Of course: Lawsuits filed in Texas, Florida over constitutional eligibility

posted at 3:21 pm on January 15, 2016 by Ed Morrissey

The showdown over eligibility may shift from the political arena to the courts – at least, it might if two plaintiffs get their way. Both Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio face legal challenges to their presidential ambitions based on the circumstances of their birth. In Florida, the challenge comes from a voter whose previous lawsuit against Barack Obama’s eligibility went nowhere, and names both Republican contenders. Rubio’s legal team didn’t exactly shrug it off, but asked the court to do so instead:

This week Rubio sought to have a court complaint in Florida against him thrown out, saying the argument “would jeopardize centuries of precedent and deem at least six former presidents ineligible for office.” (Last week he told reporters of Cruz, “I don’t think that’s an issue.”)

Rubio was born in Miami in 1971. But Rubio’s Cuban immigrant parents did not become U.S. citizens until 1975.

That’s convinced so-called birthers to conclude Rubio is ineligible under Article 2 of the Constitution, which says “no person except a natural born citizen … shall be eligible to the Office of President.” …

A Fort Lauderdale man, Michael Voeltz, filed a complaint against Rubio and Cruz in December, arguing they are “naturalized citizens, or at the very least, simply fail to comply with the common law Supreme Court established definition of natural born citizen …”

Rubio filed a motion to dismiss on Jan. 11. The 34-page filing, heretofore unknown, shows that Rubio’s legal team spent considerable time researching the issue. “Senator Rubio is a natural born citizen of the United States and he is eligible to be President of the United States,” it concludes.

Interestingly, the first argument in the motion goes to a lack of standing. That would be pretty much a standard approach to lawsuits anyway, but perhaps not the most politic of arguments. The motion argues that the question raises only a general claim of injury to the plaintiff rather than a “particularized” injury. While that’s based on plenty of precedent, it might rub some who see standing as a barrier to properly enforcing the Constitution the wrong way. That irritation might increase with the second major argument based on Berg v Obama that eligibility is “a non-justiciable political argument,” although again based on substantial precedent. Politically, Rubio is on much firmer ground with his positive argument in the latter part of the motion on what makes him an eligible candidate.

Meanwhile in Texas, Newton Schwartz has filed a new lawsuit to declare Cruz ineligible. Schwartz wants the suit to go straight to the Supreme Court:

The federal case filed in Texas argues that the question must be presented to the Supreme Court for fair adjudication instead of left up to popular consensus.

“The U.S. Constitution is not a popularity document for fair weather only,” says the lawsuit filed by Newton Schwartz says.

“However persuasive, one finds each side in this debate, the final decision ultimately rests in the hands of five or more of nine Justices on the Supreme Court as mandated by the Constitution.” …

The suit argues that the constitutional mandate that the president must be a “natural-born citizen” has never been settled in court and warned that the “mounting questionings crescendo” must be settled as soon as possible. It goes on to note the “persistent doubt” about President Obama’s eligibility.

Well, that would at least put an end to the debate, although it’s doubtful that the district court will pass the case directly to the Supreme Court. At least thus far, Cruz has not had the opportunity to file a brief in this case, but it will probably follow along the same lines as Rubio’s motion in Florida, asking to dismiss it outright. Who knows, though? Cruz did a pretty good job of arguing his case last night, and might relish representing himself at the Supreme Court in an emergency hearing — assuming that the Supreme Court would bother to hear it, which is a fairly large assumption at this point.

Don’t get your hopes up, though. The courts steered very far clear of this issue with Obama, and there’s no reason to think they want to get themselves ensnared in this debate now. If Congress wants to clarify the phrase “natural-born citizen,” they have plenty of room to do so, and the courts will probably be happy in this one instance to send the controversy to Capitol Hill.


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Comments

If being born in a foreign country of a foreign father and only a mother who is an American citizen, makes one a Natural Born American (the highest level, the one uniquely required to be President [or VP]), then Natural Born American has really been “dumbed down” from what the Founding Fathers had in mind.

I, for example, and by great contrast to Ted Cruz, was born in America of an American citizen father and an American citizen mother.

Plus, Ted Cruz had dual citizenship until just a year or two ago, so he is even less of a match to a regular classic Natural Born American! I think he still does in a sense have dual citizenship though having ditched Canada, but keeping Goldman Sachs.

If Ted Cruz is a Natural Born American, what does that make me? How can we be the same when our circumstances of birth were so different, only 1 in 3 items (1 in 4 considering any dual citizenship) matching?

I guess the same way a 5’2″, 110# woman can become a Fire Fighter or a Navy Seal – or someone can get an A grade when they only get 1/3 or 1/4 of the questions right – lower the standards and by a whole lot, to the point of being only 1 step above meaningless.. As Mark Twain would say, “a sarcasm, a burlesque, nothing but a joke”.

VorDaj on January 15, 2016 at 3:24 PM

That’s convinced so-called birthers to conclude Rubio is ineligible under Article 2 of the Constitution

Look, liberals finally found a use for the constitution.

antipc on January 15, 2016 at 3:27 PM

They are probably working for Rubio and Cruz to block out serious challenges by people with standing. That strategy has been around forever.

Buddahpundit on January 15, 2016 at 3:27 PM

The Constitution will be restored, from the Left.

Rejoice America!!!

Schadenfreude on January 15, 2016 at 3:28 PM

Did I read correctly that NEITHER of Rubio’s parents were even citizens when he was born?

That sound like an even bigger issue than Cruz’s.

celt on January 15, 2016 at 3:30 PM

So Josephk’s real name is Newton Schwartz…no wonder he’s such a putz

Rogue on January 15, 2016 at 3:32 PM

Trump & the liberal’s rejoice.

Birds of a feather….

Donald Trump has been uncommonly nice to Hillary and me. We’re all New Yorkers. And I like him. And I love playing golf with him.

