Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Is McCain a Natural (Born) Man?

Talk about tilting at windmills. There’s a guy in Riverside, California, Andrew Aames, who is acting for a group known as the “Inland Empire Voters” in filing a lawsuit in federal court that seeks declaratory relief in that they claim that John McCain is not a natural born United States citizen.

And apparently that case is going to be heard by a federal judge.

The suit makes the case that John McCain, a navy brat, was born on the US Naval base in the Canal Zone, which was then a US territory. As such, McCain is not a natural born citizen of the United States. Here is the relevant portion of the US Constitution:

“No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President,…”
Hogwash, says McCain’s lawyer Ted Olsen. If that were the case, he says, Barry Goldwater, a presidential candidate in 1964, would not have been eligible either since he was born in Arizona Territory before 1913, the year Arizona became a state. But the case makes a unique point that I find tantalizing:

“In 1953 Congress passed legislation, Title 8 Section 1403 of the United States Code specifying that those persons born in the Canal Zone with at least one US citizen parent, are [or become?], United States citizens.”
Taking a stab at what they mean by all of this, I am guessing that the thrust of this argument is that prior to 1953, people born in the Canal Zone were not necessarily US citizens, but this was remedied by this act of Congress in 1953. McCain, having been born in 1936 then, was not a natural born US citizen when he was born.

Meaning of course, he is still not a natural born citizen since by definition you are either one when you are born, or you are not.

I find all of this really interesting but not entirely useful unless it is for something to talk about to impress your date. Why do I say this? It’s something that McCain attorney Ted Olsen is quoted as saying in every news article you read about this, when asked whether his client would prevail in this lawsuit, makes this prediction:

“I am confident that the United States Supreme Court, should it ever address the issue, would agree” [with him].
Considering that the Supreme Court is even more conservative, and even more politicized than it was in 2000 when it crowned George II, this is a very good, and very final point.

No comments: