Citizen Glitch Makes Mac Ineligible to Be Prez: Expert

He's no natural-born American, prof argues
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 11, 2008 3:21 AM CDT
John McCain gestures to the audience as he campaigns in Portsmouth, Ohio, at the Portsmouth High School Gym, Wednesday, July 9, 2008.    (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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(Newser) – John McCain does not meet the constitutional requirement to be president because he's technically not a natural-born US citizen, a legal professor has concluded. But the expert, who focused on an obscure 1937 law that made McCain a citizen in the months after his birth in the Panama Canal Zone, says it's "preposterous" that the technicality should make a difference, the New York Times reports. “But this is the constitutional text that we have.”

At the time of McCain's birth to a military family, children born to Americans "out of the limits and jurisdiction" of the US were citizens. While the Canal Zone was out of US limits, it was in American jurisdiction. The 1937 law closed that loophole—but too late for McCain to have been born a citizen, the professor argues. Experts concede the professor's hairsplitting analysis has merit but agree that it's extremely unlikely any action will come of it.