Donald Trump Says He Might Sue Ted Cruz Over Citizenship

Donald Trump says he might sue Ted Cruz over his citizenship if Cruz continues attacking him.

Trump Cruz Debate

Donald Trump is threatening to sue Ted Cruz over his eligibility to serve as President of the United States:

Donald Trump on Friday threatened to sue Ted Cruz for “not being a natural born citizen” if the Texas senator “doesn’t clean up his act” and stop running negative ads against him.

“If @TedCruz doesn’t clean up his act, stop cheating, & doing negative ads, I have standing to sue him for not being a natural born citizen,” he tweeted.

Trump has previously argued that if Cruz won the Republican nomination, Democrats would argue that the Canada-born Texas senator was ineligible for the presidency. Last month, Trump asked a rally if he should sue Cruz “just for fun” over the issue.

Earlier Friday, Trump questioned the sincerity of Cruz’s faith, accusing his opponent of being “so dishonest.”

“How can Ted Cruz be an Evangelical Christian when he lies so much and is so dishonest?” the Republican front-runner tweeted

Trump also had called Cruz’s honesty into question in a tweet Thursday night.

“Lying Cruz put out a statement, ‘Trump & Rubio are w/Obama on gay marriage.’ Cruz is the worst liar, crazy or very dishonest. Perhaps all 3?” Trump said.

“There is more than a little irony in Donald accusing anyone of being nasty given the amazing torrent of insults and obscenities and vulgarities that come out of his mouth,” Cruz told reporters in Greenville, South Carolina. “Being attacked by Donald, it is always colorful. I will give him this: he’s not boring.”

Cruz communication director Rick Tyler said Trump was having a “Trumpertantrum,” a line the Texas senator has used in recent weeks.

“He needs to go to the time-out chair and think about his choices. That’s what you would do with any 3-year old having a Trumpertantrum,” Tyler said.

Trump and Cruz are in a tight race in South Carolina heading into the state’s primary later this month. Evangelicals are a key voting bloc in the Bible Belt state and Trump is leading with white evangelicals in the state, according to an NBC/WSJ/Marist poll last month.

But to keep Cruz, a Southern Baptist, from faring well, Trump has increasingly portrayed Cruz as fundamentally dishonest.

This isn’t the first time that Donald Trump has delved into the issue of Ted Cruz’s status as a “natural born citizen,” of course. He first brought the issue up back in December when Cruz began to threaten him in Iowa and, at least as measured by the polls, it seemed as though the attack was working to increase the doubts of voters in the Hawkeye State regarding Cruz to the point where Cruz’s rise in the polls was stopped and reversed. Ultimately, of course, Cruz ended up winning the Iowa Caucuses but it may be that the Trump campaign’s theory is that the relatively unrepresentative nature of the caucuses may have served to undercut the impact of the attacks on Cruz while giving greater weight to his campaign’s ability to organize relatively small groups of evangelicals and other voters to get to the caucuses.  Whether that works or not is something that should be reflected at least somewhat in the polls in the coming days. Additionally, to the extent that it is tied to Trump’s complaint that Cruz is lying about him and other candidates in his ads and stump speeches, it is obviously part of a strategy to cause evangelical and other conservative voters in South Carolina to doubt Cruz’s trustworthiness, a strategy that several other candidates are engaging in as well. For now at least, the appears to be to try to injure Ted Cruz sufficiently that his organization outside the February primary states becomes less relevant.

Trump’s threat isn’t the only news on the Cruz eligibility front. In the past two weeks there have been lawsuits filed by individuals in both Alabama and Texas alleging that Cruz must be removed from the ballot because he is not a “natural born citizen.” These lawsuits are similar to those filed against President Obama in advance of the 2008 and 2012 elections, and like those lawsuits, the likelihood is that these suits will be dismissed for lack of standing before a court even gets to the merits of the matter. Even Donald Trump, a candidate in the race for the Republican nomination running against Cruz, would not have standing to maintain a lawsuit because he cannot demonstrate a discreet injury unique to himself from having Cruz on the ballot. Indeed, it’s worth nothing that the Constitution says that only a natural-born citizen may serve as President, it does not say that someone who isn’t a natural-born citizen can’t run for President. In any case, as I have noted before, and as several legal scholars have convincingly argued, there is no question that Cruz is a ‘natural-born citizen’ under the Constitution and the law that was applicable at the time he was born. Arguing otherwise is a waste of time.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, The Presidency, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held 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 contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. stonetools says:

    In any case, as I have noted before, and as several legal scholars have convincingly argued, there is no question that Cruz is a ‘natural-born citizen’ under the Constitution and the law that was applicable at the time he was born.

    And several legal scholars have argued the contrary.
    Frankly, I have many other reasons to vote against Cruz, and I am, if anything, inclined to accept that he is “natural born” and thus eligible to run for President. But there really is a significant legal issue here, and I suspect that these lawsuits are going to proceed beyond the motion to dismiss phase. Who knows, maybe they will go all the way.
    In any event, these lawsuits are good evidence that karma exists , in light of Cruz peré’s birther tendencies. Live by bigotry, die by bigotry.

