What I think of the election cycle this year.

I am getting ready to vote (early) in the Wisconsin Primary.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. anilwang says:

    IMO, it’s not just this election cycle, it’s all election cycles that put up a dog and pony show and the one that puts up the best show wins.

    I’m sure you’ve all aware of the Obama Che Guevara images from the last U.S. election ( http://lumq.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/che_barack_obama.jpg ), and in my native land of Canada the last election was more focused on (I kid you not) the current Prime Ministers “nice hair” and “good looks” than on the radical anti-life issues the current Prime Minister is focused on.

    The main different between Trump and others is that others are ashamed to appear to be putting on a show and deny it while Trump is proud of it and then turns on you to try to make you ashamed of pointing it.

  2. Gregg the Obscure says:

    It’s more disgusting than entertaining. I suppose with the current culture acting as such a Cloaca Magna, anything less than disgusting simply isn’t possible.

  3. MarkJ says:

    I am seriously considering asking my pastor for a dispensation from voting this year, depending on who the nominee turns out to be. Sadly, we get the candidates we deserve.

  4. Robbie says:

    I’m not entertained at all. One candidate has single handedly dragged the entire primary race into the gutter and it’s disgusting. I’ve been a conservative Republican and a straight party vote ever since I turned 18. This time around, though, I will leave the presidential ballot unmarked this November if a certain candidate is the nominee.

    This delve into lewdness, anger, and violence goes against everything that we as Catholics should favor. Hand size, mass deportations, violent rallies, and banning entry into the country of all people of a certain religion? These aren’t unifying topics. They are measures that will ensure another corrupt politician will possibly win all 50 states and then have the ability to appoint justice to SCOTUS who will enshrine abortion forever.

  5. Elizabeth D says:

    Remember that guy in St Augustine’s Confessions who won’t attend the gladiator games, then his friends drag him there and he closes his eyes but then he gets sucked in to it?

    Just don’t go to the gladiator games.

    CatholicVote.org sent me an email today endorsing Cruz. ok. At this point I am happy if they will spare me having to actually look at or listen to do the candidates and just tell me what is right to do.

  6. Elizabeth D says:

    So then I get a robocall from the Ted Cruz campaign saying there is a rally tomorrow with Ted Cruz in my town. Someone tell me whether to go support the few non-leftists in Madison, WI and maybe know something other than the name of I am voting for, or to avoid the gladiator games like I just resolved? I don’t actually want to go to it. Ugh. Should I or shouldn’t I?

  7. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Elizabeth D,

    There are thoughtful and interesting (including, as far as I can see, orthodox Catholic) lawyer-columnists who are convinced that Mr. Cruz is ineligible to become – and so, to run for – President.

    The only thing I find on the CatholicVote.org site about this is a very insubstantial January 15 debate report: “(Cruz was born in Canada, but his mother was a U.S. citizen.) When Trump kept pressing the issue, the crowd booed him.”

    Winston Churchill was born in England but his mother was American: he and everybody in Congress and JFK and LBJ all knew he had to be made an honorary citizen by special act of Congress – An Act to proclaim Sir Winston Churchill an honorary citizen of the United States of America, Public Law 88-6/H.R. 4374; 88th Congress (1963) (9 April 1963). “H.R. 4374 (88th)” – not a “natural born citizen” but a mere honorary citizen at all. Maybe Mr. Cruz is different – if so, how and why, exactly?

    How many Catholic voters, and conscientious non-Catholic voters, are concerned about this? How many would consider their conclusions about that (whether that he is not, or that he might not be, eligible) something making it impossible to vote for him in good conscience?

    I’ve never seen any polling about this, though it seems at the very least an elementary practical consideration (also for those convinced he is eligible), to try to discover how many people have qualms about voting for him on account of this.

  8. Elizabeth D says:

    In conscience I want to stop Trump being the Republican nominee.

