Texas Senator Ted Cruz has announced that he will be a candidate for the Republican nomination for President in 2016. The election is over 19 months away but that is a topic for a different post.
Cruz was born in Canada which raises questions about whether constitutionally, Cruz is even eligible to run.
Article II. Section 1.5 of the United States Constitution states:
“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; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.”
This is the section that had Donald Trump and the Birthers up in arms about President Barack Obama, as they claimed that since they haven’t seen his birth certificate, he was not actually born is Hawaii as he had claimed. This topic has been beaten to death and debunked even though many people still believe this to be the case.
So, we must take a closer look at this section of the U.S. Constitution to determine whether in fact Cruz is eligible to run for the nation’s highest office.
The Harvard Law Review [linked here] ran an article on March 11, 2015, “On the Meaning of “Natural Born Citizen.””
Of course, growing up, we were taught in Civics class that “natural born citizen” meant that you had to be born in the United States of America to qualify to run for president.
Per the Harvard Law Review: “All the sources routinely used to interpret the Constitution confirm that the phrase “natural born Citizen” has a specific meaning: namely, someone who was a U.S. citizen at birth with no need to go through a naturalization proceeding at some later time.”
What exactly did the framers mean by “natural born citizen?”
“The Supreme Court has long recognized that two particularly useful sources in understanding constitutional terms are British common law and enactments of the First Congress. Both confirm that the original meaning of the phrase “natural born Citizen” includes persons born abroad who are citizens from birth based on the citizenship of a parent.”
The Naturalization Act of 1790 states: “ …[T]he 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.”
Ted Cruz’s mother is a U.S. citizen and his father was a resident of the United States, Cruz would, in fact be a naturalized citizen.
There have been at least three other instances when presidential candidates have been questioned as to whether they were natural born citizens.
George Romney was born in Mexico in 1907. Both of his parents were American’s who moved to Mexico to live on a Mormon colony before moving back to the U.S. As a result, George Romney qualified to run for the presidency based on the Naturalization Act of 1790.
John McCain was born on the Coco Solo Naval Air Station in the Panama Canal Zone to U.S. Citizens. His father was a naval officer. McCain was born on a US military base, thus should qualify to run based on that, however, McCain also qualifies based on the Naturalization Act of 1790 as both of his parents were U.S. citizens even though McCain had been born outside of the U.S boundaries.
The most fascinating is that of President Barack Obama. He was born in Hawaii, even though the Birthers insist he was most likely born in Kenya. Let’s pretend the Birthers are correct and that Obama was not born in the U.S.
Obama’s mother was born in Kansas (yes, in the United States) and his father was a resident while attending both the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and Harvard University. In other words, Obama qualifies to be president based on the Naturalization Act of 1790 … unless of course, you look at the Act’s first sentence:
“… That any Alien being a free white person …”