2016 Election, Elections, NewsEdge, Ted Cruz

Cruz’s birth in Canada unlikely to cloud run for president

12

preview_9739d93158694eddb8ab04a21627a719-9e1e60469ff54a6bbba4aa676eed2822-0WASHINGTON (AP) — It seems like only yesterday that skeptics of Barack Obama’s birth in Hawaii rushed to the Supreme Court to try to block the son of an American mother and Kenyan father from taking office as president. The justices turned away those challenges as fast as they arrived at the courthouse door, much as lower courts did.

Seven years later, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz is dealing with pointed remarks from rival Donald Trump that Cruz’s birth in Canada to an American mother and Cuban father raises doubt about his eligibility to be president and could dog his campaign for the White House. Trump had also famously questioned whether Obama was really born in Hawaii.

Some answers to questions about the constitutional requirements to be president, and Cruz’s situation:

Q: What does the Constitution say?

A: Article II sets out just three qualifications: The president must be at least 35 years old, a resident of the United States for 14 years and “a natural born citizen.” This last phrase has periodically spawned questions about presidential candidates who were born, or rumored to have been born, outside the United States.

Q: Where was Cruz born?

A: He was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, in 1970, and has released his birth certificate to prove it. His parents were then working in the oil business. His mother, Eleanor, is from Delaware, while his father, Rafael, is a Cuban who became a U.S. citizen in 2005.

Q: Does that make him a citizen?

A: Yes, Cruz is a U.S. citizen. He also was a Canadian citizen until he renounced that in 2014.

Q: Shouldn’t that be the end of the story?

A: The Constitution’s phrase, “natural born citizen” isn’t used elsewhere in the document or otherwise explained. It suggests to some people that only people born in the United States qualify as natural born, though many scholars reject that reading. It was speculation that Obama was born outside the country, even though his mother was American, that fueled the so-called birther movement.

Q: So what does “natural born citizen” mean?

A: It’s hard to answer definitively because the issue has never been resolved by U.S. courts or by the political process. The most common explanation is that someone who is a U.S. citizen at birth — with no need to go through the process of becoming a naturalized citizen — is a natural born citizen. That’s the case made last year by a pair of former top Justice Department officials, Republican Paul Clement and Democrat Neal Katyal, in the online Harvard Law Review Forum.

Under a law dating from the first Congress, which included men who drafted the Constitution, Cruz is a natural born citizen because his mother is an American, regardless of where he was born, Clement and Katyal wrote. That understanding of the constitutional phrase is consistent with the framers’ intent “to prevent someone who did not have a lifetime attachment to the United States from becoming president,” said University of San Diego law professorMichael Ramsey.

Q: Then why is there any uncertainty about the phrase’s meaning?

A: In short, because the Supreme Court has never weighed in on the question and is unlikely to, scholars said. “It’s the kind of question that the courts are almost allergic to and will stay away from if they can,” said Temple University law professor Peter Spiro. He said the issue falls into the category of political questions that courts prefer to let Congress and the president answer.

The consensus among legal elites makes court intervention even less likely, he said. One practical problem for challengers is the difficulty of showing they have been harmed, without which they have no right to be in court in the first place.

Q: Have the political branches addressed this issue?

A: When questions arose in 2008 about Republican nominee John McCain’s eligibility to serve because he was born in the Panama Canal Zone, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution stating that McCain was a natural born citizen. Among the resolution’s sponsors were then-Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

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By MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  • Fredrick R Smith

    Mark Sherman has shown by his comments that he knows absolutely noughting about the US Constitution. It would be the same as me, being a contractor, writing an article about brain surgery. He needs a lot of education about “Natural Born Citizen”.

  • dan9el

    Reality is that Ted Cruz is in the same predicament as Barack Obama;…..the liberal-democrats along with their sold-out RINO type republicans push Obama into the presidential platform and now the GOP is trying to do the same with Mr Cruz…for the fraudulent precedent – on Obama – already has been over-loaded through all USA…and many did swallow the pill.

