August 19, 2013

Okay, Ted Cruz birthers.

Here's the birth certificate.

ADDED: Was I the first Ted Cruz birther? A year ago, discussing Mitt Romney's remark "No one's ever asked to see my birth certificate," I said:
Romney is saying — in so many words — I'm more truly and fundamentally American than Barack Obama. And the implication is: I want you to think about the ways that Obama hasn't fully embraced American values of freedom, capitalism, etc. etc.

Of course, you don't have to be born in America to have those values. I imagine Ted Cruz has those values, and he was born in Canada. He might make a great Senator from Texas soon, but he can never be President. We don't need to see his birth certificate, because it's no secret. He's not qualified to be President, and it's no disparagement of him to say that. But notably — and pay attention now, because this should help with understanding Romney's joke — no one running against Cruz would make a joke about his being born outside of the United States. Romney's (implicit) joke about Obama works not because of where he was actually born, but because of much more substantive ideas about commitment to foundational American values.

ADDED: Instapundit agrees with me and adds that the press will miss this point and, thinking the joke hurts Romney, will "spread the idea further than Romney could on his own." He also prints email from a reader saying "Why does Ann Althouse assume Ted Cruz is not eligible to be President just because he was born in Calgary? Both of his parents were American at the time of his birth, and his mother was American by birth." I didn't mean to be the first Ted Cruz birther! I agree that if both your parents are American citizens and you are therefore an American citizen at birth, that's good enough for the constitutional requirement.


Ambrose said...

The age old dream of combining Canada into the US could come to fruition under President/Prime Minister Cruz.

sykes.1 said...

He's the perfect candidate to effect the merger of Canada, The US and Mexico. Canamexico?

mccullough said...

Been a long time since a President was born outside the US.

Mark said...

Apparently he never formally refused Canadian citizenship. I suppose a back up plan if things go bad is never a bad idea.

John said...

For 150 years or so we have never had a president or even a major party candidate that was born outside of the US other than McCain.

Whether or not one has to be physically born in the US to meet the "natural born" requirement is a matter of opinion. I believe that you do, Ann, IIRC, does not.

I have no question at all whether Cruz is a US citizen by and at birth. But he is a citizen by law, not by the Constitution.

I think it would be a huge mistake to run him against all tradition.

I think there is also a risk that 1 year into his term someone sues to overturn a law on the basis that Cruz is not "Natural Born" inelegible and the Supremes agree.

What then? All the laws he signed would be void. Ditto treaties and so on. The VP would become prez.

Why risk it?

John Henry

Hagar said...

Not necessarily that long; I believe there is some doubt as to which side of the border the Arthur's house stood on.

With Obama, I do not think it is so much a question of his "commitment to traditional American values," as that he has no feeling or understanding of them. Obama is more like from the international ex-pat community of Oxford and Harvard alumnae.

Inga said...

Ted Cruz's father didn't become a US citizen until 2005. So if he was born to one legal US citizen outside of the US, does that still make him a US citizen a birth? If Obama were to have been born to an American mother in Kenya, would that make him a US citizen at birth?

See any differences? Obama was born is the US and Cruz wasn't.

Carl said...

Of course, your comment is still wrong about his Constitutional ineligibility. Like Obama, his father wasn't an American citizen, but at the time that wasn't necessary, cf. Volokh's addendum to Reynolds's post.

Seeing Red said...

Via Drudge from the WSJ article still linked about US citizens giving up citizenship over FATCA:

...The U.S. also has an expansive definition of who is a citizen. It includes people born on U.S. soil as well as people born to U.S. citizens living abroad.

Kevin Packman, a partner with law firm Holland & Knight in Miami, has a Canadian client who was born in the U.S. to Canadian parents but moved to Canada as an infant. "She had no idea she was a U.S. citizen until she was nearly 50," he says. Experts say there are many similar "accidental citizens...."

Seeing Red said...

Canada has what we need, water, oil & it's a huge carbon sink.

Kelly said...

John said: "But he is a citizen by law, not by the Constitution."

I'm not a lawyer, but I have a healthy civilian interest in the Constitution. And I've thought about this a great deal. Until ratification of the 14th amendment, nothing in the Constitution defined citizenship. With the 14th, we have a definition of those "born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof." Nothing in that definition explicitly excludes citizenship conferred at birth by the parents. But it does seem to exclude, quite explicitly, expatriates. Do you content that Americans establishing permanent residency abroad forfeit their citizenship? If not, then how can you ignore the explicit constitutional exclusion of expats but insist on the omission (not exclusion) of children born abroad to American parents?

