The mostly but perhaps not entirely dismissible case against Ted Cruz’s eligibility to run for president will begin to unfold on Tuesday in front of New York State Supreme Court Justice David Weinstein. He’ll be hearing arguments in a lawsuit filed by two New Yorkers who claim that the junior senator from Texas, born in Calgary to an American mother and Cuban father, is not a “natural-born U.S. citizen,” and thus is constitutionally disallowed from becoming president of the United States. Similar suits contesting Cruz’s eligibility have been filed in Illinois, Indiana, and New Hampshire, as have federal suits in Alabama, Arkansas, Utah, and Texas. Donald Trump has openly questioned Cruz’s eligibility (as he did Barack Obama’s) and personally threatened to sue.
The New York suit, filed in February by Barry Korman and William Gallo, is against not Cruz but the Board of Elections, which plans to put Cruz on the ballot for the April 19 New York primary. They claim, and others agree, that “naturalized at birth” by virtue of his mother’s citizenship does not equate to “natural-born,” and that Cruz’s name should be struck from the ballot.
Most legal scholars have said that Cruz’s mother’s citizenship settles the question; there have been a few dissenters, though, notably Harvard Law School’s Laurence Tribe has argued that Cruz is now arguing against his own strict reading of the Constitution. Ultimately, owing to another constitutional clause, Congress and not the courts will get the final say in his eligibility — and for what it’s worth, the Congressional Research Service, in a report published after the 2008 hullabaloo over both Obama’s and McCain’s citizenship, stated that one is eligible to run for president if he or she is a “citizen at birth,” regardless of the soil on which the candidate was born.