  • marcus johannes

    I have always understood the phrase ( Natural Born Citizen ) as someone who was born in The United States or it`s Territory and both Parents had to be United States Citizens at the time of that Person`s Birth , There is mention of this in the Federalist Letters which they did not mention in this article , The premise being that The Founding Fathers of this Nation did not wan`t someone elected as President that had one or both Parents being the citizens of England for example or any other Foreign Country with the possibility of this Person having divided loyalty`s or a conflict of interest , Which was of great concern at the time ( The War of 1812 ) as example

  • GlobalThinkTank

    We let Obama slip by, now we’re attacking Cruz?… got to pick your fight a bit better. What is important is making sure no candidate leads the race with radical ideal changes… as we have seen in the last Four Administrations, starting with Bush Sr.

  • Karen Stickney

    And Barack Obama not being born in the United States matters, but Ted Cruz not being born here doesn’t? Just because Ted Cruz is a conservative doesn’t mean he can get away with that.

  • Dr. Bill

    As much as it pains me to say it, neither Barack Obama nor Ted Cruz is properly qualified to be president and here is why. The phrase “natural born citizen” was actually defined by John Jay, one of the original framers of the
    Constitution and the first Chief Justice of SCOTUS. It was not part of a case before the court so the definition was not officially enshrined in precedent, nevertheless, when asked to clarify the meaning, Jay stated that it meant someone born to parents who were BOTH American citizens. That is why John McCain was deemed qualified when his selection was questioned. The democrats cannot have it both ways however. If they argue through some twisted logic that Barack Obama was and is qualified to be president, then Ted Cruz is also qualified under the same logic. There is another twist to the Obama story that is not frequently mentioned. That is that his mother had not spent enough time in the US to allow her to pass on her citizenship. I know when my daughter was born in Montreal, I had to provide documentation that I had lived for more than ten consecutive years in the US in order for me to register her as a US citizen born abroad. Obama’s mother lived abroad off and on for years before giving birth to his majesty. It is highly unlikely that she spent more than ten consecutive years resident in the US before his birth.

  • LovesFreedom

    GO Cruz! Sen Cruz is the best qualified candidate for nomination of POTUS. He has stood for our Constitution his entire adult life. The question of his eligibility is silly as his mother was born in Maryland to Americans. If the argument were upheld, every child born on foreign soil to our military would not be an American citizen. Cruz is eligible AND highly qualified.

  • combdyn

    (+Dr Bill)
    Kudos for your presentation. Very few seem to understand the rationale of the founders. And while the Dems want to undermine this country, the Chief Muslim has set a precedent that will prove difficult to correct (if at all).
    The fact that the founders left the definition nebulous, does not detract from the current situation. Even if
    O’s mother birthed him in Kansas, his father was a British subject making him a Brit as well.
    Dual citizenship was never the intent of a possible POTUS.

  • Upaces

    According to the 1875 Minor v. Happersett unanimous precedent setting decision, the definition of a natural born citizen is; born in the US of citizen parents (plural). This decision has never been reversed or over-ruled and is totally consistent with the underlying legal philosophy (The Law of Nations, Natural Law) at the time the Constitution was written.

    It was never overturned in court.

  • gwedem5995

    I just want to remind people that John McCain was also born outside the country to US citizens. If you are pregnant and you are traveling to another country and you go into early labor and deliver in that country, are you going to tell me you are not a US citizen?

    • Dr. Bill

      No one is questioning whether Ted Cruz is a citizen, only whether he fits the definition of “Natural Born Citizen” as specified in the constitution. It only takes one US citizen parent for a child born abroad to be considered an American citizen, however if only ONE parent is an American citizen, that person MUST have lived for at least ten consecutive years in the US after starting school and before the child is born. That is the rule applied by the State Department for births registered at U.S. embassies and consulates of American children born abroad in order to recognize them as American citizens.. If Obama was really born in Kenya as demonstrated by a Kenyan birth certificate and a recorded interview with his grandmother where she stated she was actually at his birth in Kenya, because Ms. Dunham was not living for ten consecutive years in the US after starting school, she could not pass citizenship to him.

  • Gary Smith

    Trump must be worried

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