  9. CrimsonCatholic says:

    Elizabeth D,

    The Board of Elections found that Cruz is eligible to run, so the case is closed. The case is nonsense anyways, if Cruz is ineligible , then so was John McCain in 2008 because he was born in the Panama or any children of soldiers or missionaries over seas. The whole argument is nonsense and has never been argued before until the recent elections.

    In my opinion, you should go with the best option left, which is Ted Cruz. He is the most pro-life candidate left.

  10. trespinos says:

    From the news I learn that Marco Rubio has sent a letter to the California election authorities asking that his name be removed from the primary ballot. I understand his reason for doing so. He does not want the non-Trump vote further splintered. It distresses me that I will not be able to vote for him directly. Though I may be tempted to write his name in, I will, while holding my nose, vote for Sen. Cruz, if that is what it takes to deny Mr. Trump the nomination.

  11. Venerator Sti Lot says:


    Mr. Rubio, admittedly born of (legal) alien parents – like Mr. Jindal – is another person whom various thoughtful and interesting lawyer-columnists are convinced is ineligible to become – and so, to run for – President.

    While he has, in practice, largely defused the question by withdrawing, it remains curious that, though it seems at the very least an elementary practical consideration (also for those convinced he is eligible), to try to discover how many people have had and would have qualms about voting for him on this account, there has not been any polling about this that I’ve been able to discover.

    Elizabeth D writes, “In conscience I want to stop Trump being the Republican nominee.” The one does not, of course, exclude the other. A thoughtful and interesting, and, as far as I can see, orthodox Catholic columnist was reminding us the other day that “political parties [are] nowhere mentioned or recognized in the Constitution” and contending that they “have, in our day, fallen under the control of an elitist faction, tacitly united by the ambition to overturn the constitutional sovereignty of the American people.” What can be done about that, within or outside the parties, formally and effectively, between now and November, I do not know – but I’d like to hear from anyone who does!

  12. WYMiriam says:

    It’s interesting to listen to this conversation, because it strongly emphasizes two things to me:

    1. the time and place to get involved in politics when it comes to voting people into office is the very “lowest” place — local caucuses; and

    2. there’s no reason to despair entirely — remember “when in the course of human events“, etc.? The Constitution Party will have its nominating convention in about two weeks!

  13. KateD says:

    Is Russel Crowe running? I’d vote for him! Maximus for President!!!

  14. Elizabeth D says:

    How about Raymond Arroyo?

  15. iamlucky13 says:

    “This time around, though, I will leave the presidential ballot unmarked this November if a certain candidate is the nominee.”

    I won’t. I will vote for somebody. I have no idea who yet, because I can’t identify redeeming characteristics of the current front-runners, but I will at least find an alternative candidate to bolster the statistics of.

    “the time and place to get involved in politics when it comes to voting people into office is the very “lowest” place — local caucuses;”

    This is true, and I did the last election cycle. Our state held precinct and then district caucuses leading up to the state caucus. It was eye-opening. The precinct caucus seemed generally on the level and I went to district caucus as a delegate. That’s where the manipulation started. I don’t know how carefully planned it was to disadvantage certain candidates, and how much was honest negotiations to sway the votes of clearly losing candidates to support their second choice, but the result was that while going into the district caucus, candidates one through five had a breakdown of something like 35%, 33%,20%, 6%, and 4%, at the state caucus the breakdown was 86%, 11%, 3%.

    I was not as eager to go this year, and it didn’t matter anyways, since I had failed to identify a candidate to support by the time the caucus happened.

  16. Magash says:

    John McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone, which at the time was U.S. territory. That makes his case and Cruz’s different. The real problem here is that the Constitution sets who is eligible to run for president, not the Board of Elections. The Constitution requires that the president be a “Natural born citizen” but does not define the term. A strict constitutionalist will tell you that when that happens that the definition, as understood by the authors should be used. That definition would be the one understood by English Common Law. Under the Common Law definition a “natural born citizen” is one who is born within the boards of the nation or on its territory. That makes McCain eligible and Cruz not. Interpretations of the Constitution are done by the Supreme Court of the United States, not by the Board of Elections. The SCUS has never rule on the question of what a “natural born citizen” is, so it is a matter of unsettled case law.

