How can you tell when a candidate has Washington–as well as his opponents–wholly terrified? When it’s only January, and a candidate is as bloody as Ted Cruz. It’s a 10-on-1 prison yard fight out there, and everyone’s out to get their shiv in.
This isn’t only coming from the left either. In fact, the primary thrust of the blade is coming from the Republicans. Donald Trump spearheaded the Cruz Birther movement, and others have since piled on. John McCain said it should be looked into, attorneys are exchanging blows, and even poor, desperate Rand Paul has gotten a few hits in–presumably to get his poll numbers above 2%.
I would like to keep this simple; I don’t want to get into secondary and tertiary arguments that really aren’t relevant. However, there are several points, though entirely invalid, that must be addressed. People like Trump toss these things into the air, and the glint catches the eye of the public. No matter how untrue the allegation, once something is out there, it’s all hands on deck, or the fire will spread beyond control.
Over the next several days, I’d like to address the main arguments used against Cruz in this situation:
He was born in Canada, and therefore is not a “natural born” citizen.
Let’s begin with The Naturalization Act of 1790, which states:
“And the 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…”
This definition, at the time being predicated on paternal inheritance only, was later amended by congress to exclude gender. This is noted in a Harvard Law Review Forum publication written by former Solicitors General Neal Katyal and Paul Clement:
“The pre-Revolution British statutes sometimes focused on paternity such that only children of citizen fathers were granted citizenship at birth. The Naturalization Act of 1790 expanded the class of citizens at birth to include children born abroad of citizen mothers as long as the father had at least been resident in the United States at some point. But Congress eliminated that differential treatment of citizen mothers and fathers before any of the potential candidates in the current presidential election were born.”
Ted Cruz’s mother is an American citizen, having been born in Delaware in 1934. Given this, despite his birth outside the United States in 1970, Ted Cruz is a “natural born” citizen, and therefore eligible for the presidency of the United States.
However, constitutional law professor Mary Brigid McManamon argues that one:
“…that statute [Naturalization Act of 1790] did not say the children were natural born, but only that they should ‘be considered as’ such.”
That’s a weak argument. If by law I am “considered” natural born, then I am natural born. To suggest otherwise is disingenuous.
And two, that the revised Naturalization act of 1795 changed the wording from “shall be considered as natural born Citizens” to “shall be considered as Citizens.” This does seem to muddy the water, but at most, it makes the law ambiguous–not at all definitive.
However, going further, if one looks to U.S. Code, Title 8, Chapter 12, Subchapter III, Part I, § 1401 – “Nationals and citizens of United States at birth,” sections (d) and (e), Cruz is eligible for the presidency:
“(d) a person born outside of the United States and its outlying possessions of parents one of whom is a citizen of the United States who has been physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for a continuous period of one year prior to the birth of such person, and the other of whom is a national, but not a citizen of the United States;
(e) a person born in an outlying possession of the United States of parents one of whom is a citizen of the United States who has been physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for a continuous period of one year at any time prior to the birth of such person…”
Cruz’s mother Eleanor was a U.S. citizen when she gave birth to Ted Cruz in Calgary, and had spent the majority of her life (more than the one year required) in the United States, making section (e) seemingly more applicable to Ted Cruz than section (d).
Regardless, Ted Cruz is eligible for the presidency.
Tomorrow, I’ll tackle the next question being brought up by Cruz Birthers–and it’s a doozy.
But rest assured, according to U.S. law, Ted Cruz is a citizen whose “natural born” status was conferred to him by his mother because she was a citizen of the United States of America at the time of his birth.