Bill Clinton, as quoted in “Bill Clinton Said What?” (4 June 2012), Salon

portlandon on January 15, 2016 at 3:33 PM

Did I read correctly that NEITHER of Rubio’s parents were even citizens when he was born?

That sound like an even bigger issue than Cruz’s.

celt on January 15, 2016 at 3:30 PM

No wonder he’s all for amnesty…he’s an anchor baby

Rogue on January 15, 2016 at 3:35 PM

Look, liberals finally found a use for the constitution.

antipc on January 15, 2016 at 3:27 PM

Ha! That’s funny…yes, finally a reason to actually read a snippet.

right2bright on January 15, 2016 at 3:36 PM

Hmm. If the case against Rubio goes against him by declaring him not to be a citizen, will that automatically mean that all “anchor babies” are similarly defrocked of their citizenship?

Worms meet can.

SouthernRoots on January 15, 2016 at 3:36 PM

I just don’t get this. Someone, please explain to me how the physical act of being born on US soil makes one a patriot, while being born elsewhere disqualifies.

I’m not talking legally. That looks to be a battle yet ahead. I’m just talking emotionally. How is being born on US soil any kind of guarantee the POTUS will be a true American? I can post list after list of NBC’s who have committed acts of terror and treason against our country and people.

Trump is pro-abortion, is on record praising Hillary to the skies, and has bankrupted multiple companies, and so-called conservatives keep praising him to the skies. While Ted Cruz, who has spent his whole career standing up for conservative principles is crucified over something that demonstrates no proof of Americanism whatsoever.

America has lost its collective mind.

idalily on January 15, 2016 at 3:38 PM

The Courts are scared for the reason most people are. It’s not PC to challenge anyone of foreign birth. They’re sacrosanct.

cimbri on January 15, 2016 at 3:38 PM

Ergh. Well, if it isn’t resolved it actually could cause problems for republicans. Obama the kenyan-indonesian-hawiian was given a pass, but he’s a progressive liberal socialist. That same pass will not be given to a republican, no matter how progressive he might be, as rubio is.

They best go to court, and fast. Trump was right on that one, but I was thinking about Cruz’ problem, not about rubio too.

Andy__B on January 15, 2016 at 3:39 PM

You’d think with the bams birth certificate fiasco, any first generation American politician would
get their (legal birth) ducks in a row before throwing their hat in the ring.
This has been the pubs problem all along… always falling two steps behind from the opposition.

31giddyup on January 15, 2016 at 3:42 PM

America has lost its collective mind.

idalily on January 15, 2016 at 3:38 PM

Yeah, but that was a while ago.

Schadenfreude on January 15, 2016 at 3:42 PM

The Courts are scared for the reason most people are. It’s not PC to challenge anyone of foreign birth. They’re sacrosanct.

cimbri on January 15, 2016 at 3:38 PM

Plus, the globalists and their money pimps want to keep it open for any illegals.

Schadenfreude on January 15, 2016 at 3:43 PM

They are probably working for Rubio and Cruz to block out serious challenges by people with standing. That strategy has been around forever.

Buddahpundit on January 15, 2016 at 3:27 PM

Pretty much anybody can file a lawsuit over anything. That doesn’t mean that the case won’t get dismissed, but at least the case got filed.

If someone with standing has a serious challenge, then they should go ahead and file their lawsuit. Rubio, Cruz, and their allies can’t stop the lawsuit from being filed.

J.S.K. on January 15, 2016 at 3:44 PM

Don’t get your hopes up, though. The courts steered very far clear of this issue with Obama, and there’s no reason to think they want to get themselves ensnared in this debate now.

.
Unless, of course, it’s a bunch of Obama appointees looking to have some fun at Ted Cruz’s expense.

PolAgnostic on January 15, 2016 at 3:45 PM

Don’t get your hopes up, though. The courts steered very far clear of this issue with Obama, and there’s no reason to think they want to get themselves ensnared in this debate now. If Congress wants to clarify the phrase “natural-born citizen,” they have plenty of room to do so, and the courts will probably be happy in this one instance to send the controversy to Capitol Hill.

They did. But apparently some people need to be reminded of it.

Look, liberals finally found a use for the constitution.

antipc on January 15, 2016 at 3:27 PM

I couldn’t have phased that better myself….

Turtle317 on January 15, 2016 at 3:45 PM

Constitution References Laws of Nation

Law of Nations: § 212. Citizens and natives

“The citizens are the members of the civil society; bound to this society by certain duties, and subject to its authority, they equally participate in its advantages. The natives, or natural-born citizens, are those born in the country, of parents who are citizens.”

Supreme Court (Many More)

“The Constitution does not, in words, say who shall be a Natural Born Citizen. Resort must be had elsewhere to ascertain that. At common-law, with the nomenclature of which the Framers of the Constitution were familiar, it was never doubted that all Children born in a Country of Parents who were themselves, upon their birth, Citizens also. These were Natives, or, Natural Born Citizens as distinguished from aliens or foreigners.” Minor v. Happersett, 88 U.S. 162, 168

Congressional Record

“All from other lands, who by the terms of [congressional] laws and a compliance with their provisions become naturalized, are adopted citizens of the United States; all other persons born within the Republic, of parents owing allegiance to no other sovereignty, are natural born citizens. Gentleman can find no exception to this statement touching natural-born citizens except what is said in the Constitution relating to Indians.” (Cong. Globe, 37th, 2nd Sess., 1639 (1862))

Under Sec. 1992 of U.S. Revised Statutes (1866) made clear other nation’s citizens would not be claimed: “All persons born in the United States and not subject to any foreign power, excluding Indians not taxed, are declared to be citizens of the United States.”

