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Return of the birther bill

A bill has been introduced in the Tennessee House (HB2595) and Senate (SB2625) that would prohibit a presidential candidate who is not a natural born citizen from appearing on the general election ballot, even if nominated by a political party. There is no definition of “natural born citizen,” no process for validating the qualification, nor any explicit mechanism given the public for challenging the status of a candidate.

I recall that in many states the law requires placement on the ballot of the nominee of a recognized party—placing a candidate on the ballot is a ministerial duty. In some states, such as Arizona, the candidate must file an affidavit attesting to their eligibility or as in South Carolina, the State Party must certify it.

The bill’s sponsor in the Tennessee House is Jason Powell, and in the Senate the sponsor is Jeff Yarbro, both Democrats from Nashville.

Tom Humphrey, former News Sentinel Nashville bureau chief wrote:

While the Democrats say the legislation isn’t aimed at any candidate, Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, who was born to an American mother and Cuban father while they lived in Calgary, is the only presidential hopeful who has had to defend his eligibility to run.

It would seem to this observer that the only purpose for such a bill would be to cause embarrassment to the other party.

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4 Responses to Return of the birther bill

  1. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy January 23, 2016 at 7:53 am #

    Charles Kerchner has an article:

    https://cdrkerchner.wordpress.com/2016/01/22/tn-bill-would-bar-candidates-who-are-not-natural-born-citizens-from-ballot

    I wonder if he will let my comment on it stand:

    “It would appear to this observer that the bill is intended to embarrass Republicans over the problems of Cruz eligibility, rather than to serve any legitimate cause. If the bill were serious, it would set a standard of verification and mandate that the Secretary of State engage in some process of certification. As it stands, the bill sets no standard of a natural born citizen, provides no mechanism for its enforcement, gives the public no avenue for complaint and is generally political window dressing.”

  2. avatar
    Thomas Brown January 23, 2016 at 9:12 am #

    “… the only purpose for such a bill would be to cause embarrassment to the other party.”

    You say that like it’s a bad thing!

  3. avatar
    Dave B. January 23, 2016 at 5:13 pm #

    2012 called. They said keep the birthers; don’t bother sending them back.

  4. avatar
    bob January 23, 2016 at 5:39 pm #

    Also: The Republicans control both chambers and the governorship; the bill is meant to be an annoyance.

    And I don’t see Doc’s comment.