  2. Mark Seidenberg says:

    R. E. “Ted” Cruz has not published his DS-1350 (if he has one), because he was born in
    Calgary, Alberta, Canada, which is now outside the “limits of the United States”. It was not
    always so. Between December 3, 1818 until January 30, 1819, the hospital location on the
    watershed of the Bow River and that location was in the incorporated and organized Territory
    of Michigan. Therefore, R. E. “Ted” Cruz missed being a “native born citizen” by over 151 years,
    because he was born on December 22, 1970.

    R. E. Cruz had at least one brother. Cruz wrote that he had a brother named Michael that died
    in 1965. However, British Records show that his mother also gave birth to a child in May, 1966
    who died in December, 1966. The later child of Eleanor “Elizabeth” Wilson was buried on
    a location in Greater London in England on December 9, 1966. For R. E. “Ted” Cruz to have
    received a lawful DS-1350 from the U. S. Department of State, his mother was required to
    submit the DS-1350 that was issued to “Michael Darragh Wilson” upon the information
    received by a U.S. Consul in the United Kingdom after “Michael Darragh Wilson” was
    alien born.

    Dr. Alan Boon Wilson (PhD Rice University in 1958) was a husband of Eleanor “Elizabeth”
    Wilson nee Darragh, who he married in Texas in 1956. Dr. Wilson asseverated to the
    press on January 15, 16, & 18, 2016, that he was not the father of any of the children of
    his wife (or former wife) Eleanor “Elizabeth” Wilson.

    Where is the documents showing that the 1956 marriage between Dr. Alan Boon Wilson
    and Eleanor “Elizabeth” Wilson ended. There is not record located in Texas, that I can find showing the 1956 marriage ended between Dr. Alan Boon Wilson and Mrs. Eleanor “Elizabeth” Wilson. Yet Eleanor Wilson is listed on the Calgary, Alberta, Canada birth
    Certificate for Rafael Edward Cruz in 1971.

  3. Ron Beasley says:

    I’m an engineer and a physicist and will be the first to admit that I know very little about Constitutional law. It will ultimately be left up to the courts to decide this. The world was a much different place when the Constitution was written in the 18th century. So how will the originalists interpret this? The examples of McCain and Goldwater don’t really apply because they were both born in US territories.

  4. Mikey says:

    If Trump were actually serious about getting this question resolved, he’d have filed suit months ago. But he’s not, in fact the last thing he wants is an actual resolution, because it would very likely be in Cruz’s favor and it would remove one of Trump’s more effective attacks.

    So, like all things about the Trump campaign, it’s all words-not-substance.

  5. charon says:
  6. Pch101 says:


    I think that it’s more debatable that Trump has standing to sue than the position that Ted Cruz is natural born (which I’m sorry but he isn’t.) Trump has to demonstrate that he has some sort of personal stake or injury in order to have standing, and that’s a stretch.

    My guess is that if this went to the Supreme Court that it would toss it out due to lack of standing and defer the eligibility question to the states. Cruz would have to win the election in order for the natural born issue to be put to the test; as that isn’t likely to happen, we’re not going to settle this in this election cycle.

  7. y_p_w says:

    @Mark Seidenberg:
    There is no requirement in his case to file for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad. As it was pretty easy travel to the US, getting a Certificate of Citizenship in the US was another option. Additionally, a child could get a US passport in lieu of a CRBA.

  8. charon says:


    The link I posted is pretty lengthy and cites a lot of case law, here is the clif notes version:

    Ted Cruz acquired citizenship at birth because Congress had passed legislation to that effect regarding his birth situation. Thus, he acquired citizenship “by statute” rather than “by location.” Case law says “by statute” = “naturalized,” thus not, by contrast, “natural born.”

  9. grumpy realist says:


    Pass the popcorn, boys. This is gonna be fun to watch.

  10. Pch101 says:


    Aside from the clarity of the case law (e.g. Rogers v. Bellei, Wong Kim Ark), here’s a fairly simple way to look at it:

    Congress has the authority under Article 1 Section 8 “to establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization.” Let’s say for the sake of argument that for whatever reason, Congress decided today to repeal our current immigration and naturalization laws and replace them with a new law that essentially said that Congress wasn’t going to naturalize anybody anymore. (For the sake of this exercise, let’s also assume that the president didn’t veto this new law.) This is what would happen:

    -Nothing would change for a child born on US soil because citizenship of the native born comes from the 14th amendment and is derived from British common law

    -Obviously, an alien would be SOL because there would be no legal process by which to obtain citizenship

    -The child born abroad to an American citizen would be in the same boat as the alien. Citizenship for those born abroad to Americans comes from statute, not from common law or the 14th amendment. Even though the US has had jus sanguinis citizenship throughout much of its history, it is not an entitlement (and Wong Kim Ark went to great lengths to explain the difference.)

    Ted Cruz is a citizen because Congress decided that he could be one. He had no right to citizenship, unlike someone who was born on US soil. If Congress wanted to stop giving citizenship to the children of Americans who are born abroad, it could, but Congress has no authority whatsoever to prevent those who are born in the US to have their citizenship — we would have to amend the Constitution to change this.