Rep. John A. Bingham commenting on Section 1992 said it means “every human being born within the jurisdiction of the United States of parents not owing allegiance to any foreign sovereignty is, in the language of your Constitution itself, a natural born citizen.” (Cong. Globe, 39th, 1st Sess.,1291 (1866))

One universal point most all early publicists agreed on was natural-born citizen must mean one who is a citizen by no act of law. If a person owes their citizenship to some act of law (naturalization for example), they cannot be considered a natural-born citizen. This leads us to defining natural-born citizen under the laws of nature – laws the founders recognized and embraced.

Under the laws of nature, every child born requires no act of law to establish the fact the child inherits through nature his/her father’s citizenship as well as his name (or even his property) through birth. This law of nature is also recognized by law of nations. Sen. Howard said the citizenship clause under the Fourteenth Amendment was by virtue of “natural law and national law.”

The advantages of Natural Law is competing allegiances between nations are not claimed, or at least with those nations whose custom is to not make citizens of other countries citizens without their consent. Under Sec. 1992 of U.S. Revised Statutes (1866) made clear other nation’s citizens would not be claimed: “All persons born in the United States and not subject to any foreign power, excluding Indians not taxed, are declared to be citizens of the United States.”

Rep. John A. Bingham commenting on Section 1992 said it means “every human being born within the jurisdiction of the United States of parents not owing allegiance to any foreign sovereignty is, in the language of your Constitution itself, a natural born citizen.” (Cong. Globe, 39th, 1st Sess.,
1291 (1866))

Bingham had asserted the same thing in 1862 as well:

“Does the gentleman mean that any person, born within the limits of the Republic, and who has offended against no law, can rightfully be exiled from any State or from any rood of the Republic? Does the gentleman undertake to say that here, in the face of the provision in the Constitution, that persons born within the limits of the Republic, of parents who are not the subjects of any other sovereignty, are native-born citizens, whether they be black or white? There is not a textbook referred to in any court which does not recognise the principle that I assert.” (Cong. Globe, 37th, 2nd Sess., 407 (1862))

Bingham of course was paraphrasing Vattel whom often used the plural word “parents” but made it clear it was the father alone for whom the child inherits his/her citizenship from (suggesting a child could be born out of wedlock wasn’t politically correct). Bingham subscribed to the same view as most everyone in Congress at the time that in order to be born a citizen of the United States one must be born within the allegiance of the Nation. As the court has consistently ruled without controversy, change of location never changes or alters a persons allegiance to their country of origin except by acting in accordance to written law in throwing off their previous allegiance and consenting to a new one.

This of course, explains why emphasis of not owing allegiance to anyone else was the effect of being subject to the jurisdiction of the United States under the Fourteenth Amendment.

The constitutional requirement for the President of the United States to be a natural-born citizen had one purpose according to St. George Tucker:

“That provision in the constitution which requires that the president shall be a native-born citizen (unless he were a citizen of the United States when the constitution was adopted,) is a happy means of security against foreign influence, which, wherever it is capable of being exerted, is to he dreaded more than the plague. The admission of foreigners into our councils, consequently, cannot be too much guarded against; their total exclusion from a station to which foreign nations have been accustomed to, attach ideas of sovereign power, sacredness of character, and hereditary right, is a measure of the most consummate policy and wisdom. …The title of king, prince, emperor, or czar, without the smallest addition to his powers, would have rendered him a member of the fraternity of crowned heads: their common cause has more than once threatened the desolation of Europe. To have added a member to this sacred family in America, would have invited and perpetuated among us all the evils of Pandora’s Box.

Charles Pinckney in 1800 said the presidential eligibility clause was designed “to insure … attachment to the country.” President Washington warned a “passionate attachment of one nation for another, produces a variety of evils,” and goes on to say:

“Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest, in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter, without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation, of privileges denied to others, which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained; and by exciting jealousy, ill- will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld.

And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens, (who devote themselves to the favorite nation,) facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearance of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.

What better way to insure attachment to the country then to require the President to have inherited his American citizenship through his American father and not through a foreign father

billofrights on January 15, 2016 at 3:45 PM

You knew the left was going to take this to the courts. The sooner it’s decided, the better.

bw222 on January 15, 2016 at 3:47 PM

George Romney did the right thing and dropped out.

Cruz should do the same.

weedisgood on January 15, 2016 at 3:48 PM

VorDaj on January 15, 2016 at 3:24 PM

There are only two “levels” of citizenship: Natural Born or Naturalized.

Anyone who isn’t the latter (foreign-born to aliens) is the former (born on U.S. soil and/or born to a US citizen parent.) That there is an “or” condition is mostly a botched reading of the 14th Amendment, but that does not mean you become a “Semi-Natural” citizen if you are, say, born in the Panama Canal Zone or in Mexico.

Anyone going down the birther route should stop supporting Trump. If we want to be super-double plus sure we only get the narrowest slice of eligible candidates, Trump’s Scotland-born mother is an impediment to his bid and we can’t have that cloud hanging over us.

BKennedy on January 15, 2016 at 3:48 PM

Ah screw it. We’re so dumb as a country we can’t even decide what constitutes a citizen or not.

Who the hell gives a flying monkey poo anymore – this is all so trivial and meaningless that it really does boggle the mind that the collective idiocy that has infected this country has maintained superpower status.

It really is a testament to the strength of our previous generations who gave us this great nation so we could turn around and figuratively cover its proverbial walls with poop swastikas.

Defenestratus on January 15, 2016 at 3:50 PM

billofrights on January 15, 2016 at 3:45 PM

BIG +. Well presented, sir.

Turtle317 on January 15, 2016 at 3:52 PM

VorDaj on January 15, 2016 at 3:24 PM

You forgot the part of the 1790 immigration law that stated that said foreign male would do if he were white and had been resident in the United States for at least three years. And the other part about even a Citizen not having been proscribed by any state. And the part about the woman’s nationality not mattering (in spite of the possibility that only her DNA and not his was part of the child).

