T Nation

Your Thoughts on Thursday Night GOP Debate


Plenty of thoughts going into the Thursday night debate.

It seems that Cruz has been unfairly attacked by Donald Trump regarding his citizenship. Will Cruz respond to this? Will Marco Rubio battle back against Jeb Bush’s many negative ads? Is Jeb Bush even relevant any longer? Speaking of irrelevant, how does Ben Carson regain his momentum, or is his campaign history?

Thoughts on Rand Paul and Carly Fiorina being tossed from the main stage? And what about Rand Paul stating that he will not debate on the junior stage and is not going to show up? Is this the end of his campaign?

Finally, will Donald Trump say something so outrageous that he will fall from the top spot?


He will continue to say outrageous things off the debate stage but not say anything intentionally controversial on it. It won’t be intentionally but he will still miss questions and say odd things like last time, although it will be increasingly harder to give simple answers to complex questions when there are fewer people on stage.

Glad they are thinning the herd as it needed to happen. Carly and Rand should leave the race. Rand should return to fight for his Senate job and Carly should play nice so she can become a cabinet member of the next president.

Carson is history. He should be happy, I think his campaign sold him a lot of books and made his associates a lot of money.


While I’m not a Trump supporter by any means, I don’t think it’s an “unfair attack.”

To date, the Supreme Court has never formally opined on what constitutes a natural-born citizen (related to that specific Clause for POTUS eligibility), nor has the Constitution ever been amended with specific verbiage that further stipulates what meets the said requirement set forth in that clause as part of Section I in Article II.

It is technically an unsettled constitutional law issue, since Cruz was born in Canada to a U.S. citizen mother, and his father was a Cuban immigrant, hence his dual citizenship status up until Spring 2014. By strict constructionist interpretation, he is not a natural-born U.S. citizen since he wasn’t technically “born” on American soil.


Rand and Fiorina should be on the stage. Jeb and Kasich should not. The whole primary process is a joke.


The primary process could use a major overhaul. Why are we forced to focus on Iowa and NH? Why are some delegates winner take all and others not?


I think the whole process is crap.


Utter nonsense. It has been the law since 1790 that a person born of American citizens abroad were “citizens of the United States without more.” That is, a natural born citizen. This was, in fact, part of the reason for the War of 1812 because the English repeatedly tried to impress (that is, draft) US sailors into British Naval service because of their location of birth. It was resolved by the treaty that ended the war.

Most of the lawsuits against Obama (that weren’t dismissed on standing) were dismissed on this basis, as it makes the location of his birth a moot question.

George Romney, for example, was born in Mexico to American parents. Barry Goldwater was born in a territory (what is now Arizona). McCain was born in Panama. And the list goes on.


Perfect example


No, it’s not “utter nonsense.” I stated that “it’s technically an unsettled constitutional law issue.” That’s a fact. Article II, Section I was never amended to specify what the original intent of the “natural-born” U.S. citizen clause was. The Supreme Court, as far as I am aware, has never ruled specifically on that narrow clause either (I’m not talking about citizenship status absent constitutional eligibility under Article II, Section 1).

What you posted is your opinion of how previous citizenship precedents, e.g., resolution of the War of 1812, absent the Presidency, should be applied. Not all constitutional law scholars agree (others do): see this link

Most of those other examples you gave are essentially false equivalencies. I was not arguing that Cruz is ineligible based solely on the citizenship status of one or both parents. I noted that in case someone might have been confused as to why he had dual citizenship.

The only example that you cited that isn’t truly a false equivalency was that of George Romney, who, like Cruz, was effectively born on foreign soil (the others were territories, military bases, or states), but again, that case never actually went to the Supreme Court. Sure, CRS and some legal scholars opined that Romney was eligible, but technically, it is in fact still open to interpretation unless the COTUS is amended with more specific verbiage or the Supreme Court ends up eventually settling the matter.


Cruz is going to kick ass. The more substantive the debate, the more ass he will kick.

Rand is the candidate that I share the most with ideologically, so I wished he would have been part of the upcoming debate. That being said, it doesn’t come as a surprise. Rand has a tendency to be very succinct and direct in debate, which has somehow become a negative.


Yes, it’s nonsense.

In Rogers v. Bellei, (401 U.S. 815), the Supreme Court made it crystal clear that American citizenship is defined in only two ways – by natural born or naturalized. Sen. Cruz was not naturalized, so he is natural born. Period.

This idea that one can be a “citizen at birth” and not a “natural born citizen” is found nowhere in the Constitution or the law.

I am well aware of the ins-and-outs being born to two American parents in Israel (and having Israeli citizenship) and serving in the Israeli Army, both because the IRS has always demanded I pay US taxes on my income (even in Israel) — it considering me a native American and because I have been involved in complex commercial matters that required even the lawyers (me) to have the highest level of security clearance. I was vetted by the US DOD (and FBI) as a natural born US citizen after some inquiry and confusion.

If I am not a natural born US Citizen, I’d sure like back the couple million in taxes and social security I paid while working in Tel Aviv.


