Thursday, October 23, 2008

Uh, Oh!

Have you seen this? If you have not read it then you need to, pronto! What will happen if a confirmed mad man is elected to the most powerful office in the land, and he's not even constitutionally eligible to hold the office?

Senator McCain was born in 1936 in the Canal Zone to U.S. citizen parents. The Canal Zone was territory controlled by the United States, but it was not incorporated into the Union. As requested by Senator McCain's campaign, distinguished constitutional lawyers Laurence Tribe and Theodore Olson examined the law and issued a detailed opinion offering two reasons that Senator McCain was a natural born citizen. Neither is sound under current law. The Tribe-Olson Opinion suggests that the Canal Zone, then under exclusive U.S. jurisdiction, may have been covered by the Fourteenth Amendment's grant of citizenship to "all persons born . . . in the United States." However, in the Insular Cases, the Supreme Court held that "unincorporated territories" were not part of the United States for constitutional purposes. Accordingly, many decisions hold that persons born in unincorporated territories are not Fourteenth Amendment citizens. The Tribe-Olson Opinion also suggests that Senator McCain obtained citizenship by statute. However, the only statute in effect in 1936 did not cover the Canal Zone. Recognizing the gap, in 1937, Congress passed a citizenship law applicable only to the Canal Zone, granting Senator McCain citizenship, but eleven months too late for him to be a citizen at birth. Because Senator John McCain was not a citizen at birth, he is not a "natural born Citizen" and thus is not "eligible to the Office of President" under the Constitution.

Why Senator John McCain Cannot Be President: Eleven Months and a Hundred Yards Short of Citizenship


  1. You realize this is a fantasy. If McCain were elected (happily unlikely), and even if the issue were actually litigated (unlikely), and even if there were some ambiguity (unlikely, but I'm not a lawyer), there's no possible way the Supreme Court would ever interpret the law to exclude him from the presidency.

  2. Dear Barefoot Bum, thanks for commenting. Of course such a challenge would go nowhere. I was in a sense responding to and mocking the wingnuts who are still promoting the lie that Obama is not a US citizen. See here and here, for example.


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