Another presidentcy question

After reading this thread about the natural bornness of the early presidents, I thought: what if tomorrow the US annexes and makes into states territory that has never been a part of the US (let’s say Canada): would the citizens of that land be considered natural-born citizens for the purpose of becoming president? That is, would the former Canadians be eligible to become president in 2004? Or would only those born there after today be eligible (in 2036)?

IIRC, when a state joins the Union, the people who are citizens of that state at that time are automatically citizens by birth of the USA, as far as being able to get elected president is concerned. Of course, it’s not likely that anyone from that new state would get elected president until the new state was quite thoroughly “Americanized.”

I re-read the earlier thread, and now I’m not so sure about my first answer. “Or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution” could be interpreted two ways. If it referrs to the adoption of the Constitution by the new state, then my first answer is correct. But if it referrs to the adoption of the Constitution by the nation as a whole, then only people born there after it became a state could become preident.

Can a lawyer here clarify this question?

The reference in the Constitution was to the original adoption of the Constutution. It basically grandfathered in everyone who lived when the Constitution was adopted.

However, if a territory becomes a state, its residents do seem to be considered “natural-born citizens” under the Constitution. The question came up with Barry Goldwater ran for president. Arizona wasn’t a state when he was born. But he wasn’t removed from the ticket on that basis.

So if you were a natural-born citizen of Canada, and the U.S. annexed Canada, then you could run for President of the U.S.

Also, John McCain (Bush’s rival in the 2000 Primaries) was born in the Panama Canal Zone. It was a US territory at the time, so he’s considered a natural-born US citizen.

But besides geography, IIRC, someone is a natural-born citizen of the US if both their parents are US citizens, no matter where they were born.

So if two US citizens on vacation have a baby in Paris, France, the baby is still considered a natural-born citizen of the US>

Interesting OP, AWB. Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer. As Diceman posited, the text of the Constitution on this matter could be interpreted both ways. So if your Canadian-cum-American got elected president, there could very well be a court challenge to that person’s eligibility to serve. The outcome of this controversy would then, following recent Supreme Court precedent, depend on whether the ex-Canadian was a Republican.

McCain’s father was in the military, so John was probably born on a US military base in the PCZ. Even if his parents weren’t citizens, a US military base is considered US territory for natural-born citizenship.

Yes, but does that fulfill the requirement that US presidents are to have been born in the US? If natural-born citizens (i.e. children of US citizens) are born abroad, then they can unfortunately not run for president if they should so desire.

The Canada question is another difficult one. I would have to agree with minty on that one. I guess the Supreme Court has now set a blatant precident of arbitrariness.