A Utah man became the first to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to take up a “birther” lawsuit against Ted Cruz which challenges the White House hopeful’s eligibility for office.
The request by Utah attorney Walter Wagner, who is representing himself in a case thrown out by a trial judge, was placed on the high court’s docket in Washington this week. The justices probably won’t take up the appeal in order to signal that such cases shouldn’t be taken seriously, said Nate Persily, a professor at Stanford Law School.
Wagner sued in January, arguing Cruz’s birth on Canadian soil disqualifies him from the presidency because the U.S. Constitution requires the nation be led by a “natural born citizen.” Similar cases have been filed in states including Alabama, Florida, Illinois and New York, so far without success. Cruz’s request to dismiss a Texas case is set for a hearing next week.
“It is a case of national importance, ergo straight to the Supreme Court,” Wagner said in an e-mail. “We should not have a country where our president is illegal (ineligible), or skewing the results of the primaries/conventions.”
U.S. District Judge Jill Parrish in Salt Lake City tossed out Wagner’s case on March 18, ruling he lacked standing to file suit because he hadn’t been personally harmed by Cruz, the junior senator from Texas.
“Like the courts that have ruled on this question, this court holds that Mr. Wagner lacks standing to bring his claim,” Parrish said in her ruling.
“It is not enough for an individual to bring a lawsuit based on his status as a ’citizen’ or a ’taxpayer,’” Parrish said in her ruling. “The harms alleged by Mr. Wagner are conjectural and hypothetical at best.”
See here and here for the background. As I’ve said before, I don’t buy the argument that Cruz is ineligible, even if there is some merit to it and it’s a problem he’s richly earned. I can’t imagine the Supreme Court taking this unless they are forced to by a trial court accepting the plaintiff’s premise. But until they spoil the party, it sure is fun to watch.