To get the compass of “the Founders”, you’d have to look not only at the 1790 law but the 1795 immigration law too — the latter tightening down the time period from three years to five.

The changes between 1790 and 1795 were due to Congress and the President being of a different political party, so, all in all, looking at any immigration law is not going to give a good sense of “the Founders” because of the horse-trading needed to get such a law through Congress.

I don’t think we can look at any law to understand the Founders — we can only look at the Constitution. But when we look there — we have to ask ourselves “what Constitution” because the original one had one idea about blackfolk and the current one has a different idea. [Translation: #amendmentsmatter]

unclesmrgol on January 15, 2016 at 3:53 PM

Ah screw it. We’re so dumb as a country we can’t even decide what constitutes a citizen or not.

Who the hell gives a flying monkey poo anymore – this is all so trivial and meaningless that it really does boggle the mind that the collective idiocy that has infected this country has maintained superpower status.

It really is a testament to the strength of our previous generations who gave us this great nation so we could turn around and figuratively cover its proverbial walls with poop swastikas.

Defenestratus on January 15, 2016 at 3:50 PM

Glad the majority of them aren’t here to see it.
Don’t think I could look in their eyes…

31giddyup on January 15, 2016 at 3:54 PM

So, the Supreme Court is supposed to have some power to impose same-sex pseudo-marriage on the entire country, but can’t rule as to the Consitutional eligibility of a Presidenial candidate.

Beam me up, Scotty.

corona79 on January 15, 2016 at 3:54 PM

This kind thing is getting ridiculous. If Obama is eligible, than so is Cruz. Now Rubio, with neither parent being an American citizen, could actually be an issue. Of course, that would also negate the Left’s reinterpretation of the 14th ammendment. Rubio is the very definition of an anchor baby, and they’re totes awesomest and entitled to everythaaang.

Ironically, it may take a Cruz/Rubio/Trump presidency to finally push us to a constitutional ammendment to finally define a NBC. Look at how easily the 22nd was ratified after FDR. Btw, we also need to raise the age of the president since people are living much longer now than they were in the 18th century. Just think of how long we’re going to have to listen now to “Former President Barry Soetero”.

New amendment:
1. shall be no less than 45 years old and more than 65 years old at time of election;
2. shall have been born in the United States or its Territories; except where one or more parents in on diplomatic or military assignement overseas;
3. both parents shall be US citizens at time of birth
4. after four years after leaving office, shall no longer have any right to government-funded personal protection;
5. immediately after leaving office shall no longer have right to use “President” as a title, honorific, salutation or prefix (i.e. no more President Bush, President Obama, etc. But acceptable as a generic descriptor, as in “Former US president Mr. Ronald Reagan.)

#5 actually needs to be applied to all public office. We have allowed an aristocracy to be built up where these people hold onto titles for life. Jeb Bush is no longer a governor. He has no right to be called “Governor Bush”.

Nutstuyu on January 15, 2016 at 3:55 PM

Rubio was born in Miami in 1971. But Rubio’s Cuban immigrant parents did not become U.S. citizens until 1975.

For him to not be a natural born citizen means all of those anchor babies are not legal.

Johnnyreb on January 15, 2016 at 3:55 PM

Anyone can file a lawsuit. It means nothing. There is no doubt that Cruz is a citizen by birth, all that is needed to run for POTUS.

But it is a smart political move to keep the FUD in the news. Whatever air Cruz is getting, he needs to spend on talking about this. In hindsight, I think that he should have hired someone to file a lawsuit months ago to put the matter to rest before now.

MJBrutus on January 15, 2016 at 3:56 PM

VorDaj on January 15, 2016 at 3:24 PM

“Natural Born American” isn’t even a constitutional term. If you are going to argue something, at least use the correct term.

SquireB on January 15, 2016 at 3:59 PM

Nutstuyu on January 15, 2016 at 3:55 PM

Good luck with that, Champ.

P.S. I can still call you Champ, right :-)

MJBrutus on January 15, 2016 at 3:59 PM

Ah screw it. We’re so dumb as a country we can’t even decide what constitutes a citizen or not.

Defenestratus on January 15, 2016 at 3:50 PM

We’re so screwed up that many think the 14th Amendment bestows birthright citizenship on children of those in the country illegally.

bw222 on January 15, 2016 at 4:04 PM

Anyone can file a lawsuit. It means nothing. There is no doubt that Cruz is a citizen by birth, all that is needed to run for POTUS.

But it is a smart political move to keep the FUD in the news. Whatever air Cruz is getting, he needs to spend on talking about this. In hindsight, I think that he should have hired someone to file a lawsuit months ago to put the matter to rest before now.

MJBrutus on January 15, 2016 at 3:56 PM

I agree that Cruz is a natural born citizen by birth. However, as in most lawsuits, the purpose here is to hang Cruz in the court of public opinion – not to actually come to terms with what the law allows for Presidential eligibility – as the law says, Cruz is a natural born citizen jus sanguinis.

I find debates on a candidates views on policy matter, but to go to such extremes to undermine eligibility vs. substance? This is the kind of tactic Obama was famous for – discrediting eligibility so he was the only candidate left.

This, I find disturbing.

Turtle317 on January 15, 2016 at 4:04 PM

I see only a few outcomes, all of them against the birthers

No standing – dismissed

It is the responsibility of Congress to define natural born better.

The states verified eligibility to be on the ballot. They are thus eligible, as no state + DC has declared either ineligible there is no argument.

clement on January 15, 2016 at 4:09 PM

They’re both citizens, IMO. At least they can prove it.

