Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Shooting A Blank: Clement and Katyal Fire a Dud in the Qualification Wars

            In a post on the Harvard Law Review Forum, two well-regarded attorneys, Paul Clement and Neal Katyal, recently addressed a question that has lingered over the two most recent quadrennial presidential elections, the question being a ticklish one of eligibility to be elected President. Setting aside more considerable qualification considerations, such as experience managing a large scale enterprise, familiarity with and competence for the duties of the office, and the like, the question they addressed pertained to one particular qualification for the Presidency stated in the Constitution. That qualification requires, to be elected, one must be a “Natural Born Citizen” of the United States. That phrase, “Natural Born Citizen,” appears nowhere else in the Constitution as originally enacted. It stands in contrast to its single exception, allowing one to be elected president though not a “Natural Born Citizen” if, “a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of the Constitution.”

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