Time to eliminate 'Natural Born' clause

Friday, April 3, 2015

Our country needs to address an issue that has come up repeatedly over the last few election cycles.

Anti-Obama pundits and pols who are known as "birthers" try to delegitimize Barack Obama's presidency with the bogus claim that he was born in Kenya and is therefore not a "natural born citizen," Supposedly, he is therefore constitutionally prohibited from holding the office of president.

The term "natural born citizen" is contained in the Constitution as a requirement for the presidency, but the term is not clearly defined, either in the Constitution or through a court decision.

John McCain, the 2008 Republican nominee for president, would face a more credible challenge to his qualification to serve as president if that qualification depended on being born in the U.S.

McCain was born in the country of Panama, in the Canal Zone.

The Canal Zone was never a part of the United States, not even a territory of the U.S., just an area of Panama leased by the U.S.

The presidential candidacy of Canadian-born Ted Cruz creates an amusing situation. Birthers tend to also be social conservatives (although not all social conservatives are birthers), and social conservatives form a key bloc of support sought by Ted Cruz.

We wonder whether vocal challengers of Obama's claim of being a natural born citizen will now consider Cruz unqualified to run for president.

Regardless of how birthers resolve their personal dilemma, we need to eliminate the confusing qualifier about citizenship, even if it takes a constitutional amendment.