    Under British common law, the only people who were entitled to citizenship were those born within the British dominion or on a British ship, with exceptions made for the children of monarchs, ambassadors and foreign military occupiers. It should be obvious that “natural born citizen” essentially meant “common law citizen,” which Cruz most certainly is not.

  11. Mikey says:

    @charon: @Pch101: Eh…either way, if Trump were serious he’d actually do something besides just talk about the circumstances of Cruz’s birth.

  12. Facebones says:

    I’m of the opinion that he’s a “natural born” citizen. However, since he was one of the Obama “birthers,” I can’t help but enjoy the delicious irony if he gets hoisted on his own petard.

  13. Mark Seidenberg says:

    @y_p_w: Your facts are not correct.
    For the United States Consul at Calgary, Alberta, Canada to issue a Certificate of Report of
    Birth (DS-1350) for Rafael Edward Cruz to be lawful it was a requirement that Eleanor “Elizabeth”
    Wilson [named as mother on the 1971 issued birth certificate of Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz, to
    submit the prior DS-1350 for all of her prior children to the United States Consul at Calgary,
    Alberta, Canada.] Press and published reports show two prior children by mother Eleanor
    “Elizabeth” Wilson, viz. both born outside the limits of the United States. One died in 1965
    and the other 1966. Dr. Alan Boon Wilson (PhD Rice University 1958) in press interviews of
    circa January 15, 16, & 18, 2016 states that even though he was married to Eleanor “Elizabeth”
    Wilson, he was not the father of any of her children.

    The bottom line if Eleanor “Elizabeth” failed to reveal the prior birth to the U.S. Consul at
    Calgary, a DS-1350 issued would be void if the U.S. Consul did not review the facts and
    did not have the DS-1350’s issue to the two Michael Wilson[s], viz. the Michael that Ted
    Cruz who stated in his book died in 1965 and the “Michael Darragh Wilson”, born circa May,
    1966 and was buried in London, England on December 9, 1966.

  14. Rafer Janders says:

    @Ron Beasley:

    The examples of McCain and Goldwater don’t really apply because they were both born in US territories.

    A more pertinent example is Mitt Romney’s father, George Romney, former governor of Michigan and one-time presidential candidate, who was born to American citizen parents living in Mexico (they’d immigrated there as Mormons in the 19th century in order to practice polygamy, a fun family fact which somehow never came up that much during Mitt’s run for office).

  15. Pch101 says:


    My point is that Trump may very well not have standing to sue and he probably knows that. He doesn’t want to have any loss in court; most people won’t understand the distinction between a lack of standing to sue and the natural born question.

  16. Rafer Janders says:


    Under British common law, the only people who were entitled to citizenship were those born within the British dominion or on a British ship, with exceptions made for the children of monarchs, ambassadors and foreign military occupiers.

    That’s…not actually true. During Britain’s colonial history, there was never any question that children born to British parents overseas were themselves British. (You may argue that they were “within British dominion” as they born in, say, British colonies such as India, but substantial numbers of children were born in areas that were not, strictly speaking, part of the British dominion, such as the many Indian princely states, or areas that were under de facto British control but were not formally taken into the empire, such as Egypt). A child born to British parents serving or living overseas was always, always, considered British, and there was no doubt that they would at some point be able to move back to Britain and enjoy all the rights and privileges of a subject of the Queen or King. I know dozens of dozens of British subjects who were born overseas from the 1930s-1960s in exactly this situation.

  17. Pch101 says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    The Romney situation is irrelevant because it never ended up in court, which is not surprising because he didn’t win the election. If you drive 90 mph in a 55 mph zone and don’t receive a ticket, that doesn’t provide evidence that you were traveling at a legal speed.

    Nixon became the Republican nominee, so it never got far enough to matter.

  18. Pch101 says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    In Britain, jus sanguinis citizenship came from acts of Parliament, not from common law.

  19. Mikey says:

    @Pch101: Yes, I agree with your point. Either an outright defeat (Cruz judged eligible) or a dismissal for lack of standing would be seen as a loss for Trump. He doesn’t want to risk that, especially at the expense of an issue he can use.

  20. Pch101 says:

    Incidentally, you don’t have to believe me: The UK government provides this summary of the history of British nationality law.

    Acquisition of British subject status by descent

    At common law, birth outside the dominions generally meant that birth was outside the Crown’s allegiance. The exceptions were:

    -Children born outside the dominions to a British Ambassador or an official posting
    -Children of the sovereign
    -Children born on a British ship

    The general position was that children born in foreign countries were aliens regardless of the nationality of their parents

  21. Mikey says:

    As an aside, it seems to me we may see this issue come up more frequently in the future because we’ve had so many Americans stationed on military installations in foreign countries who’ve had children born there. Many of these children, born during the latter part of the Cold War, will reach the age of 35 soon and some may end up in politics and potentially run for President.

  22. Liberal Capitalist says:

    My .02

    I, for one, would welcome a well defined lawsuit that would have a chance to get to the Supreme Court, as it would allow the court to quantify exactly the definition.

    However, no matter the outcome, there is not a donut’s chance in a fat camp that I would vote for either Trump or Cruz.

