Paul Ingrassia has reignited the fiery debate over what it means to be a “natural citizen” under the U.S. Constitution — a debate with major implications for potential presidential candidate Nikki Haley.
Published in American Greatness, Mr. Ingrassia, a law writer, two-time Claremont Fellow and member of President Trump's National Economic Council, has carefully examined the constitutional provision at the heart of eligibility controversies involving political figures from John McCain to Kamala Harris.
At the heart of his argument lies Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution, which Ingrassia insists unambiguously states that only “natural born citizens” of the United States are eligible to hold the presidency.
Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 states: “No person, except a natural born citizen, or citizen of the United States, shall, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, be qualified to the office of President; No person shall be qualified for this office who shall not have attained the age of thirty-five years, and who has not for fourteen years been a resident of the United States.”
The distinction between “natural citizen” and “birthright citizenship” is of central importance in Ingrassia's analysis. He reminds us that the former term is expressly reserved for those born on US soil to US citizen parents, a requirement not replicated in other federal offices. This strict standard is due to the Founding Fathers' fears of foreign influence at the highest levels of government.
The debate is not new and the presidential campaigns of John McCain (R), Barack Obama (D), Ted Cruz (R), and Kamala Harris (D) have faced scrutiny under this provision.
Legal scholars continue to explore this area, with some, such as Lawrence Sollom, suggesting that being born in the United States to citizen parents is sufficient to be considered a natural citizen.
John Eastman's arguments regarding Kamala Harris highlight the complexity of this issue, suggesting that parents' status at birth is crucial in determining eligibility.
In the case of Nikki Haley, reports indicate that her parents were not US citizens at the time of her birth in 1972. This fact, according to the standards of the Constitution as interpreted by Ingrassia, disqualifies her from running for president or vice president under the Twelfth Amendment.
Ingrassia highlights that although they may claim citizenship by place of birth, this does not meet the requirement of “natural birth” as imposed by the Constitution.
Ingrassia notes that the discussion differs from the Wong Kim Ark precedent, where the Supreme Court addressed birthright citizenship, but did not conflate this with the specific type of natural citizenship needed for presidential eligibility.
American greatness stated:
In the case of Nikki Haley, it is well documented that neither of her parents was a citizen, either born or naturalized, at the time of her birth in 1972. It was previously reported that a South Carolina-based newspaper included a quote from the office. nikki haley, It helps “Her parents were not US citizens at the time of her birth in 1972 and did not become citizens until 1978 and 2003.”
Thus, although the parents may have been legal residents at the time of her birth on South Carolina soil, which may or may not have given her the privileges of citizenship, He. She It is important to note that she does not qualify for the Constitution's higher requirement of natural citizenship.
Additionally, the Twelfth Amendment states that “no person constitutionally disqualified for the office of President shall be qualified for the office of Vice President of the United States.” In short, because Haley is ineligible to serve as president, because she has not met the presidential eligibility requirement, she also cannot serve as vice president. Now, the vast majority of legal scholarship offering a dissenting opinion will cite the seminal Supreme Court decision, Wong Kim Arc. However, the relevant issue here was not whether a person whose natural citizenship was in question might serve in the highest office in the land, but rather whether such a person was entitled to a minimum level of U.S. citizenship.
So the legal issues are completely different. The court is in Wong Kim Arc Decides whether citizenship can be granted to an individual born on U.S. soil to non-citizen parents. The important thing is Wong Kim Arc, The Court has never stated anywhere that natural born citizens are synonymous with citizens. While many equations are made between “naturally born” citizens (or “subjects”, the two terms being used interchangeably throughout, although there is a relevant legal distinction) and nationals, the Court has made a notable effort to distinguish between the two categories, merely likening the two For the purposes of ultimately arguing in favor of birthright citizenship.
Regardless of the legality of the decision at all. This is something that many constitutional scholars have objected to over the intervening yearsThe important takeaway is that even in… Wong Kim Arcthe presumed authority in favor of Haley's eligibility to run for chief justice never He asserted that birthright citizenship would subsequently absorb and eliminate a distinct category of “naturally born” citizenship.
It may be said that this is the reason that prompted the court to do so Wong Kim Arc He supported this distinction that he thought of future cases like Nikki Haley's, where a non-native citizen could demand not only the minimum rights of citizenship but additional rights, namely the right to be eligible to run for president, This contradicts both the textual privilege and the original meaning of the Constitution itself.
The logic behind this is intuitive: the bare necessities of American citizenship, which are consistent with principles of natural right, do not necessitate the granting of additional rights on this basis alone. In other words, nature does not automatically endow a person with the presidential office nor the minimum duties, such as age and time in the country, requirements that the Framers wrote into the Presidential Eligibility Clause.
You can read the full article on the American Greatness website.