Well, then I guess we’ll agree to disagree. None of what I stated above, however, was refuted by that particular court case per se. The Supreme Court has never stipulated whether or not the Framers intended, by verbiage in the article, for the POTUS to be born in the U.S.


No. The court held in Rogers v. Bellei that the latter’s citizenship could be revoked as a result of his not having met certain conditions imposed upon him by Congress under Congress’ Constitutional power to “establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization.” In so holding, the court observed that “our [Constitutional] law in this area follows English concepts with an acceptance of the jus soli, that is, that the place of birth governs citizenship status except as modified by statute.” It identified in the Fourteenth Amendment “an express constitutional definition of citizenship. But [this] was one restricted to the combination of three factors, each and all significant: birth in the United States, naturalization in the United States, and subjection to the jurisdiction of the United States. The definition obviously did not apply to any acquisition of citizenship by being born abroad of an American parent. That type, and any other not covered by the Fourteenth Amendment, was necessarily left to proper congressional action.”

In other words, Rogers v. Bellei did not address this issue directly, but it certainly didn’t help Cruz’s case.

As for the rest of the original post being “nonsense,” no, it very much isn’t. Inasmuch as common law colors our interpretation of the Framers’ language and intent – and it is humorous to note here that Cruz falls generally on the anti-Cruz end of this consideration – the answer is clear. Blackstone tells us:

“The common law indeed stood absolutely so; with only a very few exceptions: so that a particular act of parliament [i.e. **statutory, not common, law**] became necessary after the restoration, for the naturalization of children of his majesty’s English subjects, born in foreign countries during the late troubles. And this maxim of the law proceeded upon a general principle, that every man owes natural allegiance where he is born, and cannot owe two such allegiances, or serve two masters, at once. Yet the children of the king’s embassadors born abroad were always held to be natural subjects: for as the father, though in a foreign country, owes not even a local allegiance to the prince to whom he is sent; so, with regard to the son also, he was held (by a kind of postliminium) to be born under the king of England’s allegiance.” [So, per common law, Cruz would have been a natural-born citizen only if his father had been in Canada on diplomatic business as a representative of the United States government.]

Furthermore, the legislation adopted in order to provide that children born abroad to American citizens were to be considered as natural born citizens stands in evidence of the proposition that such children were, as with the Constitution’s common-law ancestry, not natural born citizens under Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution. Otherwise Congress would not need to create the law. [And the law isn’t around anymore: I believe it was Madison himself who struck those words from the language in 1795.]


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It has nothing to do with Obama because he was born in the United States (though the curgent GOP frontrunner, fittingly for a party/ideology that is descending further into babbling, apocalyptic paranoia by the day, remains unconvinced).

Anyway, the 1790 Uniform Rule of Naturalization Act did not use the term “clarify,” and it did not identify itself as redundant or exegetical by claiming that children born abroad to U.S. citizens had ALREADY been included among the natural born citizens described in Section 1 of Article II. On the precise contrary, it provided, by way of statutory law and in the future-tense form taken by new legislation, that such children “shall be considered as” natural born citizens. This is exactly and fully consistent with Blackstone’s explicit commentary on citizenship: natural born citizenship is a function of birthplace unless via statutory exception or provision. Only if this common law maxim, known well to the Framers, was the default foundation of natural born citizenship is the relevant language in the 1790 Naturalization Act made necessary. Again, Blackstone – known well to the Framers – explicitly tells us that this is how it’s done: jus soli except by statute. Under this interpretation, Cruz would have been eligible for the office he seeks only while the statute obtained. That is, only between 1790 and 1795, at which latter date Madison excised the phrase “natural born” and thus removed the statutory exception to the old rule, returning natural born citizenship to its default position, where it remains.

Do I myself subscribe to this? No. As often, I think there’s enough room for interpretation that we don’t have to allow ourselves to be tied up with trivial absurdities, our heads forced up into our own body cavities. I would, in other words, deem Cruz eligible. An honest originalist, on the other hand, has no choice but to disagree with me and openly embrace the trivial absurdity, for reasons given. Of course, Cruz is not an honest originalist when it’s his own political future under threat.

Anyway, the question remains unsettled by the SCOTUS, and Rogers v. Bellei certainly does not help Cruz in any way, shape, or form: it expressly hinders him. As does an originalist theory of Conlaw.


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I’d say probably so, for the simple reason that a naval base (McCain) or a U.S. territory (Goldwater) is not treated explicitly as foreign soil, whereas Mexico (Romney) or Canada (Cruz) veritably is. However, my original point is that no one knows, because it’s unresolved by SCOTUS. I think the Framers, in their original intent, at least some of them, may have taken issue with someone with dual citizenship serving as President.

However, I wasn’t at the constitutional convention, and I don’t believe that what we have available from those meetings, relative to Article II, Section 1, can definitively answer that. I basically agree with SMH in that I’m not inherently married to the belief that Cruz cannot be eligible, but rather that it’s a valid, unresolved constitutional question and not simply an unfair attack by Trump, i.e., the strict constructionist viewpoint has potential legal merit until SCOTUS says otherwise.

Make sure to read the link I posted, written by Mary Brigid McManamon.

Obviously constitutional law scholars even disagree, so it’s not a settled issue (yet).