The Circuit Court of Cook County in Chicago has agreed to hear a lawsuit challenging Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz’s eligibility for presidency. According to media reports, Lawrence Joyce, an Illinois voter who objected to Cruz’s placement on the Illinois primary ballot next month, will have his case heard Friday.
Joyce has challenged Cruz’s right to be president because of his birth in Canada while similar objections have been previously raised by GOP rival Donald Trump.
Under the American constitution, only “natural-born citizens” are allowed to run for presidency. The debate over Cruz’s citizenship status stems from competing interpretations of the constitutional requirement that American presidents must be natural-born citizens. On his part, Cruz maintains he is a natural-born citizen since his mother is an American citizen.
So far, though, the constitutional mandate over what construes a natural-born citizen has not been definitively settled by courts.
Joyce, an attorney who says he supports Ben Carson, reportedly said that he was pursuing the issue over concerns that the Democrats may take advantage of it if Cruz won the GOP nomination.
“What Democrats will do at that point is cherry pick which county courthouse they are going to show up in order to file these petitions," Joyce told USA Today. “And at that point, I fear they'll get a string of victories in the lower courts and the funding for Ted Cruz would dry up, his numbers would plummet in the polls, he may be forced to give up the nomination.”
Earlier, in response to Trump’s threat to file a lawsuit against him over the issue, Cruz said the question of his citizenship had been “settled” and that Trump’s allegations were just “political noise.”
“The child of a U.S. citizen, born abroad, is a U.S. citizen,” Cruz reportedly said. “People will continue to make hay of it as a political matter, but as a legal matter it’s quite straightforward.”
The hearing in Illinois will come just a day ahead of the South Carolina primary Saturday, a state where Cruz is running second to Trump in polls.