  23. Gustopher says:

    So, if two American citizens living abroad have a kid, and then none of them ever return to the US, and that kid is a US citizen despite never being in our country.

    If that kid grows up and meets another kid in the same circumstances, and they have a baby, is that baby also an American citizen, despite only the grandparents having set foot in the US?

    Is that what the founding fathers would have intended?

    (Or is only one parent needed, in which case American citizenship spreads like a virus throughout the rest of the world…)

  24. OzarkHillbilly says:

    As one who feels Cruz deserves every ounce of angst he is feeling over this issue, and who also feels the “natural born citizen” question is far from settled, I really have to say it is a complete distraction. Whatever purpose that clause may have served at the inception of our country, without a doubt it is no longer pertinent as that world no longer exists. As far as I am concerned, it should be removed from the Constitution.

    Ted Cruz is a very dangerous demagogic person with very radical ideas who given the chance to implement them on this country, would ensure long and disastrous effects on our children and our children’s children. His being born in Canada has nothing to do with it.

  25. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Pch101: Exactly. Trump can afford lawyers who would be competent to tell him whether he had standing or not, but more importantly, the question hanging over Cruz is far more valuable than the risk of filing a complaint and having it refused because of failure in standing. Trump has no interest in the answer at all; maybe even if it would be in his favor.

  26. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gustopher: Upon birth (or some set time I think) the parents have to actually assert their child’s citizenship. My Spanish born wife married an American sailor and when their daughter was born while they were living in Spain, they had to jump thru multiple hoops for it to be so. We still have the paperwork in our safety deposit box.

  27. Pch101 says:


    The issue isn’t one of citizenship but of natural born citizenship.

    All poodles are dogs, but not all dogs are poodles. All natural born citizens are citizens, but not all citizens are natural born.

    Only a few loonie lefty blogs are arguing that Cruz isn’t a citizen, and their arguments are poor. Cruz is clearly a US citizen; the issue is whether he is a natural born citizen, and it should obvious based upon the common law tradition that provide the basis for this that he is not.

    Mary Brigid McManamon provides a brief argument and nicely demonstrates blatant errors made by Katyal and Clement here:

    She provides a detailed legal discussion of the history here:

  28. CSK says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker:

    That’s it in a nutshell. Trump has no interest in whether Cruz is eligible; he just wants to besmirch Cruz. Having the question go unanswered permits it to linger.

    Of course, it’s difficult to decide which of these two is the more loathsome.

  29. Pch101 says:


    If we don’t like that provision of Article 2, then the solution is to amend the Constitution, not to ignore it.

    I would agree that the natural born requirement is well past its sell by date. But until we change it, that’s what we have. Claiming that it means something that it doesn’t because we find it to be archaic or offensive does not alter what was intended.

  30. Mark Seidenberg says:

    @Gustopher: Well lets look at this virus “McCain”. It was not
    until 1934, did it become an issue. Prior to than no one though a wed mother could pass on
    citizenship. As for McCain he was born in the Republic of Panama to unwed parents in 1936.
    Even though the 1934 act was in place in certain place around the world, it did not apply to births
    in the Republic of Panama, because the Republic of Panama was outside the limits of the United
    States, but was under the jurisdiction of the United States, so the 1934 act did not apply to
    the Republic of Panama. The collective naturalization act of August 25, 1937, did not apply to
    John Sidney McCain III, because he was born out of wedlock to parents that the same type of
    bogus marriage that Ike and Tina Turner had in TJ at Ceasar’s Bar, i.e., not married in the
    office of civil registry of Baja California. Remember, no common law marriages in California,
    Hawai’i, and Panama.

  31. gVOR08 says:

    How can Ted Cruz be an Evangelical Christian when he lies so much and is so dishonest?

    Trump’s also claiming to be Christian. Freaking hilarious.

  32. Pch101 says:

    John McCain was born in the Canal Zone, which was US territory at the time. Kids born in DC hospitals are natural born, even though the District of Columbia isn’t a state; US territory is not limited to the 50 states.

    In spite of our jokes about Canada being the 51st state, it isn’t one. No comparison to John McCain.

  33. jukeboxgrad says:

    John McCain was born in the Canal Zone

    Not just in the Canal Zone, but on a US base there. This distinction probably doesn’t matter legally, but it certainly doesn’t hurt.

  34. Mark Seidenberg says:

    @Pch101: John Sidney McCain III was born prior to January
    13, 1941. He was born in 1936 in the Republic of Panama to unwed parents, viz., John Sidney
    McCain III and Roberta Wright. He was a citizen of Panama at Birth. His mother was not employed by the United States Government nor the Panama Railroad Company. Roberta
    Wright was a United States Citizen, but did not meet the requirements to pass citizenship to the alien John Sidney McCain III. John Sidney McCain II could of if he was lawfully married. He
    was not, because the event in TJ in January 1933 was not a lawful marriage under the law of Baja California. It was required that Marriage had to be in the Office of the Civil Registry. No
    common law marriages, in Baja Californa, California, Hawai’i, or the Republic of Panama,
    including the Panama Canal Zone.

