Natural-born citizen? John Sidney McCain III with his father, John S. "Jack" McCain, Jr., and grandfather, John S. "Slew" McCain, Sr., both Navy Admirals.
I wonder if New York Times journalist Carl Hulse cringed at the thought of reporting on John McCain and his eligibility to be president of the United States.
John McCain was born at the Coco Solo Air Base in the Panama Canal Zone.
Hulse delves into the possibility that McCain may not qualify as a "natural-born citizen."
McCain’s Canal Zone Birth Prompts Queries About Whether That Rules Him Out
The question has nagged at the parents of Americans born outside the continental United States for generations: Dare their children aspire to grow up and become president? In the case of Senator John McCain of Arizona, the issue is becoming more than a matter of parental daydreaming.
Mr. McCain’s likely nomination as the Republican candidate for president and the happenstance of his birth in the Panama Canal Zone in 1936 are reviving a musty debate that has surfaced periodically since the founders first set quill to parchment and declared that only a “natural-born citizen” can hold the nation’s highest office.
Almost since those words were written in 1787 with scant explanation, their precise meaning has been the stuff of confusion, law school review articles, whisper campaigns and civics class debates over whether only those delivered on American soil can be truly natural born. To date, no American to take the presidential oath has had an official birthplace outside the 50 states.
“There are powerful arguments that Senator McCain or anyone else in this position is constitutionally qualified, but there is certainly no precedent,” said Sarah H. Duggin, an associate professor of law at Catholic University who has studied the issue extensively. “It is not a slam-dunk situation.”
This is pathetic.
It's the New York Times throwing everything it can at McCain. This article is the kitchen sink.
...Mr. McCain’s citizenship was established by statutes covering the offspring of Americans abroad and laws specific to the Canal Zone as Congress realized that Americans would be living and working in the area for extended periods. But whether he qualifies as natural-born has been a topic of Internet buzz for months, with some declaring him ineligible while others assert that he meets all the basic constitutional qualifications — a natural-born citizen at least 35 years of age with 14 years of residence.
“I don’t think he has any problem whatsoever,” said Mr. Nickles, a McCain supporter. “But I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if somebody is going to try to make an issue out of it. If it goes to court, I think he will win.”
Lawyers who have examined the topic say there is not just confusion about the provision itself, but uncertainty about who would have the legal standing to challenge a candidate on such grounds, what form a challenge could take and whether it would have to wait until after the election or could be made at any time.
In a paper written 20 years ago for the Yale Law Journal on the natural-born enigma, Jill Pryor, now a lawyer in Atlanta, said that any legal challenge to a presidential candidate born outside national boundaries would be “unpredictable and unsatisfactory.”
“If I were on the Supreme Court, I would decide for John McCain,” Ms. Pryor said in a recent interview. “But it is certainly not a frivolous issue.”
Eligibility to be president is not a "frivolous issue," but to discuss it in reference to McCain is disgraceful.
What sort of person would even consider a court challenge on McCain's eligibility?
Hulse writes that "whether he qualifies as natural-born has been a topic of Internet buzz for months."
He's wrong about that. It's been a topic for years.
For example, from the Washington Post web site:
Citizen McCain's Panama Problem?
By Ken Rudin
Special to washingtonpost.com
Thursday, July 9, 1998
Question: I would like to see Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) as a presidential candidate, but I heard that he was born in the Panama Canal Zone. The Constitution requires that a president be a "natural born" citizen of the United States. Is Sen. McCain barred from the presidency? – Steven R. Pruett, Falls Church, Va.
Answer: John McCain has more pressing worries than eligibility on the road to the Republican presidential nomination in 2000. After his lead role in pushing campaign-finance and tobacco legislation, both anathema to the Senate GOP leadership, the Arizona senator may have to spend a lot of time trying to prove his party credentials before he ever gets to Iowa or New Hampshire.
But is he constitutionally qualified to become president? McCain was indeed born in the Canal Zone, and Article II of the Constitution plainly states that "no person except a natural born Citizen... shall be eligible to the Office of President."
Some might define the term "natural-born citizen" as one who was born on United States soil. But the First Congress, on March 26, 1790, approved an act that declared, "The children of citizens of the United States that may be born beyond sea, or outside the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural-born citizens of the United States." That would seem to include McCain, whose parents were both citizens and whose father was a Navy officer stationed at the U.S. naval base in Panama at the time of John's birth in 1936.
Blah, blah, blah....
Who would actually take the issue of McCain's eligibility to serve as president to court?
Osama bin Laden would probably fund such an effort. Other sworn enemies of the U.S. would be eager to keep McCain from being commander-in-chief.
Sadly, there are Americans who would be happy to be part of a legal challenge.
The New York Times is displaying a disturbing pattern. Last week, it screamed about Vicki Iseman and whispered improprieties. This week, it appears to urge someone to attempt to strip McCain of his "natural-born citizen" status.
What will it be next week or next month or the next six months?
It seems that the Times is engaged in an effort to deflect attention from discussion of issues that matter.
Any pangs of conscience?
John McCain's naval honors include the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart, and the Distinguished Flying Cross.