One of the most contentious moments during Thursday’s Fox Business GOP Debate was the subject of Ted Cruz‘s birth. Donald Trump has mentioned a number of times over the past few weeks that the issue could not only be detrimental to Cruz’s campaign, but the Republican Party’s chances if Cruz receives the nomination.
“If you become the nominee, who the hell knows if you can even serve in the office?” Trump said during the debate. He later added, “You have great constitutional lawyers who say he can’t run. I’m not bringing a suit, I promise, but the Democrats are going to bring a lawsuit.”
Ted Cruz was born in Canada and was a Canadian citizen until 15 months ago. Lawsuits have just been filed with more to follow. I told you so
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 16, 2016
Several media outlets are now reporting that a lawsuit was filed in Texas on Thursday that challenges Cruz’s eligibility. The suit, filed by Newton Boris Schwartz Sr., cites a number of legal theorists, including Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe who argues that while it is generally accepted that Cruz is a natural-born citizen, no court has ruled definitively on it.
According to CNN, Schwartz’s lawsuit will come down to whether or not he has standing to bring the suit before a federal judge, which American University professor Stephen Vladeck says he doesn’t have.
“Standing’s only going to work if some state denies Cruz access to the ballot,” Vladeck said.
In other words, the only person who is really going to have standing is Cruz to resolve the issue if a state denies him ballot access on the grounds that he is ineligible because of his Canadian birth.
Still, it is clear that the issue will continue to haunt Cruz. Trump used the issue as an attacking point for weeks leading to the GOP debate, and because Trump was making it an issue, the media kept it an issue.
Cruz needed to quash the matter quickly, but try as he might, it wasn’t going away and with at least one lawsuit now filed in federal court, it is not going to go away anytime soon.
Whether right or wrong, Trump’s clairvoyance on the matter will only continue to elevate his campaign. He has successfully identified and exploited the political weaknesses of his primary opponents and it has worked to his benefit, even when he may be on the wrong side of the legal argument.
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