Why Ted Cruz is Eligible for President

Gun Owners of America has indeed looked at the eligibility requirement and remains convinced that Ted Cruz is a “natural born citizen,” and thus, is eligible to serve as President of the United States.

This is not only based upon Common Law precedents, but on congressional legislation and judicial court opinions.

The Constitution requires that, “No person except a natural born Citizen … shall be eligible to the Office of President.” (Article 2, Section 1, Clause 5)

In 1790, Congress defined “natural born citizen” as follows:

[C]hildren of citizens of the United States, that may be born beyond sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born citizens: Provided, That the right of citizenship shall not descend to persons whose fathers have never been resident in the United States … APPROVED, March 26, 1790.

The proviso regarding the father would not disqualify Ted Cruz since his father was a resident of the United States, having graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. Not only that, according to a recent Harvard Law Review article, this proviso was later deleted by Congress, and thus does not apply to Ted Cruz at all:

Congress eliminated that differential treatment of citizen mothers and fathers before any of the potential candidates in the current presidential election were born. Thus, in the relevant time period, and subject to certain residency requirements, children born abroad of a citizen parent were citizens from the moment of birth, and thus are “natural born Citizens.” (See http://tinyurl.com/nz8argb)

So now, the question of whether a baby born outside of the country is a “natural born citizen” rests on whether the mother is a U.S. citizen. (Ted Cruz’ mother was born in Delaware.)

Current federal law says at 8 U.S. Code, Section 1401 — Nationals and citizens of United States at birth:

The following shall be nationals and citizens of the United States at birth …

(d) a person born outside of the United States and its outlying possessions of parents one of whom is a citizen of the United States who has been physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for a continuous period of one year prior to the birth of such person, and the other of whom is a national, but not a citizen of the United States.

One final thought: the highly revered William Blackstone (upon whom the Founders relied greatly) gave us the very principle for resolving difficult issues. Blackstone said, “The most universal and effectual way of discovering the true meaning of a law, when the words are dubious, is by considering the reason and spirit of it; or the cause which moved the legislator to enact it.”

So the PURPOSE behind any legislative or constitutional text is important. Well, Justice Joseph Story, in his famous Commentaries on the Constitution, said the purpose of the “natural born citizen” clause “cuts off all chances for ambitious foreigners, who might otherwise be intriguing for the office; and interposes a barrier against those corrupt interferences of foreign governments in executive elections.” (See: http://tinyurl.com/5woy9x)

So that’s the purpose for the “natural born citizen” clause. It is more about preventing “ambitious foreigners” from taking over the highest office in the United States, than it is about excluding individuals from that office if they were born to American mothers abroad.

We believe the U.S. Congress settled the eligibility issue by allowing a “natural born citizen” to be born abroad, if born to a mother who is a U.S. citizen.

For these reasons, we think that Cruz stands on firm ground — and there are many on both the political Left and Right who agree that Cruz is eligible to serve as President.


* Richard Viguerie, “Yes, Ted Cruz is a ‘Natural Born Citizen’” at: http://www.conservativehq.com/article/19983-yes-ted-cruz-%E2%80%98natural-born-citizen%E2%80%99

* Guy Benson, “Yes, Ted Cruz is Constitutionally Eligible to Be President,” (March 23, 2015) at: http://townhall.com/tipsheet/guybenson/2015/03/23/yes-ted-cruz-is-constitutionally-eligible-to-be-president-n1974967

* Ronald Reagan’s Attorney General Edwin Meese in the “Heritage Guide to the Constitution,” (2005) p. 190. Applying constitutional principles, Meese notes that Michigan Governor George Romney, “who was born to American parents outside of the United States, was eligible to seek the Presidency in 1968.”


* Harvard Law Review, “On the Meaning of ‘Natural Born Citizen’” (March 11, 2015) at: http://harvardlawreview.org/2015/03/on-the-meaning-of-natural-born-citizen/

* Alan Dershowitz tells National Review Online about Cruz: “Of course he’s eligible. He’s a natural-born, not a naturalized, citizen.” See: www.nationalreview.com/article/343914/cruz-birthers-eliana-johnson