McCain Ruled (Probably) Natural-Born U.S. Citizen

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Another issue I was writing about last month was the continuing uncertainty over what it takes to be a "natural-born citizen," which is a constitutional limitation on who can serve as President.  Both campaigns have now survived at least one legal challenge on these grounds.

In a case brought in the Northern District of California, U.S. District Judge William Alsup ruled this week that John McCain is "probably" a "natural-born citizen" by virtue of a 1937 law that automatically granted citizenship to a child of U.S. citizens — provided that at least one of the parents actually had resided in the U.S. at some point.  See 8 U.S.C. sec. 1401 (apparently intended to prevent the perpetual breeding of permanent expatriate citizen communities).  McCain was born just the year before to citizen parents then residing in the Canal Zone, so the timing of the law is either a remarkable coincidence or a result of a time-traveling GOP conspiracy to retain the presidency.  (Couldn’t they go get us Lincoln instead?  That would probably do it.)

The citizenship ruling is tentative partly because Judge Alsup also ruled that the plaintiff, who is not running for president, had no standing to bring the case anyway.  In July, a similar rationale ended a previous challenge to McCain’s campaign that had been filed in New Hampshire.  While at least two judges have thus stated that another presidential candidate might have standing to raise this issue, to date no candidate has chosen to pursue that invitation.  But there is still, sadly, plenty of time for one or both of them to do so.

Link: AP via Google News