THE BLOG
09/22/2013 11:14 am ET | Updated Nov 22, 2013

The 'Ted Cruz Amendment' to the Constitution of the United States

Senator and presidential wannabe Ted Cruz (R-TX) is a dual Canadian-American citizen who was born in Canada to an American mother.

There is a grave question about whether he is eligible for the presidency. Moreover, he is not in the same position as President Obama, who was born in Hawaii. The right-wing never suggested that Obama was eligible solely because his mother was a U.S. citizen.

So, no, Congressman Farentholt (R-TX), Ted Cruz is not "as eligible" as Barack Obama to meet the constitutional requirements for holding the office of president. Unlike the President, Cruz was not born in the United States.

While Ted Cruz would be even more disastrous a president than "W" (and that is saying a lot), let us resolve the ambiguities.

While we are at it, let us bring the constitutional requirements for federal officeholders up to date, based on the 200+ years' experience we now enjoy under those rules.

I propose the following amendment:

1. Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution shall be amended to read:

"No person except one born within the 50 states or territories of the United States and has resided within the United States for 14 years, or who is born in a foreign jurisdiction but whose biological mother or father is a United States citizen, or who has become a U.S. citizen through naturalization and has lived in the United States without interruption (except in service to the government of the United States) for at least 30 years, shall be eligible to the office of President or Vice-President."

Let me explain: the first requirement is as it is currently, the second accommodates a person such as Cruz, and the third accommodates people who have lived most of their adult lives in the U.S. For the latter two categories, i.e., those born outside the United States, the residency requirement is stricter than for a natural born citizen that maintains the original qualification of the Constitution.

Further, no person shall be eligible to the office of President or Vice-President who has not published at least six months prior to the day of election in November, and keeps available for public viewing continuously until the day of election, his full, unredacted, federal and state income tax returns for the preceding 10 years.

One might call this the "Romney provision." If someone wants to be president, let them live their lives, as reflected in their finances, in such a way that there is no embarrassment about letting the voters know about it. Voters are entitled to know without having to beg.

Further, no person shall be eligible to the office of President of Vice-President who has dual citizenship in any foreign country, or who has a banking or brokerage account in any foreign jurisdictions, whether such accounts be under his name of that of any member of his immediate family or held for his beneficial interest, or the beneficial interest of any member of his immediate family, by a trustee or nominee.

This is a critical provision. It forces people like Bachmann (dual Swiss citizen) and Cruz (dual Canadian citizen) to relinquish their foreign allegiances so they can honestly swear their oath of office. Moreover, a president or vice-president with foreign bank or brokerage holdings has a potentially huge conflict-of-interest in dealing with those jurisdictions. One has no idea how Romney could have possibly governed if he had been elected, and we were dealing with, among other things, offshore secrecy laws. Or, suppose a populist regime stages a coups d'etats in the Caymans. Does Romney use the U.S. military to protect his own fortune?.

Further, no person shall be eligible to the office of President or Vice-President who, on the day of their inauguration, will have attained the age of 80 years.


2. No member of the Supreme Court of the United States may serve beyond the age of 80 years. No member of House or Senate may be eligible to serve who, on the day of their swearing-in, will have attained the age of 80 years.

When the Constitution was written, there was no "80 is new 65" -- or other such homilies. Just because we can live longer and healthier, does not mean that an 80-year-old really gets how 20-year-olds view the world, and what the world will be like for them. If "80 is the new 65" it is time to get a life... before it is too late... and give others a chance to shape their own destinies.

3. Minimum age qualifications for members of the House, Senate and President and Vice-President are abolished.

Let the voters determine if they want a 18-year-old as a member of Congress. It opens up opportunities for younger people.

4. The XXII Amendment is repealed.

Again, let the voters decide. If a president is doing well and popular, why not be able to keep that person on the job if the voters decide they want to do so? In more than 200 years, only FDR broke the two-term tradition anyhow, and the world is lucky he did. Suppose, for example, Bill Clinton had run again. He would have defeated "W" easily, might very well have prevented 9/11 -- at least, they would not have ignored the intelligence community's warnings and have tried -- not lied us into the Iraq War, and so forth. He was, moreover, on the brink of a possible settlement to Israel-Palestine, and had the U.S. behind international measures to open up the secret tax havens. A little peace, a bit less carnage, a bit more revenues to fund our obligations, no tax cuts for the wealthy... would have been a lot rosier.

This may be one of the very few amendments that could sail through the Congress and become adopted by all the statehouses in their next sessions, well in time for the 2016 primaries.