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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Citizenship and the Presidency

Our textbook discusses the Natural Born Citizen clause of the Constitution:  "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."

 Aaron Blake reports at The Washington Post:
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) announced Monday evening that he will renounce his Canadian citizenship, less than 24 hours after a newspaper pointed out that the Canadian-born senator likely maintains dual citizenship.
“Now the Dallas Morning News says that I may technically have dual citizenship,” Cruz said in a statement. “Assuming that is true, then sure, I will renounce any Canadian citizenship. Nothing against Canada, but I’m an American by birth and as a U.S. senator; I believe I should be only an American.”
The Dallas Morning News wrote in a story posted late Sunday night that Cruz likely remains a Canadian citizen, by virtue of being born there to an American mother. Having never renounced that citizenship, Cruz was technically a Canadian and an American citizen, according to legal experts.
Also at The Washington Post, Dylan Matthews writes: "Between Carl Schurz, Robert Wagner, and Alexander Hamilton, it isn’t hard to name potentially excellent presidents who were barred from office due to the natural-born citizenship clause."  But as far as Hamilton goes, this assertion errs by overlooking these words: "or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution."  UVA law professor Edward White explains:
Alexander Hamilton, born on an island in the British West Indies to parents who were not American citizens, was not a “natural born” citizen, even though he was a delegate at the 1787 convention. Some have claimed this barred him from the presidency, and have even suggested that the clause was drafted with Hamilton in mind. But Hamilton had been a resident of New York well before the Declaration of Independence was issued and the Articles of Confederation ratified. Those documents made him, and all similar residents of the new America states, “citizens of the United States.”