Thursday, February 28, 2008

Somewhat Interesting Constitutional Argument

I say somewhat interesting, because if it actually came to the forefront, I can't imagine them ruling him ineligible, especially if the Republican Supreme Court has the ultimate decision, but there's apparently a bit of conversation regarding John McCain's eligibility to be president.

The issue is that he wasn't born in the United States, but rather in the Panama Canal Zone while his father was stationed in the area by the military. The Constitution has a provision about "natural-born citizens" being the only ones eligible for the presidency. Some believe that means that only people born inside the United States are elegible to be president. Under the strictest interpretation of this provision McCain may not be eligible.

First of all, I don't imagine that anyone would challenge McCain's eligibility, nor, apparently, is it very clear who or how a challenge would be raised. Secondly, McCain has never been anything other than an American citizen, which is enough for me to end the conversation. The provision has never been challenged, though it seems pretty clear that a naturalized American citizen, say the Governator or Madeline Albright as examples, would not be eligible under any interpretation, but I can't imagine that McCain would be deemed to be ineligible.

Still, it's an interesting question. This seems like something that's screaming to be clarified by an amendment to the Constitution, but good luck with that.


Open Bar said...

Regardless of the issue you brought up in your post (yep, I'm gonna ignore it and talk about something I wanted to bring up using your post as a really weak segue), did you hear McCain saying that Al Qaeda's already in Iraq, they're called "Al Qaeda in Iraq"?

I saw a funny breakdown of that on Fark:

John McCain believes that because people in Iraq call themselves "Al Qaeda in Iraq," that must make them actually in Al Qaeda. Which raises the question, what are we going to do about the Viking occupation of Minnesota?

Open Bar said...

Okay, fine, I'll respond to your actual post. The Constitution says the President must be "natural born" not "native born", so you don't have to be born on American soil. I guess you just have to be born...naturally? So no test-tube babies? Prejudice!