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Opening Arguments


Hey, way a couple of years, and there may spring up a "birther" movement on the left, too:

Ted Cruz may have the aura of a future presidential contender, but is he even eligible to run?

The newly sworn-in Texas senator and rising Republican star was born in Canada, to a mother who was born in Delaware and Cuban father. That’s triggered a debate about whether he’s eligible for the nation’s highest office — nevermind that he’s been in Congress less than a week.

Most legal scholars contacted for the article seem to think he would be OK -- his birth to an American woman -- wherever she was at the time of the birth -- makes him a "natural born citizen" under most interpretations of our Constitution and laws.

This is an interesting reaction:

Why should the presidency uniquely be limited to natural-born citizens when other important government positions aren’t? Give me an argument on the merits, not just “because the Constitution says so.” As a measure of loyalty, the Natural Born Clause is weak; there are plenty of naturalized citizens whom I’d trust to act in America’s interest before I’d trust certain natural-borns. And as far as I know, virtually every other sensitive federal job — Congress, military, intelligence — is open to U.S. citizens who were born elsewhere. Why would you be willing to promote a guy to, say, four-star general or director of national intelligence irrespective of birthplace but not to C-in-C?

I confess this didn't occur to me when the Obama birther controversy was big. Complaints about his birthplace always seemed like a stretch to me, and just imagine if they had find out he was ineligible after he was elected -- what an unholy mess that would have created. But it did occur to me when a lot of dewey-eyed Republicans were talking about changing the Constitution so Aaaaarhnold could run. I dismissed the idea pretty quickly, though, because I just couldn't see him as president. Turns out being governor was even a stretch for him.