  17. Phil_NL says:

    One thing is for certain – and not entertaining at all:

    Come January, someone will be president.

    It seems likely that the choice will boil down between someone with a D behind her or his name who will be a sure disaster (especially where the supreme court is concerned), and someone with an R behind his name, deserved or not, who might be a disaster.
    That’s not an appealing choice, but it is a choice nevertheless. A choice akin to playing Russian roulette with 1 bullet in the chamber (or 2, or 3) on the one hand, and with all 6 bullets in their chambers on the other. Still a choice, and not even a very hard one, based on cold logic.

    It’s also an unavoidable choice: not voting or going third party might make one feel better, but is simply acquiescing to whatever the majority decides, with all the moral implications the majority vote might have. And either Hillary/Sanders or Trump will be president.

    Barring miracles in the primary or at the convention (and at this stage, it requires a miracle, and two of them if it’s at the convention), I can’t wait for 2020.

  18. AvantiBev says:

    Go hear Ted Cruz speak. I have been a supporter since BEFORE he declared. The establishment of both parties despise him, Dems ~ Socialist Left ~demonize him. Trump fears debating him, and rightly so.
    Sometimes you know a person better by looking at who his enemies and opponents are.
    Get thee to the rally!!!!

  19. CrimsonCatholic says:


    The Panama Canal Zone was an unincorporated territory, not an incorporated territory. The federal courts have ruled that those in America Samoa, an unincorporated territory, do not have American citizenship for being born there. So you can make the argument that McCain is not “natural born citizen” because it is not an incorporated territory. The Constitution doesn’t spell out birthright citizenship either, so you can make the case that Jindal and Rubio are not eligible.

    You are right, the courts decide the issue, and the courts have thrown out challenges to Cruz’s eligibility. Let’s move on from this already.

  20. Elizabeth D says:

    I went to Adoration rather than to the Cruz rally, and prayed for our country. I don’t drive so it would have taken some planning to be able to get there by bus.

    Bernie Sanders is speaking 2 blocks from my home at 2pm today, should I go to that? :-P It is basically across the street from my church where I went to adoration and there is already a big Bomb Squad van parked there as well as TV satellite trucks covering the gladiatorial spectacle.

  21. gracie says:

    The point of this election is to stop the Democratic Party in its tracks. Not voting for the Republican – any Republican – is a vote for Hillary Clinton. As an older generation use to say, “Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face”. Do we want higher corporate tax rates? More confiscatory death taxes? A continuation of the alternative minimum tax? Hillary choosing the next x number of Supreme Court Justices? Really? Look at what happened with the Labor Union Dues’ decision with Justice Scalia absent. Do you want priests facing jail time for refusing to perform gay marriages? How about forced euthanasia to reduce government health costs? The last 8 years of Obama have been terrible and somehow it’s better to have 8 more of that rather than have Donald Trump as President? I’ll happily vote for Cruz or Trump or Genghis Khan if it stops or at least slows down the death spiral our culture is in. The more ground we lose, the more we have to take back at a greater cost. Sorry, but that makes no sense.

  22. Elizabeth D says:

    Update: After consulting Pope Pius XI’s Divini Redemptoris, I have arranged to go to my St Vincent de Paul homeless program volunteer job, instead of feeling the Bern.

    I have serious concerns about Donald Trump and his overweening pride and will-to-power, as well as what his moral beliefs are, if any. I find him a frightening person. The one time I tried to listen to him give a speech for about 30 seconds I was truly repulsed. I don’t recall what he said but it was remarkably offensive. I am waiting to see who will be in the general election to sort out whether he would be a lesser evil than Clinton or Sanders.

  23. Mike says:

    The current two-party system in these USA has been eviscerated by a moral cancer and is beyond saving.

    Talking of Pius XI, you can read his shamefully neglected Quas Primas to know my political views, and Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum to know my economic ones.

