Green Room

Is Ted Cruz eligible to be president?

posted at 12:20 pm on January 8, 2013 by

Alternate headline: “Liberals to discover strange new respect for ‘Natural Born’ Clause circa 2016/2020.”

The newly sworn-in Texas senator and rising Republican star was born in Canada, to a mother who was born in Delaware and Cuban father. That’s triggered a debate about whether he’s eligible for the nation’s highest office — nevermind that he’s been in Congress less than a week.

While there’s no legal precedent for Cruz’s situation, most constitutional scholars surveyed by POLITICO believe the 42-year-old tea party sensation would be OK. But there’s just enough gray area to stoke controversy, as Cruz learned during his campaign for Senate last year…

“Ted is a U.S. citizen by birth, having been born in Calgary to an American-born mother,” said Cruz spokesman Sean Rushton, who declined to elaborate on the matter, saying his boss is focused on his work ahead in the Senate…

“He’s a birthright citizen but his birthright citizenship derives from his parents, and the question is, does that fit with the definition of natural born citizen?” added University of Pennsylvania law professor Kermit Roosevelt. “I think it does.”

Why should the presidency uniquely be limited to natural-born citizens when other important government positions aren’t? Give me an argument on the merits, not just “because the Constitution says so.” As a measure of loyalty, the Natural Born Clause is weak; there are plenty of naturalized citizens whom I’d trust to act in America’s interest before I’d trust certain natural-borns. And as far as I know, virtually every other sensitive federal job — Congress, military, intelligence — is open to U.S. citizens who were born elsewhere. Why would you be willing to promote a guy to, say, four-star general or director of national intelligence irrespective of birthplace but not to C-in-C?

Recently in the Green Room:

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2

Oh dear. Here we go again.

Abby Adams on January 8, 2013 at 12:25 PM

Oh dear. Here we go again.

Abby Adams on January 8, 2013 at 12:25 PM

Why should the presidency uniquely be limited to natural-born citizens when other important government positions aren’t? Give me an argument on the merits, not just “because the Constitution says so.”

Because the President is the sole US citizen that will ever give an order to wipe out another country and perhaps an entire people, in this case by nuclear weapon but in the past through normal warfare.

A President should be a natural born citizen because there should never be any way for another country to make a claim on his loyalty, no matter how small or tenuous it seems.

Why would you be willing to promote a guy to, say, four-star general or director of national intelligence irrespective of birthplace but not to C-in-C?

Yes, ultimately those guys are not in charge.

Rocks on January 8, 2013 at 12:27 PM

Important.

/

Red Cloud on January 8, 2013 at 12:28 PM

A President should be a natural born citizen because there should never be any way for another country to make a claim on his loyalty, no matter how small or tenuous it seems.

Why would you be willing to promote a guy to, say, four-star general or director of national intelligence irrespective of birthplace but not to C-in-C?

Yes, ultimately those guys are not in charge.

Rocks on January 8, 2013 at 12:27 PM

Seriously? Tell that to the current President.

njrob on January 8, 2013 at 12:30 PM

Because the President is the sole US citizen that will ever give an order to wipe out another country and perhaps an entire people, in this case by nuclear weapon but in the past through normal warfare.

Yeah, but the natural-born clause wasn’t enacted in the nuclear era. You’re giving it a justification that didn’t initially exist for it — which is fine, but not S.O.P. for our side given conservatives’ preference for constitutional originalism.

Also, I don’t really buy this argument. A treasonous four-star general could stage a coup, or could start a wider war through various rogue actions that might eventually go nuclear.

Allahpundit on January 8, 2013 at 12:32 PM

Oh dear. Here we go again.

Abby Adams on January 8, 2013 at 12:25 PM

Yeah what she said

gophergirl on January 8, 2013 at 12:42 PM

A treasonous four-star general could stage a coup, or could start a wider war through various rogue actions that might eventually go nuclear.

Allahpundit on January 8, 2013 at 12:32 PM

Coups aren’t staged by a single person. They need a critical mass of the military behind them. We’ve got a long enough tradition of civilian control over the military plus regular elections (even during world wars and a civil war) that no rogue general will have that support. Plus the Secret Service would just bundle him off to a padded room.

