Cruz in for a legal bruising

If money is the mother’s milk of politics, hypocrisy is what journalism runs on. That makes the speculation that Ted Cruz might not be eligible to serve as president under the the narrow “originialist” view of the Constitution that he holds so dear an irresistible storyline .

The Republican presidential hopeful was born in Canada, but claims to be a natural born citizen because his mother was a US citizen (Cruz’s father was a Cuban citizen). The Constitution stipulates that only natural born citizens may serve in the country’s highest office.

Many legal scholars view Cruz as natural born citizen and therefore eligible to serve, but these interpretations come from more liberal thinkers who view the Constitution as a “living” document that should be interpreted by current standards and mores. Cruz hews to more conservative “originalist” legal thinking, which maintains that the Constitution “means what ordinary people would have understood it to mean at the time it was ratified, which is 1788,” Fordham University law professor Thomas Lee wrote earlier this week in the Los Angeles Times.

Lee is hardly the only legal scholar now weighing in. Mary Brigid McManamon, a constitutional law professor at Widener University’s Delaware Law School wrote yesterday in the Washington Post that Cruz is not eligible to serve as president. The most interesting legal opinion, however, comes from Harvard’s Laurence Tribe, who taught a constitutional law class Cruz aced as a law student there. In an op-ed in Monday’s Boston Globe, Tribe writes that under the view of “originalist” judges of the stripe the Texas senator would appoint, “Cruz ironically wouldn’t be eligible, because the legal principles that prevailed in the 1780s and ’90s required that someone actually be born on US soil to be a ‘natural born’ citizen. Even having two US parents wouldn’t suffice. And having just an American mother, as Cruz did, would have been insufficient at a time that made patrilineal descent decisive.”

With Cruz rising in GOP polls, Republican rival Donald Trump has dialed up his attacks on the citizenship issue. On Monday, Trump cited Tribe’s claims. Cruz responded yesterday while campaigning in New Hampshire, telling reporters the issue is a settled matter. He went on to suggest that liberals like Tribe may be trying to undercut his candidacy so that Hillary Clinton can face Trump in the November election.

“It is more than a little strange to see Donald relying on as authoritative a liberal, left-wing judicial activist Harvard Law professor who is a huge Hillary supporter,” today’s Globe quotes Cruz as saying yesterday. “It starts to make you think. ‘Gosh, why are some of Hillary’s strongest supporters backing Donald Trump?’”

Cruz spoke with reporters following a rally in support of the Second Amendment.

Though Cruz takes a decidedly modern-interpretation approach to the Constitution when it comes to citizenship matters, it doesn’t lead him or the judges he admires “to discard the Second Amendment’s ‘right to bear arms’ as a historical relic, or to limit that right to arms-bearing by members of today’s ‘state militias,’ the National Guard,” writes Tribe.

Tribe says he enjoyed “jousting” with Cruz as his professor. “At least he was consistent in those days,” he writes. “Now, he seems to be a fair weather originalist, abandoning that method’s narrow constraints when it suits his ambition.”

–MICHAEL JONAS

 

BEACON HILL

Gov. Charlie Baker called for an Ethics Commission investigation into Sen. Brian Joyce, who was the focus of a Boston Globe story alleging he received thousands of dollars of free dry cleaning services over the years because of his position. (State House News Service)

Sen. Bruce Tarr says there have been some private discussions among the members of the Legislature’s conference committee on solar net metering, but he says the full committee must meet if it is to reach consensus. (State House News)

A state working group begins to take up the task of recommending reforms to the criminal justice system, with parole and probation likely to be one area of focus. (CommonWealth)

A Boston Herald editorial offers mild praise for the House opioid bill scheduled for a vote today.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Newton talks the talk of affordable housing but building it in the wealthy community is another matter, creating a dilemma for Mayor Setti Warren who has to walk a fine line between his support for below-market housing and the firm opposition in the city that elected him its first black mayor. (CommonWealth)