I realize that I'm talking about citizenship itself, not what kind of citizenship is required for presidential eligibility. But "natural born citizen" is defined nowhere in the Constitution. If we do not require those born overseas to American parents to be naturalized, then isn't that an implicit recognition that such citizens are "natural born"?

Beorn said...

@ John
For 150 years or so we have never had a president or even a major party candidate that was born outside of the US other than McCain.

Barry Goldwater was not born in the US. Arizona became a state 3 years after he was born.

What is it with Arizona candidates?

madAsHell said...

I'll wait to hear Mick weigh-in.

John said...


I've always understood it to mean that anyone physically born in the US is a citizen. Except diplomats who are not subject to US jurisdication.

Canada has tens of thousands of natural born US citizens as a result of their healthcare system. Hospitals overloaded and they send mothers across the border to give birth. Those babies have the same citizenship status as anyone born here with 5 generations on US born ancestors.

The "naturalization" part I understand to mean that Congress can make any law they want conferring citizenship. But they always could anyway.

The important part of the 14th is the part giving birthright citizenship regardless of parentage. While Congress could have passed laws granting citizenship to former slaves, there was no way to compel them to.

The 14th granted them citizenship by place of birth regardless of what additional naturalization laws Congress might pass.

Congress could pass a law tomorrow that only those physically born in the US are citizens regardless of their parentage.

It is pretty near impossible for one's citizenship to be taken away once acquired (See Ishikawa) It is difficult to even give it up. (See Perez)

But that would not stop Congress from changing the law so that a person born in Panama would not be a citizen even if the father were a Naval admiral and the mother a US citizen as well.

McCain is a statutory citizen, not a 14th Amendment citizen. He is a citizen ONLY because Congress passed a law that says he is. (Long before his time, of course)

John Henry

John said...

Congress could also pass a law granting automatic citizenship to any baby born in, say, Tibet.

Congress could also pass a law stating that for purposes of citizenship, Tibet is a "State".

This is why those born in Puerto Rico, Guam, DC, USVI and a couple other territories are "Natural Born" citizens under the 14th Amendment definition.

Someone else mentioned Arthur:

Yes, I am aware of the questions on his place of birth. There seems to be evidence he was born in the US and no proof that he was not, so I'll accept him as being born here.

John Henry

Edmund said...

If someone was cloned or gestated in a mechanical womb in the US, would they be eligible to be President?

tim maguire said...

I found this part very interestibg:

And reader Bobby Franklin writes: “Romney owes Obama rent for living in his head. It appears we may have underestimated ole Mitt. He is simply toying with Obama, Democrats, and the media – and they don’t even know it.”

I forgot there was a fair amount of this around the time of the first debate. Since then, many of us have been very critical of Romney or not trying very hard, for not pushing enough of Obama's buttons, for leaving too many lines of attack unused.

Funny, that.

heyboom said...

Inga, here's a link that might help:

Citizenship Through Parents

Inga said...

Heyboom, so if Obama WAS born to an American woman in Kenya after 1952 and before 1984, he still would be a US citizen, right? So what the heck where all the Obama birthers so outraged over? Did I miss something? Maybe Obama needs an apology from all the birthers who now think Cruz is a citizen because of his mother's citizenship. Obama's mother was also a US citizen.

But whatever, he was born in Hawaii.

n.n said...

Citizenship is a status derived from legal jurisdiction. When associated with land or other transferable resources, it has an ambiguous character. It can only be considered unambiguous, and therefore incontrovertible, when associated with a non-fungible disposition. This is necessary in order to exclude and distinguish citizens from certain classes of people, including: diplomats, visitors, invaders, etc. An individual can only be considered a "natural born" citizen when conceived by a mother and father who are both citizens. All other citizens are naturalized, which is a status granted by fiat in accordance with the law.

heyboom said...

I think there was some question over whether his mother had been in the U.S. herself for the requisite amount of time.

ddh said...

Ted Cruz was an American citizen at birth under 8 USC § 1401 (g) because his mother--who is from Wilmington, DE, by the way--had resided in the United States for five years or more, two years of which were after her 14th birthday. This provision of the law has been in effect since 1952, so Barack Obama would be a US citizen even if he had been born in Kenya.

John Henry's contention that the 14th amendment means that Ted Cruz is ineligible to be president because of his foreign birth seems farfetched. How likely would it be that the Supreme Court would decide that the 14th amendment creates two classes of US citizens from birth--those born in the US and those born abroad?

Mark said...

News just came in that Cruz will renounce his Canadian citizenship. Hilarious.  

AlanKH said...

If someone was cloned or gestated in a mechanical womb in the US, would they be eligible to be President?

Someone'll see to it.