During Wednesday night’s CNN town hall, Ted Cruz dismissed the latest legal threat from Donald Trump, assuring a voter that he’s definitely eligible to run for president. “Under the law the question is clear,” he said. “There will still be some who try to work political mischief on it, but as a legal matter this is clear and straightforward.” Unlike Cruz’s right to air old footage of Trump on Meet the Press in a campaign ad, the issue raised by Cruz’s birth in Canada to an American mother actually isn’t settled — but now it looks like we may finally get an answer. CNN reports that an Illinois judge has agreed to hear arguments in a lawsuit challenging Cruz’s eligibility on Friday.
The lawsuit in question actually has nothing to do with Trump (though, it’s unlikely we’d be debating the obscure legal arguments over whether Cruz is a “natural born citizen” if it weren’t for the ex–reality star). Suburban lawyer Lawrence Joyce initially filed an objection to Cruz’s placement on the primary ballot with the Illinois Board of Elections, but it was dismissed earlier this month. Now the Circuit Court of Cook County in Chicago has agreed to hear the case.
Legal challenges over Cruz’s eligibility have been filed in at least three states. Joyce seems primarily concerned about the political fallout from the questions surrounding Cruz’s candidacy, rather than the possibility of a secret Canadian infiltrating the U.S. government. He told Chicago’s WLS that he’s concerned about what would happen if the challenge came from a Democrat in the fall after Cruz secured the GOP nomination. “At that point, all of his fundraising would dry up. And his support in the polls would drop dramatically. He may be forced at that point to resign the nomination,” he said.
Joyce is a Ben Carson supporter, but he’s said he’d be happy to see Trump take up the issue as, “It would no doubt be impossible for me to absorb all the legal expenses by myself and it would foolish to try to do so when Mr. Trump has so much personal stock invested in this issue.” For now that seems unnecessary. Polls suggest Trump will beat Cruz in South Carolina on Saturday, and there are plenty of concerned Americans doing the job for him.