Meet The Cruz Birthers
Ted Cruz has only been in the Senate for a few months and some conservatives are already, ridiculously in my opinion, looking to him as a potential candidate for President. So, now, we have a group of people who claim he’s constitutionally ineligible to run:
Birthers, it turns out, can be bipartisan. They have a new target — the rapidly rising GOP senator Ted Cruz.
Though he bears all the marks of a Texan — the swagger, the signature twang, and the ever-present cowboy boots — 42-year-old Cruz was born in Calgary, Alberta, to an American mother and a Cuban father. By dint of his mother’s citizenship, Cruz was an American citizen at birth. Whether he meets the Constitution’s requirement that the president of the United States be a “natural-born citizen,” a term the Framers didn’t define and for which the nation’s courts have yet to offer an interpretation, has become the subject of considerable speculation.
And it involves some of the same people who sparked conflict — and drew charges of racism — by raising questions about the circumstances of President Obama’s birth. Donald Trump, for one, says he is impressed by Cruz but hasn’t yet looked extensively at his background.
The homepage of the website Birthers.org is currently devoted to making the constitutional case against Cruz’s eligibility. He is lauded for representing his state “with a passion not seen in Texas since the Alamo” and cheered for being “one hell of a Senator,” but Birthers.org’s denizens emphatically conclude that he cannot be president “because the law of Canada made him a citizen of Canada by BIRTH.”
On ObamaReleaseYourRecords.com, alongside the latest news about the president’s fraudulent birth certificate and his close ties to Islam, anonymous authors blast the media for propagating the “myth” that the Constitution permits a Cruz presidency. “What complete madness to suggest someone born in another country is a ‘natural born Citizen’ of the United States and eligible to be POTUS,” one of them argues. “It is complete rubbish and they know it.”
As it turns out, of course, the Cruz Birthers are as wrong as the Obama Birthers were:
Legal scholars are firm about Cruz’s eligibility. “Of course he’s eligible,” Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz tells National Review Online. “He’s a natural-born, not a naturalized, citizen.” Eugene Volokh, a professor at the UCLA School of Law and longtime friend of Cruz, agrees, saying the senator was “a citizen at birth, and thus a natural-born citizen — as opposed to a naturalized citizen, which I understand to mean someone who becomes a citizen after birth.”
Federal law extends citizenship beyond those granted it by the 14th Amendment: It confers the privilege on all those born outside of the United States whose parents are both citizens, provided one of them has been “physically present” in the United States for any period of time, as well as all those born outside of the United States to at least one citizen parent who, after the age of 14, has resided in the United States for at least five years. Cruz’s mother, who was born and raised in Delaware, meets the latter requirement, so Cruz himself is undoubtedly an American citizen. No court has ruled what makes a “natural-born citizen,” but there appears to be a consensus that the term refers to those who gain American citizenship by birth rather than by naturalization — again, including Texas’s junior senator.
Similar arguments have been raised about Marco Rubio, who was born to Cuban immigrant parents because these Birthers believe that one can only be a “natural born citizen” if both of your parents were American citizens at the time of your birth. There’s no support for this in the law, of course, and no indication that the Founders had this definition — apparently based on an obscure late 18th Century legal treatise that wasn’t available in the United States until after the Constitution had been ratified —- in mind when they created the requirement that the President by a “natural-born citizen.”
There are plenty of things to dislike about Cruz, but his citizenship is not in doubt.