Thursday, February 18, 2016

Is Ted Cruz a 'natural born Citizen'? Not if you're a constitutional originalist.

Thomas Lee is a professor of constitutional law and international law at Fordham Law School:
People looking to the Supreme Court to settle the debate once and for all are likely to be disappointed. The federal courts have repeatedly refused to allow voters to bring lawsuits disqualifying presidential candidates on the basis of the “natural born Citizen” clause because voters don't have the proper “standing”— their alleged injury is too generalized to justify a court order of relief.

But voters do have recourse: The ballot box may be the final arbiter of the constitutional meaning of the clause. In other words, if you are an originalist, vote against Cruz because he is ineligible to be president.

It's a neat irony: The most conservative constitutional interpreters must find Cruz ineligible to be president; liberals must grin and bear him. Cruz himself purports to embrace originalism as the correct view of the Constitution. To be faithful to his understanding of what the Constitution means, the senator may have to disqualify himself.

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