Donald Trump’s threat to sue Ted Cruz, explained

by - February 16, 2016

So here’s the case for Trump’s standing (as I alluded to in an earlier post): competitive standing. Here’s a 2008 federal district court case, Hollander v. McCain, involving a voter challenge to McCain’s eligibility to run for president: To be sure, courts have held that a candidate or his political party has standing to challenge the inclusion of an allegedly ineligible rival on the ballot, on the theory that doing so hurts the candidate’s or party’s own chances of prevailing in the election. See, e.g., Tex. Dem. Party v. Benkiser, 459 F.3d 582, 586-87 & n.4 (5th Cir. 2006); Schulz v. Williams, 44 F.3d 48, 53 (2d Cir. 1994); Fulani v. Hogsett, 917 F.2d 1028, 1030 (7th Cir. 1990). But that notion of “competitive standing” has never been extended to voters challenging the eligibility of a particular candidate. See Gottlieb v. Fed. Elec. Comm’n, 143 F.3d 618, 622 (D.C. Cir. 1998).
As we've noted before, legal experts broadly — but not universally — agree that Cruz can indeed serve as president. Under U.S. law, he was a citizen at birth, by virtue of being born to an American citizen, despite that birth having taken place in Canada. But is "citizen at birth" the same as "natural born citizen"? Again, most legal scholars think the answer is yes. But the caveats and footnotes and hypotheticals are nearly endless — in part because the courts have never weighed in on this issue before. It can be hard to predict what the courts will do!

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