Ted Cruz’ eligibility to be on at least one state’s ballot is going to get a court hearing. A Chicago judge is scheduled to hear arguments today in a lawsuit claiming Cruz can’t run for president because he’s not a “natural born citizen”. Via USA Today (emphasis mine):
Lawrence Joyce, an Illinois voter who has objected to Cruz’s placement on the Illinois primary ballot next month, will have his case heard in the Circuit Court of Cook County in Chicago. Joyce’s previous objection, made to the state’s Board of Elections, was dismissed on February 1. He appealed the decision and was granted a hearing for Friday before Judge Maureen Ward Kirby.
Joyce challenges Cruz’s right to be president in the wake of questions put forth by GOP rival Donald Trump about being born in Canada. Cruz maintains he is a natural-born citizen since his mother is American-born.
“What I fear is that Ted Cruz becomes the nominee, come September, Congressman Alan Grayson of Florida will go forward with his threats and probably several other Democrats will file suit to prevent Ted Cruz from being on the ballot,” Joyce, a pharmacist and attorney from Poplar Grove, Ill, told USA TODAY.
So if the state Board of Elections tossed his objection, then it’s pretty obvious they believe Cruz is a natural born citizen. Let’s give Joyce the benefit of the doubt and say he is trying to get the issue settled in court before Democrats (or Donald Trump) file a suit. Joyce did tell USA Today he’s worried the Democrats are going to “cherry pick” a court to toss Cruz off the ballot and cause electoral chaos. My only concern is why Cook County? Joyce’s hometown of Poplar Grove is in Boone County which is about 77 miles away from Chicago. You’d think Joyce, who is a Republican, would file it in Boone instead of making the trip to Chicago. It could just be he’s a skeptic based on this piece from RiverBender.com:
Joyce says he isn’t objecting on behalf of any Cruz’s opponents for the nomination, though he personally supports Ben Carson in the primary race. He also expressed skepticism over President Obama’s status as a natural-born citizen, despite the release of Obama’s birth certificate showing he was born in Hawaii, and his mother was an American citizen.
Who knows, maybe he actually doesn’t believe Cruz fits the criteria to run for president. This is certainly something Trump supporters are making a big deal about based on their lawsuit in Alabama. One thing The Hill notes is there have been several GOP candidates who were born outside the U.S. but were still allowed on ballots:
The 1964 Republican nominee for president, Barry Goldwater, was born in the Arizona Territory before it was a state.
Former Michigan Gov. George Romney, father of 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, unsuccessfully sought the GOP nomination in 1968, even though he was born in Mexico to American parents.
And 2008 Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) was born on a military base in Panama to American parents.
I personally think Cruz is a natural born citizen because his mother is American, and children of Americans are given citizenship (as is any child who is born on American soil). Cruz told The Dallas Morning News he was shocked to find out he was technically still a Canadian citizen in 2013, and solved that problem by nullifying his Canadian citizenship in 2014. But here’s the thing: this wouldn’t be a big deal if people hadn’t made Barack Obama’s citizenship such a big deal in 2008. That opened up a Pandora’s Box which will probably never be closed because everyone likes their conspiracy theories and candidates will play dirty politics to get ahead (or at least cause trouble for the other side). Cruz’ birthplace might not even be a factor this year, if some on the Right hadn’t of decided to target Obama. There’s no doubt some on the Left are cackling with glee that they can use the same tactics (albeit failed tactics) on Cruz just to stick it to some on the Right. Cruz has every right to run for president, and those trying to make a big deal of the fact he was born in Calgary need to relax. This birther stuff was ridiculous with Obama and it’s ridiculous with Cruz. Here’s hoping the Cook County judge tosses it, but this is Chicago politics so I wouldn’t be surprised if she reverses the state Elections Board to cause trouble (because Illinois politics can be a bloodsport). If that happens, then what? What are those who seriously believe Cruz isn’t a “natural born citizen” trying to accomplish? Are they that desperate to get “their guy” on the ballot that they resort to legal chicanery? Or are they hoping Cruz will drop out of the race and send his delegates to “their guy”? These lawsuits come off as petty and misguided. There are better ways to spend money. Let the “natural born citizen” stuff lie and put Cruz on the ballot.