Cruz, Haley, Jindal, Rubio: Flight 2016 Cleared for Takeoff
Let's close down the silly season on presidential eligibility early. Our colleague, Ken Klukowski, is a constitutional lawyer who argues here that newly-sworn-in Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) is likely eligible to run for president in 2016. The only question that could arise is the fact the fiery young conservative leader was born in Calgary, Alberta, on Dec. 22, 1970. Let's see: 1970 makes him thirty-five in 2005. He's in!
Is the Canadian birthplace a hurdle? Not really. Since at least 1793, such children of American citizens born abroad have been recognized to be American citizens.
Ted's mother, the former Eleanor Darragh, was an American citizen from Delaware. To argue that his actual place of birth to an American citizen disqualifies Ted Cruz is to argue that millions of undoubted Americans are disqualified. What about military "brats" born in civilian hospitals to parents stationed in West Germany? Or sons and daughters of American business people temporarily working abroad? Or children of U.S. citizens who are missionaries called to foreign lands?
Can conservatives seriously believe that any of these otherwise qualified American citizens should be barred from running for president? We thought as conservatives we are opposed to assisted suicide. But reading the Constitution in such a strained and absurd way would render us politically dead.
Some people, unfortunately, are maintaining that anyone whose parents were not yet fully naturalized U.S. citizens are ineligible. That's because, they say, only the children of U.S. citizens can be "natural-born citizens of the United States" under the Constitution's requirements for being elected president (Art. II, Sec. 1). They say that because of this iron-clad condition, Florida's Sen. Marco Rubio, and possibly even South Carolina 's Gov. Nikki Haley and Louisiana 's Gov. Bobby Jindal may all be ineligible to serve as president.
Marco Rubio was born May 28, 1971 in Miami, Florida. Bobby Jindal was born on June 10, 1971, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Nikki Haley was born January 20, 1971 in Bamberg, S.C.
The Fourteenth Amendment says this about being a U.S. citizen: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."
Last time we checked, Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina were all part of the United States. And all these bouncing 1970s babies were subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.
So we think the silly season in presidential politics should be closed down, early. We believe that Cruz, Haley, Jindal, and Rubio are all eligible to serve as president. Now, this is not the same thing as endorsing any one of them. But, it's a safe bet than any one of these worthies is capable of being a better president than the one we now have.
If conservatives want to be a majority of the electorate, we need to welcome, not put off, immigrants and children of immigrants. Any other stance will result in our "self-deporting" ourselves as conservatives -- from the White House.
Consider this historical question: Could it have been the original intent of the Founders to disqualify themselves from serving as president? It was not until Martin Van Buren, eighth president, that we elected a man who had been born an American citizen. There was actually some silly maneuvering around the accession of Chester Alan Arthur in 1881. Some misguided folks then tried to argue that young Chet had been born in Canada and smuggled across the border into Vermont as an infant.
One thing is clear from a plain and unforced reading of the greatest Constitution ever written: Former Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) of Michigan and former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (?) of California are both ineligible. Granholm was born in Canada of Canadian parents. Arnold was born in Austria of Austrian parents. For that much, we conservatives can thank God -- and the Founders' wisdom!