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“WHERE YOU’RE BORN MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE”
by Sharon Rondeau, h/t CFK
(Apr. 1, 2016) — On Thursday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued an opinion upholding a lower court’s order that Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz’s name should remain on the ballot for the April 26 primary.
Mr. Carmon Elliott initially filed an objection to Cruz’s nominating papers with the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, whose senior judge, Dan Pellegrini, denied Elliott’s petition on March 10 and consequently directed the Secretary of State “to certify the name of Ted Cruz to the proper officials for inclusion on the ballot of the Republican primary to be held on April 26, 2016.”
Elliott objects to Cruz’s candidacy on the basis that Cruz was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He is not considering Cruz’s parents’ citizenship status at the time of his birth.
Article II, Section 1, clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution requires the president to be a “natural born Citizen.” Attorneys and scholars who say Cruz meets the definition rely on his birth to a U.S.-citizen mother which they say, regardless of his place of birth, rendered him a “citizen at birth.”
A researcher who describes himself as “a social justice warrior” and “very politically active,” Elliott told The Post & Email of his work thus far, “I put a lot of effort into it to make sure I crafted something that was legally worthy. When things rub me the wrong way, such as this issue regarding Ted Cruz’s eligibility because he was born in Canada, I relied on the groundwork I had already done regarding McCain, because he was born in Panama. So I had already broken the ground in how to research these things and prepare legal documents. I was just refreshing myself and delving into Pennsylvania statutes.”
In 2008, Elliott filed an eligibility challenge against McCain in Commonwealth Court yielding a similar outcome to his current case, although he did not pursue it to the U.S. Supreme Court.
In order to file a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court, Elliott has set up a GoFundMe page seeking to raise $3,200. He has spoken with several attorneys who might be able to lend their assistance going forward, and the funds raised will pay for filing fees and other court costs.
Elliott said he “was not surprised” at nor deterred by the opinion issued on Thursday “because the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is in such disarray. There are two or three justices who have resigned or are under ethical scrutiny right now. As a result, one of my attorneys said that he doubted that any one of them would go out on a limb by saying that despite how good my briefs were that Cruz is ineligible, because they would be held under a microscope. They would be somewhat embarrassed by it,” Elliott explained.
“I’m not going into the ‘parents’ issue; all I’m going to cover is the ‘where-you’re-born’ issue,” Elliott told The Post & Email. “The first step in drafting a submission to the high court will be a Writ of Certiorari. The Supreme Court doesn’t have to take up the issue, but it is so ripe for Supreme Court review. So many people have been saying that there should be a Supreme Court decision on this issue.”
He added that “The process of my case has allowed it to get to the doors of the Supreme Court; I’m going to try to knock on them.”
Elliott said that when he spoke with the court clerk on his McCain objection, he was told that courts “won’t make a decision that would disenfranchise millions of voters.” “He had already gone through most of the primary process when I initiated the case. When it finally got to the court, I think it was just before the convention. There were already millions of votes cast, and the clerk said, ‘No judge is going to overthrow millions of voters,'” Elliott recalled.
Regarding the eligibility issue, however, he believes that “where you’re born makes all the difference.”