A study finds the Barnstable County Fire and Rescue Training Academy has been wrought by mismanagement, shoddy record-keeping, and lax oversight that leads to faulty application of firefighting standards. (Cape Cod Times)

Boston’s fire commissioner blames the Menino administration for the poor condition of firehouses in an audit of the department’s facilities. (Boston Herald)

CASINOS/GAMBLING

A messy intertribal battle and opposition from local residents may turn the Mashpee Wampanoag dream of a Taunton casino into a protracted legal showdown. (Boston Globe)

A lawyer for DraftKings rips regulations being proposed by Attorney General Maura Healey. (Boston Herald)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

President Obama, in his State of the Union address, said his one major regret is the deepening divisions between Republicans and Democrats. (Associated Press) Obama’s speech was, in many ways, a direct rebuke of “Trump-ism,” writes Michael Cohen. (Boston Globe) The speech was more campaign rhetoric than national barometer, says the New York Times. Republicans tapped South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley to deliver the GOP response and she thanked them by bashing the presidential frontrunners, congressional majority, and party’s stance on immigration. (U.S. News & World Report)

Iran releases US sailors accused of trespassing. (New York Times)

The left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says 500,000 to 1 million people are likely to lose food stamp benefits because of work requirements. (Governing)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

The cost of high-end condos in Boston pushes ever higher. (Boston Globe)

Massachusetts state senators continue their field trip to the land of legal marijuana in Colorado. (Boston Globe)

The Royal Bank of Scotland, one of the world’s leading harbingers for the global economy, is the latest to predict 2016 to be a “cataclysmic” year and urged investors to “sell everything.” (U.S. News & World Report)

Disgraced former vice presidential candidate and US senator John Edwards has asked a judge to allow him to sit on a panel of plaintiffs’ lawyers overseeing the hundreds of class action suits against Volkswagen for their emissions fraud. (Politico)

EDUCATION

The Salem News runs a tick-tock of what happened behind the scenes when transcripts of former Swampscott principal Edward Rozmiarek’s online conversations with someone posing as a 13-year-old girl were released,

The Worcester schools see an enrollment drop of 178, which could translate into flat state funding. (Telegram & Gazette)

Boston schools superintendent Tommy Chang is forecasting a budget shortfall of $50 million next year. (WBUR)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

Two employees at a nursing home facility in Haverhill run by RehabCare receive $24 million for their whistleblowing efforts that led to a $125 million Medicare fraud settlement. (WBUR)

Partners HealthCare officials who took heat last week in Lynn for their plans to change the mission of Union Hospital received a much friendlier reception in Salem, where the health care giant plans to expand services offered by Salem Hospital. (Salem News)

TRANSPORTATION

Secretary of State William Galvin’s office orders the T to release a consultant’s report on what went wrong with the Green Line extension project. (CommonWealth)

Debris falling from the bridge that carries I-495 over I-93 in Andover caused the closing of I-93 for over an hour, leading to a traffic jam. (Eagle-Tribune)

GM plans to launch self-driving Lyft cars in Austin, Texas. (Mashable)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

The Dracut Board of Selectmen hires Richard Kanoff of Burns & Levinson to represent it in legal efforts to block the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline. (The Sun)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

The state kicks off a review of its criminal justice policies by reviewing a number of data points, including the fact that 40 percent of those released from prison in Massachusetts return to the community under no parole or probation supervision. (CommonWealth)

Nicole Sullivan of Black Lives Matter talks about the reaction to the group’s protest on I-93 compared to the reaction to an armed group taking over a federal building in Oregon. (digboston)

The Supreme Court strikes down part of Florida’s death penalty law, saying the statute doesn’t give jurors sufficient input into the decision. (New York Times)

A crime prevention program run by the nonprofit Roca opens a construction training facility in Springfield. (MassLive)

MEDIA

The New York Times shifts Jim Rutenberg from the Sunday magazine into the media columnist slot previously occupied by the late David Carr. (New York Times)

Netflix may be more threatening to media giants than they realize. (New York Times)