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“Is He Is, Or Is He Ain’t”: Will A Birther Lawsuit Derail Ted Cruz?

The “birther” claims against Sen. Ted Cruz are heading to court.

Houston attorney Newton Boris Schwartz, Sr. filed a suit in federal court Thursday seeking a judgement about whether Cruz is eligible to become president. Although Cruz’s mother is an American citizen by birth, Cruz was born in Canada.

In an interview with the Daily Beast, Schwartz said he believes he has legal standing to bring the suit as a registered voter in Texas and hopes to [ADD- see] the matter settled before voting begins.

“Why have the uncertainty? Why go through an election or even a primary or a convention if someone’s not eligible?” Schwartz said. “I used to tutor football athletes when they had to forfeit the entire season if they weren’t eligible. The American presidency is a hell of a lot more important than some football team and you want to make sure your players are eligible. All I’m asking the court to do is decide either he is or he is not eligible. That’s the end of it. It’s very simple.”

Specifically, Schwartz has requested a declaratory judgement about Cruz’s eligibility under Article II, Section I, Clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution, specifically the language that requires that the president be a “natural born citizen of the United States.”

Several legal scholars have argued recently that Cruz’s birth in Canada, rather than on American soil, could make him a naturalized citizen, rather than a natural born citizen, as the constitution requires. For example, Mary Brigid McManamon, a constitutional law professor at Widener University Delaware Law School, recently published an op-ed in the Washington Post arguing that Cruz is not eligible to be president or vice president of the United States. Laurence Tribe, a constitutional law professor at Harvard Law, who is a former professor of Cruz’s, made a similar argument in the Boston Globe.

Schwartz himself graduated from the University of Texas Law School in 1954 and has since been a trial lawyer in Houston. He currently heads a three-lawyer law firm. He said that he has voted for both Democrats and Republicans, but voted against Cruz for Senate in 2012, and voted for President Obama in 2008 and again in 2012. He said he had never met Cruz and never faced off against him in court.

Cruz himself has dismissed questions about his eligibility for the presidency, including Trump’s questions, as sour grapes as Cruz closed in on Trump in national polls and took the lead in Iowa. “The law is clear and straight forward,” Cruz has said.

A suit similar to Schwartz’s suit was recently filed against Marco Rubio in Florida, which Rubio’s lawyers responded to in detail this week, pointing out that Rubio was born in the United States and therefore is a natural-born U.S. citizen even though his parents were not citizens at the time. Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) has said he would file his own suit against Cruz if he were to become the Republican nominee.

The Texas case has been assigned to Judge Gray H. Miller in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Texas, but Schwartz said he expects it to eventually reach the U.S. Supreme Court, an outcome he thinks would help Cruz, no matter how it is decided.

“Cruz should welcome this suit,” Schwartz said. “He should have filed it himself.”

 

By: Patricia Murphy, The Daily Beast, January 15, 2016

January 16, 2016 Posted by | Birthers, Natural Born Citizens, Ted Cruz | , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

“Bursting At The Seams”: No Tent Is Big Enough For The GOP’s Crazy Wing

The problem with a big tent is that it takes just a couple of people inside to ruin everyone’s afternoon by misbehaving, yelling or refusing the bathe ahead of time. And that is the very problem the Republican party is facing as it seeks to placate the crazy wing of the party while trying to present a more serious and dignified conservative front.

Both major parties have their share of malcontents and blowhards. Both have people who make outrageous comments or comparisons to get attention (Democrat Alan Grayson recently compared the tea party movement to the Ku Klux Klan, which seems an especially provocative comment given that we have an African-American president who might not see the tea party’s rogue actions as being quite on the level of lynching and hanging black men).

But when that element starts to define the party, then it’s trouble.

The people who think not raising the debt ceiling will not cause a default, or that a default on the nation’s debt would not create a massive global economic problem are not conservatives. Nor do they reflect anything in the Republican Party platform. They are either ill-informed about basic economics or are simply ready to win a war by dropping the fiscal equivalent of an atomic bomb. There is nothing conservative about that, and it’s an insult to the genuine conservatives on the Hill to characterize it as such.

Then we have folks like Don Yelton, the (now former) precinct chair of Buncombe County in North Carolina. Yelton gave an interview for The Daily Show in which he defended North Carolina’s new voter ID law – not because it won’t disenfranchise voters, Yelton suggested, but because he simply doesn’t care about the people who might not be able to vote. He told the Comedy Central show:

The law is going to kick the Democrats in the butt. If it hurts a bunch of college kids too lazy to get up off their bohonkas and go get a photo ID, so be it. If it hurts the whites, so be it. If it hurts a bunch of lazy blacks that want the government to give them everything, so be it.

