Should you refuse to vote for Ted Cruz because you are convinced that he doesn’t count as a “natural born citizen”?
Bob Allen has given his answer to this question. Personally, I disagree with his conclusion that anyone who decides that Ted Cruz doesn’t meet the Constitution’s citizenship requirement is necessarily obligated to not vote for Ted Cruz.
I’m not saying I agree with Bob’s claims about the Constitutional requirement either. I don’t know. It seems like an obscure point that is not explicitly defined in the Constitution itself. I am currently agnostic on the issue. You can read the Daily Signal’s argument here and then look at the source cited by Bob that argues for a different conclusion.
But I simply don’t see why a person is responsible for figuring all this out before he votes for a candidate.
I’m all in favor of voting for upholding the Constitution on clear issues, especially if those issues are of moral import. I think the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision is a travesty against the Constitution. But I’m also sure that the reason I feel so strongly about it is because it legalized baby killing and limited states from preventing and punishing baby killing. My conscience is not help captive by the Constitution but by God’s law. As a citizen, the First Amendment (!) says I can hold any opinion about the Constitution I want, and the government has nothing to say about it.
As a voter, I am supposed to make the best possible decision. Let’s say, hypothetically, that I think Ted Cruz is a better option than any other Republican in the Primary. If the legal establishment has decided that Ted Cruz is eligible for the office of the Presidency, I am not going to let my opinion that they are wrong keep me from voting for the best option. Even if it were true that Cruz is not qualified on a proper reading of the Constitution, the fact remains that the government and the current legal consensus is that Cruz is Constitutionally qualified. Otherwise, his lawyers would be telling him that he has no chance because the Democrats would challenge his standing.
Let me give an example from another area of law. There are people who contend that 1) the Constitutional amendment that is the basis for income tax was never legally ratified, and/or 2) that the amendment doesn’t actually authorize progressive income tax. People have gone to jail over this issue. Do I think they might be right? I think it is possible. Do I pay my income tax? Yes I do. I don’t see it as my duty as a citizen to bind my conscience to the question.
So here, I don’t think that, if I am considering Cruz over against the other candidates, I am bound to rule him out because of my understanding of a point of law and history. If the government recognizes him as an available candidate, and I think he will make a better President than the rest, then I am going to vote for him. The fact that some argument convinced me that he is ineligible doesn’t obligate me to enforce that decision on myself and refuse to vote for the man.
By the way, Ted Cruz is not the person I personally want to be President. I say that in case anyone thinks I am writing this because I am blinded by any personal favoritism toward the man.