A law professor and a historian look at history and conclude that the Framers of the Constitution weren’t all that concerned with precise definitions of citizenship and that it is a mistake to assume that a consensus definition of “natural born citizen” existed then, as it would be to say one exists today on the Internet. Nathan Perl-Rosenthal, assistant professor of history at the University of Southern California, and Sam Erman, assistant professor of law at the USC Gould School of Law write in a piece at History News Network:
These historical arguments … share two underlying premises: that there was a single dominant meaning of “natural born” in early U.S. law, and that we can discern it by reading the constitutional text in context. Unfortunately, two things that we know about the history of the early American republic make these interpretive assumptions entirely unwarranted in the case of citizenship law.
You can find out what those two things are by reading their article, “Ted Cruz: Is He or Isn’t He Eligible to be President?”.
They assert this interesting idea:
… we should admit that there were two equally persuasive and authoritative versions of the clause’s meaning in the eighteenth century itself. Since neither side won the argument about what it meant in the eighteenth century, the final decision rests with us.
If you are keeping score on scholars for Cruz, chalk up two more in the “eligible” column.
On another topic, I was chatting with one of my buddies who is an attorney this afternoon. He went to Harvard and had Laurence Tribe as one of his teachers. (He calls him “Larry.”) He was a former federal prosecutor and now is a legal researcher. I asked him if Cruz was eligible, and he replied, “unfortunately, yes.”