President Obama and Senator Cruz: Bet You Didn't See This Coming

I’m writing this at 5:30PM (Pacific Time) on October 8, 2013. I just googled “Barack Obama Ted Cruz” and got 112,000,000 hits. This doesn’t surprise me, but yesterday I found a common link that is still making me laughing.

I podcast Fresh Air on National Public Radio. I’m addicted because I find the interviews smart, interesting, and informative. Yesterday I listened to the podcast from October 1st where Chris Matthews was interviewed; he was plugging his book Tip and the Gipper: When Politics Worked.

Chris worked for Tip O’Neill in the early 1980s and it’s not hard to assume his political leanings. But in his interview he made a point that I’m still thinking about.

A scary percentage of the population thinks that President Obama shouldn’t be President because he was born in Kenya. They are often called birthers and claim that since he wasn’t born in America he can’t be President.

And yet they put their blinders on and support Ted Cruz. Ted was born on December 22, 1970 in Alberta, Canada. His mother was born in the United States and his father was born in Cuba.

Is he eligible to be President? Good question. Article II, Section 1 of the US Constitution says this: “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 Persons 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.”

In other words, nobody who has been a naturalized citizen (e.g. Henry Kissinger or Arnold Schwarzenegger) can be President, no matter how popular they may be.

But who is a “natural born citizen?” Ted Cruz can argue (and I agree with him) that he is an American citizen by virtue of being born to a mother who was born in the United States. This allows citizenship to children of military parents who serve us overseas, or parents in the diplomatic corps. This prevents Americans who serve us in other countries to have to dash home while in labor only to allow their children the privileges the rest of us take for granted.

So here’s the rub: While nobody with a brain accepts the charges of The Donald or the rest of the birthers, we don’t have to. If Ted Cruz can be President because his mother was born here, President Obama is a legitimate President because his mother was born in Kansas. Even if you don’t believe that President Obama was born in Hawaii.

2 thoughts on “President Obama and Senator Cruz: Bet You Didn't See This Coming

  1. If “natural born citizen” is just a name for “citizen,” there is no reason for adding the exception “or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution”. Being a citizen is not enough, unless you were alive when the Constitution was adopted.

    What is a “natural born citizen”? That question requires an inspection of the history of citizenship.

    Types of Citizenship: Jus Soli, Jus Sanguinis, Natural Born, Native Born and Naturalized.

    Jus soli citizenship is Latin for “law of the soil.” Jus soli is citizenship that inheres in a person based on the location of birth.

    Jus sanguinis citizenship is Latin for “law of the blood.” Jus sanguinis is citizenship that inheres in a person based on ancestry.

    Native born citizenship is derives from the details of birth, and who is a citizen at the instant of birth. In U.S. and British law, those born in the territory of the country or born to parents who are citizens (subjects) of the country when the person is born are native citizens (subjects.) Native have “birthright citizenship.” One can be “native born” by the “jus soli” principle or by the “jus sanguinis” principle.

    Naturalized citizenship is established by statute or by decision of a sovereign.

    Natural born citizenship is citizenship that is beyond dispute, not subject to contradictory claims, not established by statute or a sovereign, but inheres naturally. The 14th Amendment created a distinction among native-born citizens, and statutory native-born citizens. A native-born citizen; (a) is born in the United States; and (b) subject to U.S. jurisdiction at the time of birth. A statutory native-born citizen does not qualify for birthright citizenship, but receives U.S. citizenship, at birth, by law. For example, foreign-born children of American parents do not receive citizenship from the 14th Amendment; they obtain citizenship, at birth, by statute.

    Thus, those born outside the United States to U.S. citizens parents are native citizens and also naturalized citizens, since citizenship is granted by Congress (based on Congress’ Constitutional authority “To establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization,”) and operative at birth, based the parents being citizens.

    A Constitutional natural-born Citizen refers to “natural-born Citizen” as it appears in the Constitution or related document such as a Supreme Court decision.

    Statutory natural born citizen refers to a “natural-born Citizen” in Federal or State law.

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