  35. Console says:

    I honestly don’t see how anyone has standing to sue prior to an unqualified candidate becoming president. The political process only grants states the right to choose electors, and in special cases, the house has power to elect the president. The electors decide who becomes president, not voters, not states, not anyone else.

    Maybe, Trump could sue to keep Cruz off the ballot in individual states.

  36. Joe says:


    Is that what the founding fathers would have intended?

    The founding fathers intended that no one import a king or an emperor into our fragile Democracy the way that problem happened in Europe. That seems like a pretty remote threat nowadays. It should be an open political issue for people to argue – idiotically, I believe – that Cruz (or John McCain, for F–k’s sake) lacks some necessary allegiance to the US on the basis of his birthplace or circumstances. If they can peel off some layer of the electorate on that sort of “LOOK! CAR!” argument, that electorate was not paying attention in the first place. There are countless reasons not to vote for Cruz. People looking at his birthplace are paying attention to the wrong issues.

  37. OzarkHillbilly says:
  38. OzarkHillbilly says:


    If we don’t like that provision of Article 2, then the solution is to amend the Constitution, not to ignore it.

    Geez, what did I say? I don’t know, how about,

    “As far as I am concerned, it should be removed from the Constitution.”

    Reading is fundamental.

  39. Mikey says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Well, that makes things interesting.

  40. CSK says:

    OT, but Antonin Scalia has died.

  41. Mark Seidenberg says:

    It is well settled that “A person born outside of the jurisdiction of United States can only become a citizen by naturalization”… such as…”conferring citizenship upon” children of U. S. born Citizens. United States v. Wong KIm Ark, 169 U.S. 649 at 702.

    The issue has therefore already took place before the United States Supreme Court, viz., if R. E. “Ted” Cruz did meet the Citizenship requirements of the 1952 collective naturalization act,
    he would be a citizen by naturalization and not a citizen by birth.

    Therefore, R. E. “Ted” Cruz is and could not be a “natural born citizen”. He would be a “naturalized” citizen if he and his mothers met all of the requirements by the collective
    naturalization act of 1952 as amended in 1978.

  42. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @CSK: Not for me. As loathsome as Trump is, Cruz hits the perfecta by being personally loathsome, advocating policies that will actively injure the citizens of the nation and which unlike Trump in my opinion he will attempt to put into effect, and Marianas Trench levels of being out of his depth if elected.

  43. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Not for nothing, but when this question came up in regard to the eligibility of someone born in Puerto Rico, both Breyer and Kennedy indicated that they would answer that question in the affirmative.

    I do agree with PHC, however, that this question would likely never get before a federal court due to lack of standing.

    What we’re left with is precedent. George Romney was born in Mexico. Likewise, John McCain was born in Panama (per his birth certificate, he was born in a military hospital located on Panamanian soil outside of the canal zone). Barry Goldwater was born in Arizona territory (Arizona was not a state at the time). Both Goldwater and McCain were the actual nominees of their party for the presidency. Romney ran rather successfully for the same in the primary elections of many states.

    This question seems to be the preserve of hyperpartisans; as such, it would be to our benefit to get it resolved, if for no other reason than to shut down the idiocy and answer this question in the affirmative once and for all.

  44. Mark Seidenberg says:

    @HarvardLaw92: John Sidney McCain III was not born in a
    military hospital. He was born in the Republic of Panama, outside of the Panama Canal Zone..
    The Hospital of John McCain III birth was in Colon, Republic of Panama. It was owned
    by the Panama Railroad Company.

  45. Pch101 says:

    John McCain “was born…in a military hospital in the Panama Canal Zone, then under U.S. jurisdiction.”

    “Mr. McCain was born on a military installation in the Canal Zone…”

    Enough already.

  46. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Mark Seidenberg:

    I had to recheck, and it appears that both of us are incorrect. John McCain was born at the military hospital on Coco Solo Naval Air Station, on territory which was included in the Panama Canal Zone from its inception. It was transferred from civil to military control by order of President Roosevelt in December, 1941 (EO 8981).

    Your insistence on using full legal names also suggests to me that you’re probably a birther looney, so I won’t be responding to you further.

    That having been said, the Canal Zone has never been a part of the United States. Like any other US territory, its residents were granted citizenship by virtue of statute (8 U.S. Code § 1403), so if PCH is intellectually consistent, he/she will have to admit that the argument he/she is making precludes McCain from eligibility, along with anybody else born in the Canal Zone, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, North Mariana Islands, the US Virgin Islands, children of US citizens born on foreign military bases (the bases are leased; they are not and never have been sovereign US territory) and Native Americans born with in the borders of tribal reservations.

    This is why the argument, if it ever actually gets before the court, will fail. They’re not going to preclude that large a segment of US citizens by birth from eligibility for the presidency.

  47. Pch101 says:

    The Canal Zone was US territory. One can debate whether McCain was natural born by being born there, but it wasn’t a foreign country.

    Calgary is absolutely located in a foreign country by any definition. Calgary may as well be, er, Kenya, as far as the natural born aspects are concerned. No comparison at all to the Canal Zone.

