Spotlight on South Carolina and the continuing debate over Cruz’s eligibility

First, on the subject of South Carolina, I would note that Governor Nikki Haley’s stock has been rising for some time now, particularly after her widely-praised efforts following the church massacre in Charleston last summer.  But last night she said this:

“Today, we live in a time of threats like few others in recent memory. During anxious times, it can be tempting to follow the siren call of the angriest voices. We must resist that temptation.”

. . .

“In many parts of society today, whether in popular culture, academia, the media, or politics, there’s a tendency to falsely equate noise with results.

“Some people think that you have to be the loudest voice in the room to make a difference. That is just not true. Often, the best thing we can do is turn down the volume. When the sound is quieter, you can actually hear what someone else is saying. And that can make a world of difference.”

Nikki Haley’s stock just jumped about one hundred percent, in my book.

Now, to the main event this week in the Palmetto State.  Thursday’s Republican debate likely promises more of the same.  Among other things, it is highly likely that Donald Trump will be asked whether Ted Cruz is constitutionally eligible for the presidency, he will say that he doesn’t know but that Cruz should have a court examine the question, and Cruz will politely respond that there is no need because it is clear that he is a natural born citizen based on constitutional text and history.

I previously cited the work of Paul Clement and Neal Katyal on this question, as well as that of Jonathan Adler and Randy Barnett at VC.  Jonathan has now posted this at the VC, including citation to Mary Brigid McManamon’s commentary in yesterday’s WaPo arguing that Cruz is not a natural born citizen (she says he is a citizen who was naturalized at birth, but is not natural born); Michael Ramsey’s response to Thomas Lee, who also argued against Cruz’s eligibility; and Laurence Tribe’s views on the matter.  These various pieces are worth reading.

This issue is not going away soon – though I am sure that Senator Cruz wishes that it would – and will almost certainly punctuate at least a portion of the North Charleston debate.  Whether or not they are right, there are now thoughtful, serious voices in American law who are saying publicly and in mainstream media outlets that Cruz is ineligible for the presidency.   Not to worry: he is still eligible to serve on the Supreme Court, which, I am persuaded, is what he really wants anyway.

 

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