And while I’d trust an Iranian who came over in 1979 as a one month old baby over a Van Jones or Pete Seeger, it’s hard to draw a good line if you are worried about potential divided loyalties. Naturally born (or a citizen at the founding) is a nice, concise, bright line. But even there you wind up with the occasional Aaron Burr.

rbj on January 8, 2013 at 12:44 PM

Yeah, but the natural-born clause wasn’t enacted in the nuclear era. You’re giving it a justification that didn’t initially exist for it — which is fine, but not S.O.P. for our side given conservatives’ preference for constitutional originalism.

Also, I don’t really buy this argument. A treasonous four-star general could stage a coup, or could start a wider war through various rogue actions that might eventually go nuclear.

Allahpundit on January 8, 2013 at 12:32 PM

Not valid in the nuclear era? I think the Indians might disagree. Would Arnold Schwarzenegger have given the orders FDR did to do what we did to Nuremberg? As for your treasonous general I’m pretty sure that would be unconstitutional so I don’t really get the point here.

Rocks on January 8, 2013 at 12:45 PM

Make that “not valid TILL the nuclear are”

Rocks on January 8, 2013 at 12:46 PM

The Founders placed the “natural born” citizen clause in there so that a foreign power couldn’t install a puppet President in the office. This happened in Mexico when Napoleon III installed a puppet emperor in the 1860s. It would have been a concern during the 18th century when the U.S. is a fledgling democracy. It doesn’t make sense now. However, the only way to change it would be to amend the Constitution, which isn’t going to happen. Similar to the Electoral College.

Illinidiva on January 8, 2013 at 12:47 PM

All right, let’s just cut to the chase and make a new law that says no one can run for President unless all of your ancestors on both sides of your family walked over the land bridge across the Bering Strait 30,000 years ago.

Would that make the Birthers happy? Would they then please just go away?

Hayabusa on January 8, 2013 at 12:48 PM

Give me an argument on the merits, not just “because the Constitution says so.”

Say what? You can’t pick and choose which parts of the Constitution you like. “Because the Constitution say so.” is the only reason I need.

Unfortunately Cruz isn’t eligible. I wish he was though, he’s about the only Republican I’ve seen standing up for W in the past year. He gets it and will be an excellent Senator.

Republicans were curled up in the fetal position, so terrified of uttering the words George W. Bush that we never bothered to contest that proposition.

Once the Republican party stands up for conservatism again, we can win elections. Hope the Dems haven’t wrecked the country before that happens.

sauldalinsky on January 8, 2013 at 12:54 PM

Actually, no one is eligible: a close reading of Article Two, Section One:

“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”

Shows that being alive “at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution” is the essential requirement.

That’s if we’re being as fussy as these arguments usually get.

PersonFromPorlock on January 8, 2013 at 1:00 PM

This is why it’s important to be consistent.

These complaints will ring hollow when most TPers and many others sat on their hands while Donald Trump and Sean Hannity stained the party with their Birther-antics. Trump was the front-runner on the national stage for a time as a direct-result of Birtherism.

Sane Republicans were mocked while Birthers were courted openly and helped usher in a new era of extremism.

Capitalist Hog on January 8, 2013 at 1:01 PM

Simple solution. Every time the left brings this up, loudly denounce it as clear-cut racism.

CurtZHP on January 8, 2013 at 1:02 PM

Illinidiva on January 8, 2013 at 12:47 PM

exactly, there are notes of madison, letters from john jay and notes from charles pickney from the convetion that discuss this specifically. and while maximillian came 70 years later there was still poland which had elected kings. france, russian, germany, etc all played games of throne witha passion in those days.

chasdal on January 8, 2013 at 1:04 PM

Once the Republican party stands up for conservatism again, we can win elections. Hope the Dems haven’t wrecked the country before that happens.

sauldalinsky on January 8, 2013 at 12:54 PM

If amnesty gets rammed through, no Republican, whether RINO or conservative will ever win the WH again.

TxAnn56 on January 8, 2013 at 1:05 PM

Cruz is eligible for the same reason Obama is: he’s an American citizen, and were he elected President, there isn’t a court in the nation, not even the Supreme Court, that would rule him inelible for office.

