Republican presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) walks from the stage at a campaign event on the USS Yorktown in Mount Pleasant, S.C., Feb. 16, 2016.
Photo by Joshua Roberts/Reuters

Court to consider case challenging Ted Cruz’s eligibility

There are all kinds of questions Ted Cruz is eager to answer. Inquiries about his presidential eligibility aren’t among them.
The Texas Republican was born on Canadian soil to an American-born mother. Though the issue has never been formally litigated, for Cruz and his supporters, his eligibility for the presidency is not in doubt, the Constitution’s requirement that all presidents must be “natural-born citizens” notwithstanding.
I realize the questions have been the subject of some discussion in legal circles, though I tend to see this more as a trivial issue than a meaningful hurdle for Cruz to clear.
Nevertheless, the distraction nagging Team Cruz is about to get just a little worse. USA Today reported this morning that an Illinois voter challenging the GOP candidate’s eligibility will have his day in court.
Lawrence Joyce, an Illinois voter who has objected to Cruz’s placement on the Illinois primary ballot next month, will have his case heard in the Circuit Court of Cook County in Chicago. Joyce’s previous objection, made to the state’s Board of Elections, was dismissed on February 1. He appealed the decision and was granted a hearing for Friday before Judge Maureen Ward Kirby. […]
Joyce, who said he is backing Republican contender Ben Carson, said he has not spoken to the Trump campaign.
According to what Joyce told USA Today, his fear is that Cruz may become the nominee, at which point he’d face lawsuits from Democrats challenging his status. His case, apparently, is intended to force a resolution now, in advance of the general-election phase.
So, what happens now?
Quite possibly, nothing. The judge may conclude today that Joyce doesn’t have standing, which would have the effect of making the case go away.
If, however, the judge allows the case to proceed, she may consider Cruz ineligible for the presidency, which would prompt a series of appeals and months of wrangling.
For the Texas senator, the timing of this is not at all convenient. Cruz is on track for a top-three finish in tomorrow’s South Carolina primary, but the specific results – finishing first, second, or third – will have an enormous impact on the fight for the Republican nomination as the race proceeds.

The last thing the Cruz campaign wants is for voters to have doubts about the candidate’s eligibility, and yet, here we are.

Ted Cruz

Court to consider case challenging Ted Cruz's eligibility