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Supreme Court Needs to Resolve Citizenship Issue


Back in the 1970s, Dr. Pepper sought to lure us in by suggesting its consumers could be part of a soft-drink clique. "I'm a Pepper; he's a Pepper; she's a Pepper — wouldn't you like to be a Pepper, too?" the actor David Naughton sang in the jingle featured in TV commercials.

Substitute the word "birther" for Pepper and you would have a contemporary political clique.

The birther issue, which has dogged us since Barack Obama broke out eight years ago, has returned, this time to dog the Republicans. And it likely won't go away soon.

Although born in Hawaii to an American, Obama's birth claim was scrutinized for years because his father was Kenyan. Chief among those skeptics was Donald Trump, now the GOP's front-running presidential candidate.

Now, as he races ahead of the field for the 2016 Republican nomination, Trump has a new target: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

Cruz was born in Canada under circumstances that mirrored Obama's: his mother was an American (born in Delaware) and his father was Cuban. Trump, though not a candidate at the time, first challenged Cruz's citizenship last March, just after the Texan declared for the presidential race.

Cruz, according to media reports, renounced his Canadian citizenship in June 2014.

Two weeks ago, Carly Fiorina, another hat tossed into the 2016 GOP nomination ring, told Fox News she thought it was "odd" that Cruz didn't reject Canadian citizenship until he began eyeing the White House.

In mid-January a Houston lawyer filed a lawsuit challenging Cruz's status and qualifications.

And it's not just Republicans. Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson of Orlando, whose district includes Haines City, Davenport and other parts of eastern Polk County, has threatened a lawsuit challenging Cruz's qualification to serve as president if he becomes the Republican nominee.

And on it goes.

It's easy to smirk and scoff at the desperate birther tactics political foes use to undermine each other. Yet legal scholars say the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to tackle this question, even as it comes up more and more.

As frivolous as this discussion seems on the surface, perhaps we need the Supreme Court to determine who is a "natural-born" citizen, so this birther circus won't come to town every four years.




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