  48. Mark Seidenberg says:

    @Pch101: John Sidney McCain III was born in the Colon
    Hospital (owned by the Panama Railroad Company) in the Republic of Panama. Do not rely
    on disinformation. See:

    His birth certificate clearly shows that the Panama Railroad Company owns that Colon City
    hospital is in the Republic of Panama.

  49. HarvardLaw92 says:


    The Canal Zone was not a part of the United States either. The original treaty established that the United States was granted

    all the rights, power and authority within the zone mentioned which the United States would possess and exercise if it were the sovereign of the territory

    Panama never ceded ownership of the territory to the possession of the US. It ceded control over the territory to the US. Subtle, but huge, difference.

  50. Mark Seidenberg says:

    @Pch101: The Canal Zone was outside the limits of the
    United States. However the whole country of the Republic of Panama was within the jurisdiction of the United States on McCain’s birth in 1936.

  51. HarvardLaw92 says:
  52. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Mark Seidenberg:

    However the whole country of the Republic of Panama was within the jurisdiction of the United States on McCain’s birth in 1936.

    *cough* bullshit

  53. Pch101 says:

    The point is John McCain has more arguments in his favor.

    McCain’s case is not clear cut, but he has a better one than Cruz, whose birthplace clearly had zero affiliation with US soil.

    Under the British common law, the children of British ambassadors and those who were officially posted received jus soli citizenship. McCain might also be able to make that argument. Cruz doesn’t have that kind of claim, either; his mother was in the oil business, not working in service of the government.

  54. HarvardLaw92 says:


    Yea, we’ve already had that argument. I’m not going to dignify it further.

    You’ve boxed yourself into an intellectual corner – either all of the groups that I listed above are eligible for the presidency, or none of them are. There is no middle ground based on the constraints that you have imposed.

    Care to drop a friendly wager on which way the court would be likely to go with this one?

  55. Pch101 says:

    There’s no box. The issue may be unpleasant, but it isn’t complicated.

    This reminds me of the misrepresentations made about the Second Amendment — these bad arguments are being based upon what the revisionists wished was true (the God-given right to pack heat) instead of what actually is true (the use of the militia.)

    The difference here is that we have a coalition of liberals and conservatives who are working together to indulge in wishful thinking instead of leaving this sort of revisionism to the right wing. The conservatives find the natural born language to be inconvenient when it suits them, while liberals find it to be backward and offensive, but neither convenience nor offensiveness provide the correct historical explanation.

  56. HarvardLaw92 says:


    Which is exactly what I just stated – your argument precludes all of the groups that I just listed, including the children of US service members born on foreign military bases, from eligibility based on some creative application of common law which the framers themselves expressed their disagreement with over 200 years ago.

    While you and I might like to dream about the purity of the law, here in the real world SCOTUS is not going to issue a ruling which declares those military kids to be ineligible for the presidency, or for that matter Native Americans either. They’d be flambeed on the front steps if they did. You know that and I know that, so angels & pin head arguments about what somebody intended 227 years ago are pointless – they’re the realm of 1L’s in smoke filled coffeehouses, which is why I’m not going to engage it further. It’s a waste of my time – and frankly a waste of yours.

  57. Pch101 says:

    So common law is old and boring, so it doesn’t matter. Got it.

  58. Grewgills says:

    It matters considerably less than what the courts today will say if the case comes before them.Cruz is a natural born citizen by any standard the courts will accept today. I’ll lay money or scotch down on the outcome if the case ever makes it to the courts.

  59. Mark Seidenberg says:

    @Pch101: I would not say zero. R. E. “Ted” Cruz was born in a hospital whose location was on the watershed of the Bow River on December 22, 1970. Now and then within the city limits of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Until January 30, 1819, that
    location was in the incorporated and organized Territory of Michigan, viz., between December 3,
    1818 and January 30, 1819. The area was included within the boundary of the Constitution of
    the Commonwealth of Virginia of June 29, 1776. It was proved within the ceded territory based
    on a survey done by Lt. Z. M. Pike, U. S. Army, on February 1, 1806.

    It follows that R. E. “Ted” Cruz, missed being a “native” born citizen of these United States, if one includes the Territory of Michigan within the limits between December 3, 1818 through January 30, 1819, by over 151 years.

  60. Mark Seidenberg says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Just because John Sidney McCain III
    states that the City of Colon [place of his birth in 1936] was in the Panama Canal Zone,
    does not make it so.


    The Colon Hospital was not within the limits of the Panama Canal Zone on the date of John
    Sidney McCain III’s birth. Today, Coco Solo is within the City Limits of the City of Colon, but in
    1936 it was not.

    My guess we will hear from R. E. Cruz soonest, if he thinks like John McCain, Calgary is in
    the State of Texas and not Canada. Then his problem of not being a “native” citizen goes

    The bottom line is the Island of Colon in the Republic of Panama was not within the limits of
    the Panama Canal Zone on the date of John Sidney McCain III’s birth in 1936. However on that
    date the entire nation of Panama was within the jurisdiction of the United States, but was outside of the limits of the United States. Therefore, the Act of 1934, did not apply to any
    area of the Republic of Panama on the date of John Sidney McCain III’s birth.

  61. al-Ameda says:

    The only way this gets better is if Trump and Cruz get married.

