Former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley has not had a good year. In attempting to play all sides against the middle in the escalating “Republican” civil war, Haley has alienated … well, everybody. In the process, her formerly high-flying presidential aspirations have morphed into decidedly middle-tier machinations.
Insiders on the left, middle and right had already discerned Haley’s modus operandi … namely that she is guided exclusively (and erratically, it would appear) by an especially craven brand of pure, unadulterated self-interest.
Can Haley turn things around and become a 2024 frontrunner once again? Sure … she’s got time and money on her side. As well as gender and ethnicity. But this post is not about reminding readers of Haley’s deep-pocketed financial backers – or the fact that identitypolitik will forever keep her relevant as a minority female (sorry, it’s true).
This post is about debunking a Haley-related conspiracy theory that has been making the rounds recently … a theory which holds that the former South Carolina governor is ineligible to run for president or vice-president. Constitutionally ineligible.
This allegation was raised earlier this month by Bill Bledsoe, a former Constitution party candidate. Bledsoe made the claim in a column he wrote for The Standard – a South Carolina-based conservative news site.
“Neither of Haley’s parents was a citizen of the United States when she was born,” Bledsoe wrote. “So she can never hold the office of president or the office of vice president in the United States.”
Wait … what?
According to Bledsoe, because Haley’s parents did not apply for U.S. citizenship until the fall of 1977 – almost seven years after she was born – the former ambassador is not a “natural born citizen” per the terms of Minor v. Happersett 88 U.S. 162 (1875).
“While we tremendously support the endeavors of the Nikki Haley, we must sadly admit that she could never get on the ballot for president or vice president of the United States due to Constitutional disqualification,” Bledsoe concluded.
Is he correct? No.
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While I have consistently editorialized against birthright citizenship, the fact remains that jus soli (“right of soil”) is firmly ensconced within the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside,” the amendment clearly states.
Haley was born as Nimrata Randhawa in Bamberg, South Carolina on January 20, 1972. Therefore, she is a citizen of the United States by right of birth – notwithstanding the citizenship status of her parents.
In 2009, an attempt was made to invalidate the 11 electoral votes narrowly won in the state of Indiana by former U.S. president Barack Obama. One of the legal arguments put forward in support of this attempt was disqualifying Obama from holding the office of president “because his father was a citizen of the United Kingdom.”
Addressing this issue in the case of Ankeny v. Governor, the Indiana supreme court did a deep dive into the birthright citizenship issue – exploring its roots in British common law dating back more than three centuries.
“The fundamental principle of the common law with regard to English nationality was birth within the allegiance,” the court noted. “The principle embraced all persons born within the king’s allegiance, and subject to his protection. ? Such allegiance and protection were mutual … and were not restricted to natural-born subjects and naturalized subjects, or to those who had taken an oath of allegiance.”
Additionally, the court concluded jus soli was “in force in all the English colonies upon this continent down to the time of the Declaration of Independence, and in the United States afterwards, and continued to prevail under the constitution as originally established.”
Therefore, the court concluded that “persons born within the borders of the United States are natural born citizens … regardless of the citizenship of their parents.”
I concur …
While there are many reasons not to vote for Nikki Haley in 2024 (or any other year), her constitutional ineligibility to run for president is not one of them. Under common law and the (amended) U.S. Constitution, Haley is a natural born citizen of the United States of America. As such, she is constitutionally eligible to seek – and hold – the office of president or vice president of our country.
Bledsoe’s assertion to the contrary is prima facie inaccurate …
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children (including baby Matty, pictured above).
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