Joseph Cotto, 1/19/2016 [Archive]

Cruz Abandoning His Own Constitutional Values

By Joseph Cotto

Can Prince Hamzah bin Hussein of Jordan run for president of the United States?

According to the logic of Ted Cruz and his supporters, so long as the Prince has lived in America for at least 14 years, the answer is 'yes!' How might this be? Prince Hamzah's mother is Queen Noor, born Lisa Najeeb Halaby in Washington, D.C. Her parents were both American citizens and she grew up along the capitol-to-New York corridor.

In 1978, she married King Hussein of Jordan and eventually bore him four children. Cruz's crew allege that if an American citizen gives birth anywhere in the world, irrespective of where the other parent is from, the infant is natural born per US law. Therefore, he or she may someday become president.

This perspective is far from agreed upon by legal scholars or relevant legislation, not to mention the Constitution. Traditionally, natural born citizenship has been for those born on American soil. In the early 1790s, federal statute granted natural born status to offspring of Americans living outside the country, but this was quashed during the same decade.

People with a 'living' view of the Constitution believe its words should be reinterpreted to fit changing societal norms. These folks, mostly lefties, believe that Cruz is natural born simply because of his Delawarean mother. For them, Ted's hometown being the Canadian oil haven of Calgary is no problem.

That is especially peculiar as Cruz alleges himself an 'originalist'. The school of thought he purportedly adheres to reads the Constitution strictly, in accordance with what its authors intended. That standpoint, popular with rightists, does not recognize natural born citizenship beyond American jurisdiction.

The reason is that constitutional law derives from English common law. Supreme Court Justice Noah Haynes Swane, who presided from the Civil War until the early Gilded Age, described this situation as follows: "All persons born in the allegiance of the king are natural-born subjects, and all persons born in the allegiance of the United States are natural-born citizens. Birth and allegiance go together. Such is the rule of the common law, and it is the common law of this country as well as of England....since as before the Revolution."

Today, the State Department declares that a "child born abroad to a U.S. citizen parent or parents may acquire U.S. citizenship at birth if certain statutory requirements are met.... Failure to promptly document a child who meets the statutory requirements....may cause problems for the parents and the child when attempting to establish the child's U.S. citizenship".

There is more, however: "In any event, the fact that someone is a natural born citizen pursuant to a statute does not necessarily imply that he or she is such a citizen for Constitutional purposes."

Seeing as the Constitution is what determines presidential eligibility, there hardly seems a leg for Cruz to stand on.

More important than this, however, is Ted's willingness to abandon his legal philosophy, which he utilized as Solicitor General of Texas and championed to Lone Star State voters. Cruz being a rigid interpreter of the Constitution has been his claim to fame. Scores of folks support him because they believe he will advocate originalism above all else.

Talk about misplaced trust.

When the going got tough for Ted, constitutional rightism went out the window. He ran to the loving arms of a philosophy he railed against for years on end. The man was shameless in his about-face. What does that say about Cruz's convictions and the character underpinning them?

If this is what he pulls on the campaign trail, we should fear what might happen in office. Ted has built a public persona of placing principles over politics. His hypocrisy by the very standards he set cannot go ignored. Should a man be willing to do this in front of the cameras, what takes place behind closed doors?

Republican primary voters are fortunate that Cruz revealed himself early on. Being stuck with such a candidate, along with the eligibility lawsuit now hanging over his head, would likely prove disastrous.

Hopefully enough of Ted's devotees will wake up and smell the coffee before voting day. Rest assured that the Democrats are not missing a beat.

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Copyright 2016 Joseph Cotto, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Joseph Cotto is a historical and social journalist, and writes about politics, economics and social issues. Email him at joseph.f.cotto@gmail.com.

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