President Trump is playing the "birther" card again, reported the New York Times. He has questioned Senator Kamala Harris' constitutional right to be on the ticket. Trump appeared to be referring to a widely discredited op-ed article written in Newsweek by John C. Eastman, a conservative lawyer who has long argued that the Constitution does not grant birthright citizenship, as proof. Ms. Harris, the daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants, was born in 1964 in Oakland, Calif., several years after her parents arrived in the United States.
In the hours after Joseph R. Biden Jr. announced Ms. Harris
as his running mate, a new crop of memes and conspiracy website posts began
proliferating online, suggesting that the junior senator was an “anchor baby”
because of her background.
Mr. Eastman’s column tries to raise questions about the
citizenship of Ms. Harris’s parents at the time of her birth, and argues that
she may be “owed her allegiance to a foreign power or powers” if her parents
were “temporary visitors” and not residents.
Constitutional law scholars have argued that the argument
against her parents is irrelevant and irresponsible because Ms. Harris was born
The 12th Amendment of the Constitution states that “no
person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible
to that of vice president of the United States.”
And the requirements for the presidency, outlined in Article
II, Section I of the United States Constitution, are these: “No person except 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;
neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained
to the age of 35 years, and been 14 years a resident within the United States.”
The 14th Amendment of the Constitution makes it even
clearer: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to
the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State
wherein they reside.”
On Thursday, Newsweek defended Mr. Eastman’s column, and
said that it had “nothing to do with racist birtherism.” Experts in
constitutional law were still quick to disparage the op-ed as dangerous.
In an interview on Thursday, Laurence H. Tribe, a professor
of constitutional law at Harvard Law School, compared Mr. Eastman’s idea to the
“flat earth theory” and called it nonsensical, “total B.S.,” and problematic.
“I hadn’t wanted to comment on this because it’s such an
idiotic theory,” Mr. Tribe said. “No serious constitutionalist who has read
article II or the 14th Amendment would accept the view that someone born in the
United States is not eligible to be president simply because one or another
parent was an immigrant. There is nothing to it.”
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