Sorry to say so, but I think most Birthers are either conspiracy theory whackos or racists masquerading as Constitutional scholars, protestations to the contrary notwithstanding.

I’d much rather have Cruz in the WH than the SCFoaMF in office right now.

DRayRaven on January 8, 2013 at 1:11 PM

Does it matter? Didn’t BO set the standard with a citizen mother and a non-citizen father? I would have more concern that Cruz was born in Canada whereas BO wasn’t.

Dr. Frank Enstine on January 8, 2013 at 1:44 PM

Does it matter? Didn’t BO set the standard with a citizen mother and a non-citizen father? I would have more concern that Cruz was born in Canada whereas BO wasn’t.

Dr. Frank Enstine on January 8, 2013 at 1:44 PM

Actually, Mr. Obama was born in Vancouver. His mother showed up with him in Mercer Island, Washington six weeks after his birth. No record of them leaving Hawaii.

patch on January 8, 2013 at 1:53 PM

What this argument points out — aside from the fact that there’s no unambiguously objective definition today (would likely need that worded by the U.S. Supreme Court) on the definition of “natural born citizen” — and perhaps the underlying argument is: just how powerful in the extreme has become the Presidency and Executive branch since the founding.

Not surprising, really, considering that the checks and balances available on the Executive have “progressively” (pun intended) failed to be utilized, especially by the Congress …

ShainS on January 8, 2013 at 2:06 PM

Give me an argument on the merits, not just “because the Constitution says so.”

That argument is really the only one that matters, though – unless you contemplate a move to amend it.

The Founders placed the “natural born” citizen clause in there so that a foreign power couldn’t install a puppet President in the office.

Illinidiva on January 8, 2013 at 12:47 PM

Exactly. And, yes, it is still an issue.

PersonFromPorlock on January 8, 2013 at 1:00 PM

I really hope you forgot a /sarc tag.

GWB on January 8, 2013 at 2:08 PM

Oblahblah was born in Kenya and that was O.K.

Cruz needs to get one of thos doctored birth certificates.

trs on January 8, 2013 at 2:48 PM

Rocks on January 8, 2013 at 12:27 PM

It centers on national loyalty. As we see with Oboobi, once again they were prescient, but we chose to discount their wisdom in a rush to crown our first black mulatto who’s a white American and black Kenyan.

AH_C on January 8, 2013 at 3:13 PM

Why would you be willing to promote a guy to, say, four-star general or director of national intelligence irrespective of birthplace but not to C-in-C?

Um, because a four-star general or director of intelligence can’t issue EO’s, aren’t the C-in-C, and can be removed from their post easier than a being required to get approval of 2/3 of the Senate. Those are the safety cheacks associated with have a little lower bar to occupying the post.

Still I suppose those are not merits to the higher bar, per se. As for the merits, one is having a criteria unencumbered by your notion of who to trust. One could say the same thing wrt the age requirement. I know a lot of young people that I would trust before certain people who meet the requirement. Are those points, alone, reason to remove a bar that increases the probability that one will have a President one can trust?

Is your reason for saying the requirement is weak because you don’t believe it increases the probability now or are you saying the probability shouldn’t enter into the equation.

Dusty on January 8, 2013 at 3:15 PM

Oh great, another Indonesian?

CorporatePiggy on January 8, 2013 at 3:15 PM

A President that holds dual citizenship not only has the potential to have dual loyalties, but could also be hung for treason, and fear of that charge mind compromise that President’s decision making. Imagine the US was not really a super power and was in legitimate fear of being conquered by the UK. A President whose father was a British Subject (Obama) and who imparted British citizenship on his son (or at least made him a subject of the British crown) would be subject to treason charges if he took up arms against the UK. That President might be compromised and might be reluctant to protect this nation’s interest from the UK for fear of being hung for treason.

Imagine an American born dual citizen of US and China born today. By the time he is old enough to be President, the US will no longer be a super power and we will legitimately fear invasion by the Chinese. Could that person be trusted to stake his life over the interests of the nation? And why not just find someone who does not have such a conflict to be commander and chief? That was what I think the founders were thinking when they put in the Natural Born requirement.

tommylotto on January 8, 2013 at 3:20 PM

No problem, we just need to take Calgary from the Canadians.

