Is AOC Eligible to the Presidency?


by Sharon Rondeau

By US House Office of Photography –, Public Domain,

(Dec. 30, 2019) — A Politico article dated December 27, 2019 suggests that enthusiasm and speculation are building for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY14) to seek the presidency at some point in the future; however, whether or not she is constitutionally eligible is not discussed therein.

According to her Wikipedia biography, Ocasio-Cortez was born on October 13, 1989 and is therefore 30 years old as of this writing. Article II, Section 1, clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution requires the president and commander-in-chief to be a minimum of 35 years of age. Therefore, expressed interest, as reported by Politico, for the freshman Congresswoman’s hypothetical 2020 run as she campaigns for Bernie Sanders is misplaced given that in January 2020, when an inauguration will take place, she will remain four years short of that requirement.

The same clause requires the president to be a “natural born Citizen” and to have resided in the United States for at least 14 years.  While not precisely defined by the framers, the term is believed to mean, at a minimum, “born in the United States.” Some legal scholars and constitutional attorneys go farther, stating that the term necessitates two generations of United States allegiance, meaning that when the presidential candidate was born, his or her parents were at that instant U.S. citizens, either by naturalization or their own birth circumstances.

Wikipedia states that Ocasio-Cortez’s father was “born in the Bronx to a Puerto Rican family” and her mother “born in Puerto Rico,” citing The New York Times, which cited The Intercept.  By congressional statute passed in 1940, all persons born in Puerto Rico are U.S. citizens, although the island community remains a U.S. territory and not a state.

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