Nutstuyu on January 15, 2016 at 3:55 PM

I would add:

If a Senator or Congressional representative should run, said person should not have served for less than six years

Taxpayer funds will not be used for personal travel expenses (vacations)

WestVirginiaRebel on January 15, 2016 at 4:09 PM

George Romney did the right thing and dropped out.

Cruz should do the same.

weedisgood on January 15, 2016 at 3:48 PM

I’m thinking the USofA would be better off with a guy born in the wrong place to the right people rather than with an old gal who flaunts the law with regularity for decades.

antipc on January 15, 2016 at 4:12 PM

Rubio is an anchor baby? That explains a lot…

Serious Drivel on January 15, 2016 at 4:16 PM

What the hell, if illegals can vote they may as well run for office. Shouldn’t that be the default democrat position?

cornbred on January 15, 2016 at 4:18 PM

I find it amazing that so called ‘conservatives’ have no problem picking and choosing, what parts of Constitution should be observed.

When the founders created the Constitution they heavily relied on Vattel – George Washington even famously never returned a checked out copy of Vattel’s The Law of Nations – or the Principles of Natural Law.

The below section contains Vattel’s definition of ‘natural born citizen’, and has been cited in a number of Supreme Court cases. This section would apply to both Rubio, and Cruz.

§ 212. Citizens and natives.
The citizens are the members of the civil society; bound to this society by certain duties, and subject to its authority, they equally participate in its advantages. The natives, or natural-born citizens, are those born in the country, of parents who are citizens. As the society cannot exist and perpetuate itself otherwise than by the children of the citizens, those children naturally follow the condition of their fathers, and succeed to all their rights. The society is supposed to desire this, in consequence of what it owes to its own preservation; and it is presumed, as matter of course, that each citizen, on entering into society, reserves to his children the right of becoming members of it. The country of the fathers is therefore that of the children; and these become true citizens merely by their tacit consent. We shall soon see whether, on their coming to the years of discretion, they may renounce their right, and what they owe to the society in which they were born. I say, that, in order to be of the country, it is necessary that a person be born of a father who is a citizen; for, if he is born there of a foreigner, it will be only the place of his birth, and not his country.

The below section is relevant to Cruz only.

§ 215. Children of citizens born in a foreign country.
It is asked whether the children born of citizens in a foreign country are citizens? The laws have decided this question in several countries, and their regulations must be followed.2 By the law of nature alone, children follow the condition of their fathers, and enter into all their rights (§ 212); the place of birth produces no change in this particular, and cannot, of itself, furnish any reason for taking from a child what nature has given him; I say “of itself,” for, civil or political laws may, for particular reasons, ordain otherwise. But I suppose that the father has not entirely quitted his country in order to settle elsewhere. If he has fixed his abode in a foreign country, he is become a member of another society, at least as a perpetual inhabitant; and his children will be members of it also.

Mashman on January 15, 2016 at 4:19 PM

This, I find disturbing.

Turtle317 on January 15, 2016 at 4:04 PM

I find it politics as usual. I don’t like tRump but I have to admire what he’s accomplished and think that he will probably win this thing. I have been hoping that Cruz would win for some time now but I don’t think he’ll be able to beat Thedonald.

Sure, it’s not exactly cricket but you gotta hand it to him. His timing in bringing it up has been brilliant as have many of his other moves (tagging Bush as “low energy” and the rest). Along the way, he has managed to armor himself in some kind of new ceramic coating we’ve never seen before.

I’m coming to think that he truly is an evil genius with a lair hidden beneath some obscure volcanic island.

MJBrutus on January 15, 2016 at 4:20 PM

A citizen at birth is judged to have natural allegiance at birth and is a natural born citizen.

A naturalized citizen is not a citizen at birth.

Women were not adjudicated to be citizens in the USA until the 1870’s. Hard to have two citizen parents if women were not citizens.

The citizenship claims of other nations are immaterial. If Trump was a British citizen at birth because of his Scottish mother it makes no difference.

The first US President to be a natural born citizen was Van Buren. There are currently only two types of US citizen : natural born or naturalized.

Mordaukar on January 15, 2016 at 4:28 PM

I find it politics as usual. I don’t like tRump but I have to admire what he’s accomplished and think that he will probably win this thing. I have been hoping that Cruz would win for some time now but I don’t think he’ll be able to beat Thedonald.

Sure, it’s not exactly cricket but you gotta hand it to him. His timing in bringing it up has been brilliant as have many of his other moves (tagging Bush as “low energy” and the rest). Along the way, he has managed to armor himself in some kind of new ceramic coating we’ve never seen before.

I’m coming to think that he truly is an evil genius with a lair hidden beneath some obscure volcanic island.

MJBrutus on January 15, 2016 at 4:20 PM

Here, must agree. To say The Donald isn’t a shrewd man who knows his audience would be foolhardy.

May he also have Despicable Me minions as well.

I think it would be a nice touch, anyway.

Turtle317 on January 15, 2016 at 4:33 PM

I, for example, and by great contrast to Ted Cruz, was born in America of an American citizen father and an American citizen mother.

John McCain was born in Panama.
Your argument is invalid.
Thanks for playing.

orangemtl on January 15, 2016 at 4:39 PM

VorDaj on January 15, 2016 at 3:24 PM

By the strictest and most common claimed definition of Natural Born Citizen, the two citizen parents and on soil, President Chester A. Arthur would be disqualified. He only had one parent a citizen at birth (his father was Irish and didn’t become an American citizen until Chester was 14) and there is some dispute whether or not he was born in Canada or Vermont.

And, there are exactly *two* levels of citizenship – At birth (natural born) and naturalized. Cruz is not naturalized. And yes, that is the “highest level” of citizenship – just like yours.

Jeff Weimer on January 15, 2016 at 4:40 PM

George Romney did the right thing and dropped out.

Cruz should do the same.

weedisgood on January 15, 2016 at 3:48 PM

Romney was the Killary of the 68 election, a piss poor campaigner.