  24. John Grammaticus says:

    actually as a political junkie I’m very much entertained watching the flip-flops and mental gymnastics that the contenders to inhabit the gilded cage are putting themselves through on your side of the pond. Its also pretty exciting because generally speaking the nominating phase would have been over by now and the candidates effectively beginning the general election……

  25. Mary Jane says:

    Someone already voiced similar things above, but I’ll give my opinion anyway….

    Not voting because there isn’t a perfect candidate on the ballot – while it might make you feel good for a brief time – will not keep Hillary/Sanders out of office. Voting for a third party candidate or voting for someone not on the ballot at all (write-ins) is pretty much the same thing as not voting.

    I got an email from CatholicVote the other day that pointed out something interesting – more people do not want Trump than do want Trump. He hasn’t been scoring a majority vote in the primaries. More people voted for other candidates (combined) than vote for him. Those folks – who prefer candidates other than Trump – need to unite behind the single best candidate and rally their efforts together. For example, I personally feel that Rubio choosing to remain in the race so long merely succeeded in pulling critical votes away from Cruz.

    I honestly feel just about anyone on the Republican side would be a better choice than Clinton or Sanders. I think the biggest item on my list is whether the candidate is pro life. If it comes down to voting day and none of the candidates are totally pro life, I’d pick the one that was the closest.

  26. excalibur says:

    Looks to me like many are willing to see either Hillary, or Bernie, elected as POTUS.

  27. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Mary Jane’s remark that “More people voted for other candidates (combined) than vote for him” made me think of what seems to me a curious phenomenon. Looking at previous election results at thegreenpapers.com one time or other, it struck me that eligible voters who didn’t vote plus those who voted for Candidate R outnumbered those who voted for Candidate D, and eligible voters who didn’t vote plus those who voted for Candidate D outnumbered those who voted for Candidate R – I think sometimes eligible voters who didn’t vote outnumbered those who voted for either Candidate R or Candidate D. For what variety of reasons do so many eligible voters seem often not to vote – contentment, despair, qualms of conscience?

    And what would happen if everyone could explicitly vote for ‘None of the Above’?

  28. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    CrimsonCatholic observed with regard to the matter of Constitutional eligibility, “The whole argument is nonsense and has never been argued before until the recent elections.”

    As a matter of historical interest, it has been raised in various forms over the past 136 years. Arthur Hinman raised the question with respect to Chester Arthur, whether he had been born in Canada, in which case seemingly everyone at the time would have found it self-evident he was ineligible for either President or Vice-President. But there was no evidence of that – in fact, it served to distract from the real ‘eligibility question’ – that Chester’s father William had not naturalized as an American citizen before Chester was born: that he was the son of an alien was only proved by one of his biographers, who found his father’s naturalization records, a few years ago.

    It was also raised with respect to Christopher Schürmann in 1896 (alien parents), Charles Evans Hughes in 1916 (alien parents), and more recently with respect to Barry Goldwater, born in the Arizona Territory, and George Romney, born in Mexico, as well as Lowell Weicker, born in Paris.

    Evident in these cases are questions of American soil, and of citizen parents, and of both together. Another factor is citizen parents in diplomatic or military service: Mr. McCain was born outside the canal Zone but to citizen parents who were there because his father was serving the U.S. militarily in the Canal Zone – how problematical is (or isn’t) that?

  29. bookworm says:

