Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz

Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz

Donald Trump is threatening to sue Texas Sen. Ted Cruz over his eligibility to run for president if he doesn’t “clean up his act.”

The battle over whether Cruz is a natural-born citizen or not was ignited again on Friday in response to the senator’s hard-hitting ads. Two recent commercials aimed at influencing South Carolina’s Feb. 20 primary election blast Trump for his support of eminent domain. Cruz was also accused of running push-polls against Trump.

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“If [Ted Cruz] doesn’t clean up his act, stop cheating, & doing negative ads, I have standing to sue him for not being a natural born citizen,” Trump tweeted Friday.

Trump Cruz lawsuit

Trump has attacked Cruz’s eligibility repeatedly since January, warning Democrats will file lawsuits challenging his ability to serve as president in a general election.

Cruz, a constitutional lawyer and former solicitor general of Texas, has maintained he is eligible to serve as president, noting the distinction between natural-born and naturalized citizens.

The Texan may eventually get to make that case in court, as voters in Alabama filed a Cruz-related lawsuit Feb. 3 in a district court. They seek a judgment “declaring that Rafael Edward Cruz is ineligible to qualify/run/seek and be elected to the Office of the President of the United States of America,” due to his Canadian birth, the Hill reported Friday.

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Plaintiffs Sebastian Green, Shannon Duncan, Kathryn Spears, Kyle Spears and Jerry Parker do not all back Trump in the Republican primary, their attorney, Thomas Drake, told the website.

“The only thing they can agree on is Mr. Cruz is not eligible to be president,” Drake said.

The lawsuit cites Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution, which states, “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.”

Under that clause, the plaintiffs claim, “Cruz is not a ‘natural-born’ citizen of the United States of America.”

“Mr. Cruz was born in Canada, and obviously Canada is not a territory or protectorate of the United States, it’s not dominion of the United States,” Drake told the Hill.

“And as such, when he was born, at the moment of his birth, location determined his status, and his status was that of a natural-born Canadian citizen,” he added.

“You cannot be a natural-born or native-born citizen of two countries.”

Cruz’s mother, Eleanor Darragh, was born in the state of Delaware on Nov. 23, 1934. His father, Rafael, was born in Cuba. Cruz himself was born in Calgary, Canada, on Dec. 22, 1970, but renounced his dual citizenship with Canada in 2014.

“Republicans are going to have to ask themselves the question: ‘Do we want a candidate who could be tied up in court for two years?’ That would be a big problem,” Trump told the Washington Post Jan. 5. It’d be a very precarious one for Republicans because he’d be running and the courts may take a long time to make a decision. You don’t want to be running and have that kind of thing over your head.”

Trump has at least one constitutional scholar in his corner.

Thomas Lee of Fordham Law School wrote a Jan. 10 op-ed for the Los Angeles Times backing Trump’s argument, saying only advocates of a “living Constitution” theory could back a Cruz run for the White House.

Lee said there are two principles an originalist must use to determine whether or not a person is a natural-born citizen:

  • U.S. Jus soli, or the law of soil: A child was a citizen of the sovereign who ruled the land where he or she was born.
  • Jus sanguinis, or the law of blood: A child’s citizenship was determined by the parents’ allegiance, regardless of place of birth. The law of blood would have applied to the father’s place of birth in 1788.

“The most conservative constitutional interpreters must find Cruz ineligible to be president,” Lee wrote, WND reported. “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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Cruz has outright rejected such attacks, saying the first Congress defined any child born of a U.S. citizen as a natural-born citizen.

The Texan may eventually get to make that case in court, as voters in Alabama filed a Cruz-related lawsuit Feb. 3 in a district court. They seek a judgment “declaring that Rafael Edward Cruz is ineligible to qualify/run/seek and be elected to the Office of the President of the United States of America,” due to his Canadian birth, the Hill reported Friday.

Plaintiffs Sebastian Green, Shannon Duncan, Kathryn Spears, Kyle Spears and Jerry Parker do not all back Trump in the Republican primary, their attorney, Thomas Drake, told the website.

“The only thing they can agree on is Mr. Cruz is not eligible to be president,” Drake said.

Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution reads, “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.”

Cruz’s most strenuous defense of his eligibility to run for president came Jan. 14 during Fox News’ Republican debate in South Carolina.

“I would note that the birther theories that Donald has been relying on, some of the more extreme ones insist that you must not only be born on U.S. soil, but have two parents born on U.S. soil. Under that theory, not only would I be disqualified, Marco Rubio would be disqualified, Bobby Jindal would be disqualified and, interestingly enough, Donald J. Trump would be disqualified,” Cruz said. “Donald’s mother was born in Scotland. She was naturalized.”

“But I was born here. Big difference,” Trump countered.

A federal lawsuit in Texas has also been filed seeking a judgment on whether Cruz is a natural-born citizen.

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