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Famous Legal Expert, John Eastman, Questions Kamala Harris’s Eligibility to Be Vice President

Requirements set by Constitution may make Harris ineligible for VP


There’s been an interesting question circulating lately as to whether or not Kamala Harris can legally run for Vice President.

Democrats cry that it’s racist to even give the matter a thought.

But famed legal scholar John Eastman isn’t afraid to look into the matter!

According to the information gathered by Eastman, Harris is potentially ineligible to run for VP due to her parents immigration status when she was born.

Take a look at Eastman’s op-ed published in Newsweek:

The fact that Senator Kamala Harris has just been named the vice presidential running mate for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has some questioning her eligibility for the position. The 12th Amendment provides that “no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.” And Article II of the Constitution specifies that “[n]o person except a natural born citizen…shall be eligible to the office of President.” Her father was (and is) a Jamaican national, her mother was from India, and neither was a naturalized U.S. citizen at the time of Harris’ birth in 1964. That, according to these commentators, makes her not a “natural born citizen”—and therefore ineligible for the office of the president and, hence, ineligible for the office of the vice president.

“Nonsense,” runs the counter-commentary. Indeed, PolitiFact rated the claim of ineligibility as “Pants on Fire” false, Snopes rated it simply “False,” and from the other side of the political spectrum, Conservative Daily News likewise rated it “False.” All three (and numerous others) simply assert that Harris is eligible because she was born in Oakland—and is therefore a natural-born citizen from location of birth. The 14th Amendment says so, they all claim, and the Supreme Court so held in the 1898 case of U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark.

But those claims are erroneous, at least as the Citizenship Clause of the 14th Amendment was originally understood—an error to which even my good friend, renowned UCLA School of Law professor Eugene Volokh, has fallen prey.

The language of Article II is that one must be a natural-born citizen. The original Constitution did not define citizenship, but the 14th Amendment does—and it provides that “all persons born…in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens.” Those who claim that birth alone is sufficient overlook the second phrase. The person must also be “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States, and that meant subject to the complete jurisdiction, not merely a partial jurisdiction such as that which applies to anyone temporarily sojourning in the United States (whether lawfully or unlawfully). Such was the view of those who authored the 14th Amendment’s Citizenship Clause; of the Supreme Court of the United States in the 1872 Slaughter-House Cases and the 1884 case of Elk v. Wilkins; of Thomas Cooley, the leading constitutional treatise writer of the day; and of the State Department, which, in the 1880s, issued directives to U.S. embassies to that effect.

The Supreme Court’s subsequent decision in Wong Kim Ark is not to the contrary. At issue there was a child born to Chinese immigrants who had become lawful, permanent residents in the United States—”domiciled” was the legally significant word used by the Court. But that was the extent of the Court’s holding (as opposed to broader language that was dicta, and therefore not binding). Indeed, the Supreme Court has never held that anyone born on U.S. soil, no matter the circumstances of the parents, is automatically a U.S. citizen.

Granted, our government’s view of the Constitution’s citizenship mandate has morphed over the decades to what is now an absolute “birth on the soil no matter the circumstances” view—but that morphing does not appear to have begun until the late 1960s, after Kamala Harris’ birth in 1964. The children born on U.S. soil to guest workers from Mexico during the Roaring 1920s were not viewed as citizens, for example, when, in the wake of the Great Depression, their families were repatriated to Mexico. Nor were the children born on U.S. soil to guest workers in the bracero program of the 1950s and early 1960s deemed citizens when that program ended, and their families emigrated back to their home countries.

So before we so cavalierly accept Senator Harris’ eligibility for the office of vice president, we should ask her a few questions about the status of her parents at the time of her birth.

Here’s what’s circulating on Twitter over the story:

Naturally, liberals are besides themselves that anyone would dare to question Harris's citizenship.

But since she's running to hold the second-highest office in the land, it's certainly worth investigating the matter!

And don't believe the Democrat talking point that Trump is pushing this theory.

They would have you believe that Trump brought it up and is absolutely claiming Harris is ineligible.

But check out the clip below where Trump is asked about the situation during a press conference:

The reporter actually brings up the subject and Trump answers that he honestly doesn't know whether or not the facts we know make Harris ineligible. 

At no point does he say he believes she cannot run! 

He simply says he'd have to do some research.

Forbes ran the following report on the backlash Newsweek has received for publishing Eastman's op-ed:

After receiving a torrent of criticism online for publishing an op-ed that questioned Sen. Kamala Harris’ (D-Calif.) eligibility as a vice presidential candidate due to her ancestry, Newsweek stood by the decision to publish the controversial piece on Thursday and claimed it had “no connection whatsoever to so-called ‘birther-ism,’’ the racist theory that wrongly claimed former President Barack Obama was born in Kenya.

John Eastman, a law professor at Chapman University, published an op-ed in Newsweek on Wednesday raising questions about Harris’ eligibility for the office of vice president.

Eastman argues that because neither of Harris’ parents were naturalized U.S. citizens at the time of Harris' birth in 1964, the California senator is not a “natural born citizen” and therefore “ineligible for the office of the president and, hence, ineligible for the office of the vice president.”

This is false: Harris was born to Indian and Jamican immigrants on California soil, making her a natural born citizen and eligible for the presidency and vice presidency.

Eastman’s op-ed generated widespread backlash, with many comparing it to the Obama “birther” conspiracy and criticizing Newsweek for running the op-ed: Laurence Tribe, a constitutional law professor at Harvard University, called Eastman’s argument “worse than nonsense” and “racist birtherism redux.”

Nancy Cooper, Newsweek’s editor-in-chief, and Josh Hammer, opinion editor, stood by the decision to publish the piece, claiming in an editor’s note that Eastman’s op-ed had “nothing to do with racist birtherism.”

The op-ed, Cooper and Hammer argued, instead focuses on “a long-standing, somewhat arcane legal debate about the precise meaning of the phrase ‘subject to the jurisdiction thereof’ in the Citizenship Clause of the 14th Amendment” and does not question “Harris' place of birth or the legitimacy of an obviously valid birth certificate” as the birther conspiracy did to Obama.


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