Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 1 (1 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Stats   1 comment

OpEdNews Op Eds

It Really Should Not Matter That Ted Cruz Is Canadian

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 2 of 2 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

Become a Fan
  (14 fans)
- Advertisement -

The US Constitution should be amended to remove the section that reads, "No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President."

Anyone who is a citizen and who meets the other requirements for seeking and holding the presidency should be able to lead the country. The "natural-born citizen" language does not merely limit the ability of otherwise qualified candidates to seek the presidency or vice-presidency -- former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, who was born in Canada, or former Vermont Governor Madeleine Kunin, who was born in Switzerland. It also limits the ability of voters to choose from candidates who would be credible contenders except for an accident of birth.

A decade ago, when there was a brief enthusiasm among Republicans for a presidential run by Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Austrian-born movie star who had recently been elected governor of California, one of the leading Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Utah's Orrin Hatch, proposed "The Equal Opportunity to Govern Amendment."

The measure would have repealed the "natural-born citizen" clause and allowed anyone who has been a US citizen for 20 years to seek the presidency or vice-presidency. The language Hatch wanted to add to the Constitution declared, "A person who is a citizen of the United States, who has been for 20 years a citizen of the United States, and who is otherwise eligible to the Office of President, is not ineligible to that Office by reason of not being a native born citizen of the United States."

Hatch's amendment did not get very far after its introduction in 2003. A Judiciary Committee hearing was held in 2004, but the full Senate never took up the proposal. It should now -- not for the sake of Ted Cruz or any other candidate but for the sake of the American experiment in democracy.

Despite the fact that seven of the 39 men who signed the US Constitution in 1787 did not meet the "natural-born citizen" standard, there was just enough fear at the time that a foreign-born monarch would take charge of the newly formed United States to cause the clause to be added.

- Advertisement -

The line's inclusion was at odds with the Enlightenment vision of the best of the founders (including British-born Thomas Paine) and,  as constitutional scholar Akhil Reed Amar noted  at the 2004 Judiciary Committee hearing, the rest of the Constitution "repudiated this [English] tradition across the board, opening the House, Senate, Cabinet and federal judiciary to naturalized and native alike."

It is time to get over the fears of 226 years ago and embrace the Enlightenment vision, recognizing that Amar was right when he told the Judiciary Committee that "modern Americans can best honor the Founders' generally egalitarian vision by repealing the specific natural-born rule that has outlived its original purpose."

- Advertisement -

Next Page  1  |  2


John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, has written the Online Beat since 1999. His posts have been circulated internationally, quoted in numerous books and mentioned in debates on the floor of Congress.

Nichols writes about (more...)

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

Go To Commenting

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles
Related Topic(s): ; ; , Add Tags
- Advertisement -
Google Content Matches:

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Paul Ryan? Seriously?

Scott Walker's Austerity Agenda Yields 'Worst Job Losses in US'

The Koch Brothers, ALEC and the Savage Assault on Democracy

How Socialists Built America

Bernie Sanders: "I Am Prepared to Run for President of the United States"

Mitt Romney Debate "Win" Gives Obama a Winning Issue


The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
1 people are discussing this page, with 1 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

it shouldn't matter that he is a Canadian. Perhaps... by John Sanchez Jr. on Thursday, Aug 22, 2013 at 8:24:53 AM