USA Today Op ed Making the Case for Abolishing the Constitutional Requirement that the President Must be a “Natural Born” Citizen
This morning, USA Today published my op ed making the case for abolishing the constitutional requirement that the president must be a “natural born” citizen. This step would enable immigrants to become president, and also put an end to the sorts of ridiculous controversies over eligibility under the Clause that have arisen in every presidential election since 2008. The op ed is coauthored with Harvard Law School Prof. Randall Kennedy, one of the leading academic experts on racial and ethnic discrimination. I have been a big fan of Prof. Kennedy’s work since I was a young law student in the 1990s, and it is a great honor to coauthor this piece with him. We differ on many issues, but we completely agree on this one.
Here is an excerpt:
This presidential election season joins the last several in being attended by accusations that certain candidates are ineligible because of the requirement in Article II of the Constitution that the president be not only a citizen, but a “natural born” citizen. This time around, some have claimed that Sen. Kamala Harris is ineligible for the presidency because, though born in the United States, her parents were immigrants who had not become citizens by the time of her birth.
We believe this claim is untenable. But the need to address the matter at all highlights why eligibility distinctions that turn on place of birth or status of parent ought to be abolished….
In 2016, the targets were Republican candidates Ted Cruz (born in Canada to U.S.-citizen parents who had immigrated from Cuba) and Marco Rubio (also the son of Cuban immigrants). In 2008 and 2012, Barack Obama, was assailed by “birthers” who falsely claimed he was born outside the United States. Obama’s 2008 GOP opponent, John McCain, came under attack because he was born in what was then the Panama C
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