    Some points that I like to raise every election season:
    — Multiple magisterial documents (from popes and bishops) state that it is morally permissible, when faced with two or more candidates that are not pro-life, to 1) vote for the least evil candidate with a reasonable chance to win, 2) vote third party, independent or write in even if that candidate has no chance of winning, or 3) not vote at all. As far as I can tell, there is no moral duty under pain of sin to vote in every election or in every contest.
    — In the general election for POTUS, the only votes that count are each state’s electoral votes. Whether or not you can vote third party/write in or abstain without materially contributing to the “worse” candidate winning depends in large part on what state you live in. If you live in a “deep blue” state (NY, CA, IL, etc.) whose electoral votes are going Democrat anyway, and you really don’t want to vote for the Republican, then don’t (I don’t intend to if it’s Trump). It’s not as if your decision is going to make your state any more likely to tilt Democratic than it already was. Likewise, if your state is “deep red” and going Republican no matter what, your voting for someone else or not voting is probably not going to change the outcome. But if you live in one of the critical swing states (OH, FL) where as little as one vote per precinct could alter the outcome, then I would say you should think very long and hard before you vote for anyone other than a Republican, unless you are truly convinced that both candidates are equally evil.
    — There are many other important races besides that for POTUS — races for Congressional and Senate seats, governors, state legislators, etc. Don’t assume that you shouldn’t bother going to the polls at all because you don’t care for either presidential candidate; do your homework on the others in your area.

  30. bookworm says:

    Finally, here’s a thought which is purely my personal opinion, and although I believe it is compatible with Church teaching, don’t interpret this as having any kind of authority — merely a possibly helpful suggestion.

    There are certain situations in which, I believe, electing an ostensibly pro-life candidate may do more harm than good to the pro-life cause — for example, if the candidate in question is manifestly corrupt, untrustworthy, mentally unbalanced, or grossly incompetent. Merely because a candidate says they are pro-life does not automatically mean we have a moral obligation to vote for them. If someone who claims to be pro-life turns out to be an utter disaster in office, they may end up discrediting their party and their cause and make it that much harder to elect competent pro-life candidates in the future.

    If a “bad” pro-life candidate were facing another candidate who was reasonably competent and who was what I would describe as “soft” pro-choice — someone who did NOT make abortion a central issue of his or her campaign, who did not advocate any expansion of abortion rights or access beyond what already exists, and who was willing to tolerate regulations such as parental notification — I would in that situation vote for the second candidate, because with them, you at least would not be making the situation any worse and could buy some time until a more suitable pro-life candidate stepped up.

    However, if the opponent is a “hard” pro-abort determined to expand access to abortion in every way possible and trample on the conscience rights of those who object, then I would simply not vote for either. If the general election turns out to be Trump vs. Hillary, that will be the situation we face, and IMO the only thing to do is pray that God’s will be done and that we can ride out the storm that is sure to result.

  31. PostCatholic says:

    There is, fortunately, no doubt that Sec. Clinton and Sen. Sanders are natural born citizens.

  32. Phil_NL says:


    Regarding your second point: that’s a fairly dangerous one. With Trump being a loose cannon, Hillary perhaps being marched off in handcuffs (if there’s any justice, at least), and Sanders being so far to the left that if he tacks left a bit more, he’ll fall off his chair, I doubt many states will be secure for either party. A few deep blue states perhaps, but if Cruz doesn’t win the primary, I wouldn’t count even Utah or Texas as securely R. And on the other side, who knows if Trump can expand the map. Get enough people out who normally don’t vote – and who won’t respond to polls either – and even NY might be in play. With “normal” candidates at least 35 out of 50 states would be utterly predictable, but things are far from normal this cycle.
    Regarding your first point, the problem is that the positions of the candidates don’t matter directly. It’s through their SCOTUS nominations things will pan out. That makes it hard to attach ‘pain of sin’ to any choice except the very clear D’s, but that doesn’t mean there’s no moral question, let alone one of wisdom. Dependibg on circumstances, a third party vote msy not be sinful, but very stupid nevertheless. People who know better do have a moral obligation not to be stupid, I’d say…

  33. HeatherPA says:

    Reading Pope Leo XIII “On Christian Citizenship” is something I do every election cycle.
    To accuse people who are anguished over voting and/ or who don’t want to vote at all because the candidates on both sides are awful of “being pro abortion or allowing evil to win” (I have seen these posts every election cycle, too) is incredibly offensive and displaying rash judgment- which is a sin, while abstaining from voting is not.
    We have the President God thinks we deserve now and we will surely get the President we deserve in November.
    In the 2012 elections, the votes were obviously suspect in PA with precincts in Philly voting 100% for Obama without a single vote for Romney or anyone else. The only blue parts of the state were in the major cities, while the rest of us in the state (which has the largest rural population of all the states) voted red. The state still went to Obama.
    I will definitely vote for local, regional and state elections, but I am still on the fence considering the presidential race. As always, I pray for our country in my prayers and rosary.

