Everyone, Republicans and Democrats, has been watching GOP heir apparent Mitt Romney for any signs of who he might pick to be his vice presidential running mate. A hand full of names have been bantered around the media and Washington, but as yet, Romney has given no indication of who he might choose.
Among the leading candidates is Florida Senator Marco Rubio. Some political commentators have suggested that Rubio would help Romney pick up some of the Hispanic vote since he is of Cuban descent. However, that descent may well work against Rubio.
There are a number of lawsuits being filed across the nation that question Barack Obama’s eligibility to run for or hold the office of President of the United States. Most of the lawsuits, including the one before Judge Terry Lewis in Florida, are basing their challenges on the definition of natural born citizen. In the case in Florida, the attorney representing Michael Voeltz is relying on the intent of the Founding Fathers when they placed that criteria in the US Constitution and the 1875 case of Minor v Happersett. In this case, the US Supreme Court ruled that both parents must be US citizens at the time of birth for someone to be a natural born citizen.
Sen Marco Rubio has written his autobiography entitled, Marco Rubio: An American Son, which is being released this week. In his biography, Rubio divulges his origins and his parent’s citizenship at the time of his birth. He writes,
“I was born on May 28, 1971. My sister, Veronica, was born the following year. My mother and father were starting over again as parents in the country they now called home (the U.S.).”
“My parents had lived in America for nearly two decades. It was clear that Cuba had become a thoroughly totalitarian state, and would likely remain so for some time. They had endured many disappointments, and their lives would never be easy. But slowly and surely they made a better life for our family than they had had as children, or could have ever been possible for them in Cuba. Three of their children were born Americans. Mario [the Senator’s older brother, born in Cuba] had naturalized after returning from the army. And in 1975, they, too, became citizens of the United States.”
Although Marco Rubio was born in the US, his parents were still Cuban citizens at the time of his birth. If the 1875 Supreme Court definition of a natural born citizen is upheld in the courts and Barack Obama is declared ineligible, then the same measure would apply to Rubio making him ineligible to be vice president. The vice president is next in line for the presidency if anything happens to the president. The US Constitution does state that,
“No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.” Article II, Section 1.
The last sentence in the Twelfth Amendment reads,
“But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.”
But that prompts the question of why Mitt Romney would even consider Rubio as a running mate. As much as I like Sen Marco Rubio and believe he would be an asset to the Romney campaign, I don’t see any way possible that he can be considered a natural born citizen, thus making him ineligible to hold the office of Vice President.