The media keep resurrecting the faux-controversy over McCain's eligibility to be president. The Constitution provides that only a "natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President." The issue is whether McCain, who was born in the Panama Canal Zone and whose parents were both U.S. citizens, is a "natural born citizen." At first, I imagine someone whispered in a journalist's ear that McCain isn't eligible to be president. It was a juicy story, and it definitely got a lot of attention initially. But then legal experts pointed out that it's a preposterous argument, and the story faded away. Then some random law professor wrote an article arguing that McCain may not be eligible after all(!), and it was off to the races again. Again assured by legal experts that the argument is ridiculous, and that McCain is indeed constitutionally eligible, the media backed off. But now the New York Times has unearthed another law professor willing to argue that McCain isn't eligible to be president, and is running a story under the headline, "A Hint of New Life to a McCain Birth Issue." The NYT even calls it "the most detailed examination yet of Senator John McCain’s eligibility to be president" to add some superficial credibility. Jim Lindgren of the Volokh Conspiracy provided a good smackdown of the crazy argument that McCain isn't eligible, noting that the concept of a "natural-born citizen" was very well known at the time the Constitution was adopted, and it most certainly includes children of U.S. citizens born abroad. When will the media stop reviving this faux-controversy? Probably when pigs fly.


James said...

Doesn't he qualify under the "Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution" provision?


Seriously, though, everyone was always all like, "Hamilton couldn't be president because he was born in the Bahamas," but that sounds like bushwa, doesn't it? Was he not a citizen when the Constitution was enacted?