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GOP Presidential Eligibility — Rubio, Jindal, Cruz Edition


Today, @LegInsurrection tweeted a posting by Prof. Jacobson from back in September of 2013 that could probably be considered the definitive posting on whether or not Sen. Marco Rubio, Gov. Bobby Jindal, or Sen. Ted Cruz could be considered natural born citizens for the purposes of the presidency.

I’m not going to cut-and-paste anything from the posting; please go read if you’d like to catch up and get a better understanding of natural born citizenship and presidential eligibility. It’s brilliant, thorough, though-provoking, and (I think) the go-to page at this point on this issue.

Frankly, after all of the commentary and postings here on my own site going back to 2008, it would have been nice to have had a definitive posting like this regarding President Obama. Then again, at the time (and as Prof. Jacobson rightly points out), there were so many self-proclaimed experts on presidential eligibility that nobody appeared to really take the time to seriously consider all the legal implications of pushing such a question to the Supreme Court (hence the dozens — forty-plus — federal and State-based cases that ended up going nowhere).

Regardless, I believe everyone learned a lot — to the point that many of us were branded with the term (directly or indirectly) “birther,” a pejorative that had been unfairly labeled those who questioned (and continue to question) President Obama’s own eligibility. While I agree that from a marketing perspective it was a brilliant move, it wreaked havoc on the desire by most to have a legitimate conversation about the topic without invoking other illegitimate charges (such as racism, bigotry, etc.).

The bottom line on eligibility: we don’t know a formal answer to the definition of presidential eligibility (as confirmed by the State Department) because “natural born citizen” has never been defined for this purpose. On the other hand, there had been many instances where a given State secretary of State pointed the proverbial finger to the party apparatus to justify their candidate’s self-affirmation that they qualified, only to have that same political party point back to the SoS to make this determination.

Yet, let’s not get lost in the trees of the proverbial forest. Given Prof. Jacobson’s posting, if you don’t believe one of the GOP presidential hopefuls qualifies, then don’t vote for them, and get on your soap box and spread the word for why they’re not eligible in your mind.

I know I will.


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