For many years, there have been arguments about the exact meaning of the Constitutional phrase, “natural born.” It’s a requirement for one to become President of the United States. “Birthers” claimed President Obama was not eligible, but since no one ever took the issue to court, it was moot. Until now.
The most famous “Birther” was Donald Trump, who questioned President Obama’s right to be president. But he’s bipartisan on the issue. He’s also questioned Cruz’ eligibility.
“Republicans are going to have to ask themselves the question: ‘Do we want a candidate who could be tied up in court for two years?’ That’d be a big problem,” Trump said when the question came up in January.
Unlike the complaints about Obama, this year, lawsuits have actually been brought to determine if Cruz is ineligible. There have been suits filed in several states.
–Illinois: Lawrence Joyce, a Ben Carson supporter, first filed a complaint with the Illinois Board of Elections to keep Cruz’s name off the ballot. That complaint was tossed.
–New York: Barry Korman and William Gallo. Two residents of New York filed a suit against that state’s Board of Elections. . .seeking to keep Cruz’s name off the ballot there.
–Alabama: Sebastian Green, Shannon Duncan, Kathryn Spears, Kyle Spears and Jerry Parker. Five people filed a federal lawsuit in Alabama hoping for a determination that Cruz is ineligible to “qualify/run/seek and be elected to the Office of the President,” according to The Hill.
–Texas: Newton Schwartz. There’s an interesting, if inadvertent, point in Schwartz’s lawsuit, as quoted by The Hill. “However persuasive one finds each side in this debate,” Schwartz writes, “the final decision ultimately rests in the hands of five or more of nine Justices on the Supreme Court as mandated by the Constitution.”
–Utah: Walter Wagner. And one more. To BuzzFeed, Wagner explained that, “I’m a natural-born citizen, and most people are in this country, and it just doesn’t seem proper.” What is and isn’t a natural-born citizen, of course, is what Wagner would like the court to decide.
There are others, quoted here:
–Indiana: Graham v. Cruz (16SOEBGP527)
–New Jersey: Carter v. Cruz (Cause 2016-3) AND Kern v. Cruz (Cause 2016-4); Williams v. Cruz, Powers v. Cruz
–New Hampshire: Elliot v. Cruz, Booth v. Cruz (BLC 2015-2) AND Laity v. Cruz (BLC 2015-4)
–New York: Fischer v. Cruz, Gallo v. Cruz, Laity v. Cruz
–Federal cases: Voeltz v. Cruz, Farrell v. Cruz (Pennsylvania)
However, “being right” doesn’t matter. No one brought suit against President Obama, so the issue was never decided. But even if you bring a suit, it can be dismissed—unless you can prove you have “standing.” That is, the judge basically asks, “what’s it to you?” You have to show that you were personally and substantively damaged. Most of these suits have been dismissed, because it’s not enough to be a citizen and voter. You have to show how you, personally, have been harmed by Cruz.
No one has been able to pass that test. Until now.
The Washington Times reported Sunday that a new challenger does have standing, because he has filed to run for president against Cruz, and would be harmed if an “unqualified” candidate defeated him.
Victor Williams, the man challenging Mr. Cruz, is also running as a write-in candidate for the Republican nomination in New Jersey, which he hopes gives him an extra boost as he tried to convince the state both that he has standing to challenge, and that Mr. Cruz should be disqualified. . .
“Ted Cruz’s Canadian birth certificate on public record incontrovertibly proves, that he was, and is, a natural-born Canadian. it is simply a physical impossibility for him to be both a natural-born Canadian and a natural-born American,” Mr. Williams says in his challenge.
There was one case in Pennsylvania, in which a judge ruled that Cruz is a “citizen from birth.” But some have drawn a distinction between being a citizen “from birth,” as opposed to “at birth.” That is, being born on Canadian soil, Cruz would be considered a “natural born” Canadian, but did not become an American citizen at all, until the proper papers were filed.
There is an added twist. Cruz has been criticized for using every possible trick and technicality to gain advantage in the race for presidential delegates. In this case, he may be technically disadvantaged.
Complicating matters is the state of affairs in New Jersey, where the election division falls under Secretary of State Kim Guadagno. She is also the lieutenant governor — sharing the ticket with Gov. Chris Christie, a former presidential candidate himself. Mr. Christie has now endorsed Donald Trump, who is Mr. Cruz’s chief rival for the GOP nomination.
Now, we have a plaintiff with “standing,” who can show how Cruz’ candidacy would harm him, personally–and the case is being heard in a jurisdiction which might like to see the issue painstakingly examined. Can this campaign year become any more interesting?
As of yesterday, a judge has ruled in this case. However, that doesn’t settle the issue, even in New Jersey.
On Tuesday, Judge [Jeff] Masin dismissed the challenge, while acknowledging that “absolute certainty as to this issue is only available to those who actually sat in Philadelphia and themselves thought on the issue”. . .
Judge Masin added that his decision might be adopted, modified or rejected by Lt Gov Guadagno, New Jersey’s secretary of state, who is authorized to make a final decision on the matter. She must transmit the names of candidates to appear on the primary ballot to county clerks by Thursday.
Per the Judge’s ruling, the matter now rests at the hands of an official in Governor Chris Christie’s administration.