  34. robtbrown says:

    There are two natural rights to citizenship: Ius solis and ius sanguinis. The former refers to being born within the nation, the latter being born to at least one parent who is a citizen.

    The problem at the time of the Constitution in 1789 was that there was no adult who qualified in either category. And so the phrase “natural born citizen” was adopted.

    BTW, from what I understand Switzerland does not have ius solis

  35. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    robtbrown writes, “from what I understand Switzerland does not have ius solis” – interesting, in light of the fact that Emer de Vattel was Swiss. In the 1797 English translation of his 1758 book, The Law of Nations, a relevant passage includes “The natives, or natural-born citizens, are those born in the country, of parents who are citizens”. This is echoed in the unanimous U.S. Supreme Court in Minor v. Happersett, 88 U.S. 162, 167-68 (1875): “The Constitution does not in words say who shall be natural-born citizens. Resort must be had elsewhere to ascertain that. At common-law, with the nomenclature of which the framers of the Constitution were familiar, it was never doubted that all children born in a country of parents who were its citizens became themselves, upon their birth, citizens also. These were natives, or natural-born citizens, as distinguished from aliens or foreigners.”

  36. robtbrown says:

    Venerator Sti Lot,

    The reference to Switzerland was meant simply to show that not all Western nations have ius solis.

    Here “citizen” is a legal term. My point is that in so far as the US Constitution is the foundation for US law, at the time of its adoption no one of Presidential age had been born of a US citizen or on US soil.

    And even with ius solis in the US American Indians weren’t citizens. When Jim Thorpe competed in the 1912 Olympics he was not a US citizen. (BTW, George Patton was also in the 1912 Olympics).

  37. Venerator Sti Lot says:


    Your point that “at the time of its adoption no one of Presidential age had been born of a US citizen or on US soil” is well made – which is why special explicit provision was made to create a distinct eligibility for people of that time, which ceased to apply when all who could enjoy it had died.

    I suppose part of my point is that I don’t know enough about Swiss history, and whether Vattel was describing something he knew ‘at home’, then, or even (among other things) making some different point with respect to the Swiss situation in 1758.

    I clearly don’t know enough old modern Olympic history, either – thanks! One interesting thing I’ve read a little about is the fascinating early modern Olympic recollection of Antique ‘games’ (etc.) in giving medals for things like poetry!

  38. Imrahil says:

    I’m not American.

    If I were, and if a certain real estate manager were candidate for the Republicans, this is the time I would vote Democrat.

    Both as a protest against the Republicans thinking they can nominate whoever they want and count on the votes of the orthodox Catholics, and in the estimation that Clinton of Sanders actually would be – evils to be sure – the lesser evils. With Sanders perhaps still lesser than Clinton. (Note that there was an essay by a priest on the Internet, was it Fr Longenecker?, that while Sanders is ineligible on life issues unless someone yet more ineligible in the opponent, his so-called Socialist economic view are no anathema to the Catholic.)

    The alternative would still be third party, of course.

    Clinton would, as far as I see, mean Obama continued. “o dear Lord, give us a better one! yet still worse a tyrant came – so what I pray now is only, may God keep to us at least the same.” (Hoffmann von Fallersleben)

    In addition, I’ll say this: a somewhat large part of Catholic social teaching could perhaps be summed up thus: “You may try to get rich. Sure. If you are reach, you may – to leave away things that are common decent man matters-of-course – enjoy your riches. Sure. Just one thing, though: If you do, take care you don’t become such a person as Donald Trump” – I’ll be fair – “ostensibly shows himself to be.”

