Is Senator Cruz a “natural born citizen”?

(P1) Major premise: Article II of the U.S. Constitution categorically states: “No person except a natural born citizen … shall be eligible to the office of President” (emphasis added). This proposition is thus our “major premise” or general principle of constitutional law.

(P2) Minor premise: Senator Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz was born in Alberta, Canada to an American mother and Cuban father. This proposition forms our “minor premise” or specific set of facts.

(C) Conclusion: Your guess as to the correct conclusion in this case is as good as ours because nowhere does the Constitution define the precise meaning of the term “natural born citizen.” That is, when we try to apply the general principle or rule of law to the facts in this case, it turns out that the meaning of the applicable law is ambiguous or open to interpretation.

Accordingly, when constitutional law scholars consider whether Senator Cruz is a “natural born citizen” or not, they might be asking the wrong question. After all, what makes one scholar’s interpretation of an open-textured term the “true” or correct one? What legal scholars should be asking instead is this: who decides? That is, which branch or which level of government (i.e., the Congress, State legislatures, federal or State courts, etc.) should have the power or legal authority to decide who is a natural born citizen?

Natural born citizens?


About F. E. Guerra-Pujol

When I’m not blogging, I am a business law professor at the University of Central Florida.
This entry was posted in Current Affairs, Language, Law. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Is Senator Cruz a “natural born citizen”?

  1. Pingback: Bud Light for President? | prior probability

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s