Why the “Natural-Born Citizen” Clause for President Needs to Go
While the news of Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) renouncing his Canadian citizenship to bolster his case that he is truly a “natural-born citizen” is funny, the actual source of the issue is no laughing matter.
Our Constitution still contains several arcane and downright stupid provisions that hurt our country. The ridiculous requirement that the President must be a “natural-born citizen” is a prime example. While the issue doesn’t come up very often the provision is morally unfair, unnecessary and could prevent the electorate from being able to choose the right person for the job.
The provision was put in at a time when the country had little national identity, being conquered was a real threat, and the possibility of someone trying install themselves as king was a legitimate concern. Thankfully that time has passed, but our country is still saddled with this provision.
It is disgraceful we still let the uncontrollable circumstances such as someone’s place of birth limit their options as an American citizen. Even if the issue never comes up, as a matter of principle all citizens of this country should be equal under the law.
I’m no fan of Cruz, but I think his or any other American citizen’s chance of becoming president should be decided solely on merit. Being lucky enough to have the “right type” of parents as Cruz did should not be a legal factor.
The American people are smart enough; there is no need to legally limit our choices. I’m entirely confidant that even without this provision the electorate will still manage to choose Presidents who are deeply committed to the country. I trust that if some kind of deep cover Soviet spy tried to run for President their subterfuge would easily be exposed during the campaign.
Congress or the State should move to amend the Constitution to remove this provision. There is never a bad time to do the right thing even it if seems small.
Photo released under Public Domain