The GOP has been an interesting party to follow these last few months. What with the ridiculous number of presidential candidates, the soul searching over Donald Trump’s ascendancy, and popular rejection of candidates with any actual political experience. But there’s been a little issue that has really interested me, and that is whether Ted Cruz is eligible to become President under the definition of “natural born citizen” in the Constitution.
Why do I care? Well, Ted was born in Canada to an American mother and a Cuban father. I just so happen to be having a baby that will be born in Germany to an American mother and Australian father…and in the very slim chance my kid has a shot at the Presidency…I want to know how this all shakes out. What’s fascinating, is that this issue isn’t really a partisan one, it requires historical investigation, lawyers, constitutional scholars, and it isn’t at all settled. Boring to some, interesting to me 🙂
For the record, I don’t want Ted Cruz to be President, but I definitely think he’s eligible.
So, let’s quickly look at the issue…
Little Teddy Cruz was born in Calgary, and lived there until he was 4 before his family moved to the States. So, according to longstanding law, and specifically the Naturalization Act of 1790, the children of U.S. citizens born abroad were considered citizens. Great. But, are they considered “natural born” citizens? That’s where it gets murky, because what the heck does that mean? What did it mean to the framers? What does it mean now?
The whole reason the framers put that “natural born citizen” phrase in was their fear of foreign influence on the U.S. government. Fair enough. But does “natural born” mean born on American soil, or through blood i.e. parentage?
In the Harvard Law Review last year, the argument was put forth that during Constitutional framing times, children born outside of the British Empire were considered “natural born” British citizens. However, there was at least one major 18th century British jurist who argued that natural born could only mean those born within on British soil. So…there’s a little controversy. Because the framers would have been very familiar with these British laws (America had been part of the empire until just a few years before) they probably meant to use the phrase in the same way as the Brits. Whatever that was. John Jay, founding father and first chief justice of the U.S., had children born abroad while he was on diplomatic missions, so it’s pretty unlikely that he would have deemed them ineligible for the Presidency.
But crucially, there’s the stipulation in British understanding that the child would be a natural born citizen of the empire as long as the kid’s father was a British citizen. This is where it gets even more interesting to me. Apparently, until 1934, having an American mother was kind of worthless when it came to getting American citizenship. So, if we look at the original meaning…Ted Cruz’s claim isn’t so strong. Ted Cruz is an originalist when it comes to the Constitution… but I really can’t imagine a court upholding that precedent. But just accompany me on this quick tangent…
Did you know that for a good chunk of time an American woman would lose her citizenship if she married a foreigner?! Meanwhile, if an American man married a foreign woman, the foreign woman automatically received American citizenship. What. the. heck.
Yep. In 1907, the Expatriation Act declared that American women who married foreigners would be stripped of their American citizenship. The woman would have to go through the naturalization process like a foreigner in order to regain her citizenship. The law wasn’t repealed until 1934! Welp…glad it’s 2016!
So…constitutional scholars and historians haven’t quite settled on this whole “natural born” thing. A couple of suits have been filed claiming that Cruz isn’t eligible for the presidency. The Republican establishment doesn’t seem too gassed on this guy, so who knows if it’ll get to the point where we need an official ruling on all this, but, I’ll be keeping an eye on it for American koala baby Carroll’s sake.
Now to some Berlin stuff…
Some interesting infographics about the numbers of foreign born Berliners were put out by the Berliner Morgenpost. There were cool maps where you could find your neighborhood and see the percentage breakdown of foreign-born and native Berliners. As expected, a majority of neighborhoods boast more foreign-born than natives.
Then, you could search different cities in the world to find out how many of your fellow country/citymen live in Berlin.
Here’s the breakdown for Los Angeles
I was really surprised by the numbers of Aussies. Of course, it’s no surprise that Australians love to travel and can’t seem to stay put in their country for very long. But still…look at these numbers from Melbourne and Sydney.
Why do so many of them want to leave their nice warm country? I mean, I’m not complaining, they’re the baristas that make most of the decent coffee in this city.
And here’s some bad pics for 32 weeks. We are taking maternity photos tomorrow, so hopefully we’ll have some good ones real soon.