Thursday, February 28, 2008

Is McCain Eligible to Be President?

The NY Times has a good article today which suggests that although born in Panama, he probably would be considered a "natural born citizen" and thus eligible. But the McCain campaign is worried enough about it to have asked Ted Olson to research a legal brief on the issue.

The most important conclusion I take out of the article is that I should never trust for the definitive word on anything. I had previously taken's word that McCain is definitely a "natural born citizen," based on a 1790 law, a 1795 law, and a State Department interpretation of a later immigration law.

However, if you actually read the text linked to at, you see that neither the 1795 law nor the State Department statement mention the definition of "natural born citizen" at all. According to the Times, the 1795 law superseded the 1790 law (which did define "natural born citizen"), leaving the whole question in legal limbo.

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