While questions about Canadian-born Sen. Ted Cruz’s eligibility to be president haven’t drawn much attention, two former Justice Department lawyers have weighed in with a bipartisan verdict: Cruz, they say, is eligible to run for the White House.
Neal Katyal, acting solicitor general in the Obama administration, and Paul Clemente, solicitor general in President George W. Bush’s administration, got out in front of the issue in a Harvard Law Review article.
“There is no question that Senator Cruz has been a citizen from birth and is thus a ‘natural born Citizen’ within the meaning of the Constitution,” they wrote.
Anti-Cruz “birthers” had questioned the Texas Republican senator’s eligibility to be president, challenging his citizenship status because he was born in Canada. Two years ago, Cruz released his birth certificate showing his mother was a U.S. citizen born in Delaware, presumably satisfying the requirements for presidential eligibility as a “natural born citizen.”
The law review article, “On the Meaning of ‘Natural Born Citizen”, asserts that the interpretation of the term was settled in Cruz’s favor as early as the 1700’s. The lawyers wrote that the Supreme Court has long used British common law and enactments of the First Congress for guidance on defining a “natural born citizen.”
“Both confirm that the original meaning of the phrase ‘natural born Citizen’ includes persons born abroad who are citizens from birth based on the citizenship of a parent,” they wrote. They concluded someone like Cruz had “no need to go through naturalization proceedings,” making him eligible. Cruz is still weighing a presidential run.
Last month, Cruz addressed the citizenship issue during a question-and-answer session with moderator Sean Hannity, of Fox News, at the Conservative Political Action Conference. “I was born in Calgary. My mother was an American citizen by birth,” Cruz said. “Under federal law, that made me an American citizen by birth. The Constitution requires that you be a natural-born citizen.”
Dan Gallo is a Fox News Channel Field Producer based in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter: @DanGallo