Corsair on January 8, 2013 at 3:23 PM

Actually, no one is eligible: a close reading of Article Two, Section One:

“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”

Shows that being alive “at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution” is the essential requirement.

That’s if we’re being as fussy as these arguments usually get.

PersonFromPorlock on January 8, 2013 at 1:00 PM

Good point. Actually, you could also interpret that that noone who was born outside the original 13 colonies is eligible.

Nevertheless, Crus is sadly not eligible.

Norwegian on January 8, 2013 at 3:44 PM

*sigh* This again? Allahpundit, I love you, but why do you want to give red meat to the birthers?

Ted Cruz is eligible to be president. Marco Rubio is eligible to be president. Bobby Jindal is eligible to be president. And, yes, even Barack Obama is eligible to be president. Give it up already.

Regarding the constitutional requirement, the president is a unique enough position that I can understand having uniquely strict requirements for it. Frankly, “it’s been a part of the Constitution for a very long time” is enough justification for me. It’s worked fine and I see no reason to tamper with it. Has the fact that Arnold Schwarzenegger or Henry Kissinger not been able to run for president really held us back as a nation? I don’t think so.

Besides, you will never clear the bar necessary to amend the Constitution and amend it, so it’s a rather moot point.

Shump on January 8, 2013 at 3:55 PM

In the spirit of furthering the discussion – I am a legal immigrant (still with foreign passport) while my 3 year old kid was born here and has US passport. Say, if I moved to China or Brazil or Canada and my kid grew up there and came back to US 40 years from now and contested in the Presidential elections, will it be okay? How more/less American is she compared to someone who was brought here at age 2, became a naturalized citizen and grew up here during the same time?

I think the operative term here should be that the person contesting any public office should not have dual citizenship or a chance of getting one.

sram on January 8, 2013 at 4:04 PM

PersonFromPorlock on January 8, 2013 at 1:00 PM

I take it English is not your first language. Not only do you ignore the “or”, you also ignore the presence and placement of commas.

Steve Eggleston on January 8, 2013 at 4:08 PM

In the spirit of furthering the discussion – I am a legal immigrant (still with foreign passport) while my 3 year old kid was born here and has US passport. Say, if I moved to China or Brazil or Canada and my kid grew up there and came back to US 40 years from now and contested in the Presidential elections, will it be okay? How more/less American is she compared to someone who was brought here at age 2, became a naturalized citizen and grew up here during the same time?

I think the operative term here should be that the person contesting any public office should not have dual citizenship or a chance of getting one.

sram on January 8, 2013 at 4:04 PM

It would be 54 years – there’s also a 14-year residency requirement.

Steve Eggleston on January 8, 2013 at 4:11 PM

In the spirit of furthering the discussion – I am a legal immigrant (still with foreign passport) while my 3 year old kid was born here and has US passport. Say, if I moved to China or Brazil or Canada and my kid grew up there and came back to US 40 years from now and contested in the Presidential elections, will it be okay?

sram on January 8, 2013 at 4:04 PM

Was your spouse a US citizen at the time of the child’s birth? Even then the answer would still be no. There is a 14 year residency requirement in addition to being age 35 and natural born.

Rocks on January 8, 2013 at 4:14 PM

I think the operative term here should be that the person contesting any public office should not have dual citizenship or a chance of getting one.

sram on January 8, 2013 at 4:04 PM

BTW, I think you may have defeated your own argument here. Is your child entitled to citizenship of your native country simply by virtue of being your child? If so then your child certainly has a change of getting dual citizenship.

Rocks on January 8, 2013 at 4:17 PM

The reason it is there is so that a person generation removed from America and had never stepped foot here but happened to have a traceable blood to an American citizen would not be eligible for the highest office. It was to prohibit dynastic royalty situations of Eurooe. I.e. A citizen f Luxumberg a thousand times removed from say Spain, is eligible to be it’s king.

douglucy on January 8, 2013 at 4:22 PM

Oblahblah was born in Kenya and that was O.K.

Cruz needs to get one of thos doctored birth certificates.

trs on January 8, 2013 at 2:48 PM

DING DING DING!!!!