RickB on January 15, 2016 at 4:41 PM

What better way to insure attachment to the country then to require the President to have inherited his American citizenship through his American father and not through a foreign father

billofrights on January 15, 2016 at 3:45 PM

Historically the father, because women, in many countries could not own property or have any ownership rights…the women themselves were chattel.

The important concept is, it’s not where they were born, but to whom…and in the modern day, women can have ownership and are (by law) equal parent.

So natural born can flow from either parent, father or mother…

right2bright on January 15, 2016 at 4:41 PM

Trump tried to tell ya’ll.

Can.I.be.in.the.middle on January 15, 2016 at 4:42 PM

weedisgood on January 15, 2016 at 3:48 PM

Many of us have felt the same way about you here on HA and yet here you are still.

Neitherleftorright on January 15, 2016 at 4:48 PM

Can we start with not confusing this with the “anchor baby” issue. Putting aside that Rubio’s parents were here legally to the extent that’s relevant, it’s entirely possible that he was born a citizen, but wouldn’t be considered a natural born citizen for constitutional purposes.

Progressive Heretic on January 15, 2016 at 4:48 PM

There are currently only two types of US citizen : natural born or naturalized.

Mordaukar on January 15, 2016 at 4:28 PM

And, there are exactly *two* levels of citizenship – At birth (natural born) and naturalized.

Jeff Weimer on January 15, 2016 at 4:40 PM

There is only ONE “level” of citizenship. There are, however, THREE ways to attain citizenship: Natural Born, Foreign Born, and Naturalized.

PseudoRandom on January 15, 2016 at 4:50 PM

Rubio is an anchor baby? That explains a lot…

Serious Drivel on January 15, 2016 at 4:16 PM

What the hell, if illegals can vote they may as well run for offic

This is what you say when you are ignorant of how immigration laws work.

Being a U.S. Citizen is not the only legal status for an immigrant. In fact, it’s optional. You can apply for a greencard (which gives you right to reside/work/pay taxes, but not vote) which is part of legal immigration. If someone gets to the US through various legal channels to live here, having a kid here is not the same as an anchor baby.

Anchor baby are ppl who came here illegally, and have a kid (hard to proof it was done on purpose, unless they literally deliver right after crossing the border) her to claim residency right that way.

Hope this helps.

Can.I.be.in.the.middle on January 15, 2016 at 4:50 PM

It’s patently clear that Ted Cruz is a subversive in disguise and wants to infiltrate the presidency in order to hand over the US to Canada. This has been brewing since the invasion of Canada during the war of 1812.

Neitherleftorright on January 15, 2016 at 4:54 PM

Hope this helps.

Can.I.be.in.the.middle on January 15, 2016 at 4:50 PM

I guess I actually did need that /sarc tag for some people…

Serious Drivel on January 15, 2016 at 4:54 PM

http://citizenwells.com/2011/01/16/natural-born-citizen-us-code-title-8-section-1401-philip-j-berg-lawsuit-obama-eligibility/

“Currently, Title 8 of the U.S. Code fills in the gaps left by the Constitution. Section 1401 defines the following as people who are “citizens of the United States at birth:”

•Anyone born inside the United States *
•Any Indian or Eskimo born in the United States, provided being a citizen of the U.S. does not impair the person’s status as a citizen of the tribe
•Any one born outside the United States, both of whose parents are citizens of the U.S., as long as one parent has lived in the U.S.
•Any one born outside the United States, if one parent is a citizen and lived in the U.S. for at least one year and the other parent is a U.S. national
•Any one born in a U.S. possession, if one parent is a citizen and lived in the U.S. for at least one year
•Any one found in the U.S. under the age of five, whose parentage cannot be determined, as long as proof of non-citizenship is not provided by age 21
Any one born outside the United States, if one parent is an alien and as long as the other parent is a citizen of the U.S. who lived in the U.S. for at least five years (with military and diplomatic service included in this time)
•A final, historical condition: a person born before 5/24/1934 of an alien father and a U.S. citizen mother who has lived in the U.S.
* There is an exception in the law — the person must be “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States. This would exempt the child of a diplomat, for example, from this provision.

Anyone falling into these categories is considered natural-born, and is eligible to run for President or Vice President. These provisions allow the children of military families to be considered natural-born, for example.”

dillydally on January 15, 2016 at 4:57 PM

PseudoRandom on January 15, 2016 at 4:50 PM

Nope. There are 2 ways to attain citizenship. By birth and by naturalization. Naturalized citizens may not be POTUS and that restriction is what he meant by a “2nd level”.

MJBrutus on January 15, 2016 at 5:00 PM

If someone running for president was 22 years old, would the courts refuse standing or claiming that someone wasn’t injured enough to step in and say that the person is ineligible?

The way these things get handled is that everyone is eligible to run. Nothing can stop anyone.

blink on January 15, 2016 at 3:29 PM

The age requirement is unequivocal. You can’t “interpret” 35 to mean 22 (except maybe with Common Core math). What constitutes “natural born” however, is subject to interpretation. Still, I agree with you. Somebody in this government needs to be in the position of certifying that candidates for our highest office are eligible.

Occams Stubble on January 15, 2016 at 5:35 PM

Cruz did a pretty good job of arguing his case last night,

No, he didn’t. He used a diversion instead of arguing facts.

Trump was born in this country of two citizen parents — one native born (and maybe natural born) citizen (father) and one naturalized citizen (mother).

Cruz meets ONLY ONE of these three characteristics!

One for 3 makes a great batting average, but fails miserably on the natural born test.

George Romney, Goldwater, McCain, Obama, Rubio, and Cruz all fail the test of being born in the UNITED STATES (not territories or zones) and of two citizen parents.

