Friday, May 02, 2008

Dust Off the Mormon, McCain Can't Run

The US Constitution provides that only a "natural born citizen" can become president of the United States. There's now some uncertainty over whether John McCain fits the bill.

McCain, you see, wasn't exactly born in the United States but in a US military base hospital in the Panama Canal Zone.

Nobody seriously believes McCain will be disqualified but some argue the constitution is unclear. From the Washington Post:

"...Sarah H. Duggin, an associate law professor at Catholic University who has studied the "natural born" issue in detail, said the question is "not so simple." While she said McCain would probably prevail in a determined legal challenge to his eligibility to be president, she added that the matter can be fully resolved only by a constitutional amendment or a Supreme Court decision.

"The Constitution is ambiguous," Duggin said. "The McCain side has some really good arguments, but ultimately there has never been any real resolution of this issue. Congress cannot legislatively change the meaning of the Constitution."

Senators sympathetic to McCain's position, including Democrats Claire McCaskill
(Mo.) and Patrick J. Leahy (Vt.), dropped an earlier attempt to quell the eligibility controversy with legislation. McCaskill acknowledged in an interview that there is "no way" to completely resolve the question short of a constitutional amendment, a cumbersome process which could not be concluded before November. "

Then there's New Hampshire resident Fred Hollander who just won't let it go. Fred has filed suit in a US District Court claiming that McCain isn't a "natural born citizen." Good luck with that one Fred.
McClatchey Newspapers reports that Mr. Straight Talk has done it again. He's now calling for Russia to be ousted from the G-8.
"One major problem: He can't do it because the other G-8 nations won't let him.

But the fact that he's proposing to try, risking a return to Cold War tensions with the world's second-largest nuclear power after 20 years of prickly partnership, raises questions about McCain's judgment. It also underscores that many of his top foreign-policy advisers are of the same neo-conservative school that promoted the war in Iraq, argue for a tougher stance toward Iran and are skeptical of negotiating with North Korea over its nuclear program.

The Group of Eight, or G-8, as it's popularly known, makes decisions by consensus, so no single nation can kick out another. Most experts say the six other countries — Great Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Japan and Canada — would never agree to toss Russia, given their close economic ties to their neighbor. A senior U.S. official who deals with Russia policy said that even Moscow would have to approve of its own ouster, given how the G-8 works.

"It's not even a theoretical discussion. It's an impossible discussion," said the senior official, who requested anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak publicly. "It's just a dumb thing."

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