Correct, he needs to be consistent with Oblablah so the right doesn’t show that what they really had a problem with was his race. Otherwise, he’s not qualify.

Also, for this to really work, the Donald Trump and Hannity need to look like they doubt him too. You know, so the true motives don’t make them look …..like they have a double standard(many would summarize that in one word, but I don’t see the world in black or white) :)

#gottaloveit

Can.I.be.in.the.middle on January 8, 2013 at 4:34 PM

As for the originalist argument, consider who the executor of foreign policy (subject to Senate approval of ambassadors and treaties, and Congressional issuances of declarations of war) is – the President. Given the European experience of royal-family intermarriage to subjugate one nation to another’s will, the Founders wanted to limit that as much as they could, and they instituted both the “natural-born citizen” and “14-year residency” requirements for the job.

The modern problem comes in because everybody (and I mean everybody) forgot what was once so commonly understood as the definition of “natural-born citizen”), it wasn’t defined beyond the term “natural-born citizen”.

Steve Eggleston on January 8, 2013 at 4:39 PM

DING DING DING!!!!

Correct, he needs to be consistent with Oblablah so the right doesn’t show that what they really had a problem with was his race. Otherwise, he’s not qualify.

Also, for this to really work, the Donald Trump and Hannity need to look like they doubt him too. You know, so the true motives don’t make them look …..like they have a double standard(many would summarize that in one word, but I don’t see the world in black or white)

#gottaloveit

Can.I.be.in.the.middle on January 8, 2013 at 4:34 PM

Don’t you have to get back for evening worship of Obama? I heard that the penance for members who don’t spend three hours prostrating before Obama is pretty harsh.

Illinidiva on January 8, 2013 at 4:49 PM

Was your spouse a US citizen at the time of the child’s birth? Even then the answer would still be no. There is a 14 year residency requirement in addition to being age 35 and natural born.

Rocks on January 8, 2013 at 4:14 PM

Continuing to misrepresent the term “natural born citizen”… *sigh*

Shump on January 8, 2013 at 4:59 PM

He was a born a citizen. He’s eligible. Birthers are right up there with truthers on the crazy scale.

mythicknight on January 8, 2013 at 5:08 PM

Why should the presidency uniquely be limited to natural-born citizens when other important government positions aren’t? Give me an argument on the merits, not just “because the Constitution says so.”

We’ve tried it – and it isn’t working out very well.

L. E. Light on January 8, 2013 at 5:16 PM

Hmmmmm. He must be giving the libtards at Politico a serious case of the willies, if they’re already talking about this and we’re this far away from 2016.

Red Creek on January 8, 2013 at 5:18 PM

Red Creek on January 8, 2013 at 5:18 PM

Yes you are correct! Cruz is out plowing up snakes daily and bhopress can not have that? Just in case we have to bring up if he is eligable in the event he just might wanna run for president?

I don’t care at this point about Cruz, just go to the senate and do what you said you would do Ted!
L

letget on January 8, 2013 at 5:25 PM

SENATOR JOHN McCAIN was born in Panama.
What is the big deal?

kh6zv9 on January 8, 2013 at 5:25 PM

I think the operative term here should be that the person contesting any public office should not have dual citizenship or a chance of getting one.

sram on January 8, 2013 at 4:04 PM

In that case, no one is eligible to be president because all of us have a chance of being dual citizens — just apply for citizenship in another country and voila, you are a dual citizen.

AngusMc on January 8, 2013 at 5:42 PM

I take it English is not your first language. Not only do you ignore the “or”, you also ignore the presence and placement of commas.

Steve Eggleston on January 8, 2013 at 4:08 PM

Au contraire, it’s the placement of the commas that makes my statement ‘true’: if it had said “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,” then it would actually say what you think it does. But that second comma makes the ‘adoption’ criterion apply equally to both classes of citizens. In that context, the “or” is neither here nor there.

The point is a fussy one and is made to show that strict constitutional interpretation sometimes degenerates into straining after nonexistent gnats.

PersonFromPorlock on January 8, 2013 at 5:51 PM

He just needs to find a stellar forger like the one Obama used.

The Rogue Tomato on January 8, 2013 at 5:56 PM

Comment pages: 1 2