My grandparents immigrated through the front door of Ellis Island and signed the guest book on the way in.

Both of my parents were born in this country of naturalized citizens.

I must be a super-duper citizen if Cruz or Rubio are natural born citizens.

fred5678 on January 15, 2016 at 5:38 PM

So Josephk’s real name is Newton Schwartz…no wonder he’s such a putz

Rogue on January 15, 2016 at 3:32 PM

I’m not the putz who said, last night, while laughing off the issue, that there was “zero” chance that anyone would file a lawsuit.

I’m not the putz who said, last night, that the “extreme” birther position would prevent Trump from being eligible, when it would not.

We know who that putz is, don’t we?

Joseph K on January 15, 2016 at 5:39 PM

The great thing about this controversy is that Laurence Tribe probably agrees with Cruz that he’s eligible. But Cruz the originalist disagrees with Cruz the ambitious hustler.

Of course, we all know Cruz doesn’t like the Tribe. Maybe I shouldn’t call him a putz.

Joseph K on January 15, 2016 at 5:42 PM

dillydally on January 15, 2016 at 4:57 PM

Title 8 of the U.S. Code fills in the gaps left by the Constitution. Section 1401 defines the following as people who are “citizens of the United States at birth:”

These are all definitions of naturalized citizens as determined by Congress. Congress doesn’t determine who is natural born.

If someone is a citizen at birth because of an act of congress, he is a citizen by naturalization, not natural born.

fred5678 on January 15, 2016 at 5:44 PM

I bet these lawsuits will get more traction than they did over Obama’s status did.

This country dropped the ball big time on that one.

If most Americans, and 100% of the government didn’t care back in 2008, why should they care now?

Oh, that’s right…Cruz is a Republican.

Dr. ZhivBlago on January 15, 2016 at 5:52 PM

dillydally on January 15, 2016 at 4:57 PM

Citizen WElles is a birther site and questions Cruz’s eligibility. They are debunking the use of Title 8 of the U.S. Code to define “natural born citizen”. The section you quote is incorrect; further down, the site quotes the correct text.

You knew that, right?

Joseph K on January 15, 2016 at 5:52 PM

If someone is a citizen at birth because of an act of congress, he is a citizen by naturalization, not natural born.

fred5678 on January 15, 2016 at 5:44 PM

These guys don’t understand the difference between common law and statutory law, and never will. Blackstone comes out of the common law tradition; Vattel out of the natural law tradition. Both stand in contrast to statutory and positive law (man-made).

Joseph K on January 15, 2016 at 5:56 PM

I’m not the putz who said, last night, while laughing off the issue, that there was “zero” chance that anyone would file a lawsuit.

Wasn’t me…unless you can find the quote, in fact you’ll find me saying that those who stupidly cling to the notion that Cruz isn’t natural born should file suit and beat Grayson to the punch. You obviously took my advice Newton.

I’m not the putz who said, last night, that the “extreme” birther position would prevent Trump from being eligible, when it would not.

His mom’s not natural born, he’s out, according to the most extreme interpretation, which isn’t mine btw.

We know who that putz is, don’t we?

Joseph K on January 15, 2016 at 5:39 PM

You obviously don’t…so go schlong yourself.

Rogue on January 15, 2016 at 5:58 PM

Neitherleftorright on January 15, 2016 at 4:54 PM

Not that troubling an option, if you consider other less ‘cultural’ outcomes.

Consider our situation now with a president raised in Indonesia in a madras and how long and difficult it will be to recover from such OneBigAssMistakeAmerica.

Missilengr on January 15, 2016 at 5:59 PM

I forgot to add a sobering thought that … Canadians have kicked American ass on the fields of battle many times.

Missilengr on January 15, 2016 at 6:02 PM

Wasn’t me…unless you can find the quote,

I guess you didn’t watch the debate – it was Cruz. Now who’s the putz?

His mom’s not natural born, he’s out, according to the most extreme interpretation, which isn’t mine btw.

Rogue on January 15, 2016 at 5:58 PM

The most extreme position is both citizens parents, born on U.S. soil. Parents don’t have to be natural born.

I’ll keep my schlong to myself, as long as you do likewise.

Joseph K on January 15, 2016 at 6:05 PM

As far as eligibility and Ted Cruz’s citizenship status lets listen to Donald Drumph he’s a legal scholar you know.

And the average voter? (You must be joking Mr. Feinman)

Oh, look, look, … Squirrel!

Missilengr on January 15, 2016 at 6:06 PM

OH JUST WAIT …If we are to water down the Constitutional requirements because we like the candidate then what’s coming is our first Middle Eastern born SHARIA President ….but that will be okay because CRUZ or because RUBIO…right ..RIGHT!!

dio55 on January 15, 2016 at 6:07 PM

If Ted Cruz is a Natural Born American, what does that make me?

VorDaj on January 15, 2016 at 3:24 PM

I guess, that depends on if your parents were married (to each other) at the time.

Faceblind on January 15, 2016 at 6:58 PM

All those previously good conservatives, the original intent people, being converted to the living Constitution theory by – Ted Cruz. Personal ambition trumps the Constitution, every time.

cimbri on January 15, 2016 at 7:37 PM

If most Americans, and 100% of the government didn’t care back in 2008, why should they care now?

Oh, that’s right…Cruz is a Republican.

Dr. ZhivBlago on January 15, 2016 at 5:52 PM

Obama produced the COLB, Certificate of Live Birth, from Hawaii early on. Even though the conspiracy ideas continued to float, it was over once he produced that document.

cimbri on January 15, 2016 at 7:41 PM

The language of the Congressional Act of 1790 is very clear. Cruz, as the son of an American citizen is a “natural born citizen” even if born outside of the US.

United States Congress, “An act to establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization” (March 26, 1790).

