Ann Coulter’s latest column finally put her argument against Ted Cruz’s eligibility to be President into an extended form we can intelligently judge.
First, it turns out she actually isn’t pulling this entirely from thin air. There are Supreme Court precedents and some basis in the English common law suggesting that “natural born” does not apply to those born abroad to citizen parents, as Cruz was to an American mother in Canada.
But it all amounts to less than what Ann’s made of it. For one thing, “the Supreme Court says so” has never been conservatives’ standard for settling legal questions. Yes, SCOTUS can be useful for articulating the relevant concepts, but they’re certainly capable of being wrong. And there’s ample reason to think they’re wrong here.
For instance, Blackstone — who Ann weirdly suggests Cruz’s defenders haven’t cited — explicitly recognizes such children as natural-born citizens:
To encourage also foreign commerce, it was enacted by statute 25 Edw. III. st. 2. that all children born abroad, provided both their parents were at the time of the birth in allegiance to the king, and the mother had passed the seas by her husband’s consent, might inherit as if born in England: and accordingly it hath been so adjudged in behalf of merchants. But by several more modern statutes these restrictions are still farther taken off: so that all children, born out of the king’s ligeance, whose fathers were natural-born subjects, are now natural-born subjects themselves, to all intents and purposes, without any exception; unless their said fathers were attainted, or banished beyond sea, for high treason; or were then in the service of a prince at enmity with Great Britain.