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; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.
– Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution
To an extent, I am somewhat surprised to see the issue of eligibility for the office of president of the United States rearing its head at this point in time for reasons that shall become evident presently. On the one hand, in light of the fraud perpetuated by Barack Hussein Obama and his surrogates in this area, it is easy to understand that those for whom the rule of law still carries weight would want to to ensure that such a thing never occurs again.
On the other hand, it is apparent – at least to me – that both the Democratic and Republican parties have resolved to play fast and loose with the issue of eligibility, and it seems unlikely that they will switch gears and clarify what constitutes eligibility in the middle of an election cycle.
The lingering question relative to eligibility is that of what constitutes a natural born citizen as proscribed in Article II, discounting the summary proclamations of Obama minions, ethically compromised lawmakers and members of the press. Two schools of thought have emerged and are now being debated, indeed even more vigorously than they were in 2008: The “living Constitution” interpretation versus the “originalist” view.
As we’ve seen, the “living” paradigm often translates into support for whatever those who are advocating for something desire a constitutional article or clause to mean. The “originalist” view (which argues for designations more in keeping with those of America’s founders), though more stringent, is unfortunately even less clear on the topic of eligibility.
Many legalistic arguments have been written over the years concerning what our nation’s founders believed a natural born citizen was, but none has been codified into law. For many years, conventional wisdom held that a natural born citizen was someone born of parents who were U.S. citizens. Although an individual’s place of birth itself has given rise to debate over the last eight years, in the past, this point was practically immaterial; no one would have ever suggested that a child born to an American couple on vacation in Egypt was a natural born Egyptian.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has brought the question to light again in recent weeks as regards the eligibility of fellow GOP contender and conservative favorite Ted Cruz. A few days ago, a Houston attorney filed a federal lawsuit challenging Cruz’s eligibility for the office of president on the basis that Cruz was born in Calgary, Alberta, to an American mother and a Cuban father. GOP hopefuls Marco Rubio and Bobby Jindal have faced similar questions concerning their eligibility.
Ted Cruz was born in Canada and was a Canadian citizen until 15 months ago. Lawsuits have just been filed with more to follow. I told you so
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 16, 2016
As noted by the New York Daily News, many grass-roots conservatives are averse to arguments charging Cruz’s ineligibility; Trump discovered this last Saturday when he got booed for raising the issue at the South Carolina Tea Party Coalition Convention.
Is this because the aforementioned grass-roots conservatives are ignorant of Article II? Is it because they don’t care, considering Cruz’s conservative credentials and the fact that the issue of Obama’s eligibility remains unresolved? Perhaps they believe that if the establishment has decided to skirt eligibility requirements, then Cruz ought to have a shot.
In another camp, there are constitutional conservatives who have been active for a long time in advancing awareness of Article II and what they consider to be Obama’s ineligibility. Despite their respect for Cruz as a senator and a conservative, they are bound and determined to see that he never gets the Republican nomination.
To the consternation of many conservatives, last week radio talk-show host and attorney Mark Levin asserted that both Cruz and Obama are natural born citizens by virtue of their mothers having been U.S. citizens, and thus are both eligible to hold the office of president. Many find this absurd on its face, given the reasoning that the Constitution’s framers used for including Article II. The idea that these men would have accepted matrilineally-descended natural born citizenship is a major stretch, given how patriarchal society was in the 1790s, and this is reflected in political writings of the day.
Further, as some have argued, in Levin’s view, one could have an “eligible” candidate born of an American mother and foreign father who is by all appearances a fiercely loyal American, and another with the same credentials dedicated to the destruction of the Republic.
The core problem with eligibility at present is this: The distinct lack of clarity around the definition of what a natural born citizen actually is from a legal standpoint is due solely to the craven deportment of the leadership in both parties. The push for such clarity has been deftly avoided for decades because both parties feared that in establishing clear legal parameters for eligibility, the politically-adroit-though-ineligible scumbag they were potentially excluding might one day be their own presidential hopeful.
Given the character of a preponderance of our lawmakers and government officials as starkly revealed over the last several years, Americans have no reason nor right to be surprised by this monumentally egregious lapse of ethics on their part.
Media wishing to interview Erik Rush, please contact [email protected].