The Chicago Tribune reports, Ted Cruz birther lawsuit makes it to Cook County courtroom:
Illinois pharmacist and attorney Lawrence Joyce began to realize his country and his political party were facing what he considered to be a nightmare.
Concerns about the eligibility for the presidency of Republican candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas, who was born in Canada to a Cuban father and an American mother, were raised by rival Donald Trump. Though they may at first have seemed laughable, the legal case against Cruz was one Joyce, a Ben Carson supporter, thought he understood.
And Cruz, who won the Iowa caucuses earlier this month, appeared to be rising in the polls. What would happen if Cruz won the Republican nomination, then was somehow disqualified from the general election?
So Joyce took action, filing a complaint with the Illinois State Board of Elections to get Cruz’s name off the primary ballot in the state. The board dismissed the claim after a hearing officer found, as Cruz argues, that the “Candidate is a ‘natural born citizen’ by virtue of having been born in Canada to a United States citizen, thereby not causing the Candidate to have to take any steps or undergo a naturalization process to become a United States citizen.”
Joyce, not satisfied, filed an appeal in Cook County Circuit Court.
The Associated Press reports that Friday, Cook County Judge Maureen Ward Kirby set a hearing on a motion to dismiss the suit filed by Cruz’s lawyer for March 1 — the first day Joyce said he’d be able to get off work to return to court. By then, ballots for Illinois’ March 15 primary will be printed and early voting underway.
“Senator Cruz has been whistling past the graveyard all along,” Joyce wrote in a statement posted to 888 Web Today, a conservative, Christian site to which he contributes columns. “That he should happen to do so within the thoughts of his own mind would be one thing, but that he should now drag the entire Republican Party through a potential nightmare simply because of his negligence, his own private, wishful thinking, and his lack of due diligence is inexcusable, and such conduct hardly signifies the type of person whom the American people need in a President of the United States, and whom members of the conservative movement need in order to prevent the Establishment Wing of the Republican Party from depriving us of one of our own candidates.”
It is this “establishment wing” that Joyce appears to fear the most. Should party bosses select a candidate in lieu of Cruz, that candidate would likely not appeal to its base.
“The party elders would decide who the new nominee would be,” Joyce said in an interview with a Christian media outlet earlier this month. “Karl Rove and company would pick perhaps Jeb Bush or Mitt Romney or Chris Christie.” He added: “I am quite frankly terrified of such a scenario taking place.”
“Ted Cruz was born in Canada,” he said. “His mother was a U.S. citizen at the time. Under statute, Ted Cruz became a citizen at birth … but citizenship by statute is not natural-born citizenship.”
What makes Joyce so certain is unclear, as the question has never been adjudicated by the Supreme Court and is the subject of disagreement among some of the nation’s most respected constitutional scholars, with only a small minority believing that Cruz might be ineligible.
What gives Joyce the right to contest Cruz’s eligibility is also unclear, as courts, even state courts, do not generally recognize being “terrified” as granting standing to pursue a legal challenge like his. While that may or may not doom Joyce’s case in the courts, he’s persisting.
Should Cruz win the nomination, Joyce said, the dominoes would begin to fall. The Republicans would be vulnerable in every jurisdiction as their opponents sought to disqualify Cruz with the help of a friendly judge anywhere in the country.
“If Ted Cruz becomes the nominee of the party, then say sometime around September, Democrats … (will) file a suit challenging Ted Cruz’s eligibility,” he said. “… All fundraising for Cruz’s campaign would instantly dry up. He would be pressured from multiple sources to resign the nomination.”
Joyce also said that Trump should consider his pending lawsuit as well.
“My case presents the perfect opportunity for Donald Trump himself to step forward and bring the matter to court personally,” he told CBS Chicago. Saying he did little more with his law practice than file friend of the court briefs in support of anti-abortion groups, he added: “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.”
The Cruz campaign declined comment about the suit to USA Today.
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A federal lawsuit regarding Cruz’s presidential eligibility was filed in Texas in January, according to USA Today, and two voters in New York filed a lawsuit Wednesday in New York state court seeking to compel that state’s board of elections to strike Cruz’s name from the ballot, Bloomberg reported.
This is just the beginning of these “birther” lawsuits. The best way for this constitutional question to get decided is if a Secretary of State denied Ted “Calgary” Cruz access to the ballot based upon his ineligibility and forces the senator to sue for access to the ballot. There would be no question of his standing or an actual case and controversy that is ripe for decision in this case. So far, this has not happened.