considered US soil (that has since been amended) McCain was born in a US Naval hospital on a US Naval base which is considered sovereign US territory.
But Cruz is a natural born Canadian. He is not American by natural birth, he is American by virtue of his mother being American.
The issue has been raised several times over the past year or so, prompting Cruz finally, only just eight months ago, to renounce his Canadian citizenship. He is no longer a dual-national. But he is still not a “natural born” American. That cannot be renounced or erased. You are born where you are born.
He claims his eligibility to run for the presidency is settled law. But, his own Constitutional law professor at Harvard, Laurence Tribe, says it is not. Here’s Professor Tribe’s argument in the Boston Globe earlier this month: https://www.bostonglobe.com/…/zvKE6qpF31q2RsvPO9…/story.html
A more complete, scholarly argument against Cruz, is laid out in a wonderful paper by constitutional expert Mary Brigid McManamon, of the Widener University Delaware Law School.
This is the link to her 2015 paper: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2444766
A shortened, more user friendly version is found here, in an Op-Ed a few weeks ago for the Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/…/1484a7d0-b7af-11e5-99f3-18…
It goes without saying that there are people who disagree with her, arguing in favor of Cruz’s eligibility by interpreting “natural born citizen” to mean anyone who is a US citizen at birth. But that doesn’t hold water with McManamon because it is based on what she labels, a radical 18th-century British statute. Originalists, like Cruz and his right wing pals, the late Justice Scalia and Justice Thomas, claim that only the Framers’ words matter.
And the words included, deliberately and solely for the presidential requirements, are “natural born.” If they wanted to say any old citizen, they would have said that. They did for Congress. They did not for the presidency.
As Cruz will likely not be the Republican nominee, the matter will remain unsettled. There are, however, movements in some states… just in case… notably Illinois, to keep Cruz off the ballot on the basis of being ineligible. Other states, probably eventually all 50, prompted by interest groups in both political parties, would likely see similar suits filed. Cruz is, as many in his own party have pointed out, one of the most disliked men in Washington. This is a guy with very few friends.
Interestingly enough, when Donald Trump raised the birther issue during the 2008 campaign, insisting that Barack Obama was not eligible because he was a natural born Kenyan, Ted Cruz agreed. “Obama’s mother’s citizenship is irrelevant since his father wasn’t American and he wasn’t born in America. He can’t be president.”
(The fact that President Obama was born in Hawaii shows the extent to which Cruz ignores uncomfortable truths.)
But then, terminally delusional about himself, here’s what he said about his own eligibility. “All you need to know about my parentage is my mother was a citizen. My father and place of birth are irrelevant.”
To terminally delusional, add the words, blatant hypocrite.