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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.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Gromitt Gunn says:

    Well at least they are being consistent.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  2. Markey says:

    Birth Certificate!!

    Think of it as the “blowback” on the GOP over going after Clinton for blowjobs..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  3. CSK says:

    Well, let’s see. Tom Jefferson’s mom was born in England. Chester A. Arthur’s dad was born in Ireland. Herbert Hoover’s mom was born in Canada. Woodrow Wilson’s mom was born in England. So…should we retroactively boot them?

    This is asinine.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  4. mantis says:

    @CSK:

    Well, let’s see. Tom Jefferson’s mom was born in England. Chester A. Arthur’s dad was born in Ireland. Herbert Hoover’s mom was born in Canada. Woodrow Wilson’s mom was born in England. So…should we retroactively boot them?

    The birthers who push this particular line (natural born citizen = born in US to two US citizens) actually do claim that Arthur was fraudulently elected (the foreign-born parents of the others were naturalized, IIRC).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  5. TheColourfield says:

    BOTH SIDES DO IT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Thought I’d shorten that up for you

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  6. al-Ameda says:

    I wonder if half the Democratic Party base will get into this Teddy Birther Movement? I’ll start paying attention when Trump gets on the case.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  7. grumpy realist says:

    Ooooh, I want to see what La Taitz does with this one….

    (When you are so crazy that you get kicked out of CPAC, you are definitely not just a sandwich short, but missing the pickle, the basket, and the napkins as well.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  8. @al-Ameda: Why bother when Ted’s very pertinent nickname is “Tailgunner” Ted. Honoring the guy Cruz looks, and acts, like.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  9. johndburger says:

    @CSK: Thomas Jefferson is a bad counter-example, see Article II:

    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.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  10. MarkedMan says:

    It’s not the Party. It’s the fact that he’s a minority.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  11. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: I think you’re on to something there. How brown does he look? We don’t get any pictures of him in Korea.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  12. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    Thinking a little further on this turn of the thread, I guess that there’s some comfort in being more sure that the whole birther thing seems to be ethnicity related at this time. I’ve always had some doubts that these people were “my kind;” now, it seems more certain.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. anjin-san says:

    ridiculously in my opinion

    Well Cruz is rather ridiculous. Are you not aware that that is a feature, not a bug, for a would be Republican candidate?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  14. ehancock says:

    @<a href="#comme@mantis: nt-1720722″>mantis:

    Re: “(the foreign-born parents of the others were naturalized, IIRC). ”

    Actually, not naturalized. The wives of US men became US citizens automatically according to a law at that time, but they did not have to swear an oath or formally relinquish citizenship in the other country, and they didn’t. This refers to the mothers of Woodrow Wilson and Herbert Hoover.

    So, their mothers were at least dual citizens, and according to British law at the time Wilson was a dual citizen at birth.

    According to the two-parent theory, the citizenship of parents of US presidents during the operation of the Grandfather Clause does not count, and hence even though they claim that Andrew Jackson was not a dual citizen (since he had TWO parents who had not been naturalized) he was eligible at the time. According to their theory Andrew Jackson would not be eligible today, however. However, the presidency of Jackson is certainly bad for the two-parent theory. Turns out that the president with the fewest number of US citizen parents was one of the most fiercely loyal.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. mantis says:

    @ehancock:

    Actually, not naturalized. The wives of US men became US citizens automatically according to a law at that time, but they did not have to swear an oath or formally relinquish citizenship in the other country, and they didn’t.

    That is still naturalized citizenship. There are only two ways to get citizenship: born or naturalized. If you get married and become a citizen, that is a form of naturalization.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  16. ehancock says:

    @mantis:

    Re: “If you get married and become a citizen, that is a form of naturalization. ”

    Sure, but on that basis Wilson’s and Hoovers’ mothers were only natural born US citizens because of a legal technicality, not their willingness to swear an oath and formally renounce citizenship in the foreign country. So, maybe you cannot count Wilson and Hoover as having had foreign parents, but Wilson was still a dual citizen at birth.

    And then there was Chester A. Arthur (whom the two parent theory claims hid the fact that his father was not a citizen, but in fact there is no evidence of his having hidden anything), and it seems that there is no evidence of James Buchanan’s father having been naturalized, and he did not fall under the Grandfather clause. Of course, we have had vice presidents whose fathers were not naturalized before their birth, like Agnew. And several candidates for president, including the first presidential candidate of the Republican party, James C. Fremont, whose father was French and never naturalized, and Fremont made those two facts quite prominent in his campaign biography.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  17. CB says:

    “Obviously, I have everybody calling me wanting my support,” he claims. Nonetheless, he considers Cruz’s case “very different” from the president’s because Cruz “has been very candid and open about his place of birth and his background.”

    - The Donalde

    Yeah! All Obama did was write a book about his upbringing and release his long form birth certificate! I demand answers! And respect! Hey, where’s everyone going…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0