Inevitable “birther” lawsuit filed against Ted Cruz

Houston, represent!

Not Ted Cruz

Not Ted Cruz

Republican presidential contender Ted Cruz should be disqualified from the race because he isn’t a “natural-born citizen,” a fellow Texan claims in a “birther” challenge filed against the senator in a U.S. court.

The suit seeks a court definition of the term to clarify whether Cruz — who was born in Canada to an American mother — can or can’t serve if elected.

“This 229-year question has never been pled, presented to or finally decided by or resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court,” Houston attorney Newton B. Schwartz Sr. said in his 28-page complaint. “Only the U.S. Supreme Court can finally decide, determine judicially and settle this issue now.”

Claiming that “time is of the essence” because of the rapidly approaching Iowa caucuses and March 1 Super Tuesday primaries, Schwartz asked that the case be expedited for resolution by the nation’s highest court as soon as possible.


Schwartz, 85, said in a phone interview he isn’t connected to any particular campaign, though he personally “probably” supports Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator seeking the Democratic nomination.

“Honestly, I was watching C-SPAN one night when Donald Trump was talking about it and I couldn’t believe no one had thought to just file something with the court,” said Schwartz, a practicing trial attorney and self-described news junkie.

“It’s such a simple procedure — I’m amazed no one did it,” Schwartz said. “Senator Cruz should have filed it himself to avoid the question.”

Asked about the lawsuit, Catherine Frazier, a spokeswoman for the Cruz campaign, said: “I’d refer you to the debate exchange on the issue.”

Schwartz said he filed the paperwork himself with no one else advising him and he said he does not have an opinion for which way the court should rule.

“The country will be in chaos if he’s elected president or vice president and this goes to trial then,” Schwartz said. “I can see both sides of this argument.”

The attorney added that he’s got “nothing against” Cruz.

“If he gets cleared, he gets cleared,” Schwartz said. “Let’s just get this thing settled before the primaries and the convention and the election.”

Here’s the Chron story, which adds in some more details. My first thought in reading this was “Newton Schwartz? The same attorney who’s got a billboard and law office off northbound 59 between Greenbriar and Hazard?” Because that’s where my mind goes at times like these. The lawsuit, and a brief summary of it that makes it sounds more than a little crackpot-y, can be found at TPM. Putting aside the question of how serious this filing is – and let’s be honest, if the first such action against Cruz hadn’t been at least a little nutso, we’d all be disappointed – the question of whether or not Cruz actually is eligible to serve as President is more complicated than Cruz would like you to think. I’m not qualified to judge the merits of the question, but I sure am qualified to laugh my keester off at it being asked and not summarily dismissed. Let the games begin, y’all. Daily Kos, PDiddie, and Trail Blazers have more.

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4 Responses to Inevitable “birther” lawsuit filed against Ted Cruz

  1. mollusk says:

    I don’t know about a dismissal, but this particular case would most likely end up with some sort of summary ruling just because there doesn’t appear to be any disagreement on what the facts are, only what the law is (unless someone comes up with something to indicate that his mother gave up US citizenship).

  2. Joel says:

    it will be dismissed without standing.

    cruz actually has to win something before anyone can claim that his ineligibility for office has actually caused them harm.

    or one of his opponents (or maybe the RNC) would have to be party to the suit.

  3. Mainstream says:

    I recently attended a fundraising dinner at which persons contorted their brains to explain how Obama, even if born in Kenya to an American mother, would not be a natural born citizen, while Cruz born in Canada to an American mother would easily pass constitutional muster.

    I have encountered Schwartz professionally; I would be surprised if this lawsuit lasts very long. Not sure about the standing issues mentioned above.

  4. PDiddie says:

    No judge wants to touch this case. That’s why it will be dismissed. (Somebody said this already, I believe.)

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