The issue of Ted Cruz’s eligibility to become president has finally reached the Supreme Court this week, thanks to the efforts of a retired lawyer in Utah named Walter Wagner. After having his case thrown out last month in a Utah district court, Wagner is now appealing to the United States Supreme Court with his lawsuit.
Legal scholars, however, are confident that the lawsuit will likely go absolutely nowhere, flunking in the same manner as it did in Utah. In mid-March, Wagner brought the case to District Judge Jill Parrish, who threw the case out shortly after on March 18th. The case has been brought up on several other occasions at other locations since the beginning of the election, all meeting the same fate as Wagner’s. Parrish officially ruled thusly:
‘Like the courts that have ruled on this question, this court holds that Mr. Wagner lacks standing to bring his claim. It is not enough for an individual to bring a lawsuit based on his status as a ‘citizen’ or a ‘taxpayer. Nowhere does Mr. Wagner allege how he will be injured in a personal and individual way’
In order to bring a lawsuit, a judge must determine whether or not the plaintiff carries the appropriate “standing” to do so. This “standing” requires that an individual prove that the defendant is bringing some kind of personal harm or injury to them in order to make the case viable and worth the Judge’s time.
Wagner tried to prove his standing on the claim that he, as an American citizen and a taxpayer, has a vested interest in who is elected President of the United States. He failed, however, to provide any specific proof as to how Cruz’s birthright citizenship, and his “eligibility” to run for president, would actually bring about the personal harm necessary to give him the appropriate standing for the case.
But Wagner is being painfully persistent on this matter, not being one to give up on disqualifying a presidential candidate based on one strange clause in the United States Constitution. This may finally give the Supreme Court the tools necessary to set legal precedent for this “birther” issue once and for all.
Article II, Section 1 states that one must be a “natural born citizen” of the United States in order to be President. Although Cruz was born in a hospital in Canada, he qualifies as a US citizen at birth because his mother was a US Citizen at the time. Whether or not this makes Cruz a “natural born citizen” is tricky, because the meaning of the phrase “natural born citizen” isn’t really clear.
Some have taken it to mean that the candidate must have been born on US soil in order to meet “natural born” status, but the problem with this belief is that the boundaries defining “US soil” are anything but natural, having changed and expanded over the many years since the constitution was drafted. The word “natural” implies something not caused by human activity, and the creation and expansion of this entity we call “The United States” was something caused entirely by human activity. Therefore, there aren’t really any grounds to prove that one is a “natural born citizen” simply because they were born within the borders of the United States at the time of their birth.
So as much as we lefties can’t stand Cruz, we can’t deny him his right to run for president as a US citizen. There’s already something kind of xenophobic and bigoted around that notion of a “natural born citizen” to begin with, particularly in a nation that was built by immigrants. It’s best not to feed into it even when it works to our advantage.
Featured image via Getty.