REGARDLESS OF ITS MEANING
by Sharon Rondeau
In mid-August, the Appellate Division, Third Judicial Department of the New York State Unified Court System dismissed his case on the grounds that the 2016 presidential election is over and the matter therefore “moot.”
In what began as a ballot challenge in February of last year, Laity questioned the placement of the names of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, and former Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal on the New York State Republican presidential primary ballot, alleging that each does not qualify as a “natural born Citizen,” as the U.S. Constitution requires for the presidency.
In 2011, Laity filed a similar challenge to the constitutional eligibility of Barack Hussein Obama for the 2012 election given that Obama claims as his father a citizen of another country who never became a U.S. citizen.
While Obama has claimed to have been born in Honolulu, HI on August 4, 1961, a number of credible reports published both prior to and after his declaration of his candidacy stated that he was born in either Kenya or Indonesia.
Faced with dismissals from New York’s courts, Laity appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which distributed the pro se case for conference but ultimately denied it a court hearing.
The Framers of the Constitution stipulated three requirements for the nation’s chief executive: that he have resided in the country for 14 years; that he have reached the age of 35; and that he be a “natural born Citizen.”
Laity believes that the term refers to one born in the United States to parents who are U.S. citizens at the time of the birth and nothing less.
In late 2015, Laity filed objections with New Hampshire Attorney General Joseph Foster regarding the eligibility of Cruz, Jindal, Rubio and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum.
Cruz was born in Canada to a Cuban-citizen father and U.S.-citizen mother. He possesses a Canadian birth certificate and held Canadian citizenship until 2014, when he officially renounced it.
In 2013, The Dallas Morning News reported that Cruz was born a dual U.S.-Canadian citizen. Despite numerous FOIA requests, The Post & Email has been unable to obtain any documentation from the U.S. or Canadian government affirming that claim.
Cruz himself was unresponsive to The Post & Email’s request that he release documentation of his presumed U.S. citizenship just after he announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination on March 23, 2015.
The backgrounds of Rubio and Jindal are very similar in that both were born in the United States — Rubio in Florida and Jindal in Louisiana — to parents legally residing in the United States but not yet citizens.
After passage of the 14th Amendment in 1868, anyone born in the United States, regardless of the citizenship of his parents, is granted U.S. citizenship, with exceptions applied only to children born to parents serving as ambassadors from other countries. Many believe that the 14th Amendment has been misinterpreted by omitting the phrase “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof,” with some encouraging Congress to pass legislation clarifying that point.
On Saturday, September 30, 2017, Laity wrote to the Clerk of the Court of the New York State Court of Appeals in Albany to address a specific point maintained throughout his ballot challenge and lawsuit: that the presidential citizenship requirement, as presented to voters on the New York State Board of Elections website, is incorrect.
The BOE website states the requirement as “Born a citizen” rather than that which appears in Article II, Section 1, clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution, “natural born Citizen.”
In his letter, Laity wrote, “There is a Constitutional issue in this case, namely misrepresentation of the US Constitution by the NY State Board of Elections. The criteria of requiring that a President and a vice President be a “Natural Born Citizen” in Art. II, Sec. 1, Clause 5 and the 12th Amendment is mandated by federal law and cannot be changed by anyone outside of the parameters set forth by Article V of the US Constitution for amending the US Constitution.”
“The issue is not moot,” he continued in the following paragraph.
On page 2, he wrote, “the US Constitution applies everywhere within the United States of America and is thus under federal control. No provision of the U.S. Constitution can be unilaterally changed or misrepresented by ANY State.”
His three-page letter is below.
“Not once have I seen any effort in NY’s Briefs to explain why it uses the wrong terminology,” Laity told The Post & Email on Tuesday in response to our question, “Has the Elections Board ever responded about why it uses the term “born a citizen” when it should be ‘natural born Citizen?'”
It is unclear if the BOE has always used “Born a citizen” instead of “natural born Citizen” on its website.
After receiving Laity’s response, The Post & Email contacted the New York State Board of Elections via email and asked:
Hello, I note that in your listing of the requirements for running for president, your website states “Born a citizen” as one of them.
However, Article II, Section 1, clause 5 of the Constitution states, “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…”
Why is your wording different from that of the Constitution in this regard?
Sharon Rondeau, Editor
The Post & Email
No response was received by press time.