NEW YORK – A Republican attorney in Illinois, a supporter of Ben Carson, on Friday filed a motion with the Illinois State Board of Elections to have Sen. Ted Cruz’s name removed from the official Republican primary ballot for the Illinois GOP presidential primary set for March 15.
The legal challenge confirms fellow candidate Donald Trump’s argument that the issue of eligibility to be president under Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution will dog Cruz as the Texas senator pursues the GOP nomination for president, and possibly a subsequent White House bid.
The motion from Lawrence J. Joyce, who makes his living as a pharmacist licensed in his state, notes that Cruz was born on Dec. 22, 1970, in the city of Calgary, in the Canadian province of Alberta, and that Cruz has been a citizen of the United States continuously since birth under § 301(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1401.
But Joyce’s motion challenges that Cruz is not a “natural born citizen” under the meaning of Article 2, Section 1, and as a result not eligible to be president.
The ‘nightmare scenario’
“I have principally two reasons for doing this,” Joyce explained to WND in an email. “First, I think Dr. Carson would make both a better president of the United States and a better nominee of the Republican Party.
“Second, I am terrified that if we don’t get this cleared up right now, if Ted Cruz does become the nominee, the Democrats will cherry-pick which court or election board they will petition to have him declared to be ineligible in September or October,” Joyce continued.
“The result could be that the Democrats may chalk up a string of three or four or five victories [in their election board petitions] in a row, potentially forcing Cruz to resign the nomination (if for no other reason than that fund raising would quickly dry up),” Joyce explained.
“Then Mr. [Karl] Rove and company would hand-pick his replacement as the nominee,” he concluded.
Joyce argued that in his nightmare scenario, should Cruz be forced to withdraw as the GOP presidential nominee, the party’s vice presidential nominee would not automatically become the presidential nominee.
Under the circumstances of a nominee withdrawing, he said, GOP party bosses could make a replacement choice that Joyce would find objectionable, including the possibility of nominating Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio, Gov. Chris Christie or Rep. Paul Ryan, all of whom Joyce named as likely Cruz replacements in this scenario.
‘Whistling past the graveyard’
“Sen. Ted Cruz was born in Canada,” Joyce said in a press statement. “He has been a U.S. citizen since birth, but that was by statute. The Constitution requires one to be a ‘natural born’ citizen in order to be president. And the governing case law of the U.S. Supreme Court and the whole history of the law points to the conclusion that Ted Cruz is not a natural born citizen.
“What is worse,” Joyce continued, “is that Sen. Cruz has known about this problem for a long time now. Yet he has not even made any effort to clarify this in any formal setting, though he could have at least done that.
“Sen. Cruz has been whistling past the graveyard all along,” Joyce’s statement continued. “That he should happen to do so within the thoughts of his own mind would be one thing, but that he should now drag the entire Republican Party through a potential nightmare simply because of his negligence, his own private, wishful thinking and his lack of due diligence is inexcusable.”
Joyce’s motion was filed on Friday with James Tenuto, assistant executive director of the Illinois State Board of Elections.
Cruz’s attorney, Sharee Langenstein of Murphysboro, Illinois, has until 5 p.m., Central Time on Monday, Jan. 25, to respond in an expedited proceeding established to hear election cases.
In a telephone interview, Langenstein declined to comment on the case, although she did confirm she is listed with the Republican National Lawyers Association and indicated her law practice focuses on Second Amendment cases.
She has been a registered lobbyist in Illinois for conservative groups, including the Illinois State Rifle Association and Eagle Forum. In this year’s Illinois GOP primary, Langenstein is a delegate candidate for Cruz in the 12th Congressional District and is running for the Illinois Senate.
At the case management conference Wednesday, Tenuto told Joyce he would try to have a recommendation for the Illinois Elections Board as a whole within three to four days after all materials have been received.
Joyce estimates this timetable could bring the process forward without conclusion on or about Friday, Jan. 29, or Monday, Feb. 1, with the Iowa caucuses scheduled for the evening of Monday, Feb. 1.
Joyce told WND he expects the Illinois Elections Board to meet to consider his recommendation the first or second week of February, when each side will be allowed to address the board.
He calculates it will be impossible for the Illinois Elections Board as a whole to reach a decision prior to the Iowa caucuses, and it still uncertain whether the it could reach its decision even before the New Hampshire primary scheduled for Feb. 9.
“But I do expect the board to reach a decision before the South Carolina primary on Saturday, Feb. 20,” he said. “However, once the Illinois Elections Board makes its decision, the judicial review process begins, and who knows how long that will take.”
Cruz renounced Canadian citizenship in 2014
Cruz was born in Calgary, Alberta, in 1970, while his parents were working there in the oil fields. Cruz’s mother, Eleanor Elizabeth Darragh Wilson, was reportedly born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware.
Cruz’s father, Rafael Cruz, was a Cuban citizen who entered the United States in 1957 on a foreign student visa he obtained from the U.S. Consulate in Havana. Both Cruz’s parents applied for and received Canadian citizenship under Canadian immigration and naturalization laws.
In 1974, when Cruz was four years old, the family moved to Texas. Cruz’s father renounced his Canadian citizenship in 2005 when he applied for and became a U.S. naturalized citizen. On May 14, 2014, Cruz received official confirmation from the Canadian government that he had successfully renounced his Canadian citizenship.
On Aug. 18, 2013, the Dallas Morning News published a copy of Cruz’s birth certificate, listing Dec. 22, 1970, as his date of birth and identifying his mother’s birthplace as Wilmington, Delaware.
Lawrence Joyce describes himself as a full-time practicing pharmacist and a part-time pro-life attorney, who writes amicus briefs in U.S. Supreme Court cases. His most recent amicus brief filing was in the Hobby Lobby case on behalf of Texas Black Americans for Life and the Life Education And Resource Network (LEARN).
Joyce is a contributing columnist and former editor in chief of 888WebToday.com, an Internet website described as a Christian conservative news source.
WND had reported just days earlier that Oxford Business School senior fellow Theodore Roosevelt Malloch described Donald Trump’s challenge over Cruz’s presidential eligibility as a calculated strategy to take the Texas senator “off message.”
“It’s fundamental in presidential campaign politics that you want to attack your opponent in order to force the debate onto terms where you believe you have an advantage,” said Malloch, whose new book, “Davos Aspen & Yale: My Life Behind the Elite Curtain as a Global Sherpa,” is published by WND Books.
“Presidential candidates forced to defend their positions are losing, simply because they have to spend time recovering lost ground,” he stressed. “Winning candidates stay on theme, advancing their agenda for change, giving the voters a vision that inspires favorable reactions.”