  62. Pch101 says:


    I would agree that it is quite possible that the court would essentially rewrite history if it really wants to change this, as the Supreme Court did when he played historical revisionist with the Heller decision. (The majority was looking for any excuse to ensure gun proliferation.)

    Nonetheless, the intent of “natural born” isn’t that hard to fathom. The fact that Katyal and Clement’s article contains some notable factual errors only shows that the argument favoring the foreign born is pretty weak.

  63. jukeboxgrad says:

    Mark Seidenberg:

    His birth certificate clearly shows

    McCain has never released his birth certificate to the public. He showed it to one reporter:

    A senior official of the McCain campaign showed a reporter a copy of the senator’s birth certificate

    The document you are linking to is a forgery. Link, link.

  64. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Mark Seidenberg:

    Like I suggested before, please go try to sell crazy somewhere else. You’re out of your depth here.

  65. Mark Seidenberg says:

    : That birth certificate is not a forgery. A copy
    of that birth certificate was sent to me by the Panama Railroad Company. Do you have any idea
    why the owner of the hospital would be sending out forged birth certificates!? The Panama Rail-road Company owned the hospital. It was not a naval hospital. Coco Solo now is within the
    city limits of Colon, Republic of Panama, now. However, in 1936, the Coco Solo was not in Colon
    and was in the Panama Canal Zone.

  66. Mark Seidenberg says:

    President Thomas Woodrow Wilson on March 31, 1920, issued an Executive Order placing the island Colon, Republic of Panama under the jurisdiction of the United States Government. Therefore the 1934 naturalization act did not apply to the birth location of John McCain III.
    The 1937 collective naturalization act, did not apply for John McCain III either, because he was
    born out of wedlock to a mother that was not employed by either the United States Government or
    the Panama Railroad Company (or its successor in title). John Sidney McCain III at birth was
    only a citizen of the Republic of Panama.

  67. Mark Seidenberg says:

    As for a check on the out of wedlock status of John Sidney McCain III, At the time of after his birth
    his purported father John Sidney McCain II could have gone to Panama City, Republic of Panama
    to acknowledged he was the father, but he did not at any time. Therefore, John Sidney
    McCain III is not a citizen of the United States, because at the time of his birth his mother was
    not an employee of the United States Government nor the Panama Railroad Company or its
    successor in title. Law 43 of 1925 governs this issue. The only citizenship John Sidney McCain III has is that of the Republic of Panama. John Sidney McCain III could not get citizenship from
    either the Act of August 4, 1937 (because of lack of proper employment of mother Roberta Wright)
    and the 1934 Act, because of the Executive Order of President Thomas Woodrow Wilson, placing
    the island Colon, Republic of Panama under the jurisdiction of the United /States Government
    in 1920.

  68. HarvardLaw92 says:

    LOL, as I suspected – you’re that AIP nut from California, aren’t you?

  69. Mark Seidenberg says:

    R. E. “Ted” Cruz brother died in England on December 7, 1966 and was buried in London,
    England on December 9, 1966. His mother Eleanor :”Elizabeth” Wilson after the death of this
    the second brother (first died according R. E. “Ted” Cruz in his autobiography died in 1965). An other news report states that his mother had two daughters of her own by a prior marriage. R. B. Cruz had two daughter also by a prior claimed marriage.

    Documents found so fare is that R. B. Cruz had two daughter, prior to the birth of R. E. “Ted”
    Cruz. I also have the document showing that the marriage ended between Eleanor “E”
    Cruz and R. E. Cruz in in Texas in 1997.

    We also have four interview of Dr. Alan Boon Wilson (PhD Rice University in 1958)
    who married Eleanor “Elizaberth” Darragh in 1956 in Texas. The dates of these interview are
    January 15, 16, 17, & 18, 2016. Dr. Wilson claims he was not the father of any of his wife’s
    children. In 1960 Alan & Eleanor Wilson moved to England. She stayed in England until
    after she buried her son (half brother of R. E. “Ted” Cruz) who’s name was Michael Darragh
    Wilson in London on December 9, 1966, who died on December 7, 1966.

    Listed on the 1971 birth certificate of R. E. Cruz without the name “Ted” is Eleanor Elizabeth
    Wilson as mother, even though R. B. Cruz is listed as the father of this December 22, 1970

    Therefore, I could use additional information, viz.,:

    At the time of the birth on December 22, 1970, what was the date & location of a marriage between R. B. Cruz and Eleanor “Elizabeth” Wilson nee Darragh? When and where did
    the marriage end between Alan Boon Wilson and Eleanor “Elizabeth” Wilson nee Darragh?

    i have check records in Texas and New Orleans, plus England, and both Toronto and Calgary
    Canada. I can not locate any such records. Any help in this research would be helpful to me.

  70. Hal_10000 says:

    I think I made this comment before, but this controversy is easily cleared up. This came up with McCain and Congress passed a “sense of the Senate” resolution that affirmed he was a natural born citizen.

    Fortunately, Cruz is very popular in the Senate so I’m sure they will fall over themselves passing a similar resolution this time.

