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Republicans Ignoring Cruz Ineligibility Issue


By:  Lee “Scott” Fields Jr.

Fort Fairfield Journal, March 16, 2016


   [I recently wrote an email to Fox News' Sean Hannity respectfully disagree with his insertion of Title 8 USC Section 1401 into the discussion of Senator Cruz’s eligibility to be president of the United States.  That e-mail was subsequently bounced since the e-mail address he publishes is not active.  What follows is the e-mail Hannity has not been able to consider:]

   As a History major I was taught to place the analysis of any issue into its original context. In this case the issue is not what Title 8 USC Section 1401 says but rather what was the intent behind the specific wording of Article 2, Section 1, Clause 4, “natural born Citizen?”  

   Senator Cruz was born in Canada with an American mother and a Cuban father, thereby having dual citizenship. Senator Cruz renounced his Canadian citizenship effective May 14, 2014 thus making him an American citizen. That action begs the question, what is Senator Cruz’s specific status under Article 2 Section 1, Clause 4: “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?”

   The founding fathers were very specific in the wording of the Constitution. Note the Journal wording on 22 August 1787: “he shall be of the age of thirty-five years and a Citizen of the United States…” versus the Journal wording on 4 September 1787: No person except a natural born citizen…” That is the only time those particular words are used in the Constitution. 

   The question then became, where did those words come from and what is their significance? During my research I came across a letter, written by Benjamin Franklin to Charles William Frederic in which Mr. Franklin wrote: “I am much obliged by the kind present you have made us of your edition of Vattel. It came to us in good season, when the circumstances of a rising state make it necessary frequently to consult the Law of Nations. Accordingly that copy which I kept (…) has been continually in the hands of the members of our Congress, now sitting, who are much pleased with your notes and preface, and have entertained a high and just esteem for their author.”

   Based on Mr. Franklin’s letter I researched Emer de Vattel’s “The Law of Nations (1758) and discovered in Chapter XIX Section 212 the answer to the question. Vattel wrote that “The natives, or natural born citizens, are those born in the country, of parents who are citizens.”

   On March 26, 1790 Congress passed An Act to Establish a Uniform Rule of Naturalization that confirmed the specificity of the Article 2, Section 1, Clause 4 wording in the Constitution. Under the 1790 Act “the children of citizens of the United States, that may be born beyond the sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural-born citizens.”  

   In the 1874 Supreme Court Case, Minor v Happersett, Chief Justice Morrison Waite digressed from the issue before the Court and specifically addressed the original meaning of the natural born citizen requirement. “At common-law, with the nomenclature of which the framers of the Constitution were familiar, it was never doubted that all children born in a country of parents who were its citizens became themselves, upon birth, citizens also. These were natives, or natural-born citizens, distinguished from aliens or foreigners.”

   The historical thread is consistent; the place of birth is not the issue. The defining factor, in order to meet the Article 2 eligibility to be President, is that both parents must be citizens. Senator Cruz does not meet that requirement.

   Question: If my analysis is correct would it not also apply to President Obama?