The North Carolina GOP, to its credit, asked for Yelton to step down, calling his comments “completely inappropriate and highly offensive.” Yelton did resign.

The GOP can’t ask tea party members to step down (nor should it – it’s up to the voters who gets elected to office). But the party can make it clear that racism or serial intransigence or failure to recognize economic reality are not conservative values. No tent needs to be big enough for people like Yelton.

 

By: Susan Milligan, U. S. News and World Report, October 25, 2013

October 27, 2013 Posted by | Politics, Racism | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Basic Civility: Who Will Teach Congress to Behave?

To make sense of the  vitriol, lack of cooperative spirit and just bad manners being displayed on  Capitol Hill, look no further than Massachusetts.

It’s not that the Bay State is unusually mean or even  rude. Visitors flocking to the Cape, the Berkshires or Boston’s North End will  surely find friendly people. But recent news in Massachusetts demonstrates just  how high our tolerance for—even celebration of—bad behavior has become.

The Boston Globe informs us  that the Boston School Committee is drafting rules for basic civility  at its  public meetings. This is not a response to shouting and  disruption by children,  who by definition are still learning how to  behave in public and how to  adjudicate disagreements with honor and  mutual respect. No, the school  committee’s actions are a sad response  to the heckling and all-around disrespect  shown by adults—parents and  teachers—who have been unhappy with school closings  and other matters  before the committee. Disruptive students have been at the  meetings,  too, which makes it worse, since the lesson they are learning at the   meetings is that it’s acceptable to shout and be rude to display one’s   unhappiness with a public policy. One protestor last December yelled  “liar”  at Superintendent Carol R. Johnson. Was this individual merely  parroting the  behavior of Rep. Joe Wilson, who yelled, “You lie!” at the President of the  United States during a live, nationally-televised speech in the House chamber?

Remarkably, some of the adult activists have not been  shamed at the  fact that they must be treated as recalcitrant children. The Globe  quotes the teacher’s union  president, Richard Stutman, jokingly  comparing the decorum rules to Stalinist  Russia. That’s not only an  insult to the people who lived in the brutal  dictatorial regime, but an  insult to public education. Surely, teachers do not  instruct their  students that self-control and civility are akin to  totalitarianism.

But if the school meetings aren’t distressing enough,  Massachusetts  can look to its professional football team, the New England  Patriots.  The team recently signed Albert Haynesworth, whose behavior, on and  off  the field, was so poor that the Washington Redskins couldn’t stomach  him  anymore. In sports, the bad boys are often given a pass if their  on-field  passes are complete. But Haynesworth—who was paid $35 million  to play in 20  games and didn’t always show up for practice because he  didn’t like the coach’s  defense strategy—became just too much for the  ‘Skins, who traded him to the  Patriots for a fifth-round draft pick. At  least Haynesworth won’t be a double burden to the Pats, since Randy  Moss, another behavior problem, left the team last year and announced  Tuesday he would retire from the sport. Defenders note that Patriots  coach Bill Belichick whipped Moss into shape. Haynesworth could be a  heavier list; at one point, he was juggling four different legal cases  against him even as he feuded publically with his coach.

We should expect more from members of Congress, who have  been  through campaigns and theoretically should know better. But the  public—even  as they deride the dysfunction and bad manners in the  Capitol—are enablers,  rewarding malcontented lawmakers with campaign  contributions. Republican Wilson  and former Democratic  Rep. Alan Grayson, who famously accused Republicans of  wanting people  to die as a way of saving on health costs, were two of the  biggest  fundraisers last election cycle, with much of the cash coming from out   of state. Grayson lost, but the message was clear: acting up is  profitable. And  both Democrats and Republicans are raising money off  the recent uproar over  Republican Rep. Allen West, a Tea Party movement favorite who sent an email to  a colleague, Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz,  calling her “the most  vile” member of the House. Wasserman Schultz had  criticized West’s approach to  Medicare, although she did not name him  in the floor speech that led West to  accuse Wasserman-Schultz of not  acting like “a Lady.”

The Boston School Committee may be able to teach civility  to adults  who apparently never learned how to sit still and listen. And perhaps   Belichick can control Haynesworth. Who will do the same for members of   Congress?

 

By: Susan Milligan, U. S. News and World Report, August 2, 2011

August 2, 2011 Posted by | Congress, Conservatives, Democracy, Democrats, GOP, Government, Lawmakers, Politics, Public Opinion, Republicans, Right Wing, Teaparty | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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