Lindsey Graham Claims Kamala Harris is 'Unequivocally An American Citizen'
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Well, America, you can put aside your concerns about the constitutionality of Sen. Kamala Harris becoming vice president.
There is no ‘citizenship’ issue to contend with like those ‘far-right kooky conspiracy theorists’ (oh, and President Donald Trump) claim there is.
We know this because Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has decreed it so.
Claiming he had "no issue" with the California Democrat's citizenship, Graham tweeted Friday:
"There are plenty of issues to find disagreement with @KamalaHarris regarding her record as Senator or as a Vice Presidential nominee. She is consistently rated one of the most liberal members of the U.S. Senate, fully embracing a radical Democratic agenda."
"However, there is no issue as to whether or not she is an American citizen. She was born in the United States in 1964 to parents who were legally present. Under the Constitution and Supreme Court precedent, she is unequivocally an American citizen."
Well, good then. Finally -- someone's cleared that mess up.
But wait...is Graham an expert in the Constitution and constitutional law, or is he instead a long-serving U.S. senator with a law degree who served as an attorney in the Air Force Reserve?
It's the latter, of course.
Real constitutional experts actually disagree over whether or not Harris meets the constitutional standards of being able to legally serve as vice president and president.
There isn't any question about whether or no she was born in the U.S. She was. In California, in fact. No one is disputing that.
But the issue is the legal status of her Jamaican father and Indian mother at the time of her birth: Were there under U.S. jurisdiction in a constitutional sense or not?
A real constitutional scholar -- Professor of Law at Chapman University and Senior Fellow at the Claremont Institute, John Eastman -- who has argued scores of cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and clerked for constitutional originalist Justice Clarence Thomas isn't so sure.
The fact that Senator Kamala Harris has just been named the vice presidential running mate for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has some questioning her eligibility for the position. The 12th Amendment provides that “no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.” And Article II of the Constitution specifies that “[n]o person except a natural born citizen…shall be eligible to the office of President.” Her father was (and is) a Jamaican national, her mother was from India, and neither was a naturalized U.S. citizen at the time of Harris’ birth in 1964. That, according to these commentators, makes her not a “natural born citizen”—and therefore ineligible for the office of the president and, hence, ineligible for the office of the vice president.
He then addressed her legal status at birth:
The language of Article II is that one must be a natural-born citizen. The original Constitution did not define citizenship, but the 14th Amendment does—and it provides that “all persons born…in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens.” Those who claim that birth alone is sufficient overlook the second phrase. The person must also be “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States, and that meant subject to the complete jurisdiction, not merely a partial jurisdiction such as that which applies to anyone temporarily sojourning in the United States (whether lawfully or unlawfully)…
So before we so cavalierly accept Senator Harris’ eligibility for the office of vice president, we should ask her a few questions about the status of her parents at the time of her birth.
Were Harris’ parents lawful permanent residents at the time of her birth? If so, then under the actual holding of Wong Kim Ark, she should be deemed a citizen at birth—that is, a natural-born citizen—and hence eligible. Or were they instead, as seems to be the case, merely temporary visitors, perhaps on student visas issued pursuant to Section 101(15)(F) of Title I of the 1952 Immigration Act? If the latter were indeed the case, then derivatively from her parents, Harris was not subject to the complete jurisdiction of the United States at birth, but instead owed her allegiance to a foreign power or powers—Jamaica, in the case of her father, and India, in the case of her mother—and was therefore not entitled to birthright citizenship under the 14th Amendment as originally understood.
Interestingly, this recitation of the original meaning of the 14th Amendment Citizenship Clause might also call into question Harris’ eligibility for her current position as a United States senator.
Eastman's thesis caught the attention of President Trump, of course.
"I just heard that. I heard it today, that she doesn't meet the requirements," Trump said, according to The Hill. I "And by the way, the lawyer that wrote that piece is a very highly qualified, talented lawyer."
"I have no idea if that's right. I would have assumed the Democrats would have checked that out before she gets chosen to run for vice president," he added. "I don't know about it. I just heard about it. I'll take a look."
It deserves a look -- not just a casual wave-off from a senator who has little-to-no experience in constitutional law.