Whether Ted Cruz, a man who by all accounts has big designs on the White House, is eligible to run remains a not wholly answered question — but one we can already see will become an oft-asked one as 2016 approaches.
The eligibility of Ted Cruz to run on its face seems to be a foregone thing. Cruz, like Barack Obama before him, was born to an American mother and a father from elsewhere. (Cruz’s dad is Cuban, Obama’s was Kenyan.)
Cruz, unlike Obama, was born abroad. While the President came into the world in the state of Hawaii, Cruz was born in Canada. Given the challenge seem to the President’s legitimacy in office for many years and despite the release of his birth certificate, we can likely expect a similar challenge mounted to Cruz’s eligibility. (As recently as this year, Donald Trump demanded to see the President’s passport in a strange stunt involving a YouTube video.)
A new examination of Ted Cruz’s eligibility looks at the Constitution and its direction on the matter — “[n]o person except a natural born citizen, or a Citizen at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President.”
A post by the National Constitution Center carried on Yahoo quotes an early look into the matter of the meaning of “natural born citizen,” quoting historical fear of “ambitious foreigners who might otherwise be intriguing for the office” from Justice Joseph Story’s Commentaries on the Constitution.
Where the question comes in is the nuance of “natural born citizen.” Does it mean a person who receives citizenship on the circumstance of their birth (even if not immediately claimed), or does it mean a person born on American soil? (And not that it matters in the case of Cruz, but do protectorates and other gray zones count?)
The article posits that as the question about Ted Cruz remains unanswered, that we look to clarifying rather than maintaining the case-by-case basis status quo:
“Finally, the natural born citizenship clause is both an anomaly and an anachronism. The way in which the clause differentiates among United States citizens is contrary to the overall spirit of the Constitution; the risk that foreign nobility will infiltrate our government is long past; and place of birth is a poor surrogate for loyalty to one’s homeland in our increasingly mobile society and our ever more interconnected world. The best solution would be to amend the Constitution, as many legislators on both sides of the aisle have proposed over the years. In the absence of an amendment, the clause should be narrowly interpreted.”
As of now, Ted Cruz’s eligibility remains a question, and undoubtedly will come to issue should he move forward with plans to seek a White House bid. Do you think Ted Cruz is eligible to be president under the natural born citizen clause?