Administrative Law Judge Jeff Masin is known to readers here as the judge who heard the 2012 challenge to Obama’s primary ballot position in New Jersey from Nicholas Purpura and Theodore Moran. The video of that hearing, with Mario Apuzzo representing Purpura and Alexandra Hill representing Obama, provided a few great moments of entertainment as certain weighty issues were debated such as the eligibility of Mickey Mouse to appear on the New Jersey Ballot, and whether Judge Masin had a coffee mug with Obama’s birth certificate on it (he didn’t, but I do).
In the end, Judge Masin ruled that Obama’s nomination petition was not defective, Obama had no obligation to prove his eligibility, and that in general the children of aliens born in the United States were natural born citizens.
Judge Masin had no trouble determining Obama eligible if born in the United States, citing Ankeny v. Governor of Indiana and the Supreme Court’s decision in US v. Wong Kim Ark. As birthers try to revive their anti-Obama arguments, we might do well to remember Judge Masin’s citation from Wong:
[The] law of England for the last three centuries, beginning before the settlement of this country, and continuing to the present day, . . . every child born in England of alien parents was a natural-born subject, unless the child of an ambassador or other diplomatic agent of a foreign state, or of an alien enemy in hostile occupation of the place where the child was born. The same rule was in force in all the English colonies upon this continent down to the time of the Declaration of Independence, and in the United States afterwards, and continued to prevail under the constitution as originally established.
But it’s 2016, and a new presidential candidate, Ted Cruz, is challenged in New Jersey, and Judge Masin is assigned to the case.
Of the challengers Philly.com writes:
One of the challenges was brought by three South Jersey citizens, and the other by a law professor who lives in Maryland and is running for president as a write-in candidate in New Jersey. Both parties argued that because Cruz was born in Canada, he is not a natural-born citizen, making him ineligible for the presidency.
Professor Williams said that he was motivated to bring the challenge after reading about the unresolved candidacy of Mexican-born George Romney.
This time around Judge Masin does not have “several decisions that could be cited” nor the clear precedent from the Supreme Court in US v. Wong Kim Ark. Obama was born in the US and Cruz in Canada. The Ankeny decision specifically did not address persons like Cruz, saying in a footnote:
We reiterate that we do not address the question of natural born citizen status for persons who became United States citizens at birth by virtue of being born of United States citizen parents, despite the fact that they were born abroad. That question was not properly presented to this court. Without addressing the question, however, we note that nothing in our opinion today should be understood to hold that being born within the fifty United States is the only way one can receive natural born citizen status.
The only direct citation would be in the recent case in Pennsylvania by Judge Pellegrini, which Masin noted was the only case he knew of. I for one an looking forward to what he decides. The “final decision” rests with the New Jersey Secretary of State, Kim Guadagno. The final decision is subject to review by the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division.