Donald TrumpDonald TrumpHouse Republican group raised more than M in October Five takeaways from Florida Senate debate Chaffetz says he'll vote for Trump MORE supporters have filed a lawsuit challenging the eligibility of one of his primary rivals, Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzCruz: Precedent exists for keeping Supreme Court short-staffed Commerce official will hit critics of domain name transition The media is rigging the election by reporting WikiLeaks emails MORE (R-Texas), to run for president.
The lawsuit, filed Feb. 3 at a district court in Alabama, seeks a judgment “declaring that Rafael Edward Cruz is ineligible to qualify/run/seek and be elected to the Office of the President of the United States of America” due to his Canadian birth.
Several of the five plaintiffs — Sebastian Green, Shannon Duncan, Kathryn Spears, Kyle Spears and Jerry Parker — are backing Trump in the Republican primary, their attorney, Thomas Drake, told The Hill, although he said others are still undecided.
"The only thing they can agree on is Mr. Cruz is not eligible to be president," Drake said.
The lawsuit cites Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution, which rules that “no person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of president.”
Under that clause, the plaintiffs claim, “Cruz is not a ‘natural born’ citizen of the United States of America."
“Mr. Cruz was born in Canada, and obviously Canada is not a territory or protectorate of the United States, it’s not dominion of the United States,” Drake told The Hill.
“And as such, when he was born, at the moment of his birth, location determined his status, and his status was that of a natural-born Canadian citizen,” he added.
“You cannot be a natural-born or native-born citizen of two countries."
Cruz, a constitutional lawyer and former solicitor general of Texas, has maintained that he is eligible to serve as president, noting the distinction between natural-born and naturalized citizens.
Trump has attacked Cruz’s eligibility repeatedly, warning that Democrats will file lawsuits challenging his ability to serve as president in a general election.
A federal lawsuit in Texas has also been filed seeking a judgment on whether Cruz is a natural-born citizen.
Several candidates born outside of the U.S. have previously run for president.
The 1964 Republican nominee for president, Barry Goldwater, was born in the Arizona Territory before it was a state.
Former Michigan Gov. George Romney, father of 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, unsuccessfully sought the GOP nomination in 1968, even though he was born in Mexico to American parents.
And 2008 Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCainJohn McCainCruz: Precedent exists for keeping Supreme Court short-staffed Trump promises ‘new deal for Black America’ Endangered GOP senator: I don't know for whom I'll vote MORE (Ariz.) was born on a military base in Panama to American parents.
Drake said those precedents do not confirm Cruz can run for president.
“Well, it’s purely based on ignorance, because the standard that Mr. McCain and Mr. Goldwater and the others utilized was the fact that they were born in a protectorate or a territory of the United States,” he said.