Monday, February 17, 2014

Happy Presidents Day and the Natural Born Citizen Requirement

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Happy Presidents Day!  If you are one of the lucky ones, enjoy your day off.

Given that it is Presidents Day and this is a blog devoted to immigration, I thought that it would be a good time to think about the ineligibility of immigrants for the Presidency.  Article II, § 1 of U.S. Constitution sets forth the basic eligibility requirements for serving as president of the United States and includes the following:

No person except a natural born Citizen . . . shall be eligible to the Office of President . . . ."

This is the only natural born citizenship requirement in the U.S. Constitution.  The Constitution does not require members of Congress, Supreme Court Justices, or other federal officeholders to be natural born citizens.

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The natural born Citizen requirement has been an issue for President Barack Obama, with a small vocal group known as the "birthers" having persisted in contesting whether he was in fact born in the United States.  While a funny distraction to some, it seems likely that the Obama administration does not see much humor in the attacks of the birthers.  Law professor Jack Chin claimed that 2008 Republican Presiudential candidate Senator John McCain, who was born in the Panama Canal Zone, did not satisfy the natural born citizen requirement. The eligibility issue also has been raised recently with respect to Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and former Californnia Governor Arnold Schwazenegger and whether the two of them might be eligible for the Presidency.  

What do our readers think?  Is it time to eliminate the natural born citizn requiremnet for the Presidency?

KJ

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/immigration/2014/02/happy-presidents-day-and-the-natural-born-citizen-requirement.html

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