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Abstract

The 2016 presidential election brought forth new disputes concerning the definition of “natural born Citizen.” The most significant challenges surrounded the eligibility of Senator Ted Cruz, born in Canada to a Cuban father and an American mother. Unlike challenges to President Barack Obama’s eligibility, which largely turned on conspiratorial facts, challenges to Cruz’s eligibility turned principally on the law and garnered more serious attention concerning a somewhat cryptic constitutional clause. Understandably, much attention focused on the definition of “natural born citizen” and whether candidates like Cruz qualified. Administrative challenges and litigation in court revealed deficiencies in the procedures for handling such disputes. This paper exhaustively examines these challenges, identifies three significant complications arising out of these disputes, and urges a solution for future presidential elections.

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