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'Natural Born'

by Geraldo Rivera | Jan 06, 2016

Despite being born in Canada of a Cuban dad and an American mom, there is no question among any legal scholar over the American citizenship of Senator Ted Cruz.

He is a citizen because under the laws of the United States he did not have to be naturalized, that is, despite his birth in the Great White North, no further legal action was necessary to make Senator Cruz an American citizen once he choose to be one.

But here's why I insisted that my son Gabriel and his lovely and talented wife Deb, living in Germany, come home to have their baby, my grandson Desmond in the United States: I want him to grow up to be president and not be worried about a Supreme Court challenge to his legitimacy, which Ted Cruz will surely have to face.

Here's why. In a nutshell, the case has never been decided by a federal court. It was not litigated over Senator Barry Goldwater's birth in the Territory of Arizona, nor over Governor George Romney's birth to American missionary parents in Mexico, nor over Senator John McCain's birth in the American-controlled Panama Canal Zone.

Here is the legal issue.

As scholars, including the Congressional Research Service are pointing out, the Naturalization Act of 1790 said, "the children of citizens...shall be considered Natural Born citizens" wherever born.

But, and this is a big but, when the act was amended in 1795, the language was changed to say that the children of citizens were "citizens." But the amended statue deleted the phrase "natural born."

In other words the kids of citizens wherever born are definitely citizens but maybe not necessarily of the "naturally born" variety the Constitution requires of presidents.

Ultimately, the Supreme Court will have to decide. Cruz is probably right that the weight of scholarly opinion favors his eligibility. But Trump is also right, it may be a huuuge distraction.

He'll certainly try hard to make it one.

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