PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — On Talk Radio 1210 WPHT, Rich Zeoli talked to Professor Sarah Helene Duggin from Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law about the Constitutional eligibility of Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who declared his nomination for President today. Cruz, who was born in Calgary to parents who were US citizens, could face additional scrutiny of his citizenship as the campaign progresses.
Duggin said the controversy could linger given the lack of clarity regarding what the Founding Fathers wrote into the Constitution.
“The framers didn’t specify exactly what they meant by natural born citizen, so we’ve been left to try to figure out, does that mean someone has to be born physically within the United States, or does it include people like Senator Cruz, who are born to Americans when they are out of the country? That’s the debate.”
She further explained Cruz’s case, but still could not provide a conclusive answer.
“He was naturalized at birth because of the immigration law in effect at that time. Congress periodically passes new immigration and nationality acts and each of those acts usually has a couple provisions. They say that children born abroad to US citizens are American citizens provided that the US parent and the child fulfill certain residency requirements. The one that would have been in effect when Senator Cruz was born required that his mother had to have lived in the United States for a certain period of time and then that he would have to live in the United States for a certain period of time as a young person. From what I understand, those requirements were fulfilled. There’s not doubt he’s a US citizen, the only question is he natural born within the meaning of the Constitution?”
Ultimately Duggin thinks Cruz should be allowed to stay in the race but that further action might be necessary to clear up the discrepancy.
“It’s my opinion that he should be eligible to run for the Presidency. I’m not taking any position on Senator Cruz but that he should be because that’s the better argument but no one can say for sure absent a definitive Supreme Court ruling or amendment of the Constitution. If the Supreme Court were to look at this, if this were to go through the courts, I believe they would rule in his favor, but we won’t know unless they actually take a case and rule on it.”