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That any Alien being a free white person, who shall have resided within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States for the term of two years, may be admitted to become a citizen thereof on application to any common law Court of record in any one of the States wherein he shall have resided for the term of one year at least, and making proof to the satisfaction of such Court that he is a person of good character, and taking the oath or affirmation prescribed by law to support the Constitution of the United States, which Oath or Affirmation such Court shall administer, and the Clerk of such Court shall record such Application, and the proceedings thereon; and thereupon such person shall be considered as a Citizen of the United States. And the children of such person so naturalized, dwelling within the United States, being under the age of twenty one years at the time of such naturalization, shall also be considered as citizens of the United States. And the children of citizens of the United States that may be born beyond Sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born Citizens: Provided, that the right of citizenship shall not descend to persons whose fathers have never been resident in the United States: Provided also, that no person heretofore proscribed by any States, shall be admitted a citizen as aforesaid, except by an Act of the Legislature of the State in which such person was proscribed.

Rubio is more problematic, and it is clear from the rapidity of his response that he was expecting this.

The current plaintiffs have no standing. To have standing, one requires a particular injury, not a generalizewd injury. The only persons that would have a particular injury just from an ineligible candidate running for President are

OTHER CANDIDATES.

No one else would have standing and the case would not be ripe until the person was elected.

So, Rand Paul-go for it!

talkingpoints on January 15, 2016 at 8:09 PM

However, there is another person that may be ineligible to be President by having declared himself to be a citizen of another country for purposes of college admission or financial aid. There are many parties that have suffered particular injury at his hands-including coal companies and coal fired electric companies, persons harassed by the IRS and EPA. Also the Bundy’s would have standing to challenge the legitimacy of Obama’s Presidency and his executive orders.

talkingpoints on January 15, 2016 at 8:12 PM

Can we start with not confusing this with the “anchor baby” issue. Putting aside that Rubio’s parents were here legally to the extent that’s relevant, it’s entirely possible that he was born a citizen, but wouldn’t be considered a natural born citizen for constitutional purposes.

Progressive Heretic on January 15, 2016 at 4:48 PM

If you are born a citizen, then you are a natural born citizen.

This is the problem with the birther nonsense. You are trying to create a third category of “born citizen, but not natural” despite there being no such category.

You are either natural born ie born a citizen, or you are naturalized, meaning you have to swear an oath of citizenship. That’s what it means to be naturalized, you meet the requirements and then take the oath of citizenship.

Both Cruz and Rubio (and Obama) are born citizens, they are not naturalized, and therefor are natural born citizens.

Why this is so hard to understand I don’t get.

Now that’s the legal argument.

Now if you want to argue politically that a person who has foreign loyalties ought not be elected President even if he is legally qualified, that’s a perfectly good argument, and frankly one that ought to have been applied to Obama.

If you are worried about latent Canadian loyalties in Cruz then fine, don’t vote for him.

Doesn’t make him ineligible though.

Sackett on January 15, 2016 at 8:54 PM

<You knew that, right?

Joseph K on January 15, 2016 at 5:52 PM

Well I found same info at Cornell Law – so what am I missing? And a civil answer would be appreciated.
http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/8/1401

dillydally on January 15, 2016 at 9:07 PM

I note the reference(s) above to Vattel, dishonest as usual; by citing a single phrase, the dishonest ignore the balance of what he wrote, that place of birth does not reject a claim of natural birth and, also, the term “natural born” is a function of “civil and political law” and therefore subject to the current laws of the day. (See Chapter 19 of The Law of Nations).

Natural born is not a quasi super-human designation reserved for some rare stock… it is a designation for all those who are citizens automatically at birth. All other citizens are those naturalized at some point during their lives. That’s right, just two citizen categories; it’s just that simple.

Rubio is natural born because of his place of birth: The United States.

Cruz is natural born because his mother was a citizen at the time of his birth.

For those of you born in the United States who also claim your married, citizen parents were both born in the US to US citizens, and that you passed through the birth canal while clutching a Betsy Ross flag in your dominant hand, sorry… there’s no superstar status honored by US law.

Jumpintimmy on January 15, 2016 at 10:05 PM

Obama produced the COLB, Certificate of Live Birth, from Hawaii early on. Even though the conspiracy ideas continued to float, it was over once he produced that document.

cimbri on January 15, 2016 at 7:41 PM

Actually, it took quite a while for them to release it. I emailed my senator (a Republican) about it, and the reply indicated that it wasn’t an issue at all, and that was prior to the certificate release.

Just because the word “conspiracy” is thrown out there doesn’t mean that there wasn’t one.

There are many things about this man that were covered up, and just plain weird. What about his drivers license? Passport? Papers he wrote in college? His grades?

I believe in his book he said he had the original birth certificate. Be that as it may, it is believed by some that he didn’t even write Dreams of My Father and Billy Ayers claims he actually wrote it.

One hears very little about the New Party that was instrumental in getting Barry elected to the Illinois Legislature. This political party was only around for 6 years. It’s as if their job was done so then dissolved.

Some point out that the Obama girls bear no resemblance to their parents.

If I remember correctly, the Democrat official in Hawaii that oversaw the release of the COLB was the sole victim of a small plane crash. Maybe. But I think that if she did die, it wasn’t in that crash, or possibly that there was no crash at all, or if there was she wasn’t even on that plane.

At any rate, Barry’s lied over and over and over again. Why should we believe that his COLB is legit?

Many shrug off “conspiracy” theories because they aren’t backed up by THE press…you know, the guys we call the Lame Stream Media and whom we know back up the Dems to the hilt. Yeah, that makes sense.

Why anyone would not believe anything that comes out of Barry’s mouth…except that his COLB is genuine, is beyond me. I’ve often wondered about that line of thinking, but I am simply unable to crack that code.

Dr. ZhivBlago on January 16, 2016 at 9:58 AM