Rubio, Too.

You can review here, if you like, but what interests us about the question is, again, not how to resolve it but the frankly irrational approach of “scholars” on the issue, to wit:

Rick Hasen, a professor at the University of California- Irvine School of Law, was kind enough to provide a quote.

“The claim is meritless. I’m unaware of any serious scholar or court suggesting that someone born on U.S. soil is not a natural-born citizen if his parents were not citizens at the time,” Hasen told LawNewz.com.

Someone who is born in the US could rightly be described as a “born citizen”, we suppose, but the constitution doesn’t discuss born citizens and the presidency; it discusses “natural” born citizens and the presidency.  “Natural” has to mean something, and we have a pretty good idea what, and refusing to acknowledge that obvious fact and calling yourself a “scholar” doesn’t change anything.

Apparently Senator Rubio was born in Miami but neither of his parents were citizens at the time of his birth, and accordingly under the best understanding of “natural born citizen” he is not one, and therefore not eligible to be president.

As with Senator Cruz, and just to once again demonstrate that we have no dog in this fight, we are agreeable to a constitutional amendment to abolish the “natural born citizen” requirement, and we are agreeable that it should be done immediately and that both Cruz and Rubio would then be eligible.

But we are not agreeable to corruption of language and thought by “scholars” or anyone else.  And that’s what this particular debate is about.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Rubio, Too.

  1. Jessie

    I don’t get it. I thought it was well established that a natural born citizen is someone either born on American soil (which includes American military bases in other countries), or born to American citizens anywhere in the world (e.g., an American family vacationing in Europe and happens to have the baby while overseas). There is no naturalization process for children born in either of scenarios.

    By the former definition, Rubio would be an anchor baby (i.e., born on US soil to non-citizen parents), but he is an American citizen. An amusing irony for the party that invented the “anchor baby” and wants to get rid of them. But I don’t see how there’s any question he’s eligible for the presidency.

    With Ted Cruz, I can see how it’s a little more confusing. His citizenship is the result of an act of the legislature (born in Canada to an American mother and a Cuban father), but he was nevertheless always a US citizen since his birth.

    Neither of them went through the naturalization process, so I don’t see why this is such a hot question. Again, an amusing irony given how much Republicans have tried to paint Barack Obama as a foreigner when Obama’s citizenship is so much clearer than their own.

    But, still, Rubio and Cruz have both been citizens since birth, and that’s the common definition of “natural-born citizen.”

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    • Well, this bothers me because the only thing that could be “well established” is that “natural-born citizen” has had a specific meaning all along, and it means what it means, and the meaning doesn’t change just because it might disqualify people who at this point shouldn’t be disqualified and we all agree on that.

      So let me be clear, if I wasn’t before, that I don’t think either Cruz or Rubio should be disqualified. But that’s not the point.

      This is a lengthy article but basically makes the actual point quite thoroughly:

      https://myveryownpointofview.wordpress.com/excellent-article-on-natural-born-citizenship/

      Natural-born citizen means someone born in the country (or, presumably, a federal territory) whose parents are citizens. The requirement had an obvious purpose at the beginning of the Republic, which was to make sure the commander in chief of the armed forces would be “naturally” loyal at a time when the US was in its infancy and struggling to solidify its independence and identity. The thinking was that a generation behind you attenuates or eliminates dubious loyalties, highly questionable proposition but nevertheless this is the thinking. All of that has long since ceased to be a concern, or if it is a concern there is simply no reason to believe that the natural born requirement does much of anything to address it, so I’m perfectly fine with amending the constitution to abolish it.

      But we don’t get to change the meanings of words because we don’t like what they mean anymore. It doesn’t matter what “scholars” say in an effort to make a simple and clear thing somehow obscure, and it’s a constant source of annoyance to me, and worse, that “debates” of this kind take place. There is really nothing to debate here.

      Of course this is an entirely different matter than Obama’s problem, or pseudo-problem as the case may be. What people have disputed about Obama is the actual place of his birth, but assuming that fact issue is resolved in his favor – that is, that he was born in Hawaii when Hawaii was a state – and at the time of his birth his parents were citizens, then he would be a natural born citizen and eligible. If only one of his parents was a citizen, and I don’t know the answer to that, then there would be a legitimate issue, I think, but in a case like that there would be room to have a debate.

      With respect to Rubio and Cruz there isn’t room for debate. Neither one is eligible.

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  2. Jessie

    This may be more than I even want to know about citizenship….except that, if both Cruz and Rubio are disqualified, the Republicans are fucked…

    But, no, both Obama’s parents were not citizens. His mother was a US citizen, he was born on US soil (Hawaii), but his father was a Kenyan citizen. So….the birthers were right all along then?

    I can understand the reasoning today for making naturalized citizens ineligible for the presidency. We don’t want someone to come from another country and then become the leader of this one. Fair enough.

    But the hair-splitting is making my head spin. The two broad ways one becomes a citizen is birth or the legal process of naturalization. However, there is a third way: Act of Congress. American Indians weren’t US citizens until 1924. Ironic as that is….

    Those made citizens by act of the legislature are still not considered naturalized citizens. You are either born with a different citizenship and become a US citizen (naturalization) or you’re born a US citizen, which only requires that one parent have US citizenship and includes those born on US soil outside the United States. American Indians are considered born US citizens, even in 1924. They did not become naturalized.

    This process would be similar to how Ted Cruz was born a citizen—but he was born a citizen.

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