  71. Mark Seidenberg says:

    @Hal_10000: Why do you think it will work for Ted Cruz if it
    did not work for John Sidney McCain III. John McCain III’s main problem he was born out of wedlock. His parents went to TJ in Baja California to get married at a bar, just like Ike and Tina
    Turner did. They were not married! McCain’s problem is that his purported dad did not go to
    court in Panama City, Republic of Panama to clear up his status. Law 43 of 1925 governs McCain’s status problem that prevents him getting naturalized as a United States Citizen.

    McCain needs a joint resolution to get United States Citizenship, just like Nellie Grant got
    from Congress, not just the Senate acting alone.

  72. HarvardLaw92 says:


    Hal, don’t encourage this clown.

  73. Mark Seidenberg says:


    This post is the Law 43 of 1925 of the Republic of Panama, if you or others care to read that
    law. It shows what John Sidney McCain III has in the way of his problem to become a United
    States Citizenship, because he was born in hospital in the City of Colon, Republic of Panama
    that was not in the Panama Canal Zone at time of his birth and his mother was not married to his purported father. by the time of his birth. The other issue is the City of Colon was under the
    jurisdiction of the United State, but was outside the limits of the United States on the date
    of his 1936 birth. Please recall that he was born prior to January 13, 1941.,1925.pdf

  74. Pch101 says:

    I’m starting to think that John Sidney McCain III must have run over Mark Seidenberg’s dog.

  75. Mark Seidenberg says:


    No, it is just that John Sidney McCain III is a citizen of only one country and that is the Republic
    of Panama, the place were he was born.

    He because he was born out of wedlock, to a mother that was not covered under the terms of the Panama Collective Naturalization Act of August 4, 1937, could not pass her U.S. Citizenship on to John Sidney McCain III.

    Obama mother could not pass her citizenship on to Obama, because she gave birth to Obama
    while she was only in her 18th year. She need to be at least 19 years and 1 day, because of the requirements of the 1934 Citizenship Act, that required a ten year residents of the mother
    and five of those years after the age of 14 year. That was in the requirements anew in the
    1952 Act also.

    R. E. “Ted” Cruz was in his own process if his mother met the same requirements under the
    Act of 1952, until Congress amended the law of October 10, 1978.

  76. Pch101 says:

    So John Sidney McCain III’s dog must have bitten Mark Seidenberg. It’s a shame that the dog had rabies.

  77. Mark Seidenberg says:

    @Pch101: Speaking of Dogs, at No.1 Warehouse, West India Dock Road . London E14 4AL is the Museum of London Docklands which is located
    on the “Isle of Dog”.

    That was the location of the ship records to the voyage that took Obama from Mombasa Island
    in the Indian Ocean to the Port of London in 1961 aboard the SS Uganda. From there he took
    two flights,viz., London Airport to Montreal Airport with a change of flights to Vancouver Airport.
    Then across an open border into Washington State so his mother could attended classes
    at the University of Washington Extension. She was an extension student for two quarters,
    because she had a baby and was under the age of 19 years. The policy at UW Seattle was
    that young women under 19 years of age had to live with a parent or husband or the dorms.
    Babies were not permitted in the dorms, so she spent two quarters in the extension program.
    She switched to regular session for the third quarter. That was why Obama lived on Capitol
    Hill, Seattle in his first year of life.

    So far I have tracked 54 persons that have a Hawaiian Birth Certificate that was not born in Hawai’i. The state was easy in giving out birth certificates to non-Hawaiian births. One problem with Hawai’i is they have disputes with foreign governments over territory, just like the State of Maine.

    Maine’s dispute is over Machias Seal Island and Gull Rock (Island) of the Western Seal Islands in Washington County, Maine. Hawai’i dispute is with the Solomon Islands over
    Stewart Atoll in the Southwest Pacific.


  78. Mark Seidenberg says:

    @Hal_10000: My suggestion is to read the following article
    entitled ‘Tiny island subject of dispute between Canada and U.S. in the December 24, 2012


    How could a persons who is President do the best thing for the U.S. Government if he has dual

  79. Mark Seidenberg says:

    The index for end marriages in England is located at the National Archives at Kew. It covers end marriages between January 1, 1960 through December 31, 1972. If Alan Boon Wilson and Eleanor “Elizabeth” Wilson ended the marriage it would be in that index.

    Any one in the U.K. that reads this willing to go to Kew and look at the index a report back?
    Name of Ted Cruz mother is “Eleanor Elizabeth Wilson nee Darragh” and her husband was
    “Alan Boon Wilson”. Dr. Alan Boon Wilson was born circa 1929. I expect the marriage ended
    circa 1963 (or according to Ted Cruz book circa 1965-1967) If that marriage ended in England
    the index will so state. Dr. Alan Boon Wilson stated that he is not the father of any of the
    children of Eleanor “Elizabeth” Wilson in interviews of January 15, 16, 17, & 18, 2016.

  80. al-Ameda says:

    @Mark Seidenberg:

    So far I have tracked 54 persons that have a Hawaiian Birth Certificate that was not born in Hawai’i. The state was easy in giving out birth certificates to non-Hawaiian births. One problem with Hawai’i is they have disputes with foreign governments over territory, just like the State of Maine.

    LOL! Fantastic