While Ted Cruz was born in Canada, the fact that he has an American mother clears away any legal concerns should he one day make a run for the Oval Office, The Washington Post reports
, citing a Harvard Law Review article on citizenship and the presidency.
"All the sources routinely used to interpret the Constitution confirm that the phrase 'natural born Citizen' has a specific meaning: namely, someone who was a U.S. citizen at birth with no need to go through a naturalization proceeding at some later time," wrote legal scholars Paul D. Clement, former solicitor general for President George W. Bush, and Neal Katyal, former acting solicitor general for President Barack Obama.
"And Congress has made equally clear from the time of the framing of the Constitution to the current day that, subject to certain residency requirements on the parents, someone born to a U.S. citizen parent generally becomes a U.S. citizen without regard to where the birth takes place," they added.
Cruz joins other political well-knowns who were also born outside of the country, including John McCain, born in the Panama Canal Zone, former Michigan Gov. George Romney, born in Mexico, and former Sen. Barry Goldwater, who was delivered in Arizona at a time before it became a state.
Regardless of their birth locations, they could all have served in the White House, the Post noted, adding that such a rule on citizenship was established by the First Congress.
Said Katyal and Clement: "Eight of the eleven members of the committee that proposed the natural born eligibility requirement to the Convention served in the First Congress and none objected to a definition of 'natural born Citizen' that included persons born abroad to citizen parents."
Cruz was born in 1970 in Calgary, Canada where his parents worked in the oil industry. His mother is American, born and raised in Delaware, and his father was born in Cuba. The family moved to Houston, Texas in 1974. Cruz held dual citizenship but relinquished his Canadian citizenship fully in 2014, according to CNN
In the wake of his interests in running for president, some have questioned the legal status of the Texas senator's citizenship. The Dallas Morning News last month suggested Cruz could possibly spawn another "birther" controversy
like the one that continues among some detractors of Obama.
"In my view, it does merit a test," Catholic University Professor Sarah Helene Duggin told the News of lingering constitutional questions around citizenship and the presidency. "If we ever get to the point where we have a presidential candidate with this issue, we will need a clarification. If the candidate were elected and then disqualified, that would be a serious constitutional crisis."
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