  39. Imrahil says:

    Sorry, I only meant to invert “economic”.

  40. avecrux says:

    Venerator Sti Lot –

    Shortly after we were married, my husband and I moved to England where he was finishing his degree. Our eldest daughter was born there. She is an American citizen – and, in addition to her English birth certificate – has a certificate from the US Consulate in London declaring her an American citizen at birth. It is signed by Condoleeza Rice. They issued her a US passport as well.

    There are provisions for these things. It’s really not tough.

  41. Venerator Sti Lot says:


    Where does Hoffmann von Fallersleben say that? – ah, the German writers I know too little about!

    I’d like to see the development of, or support for, “the estimation that Clinton or Sanders actually would be – evils to be sure – the lesser evils”, if one also (I would say, lucidly and correctly) concludes “Sanders is ineligible on life issues”. Both Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Sanders are determinedly monstrous and murderous on “life issues”. Is Mr. Trump merely possessed of a Mitt-Romneyesque dishonesty about (some) life issues while being a less polished deceiver, or might his muddle involve the birth-pangs of conversion? And, has he ever been as explicitly and determinedly and actively (insofar as possible as a private citizen and not as a representative) monstrous and murderous as either Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Sanders?


    Simply stated, there are strong opinions, strongly opposed, as to what’s “really not tough”. When my children were similarly born abroad as dual nationals at birth and the Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States of America (CRBA) came into the picture – some time before Mr. Obama was pursuing his monstrous and murderous program on “life issues” at state level in Illinois – my amused thought was, ‘ ah, well, they can never be President of the United States’ (not that there would ever have been a likelihood of that – but eligibilty preceded likelihood
    as pre-condition). Was I wrong?

    Here’s how one interesting and thoughtful lawyer puts it, not so long ago: “There are three different ways to be born a citizen of the United States:

    ” (1) One way is to be born or reputed born in the country to parents who were both citizens of the United States at the time of the child’s birth. These persons are citizens of the United States by their birth circumstances alone. Hence, they do not need any positive law to make them citizens of the United States. They are the ‘natural born citizens’ of the United States.

    ” (2) Another way is to be born in the country to one or two qualifying alien parents. These persons are not citizens of the United States by their birth circumstances alone. Hence, they need a positive law to make them citizens of the United States. They need the Fourteenth Amendment or a naturalization Act of Congress (8 U.S.C. sec. 1401(a)) to make them citizens of the United States. These persons are ‘citizens’ of the United States ‘at birth.’ They are not ‘natural born citizens’ of the United States.

    “(3) Another way is to be born in a foreign nation, i.e., out of the territory and jurisdiction of the United States to one or two parents who were citizens of the United States at the time of the child’s birth. These persons need a positive law to make them citizens of the United States. They need a naturalization Act of Congress to make them citizens of the United States. These persons are ‘citizens’ of the United States ‘at birth.’ They are not ‘natural born citizens’ of the United States.

    “Category 2 and 3 are born citizens, but not natural born citizens. Only category 1 are natural born citizens.

    “Ted Cruz falls into category No. 3. He was born in a foreign nation, i.e., out of the territory and jurisdiction of the United States to a mother who was presumably a citizen of the United States and to an alien father. He needed a positive law to make him a citizen of the United States when he was born in 1970. He needed a naturalization Act of Congress to make him a citizen of the United States. He is a ‘citizen’ of the United States ‘at birth’ under the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952. He is not a ‘natural born citizen’ of the United States.”

    Is he wrong – or (might he be) right?

  42. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Speaking of things like eligibility and nullification, I just read that if a bishop of the Church of England was of illegitimate birth his consecration would, according to canon law, be invalid and all his acts in that office would thus have been nullified – for most of its history, but that the canon laws of the Church of England now state, “No person shall be refused consecration as bishop on the grounds that he was born out of lawful wedlock.”

    How is that, now, in the ‘ Latin’ and Eastern Catholic bodies of canon law?

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