"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. "

  1. Senator McCain was not born in the United States. I understand that today, with subsequent legislation he is deemed to be “naturally born”. Could his legitimacy still be challenged on constitutional grounds?

  2. There appears to be nothing in the constitution to prevent Schwartznegger for running for the vice-presidency. Or is there?

John McCain is a natural-born citizen in that his father was a citizen.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is a naturalised citizen as of 1983. Thus, as it stands now, can not become POTUS.

The Vice-President must be eligible to become President, so the same rules apply.

Does that apply to the speaker of the house, next in line?

Basically, you are a natural born US citizen if you’re a citizen and never had to go through a naturalization process. Being a child of two US citizens makes you a US citizen at birth, no matter where you mother was when she gave birth (unless someone has renounced citizenship).

The question came up in 1964, when people asked if Goldwater qualified due to the fact that Arizona wasn’t a state when he was born (it was dismissed) and again in 1968 when George Romney was running despite having been born in Mexico (with two American parents). In neither case did the trivia affect their ability to run.

As for the speaker of the house, there is no qualification that he be “natural born,” so a naturalized citizen can become speaker. However, he cannot take a place in the line of succession and could not come to office if the president and vice president weren’t available. The next in line (President Pro Tem of the Senate) would become president instead.

McCain is not only a citizen because of his parentage, but also because he was born in the Panama Canal Zone, which was a US territory at the time.

There is no qualification that the vice president be “natural born” either that I’m aware of and I would expect that a naturalized vice president would be subject to the same conditions you described for the speaker. Other than that, I don’t see a constitutional impediment for Arnold to accept a vice presidential nomination.

Likewise Cabinet members, although in the line of succession, do not have to be eligible to be President. Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and Madeline Albright would have been passed over in the succession.

It’s in Amendment XII:

SInce a naturalized citizen is ineligible for the Presidency, he or she is also ineligible for the Vice Presidency.

This keeps coming up. The twelfth amendment states:

I think that precludes a non-natural born citizen as VP, unless you start making some VERY legalistic interpretations of the amendments. As a matter of practicality, no party would ever offer a ticket containing a VP candidate unable to take office as president, even if it were allowed.

The VP must meet the same criteria as the prez, so no, Arnold doesn’t qualify. See the 12th amendment.

Madeline Albright, Secretary of State to president Clinton, was born in Prague in what was Czechoslovakia. Though the Sec. of State was in the line of succession at the time, she would have been ineligible to become president.

Kissinger, too, was not a natural born citizen. He was born in Germany and emigrated to the US with his parents when he was a teenager.

No reason it should. The Vice President’s primary job is to take over for the President, if need be, so the requirement was specifically added to the Constitution that he has to be eligible for the Presidency (not much point having a VP who couldn’t suceed). But the Congressional officials, cabinet members, etc. have other jobs to do, and if one of them is ineligible for the Presidency, if the situation arose, they would just be skipped over, and it would go to the next in line. In actual practice, I don’t think we’ve ever had a Speaker who wasn’t eligible for the Presidency, but only two steps down the ladder, we have had a naturalized Secretary of State, Madeline Albright.

There have been at least two–Henry Clay, for the surprising reason that he was only 34 when first elected Speaker, and the Scottish-born David B. Henderson. However, Henderson served during the period (1886-1947) when Speakers weren’t in the line of succession.

Quite a few posts supporting the simple proposition that anyone in line for succession to the presidency must be natural born to take over the presidency. I understand that. I understand that the principal role of the VP is to take over from the president if required. What I don’t understand is the absolute constitutional rquirement that a vice president must position himself in line any more than the speaker and that the constitution demands it.

With regard to McCain. Yes he was naturally born in a US territory. Just like Goldwater. Only where Goldwater was born is now the United Sates of America,The Canal Zone is not America. I would assume, given it required a specific act, namely the Jones Act, to confer naturally born status to Puerto Rican born people of that territory, that Canal Zone natives are not covered by similar legislation.

My two primary questions are purely based on constitutional directives which are way above any other law and practical legal inferences are still subject to interpretation by Scotus which as I understand can still overturn Roe vs Wade.

The constitution as written is pretty clear to me. The new definition of “natural born” has not been tested fully. The limitations on seeking the vice presidential office have not been specified as clear as for the president

This may all be a tempest in a teacup, but I do see the possibility of constitutional conflict that can arise just like the 08, 2000.

Thankyou. That answered my question and I hope we can continue with the other question of “natural born” and McCain.

So if a child, born in the US, of illegal Mexican immigrants, legally become President?

He was born a US citizen, that’s all that matters.

maboman: Yes, he or she could.

Not exactly. The stuff that you’re talking about with McCain and Schwarzenegger is clearly covered under Article II of the Constitution, and Amendment 12 requires the Vice President to meet the same standards as the President.