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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Broward judge to hear case on whether Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are 'natural born citizens'



A case challenging the eligibility of Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio to run for president will be heard in Broward County court at 11 a.m. Friday.

The crux of the case: the meaning of the phrase “natural born citizen” and how it applies to the two Republican senators. Rubio was born in Miami in 1971 to Cuban immigrants who became citizens a few years later. Cruz was born in Canada to a Cuban-born father and American mother, who moved to Texas when Cruz was four.

“These two candidates are naturalized U.S. citizens, or at the very least, simply fail to comply with the common law Supreme Court established definition of natural born citizen,” wrote Michael Voeltz in his court complaint.

Voeltz, a Broward Republican and inventory manager at a car dealership who is representing himself, wants the candidates’ names withdrawn from the Florida March 15 primary ballot.

The U.S. Constitution states that a presidential candidate must be a “natural born citizen.” Voeltz argues that the definition of “natural born citizens” refers to those born in the U.S. whose parents are U.S. citizens.

But most legal experts say that the phrase means someone who is a citizen at birth. Also, the Naturalization Act of 1790, passed by Congress three years after the Constitution was written, stated that children born abroad to U.S. citizens were natural born citizens.

“It is undisputed that Senator Rubio was born to immigrant parents in the United States,” states Rubio’s motion to dismiss the complaint, written by lawyer Gabriela Prado of Virginia. “Under the United States Constitution, Senator Rubio is a natural born citizen who is eligible to serve as president of the United States.”

Cruz is represented by David Di Pietro, a well-known Republican lawyer in Broward.

“With respect to the phrase ‘natural born citizen’ the first Congress and British law at the time of the founding are in agreement — a person who is a citizen at birth due to the citizenship of the parent is a natural born citizen,” Di Pietro wrote in his motion to dismiss.

[Last modified: Thursday, March 3, 2016 8:59pm]


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