McCain Has Second Thoughts?

August 3, 2010 12:56 p.m.

A reader remembers that during the 2008 campaign, Sen. McCain issued a legal memo, written by Larry Tribe and Ted Olson, which expressly argued that birthright citizenship is mandated by the 14th amendment …

Credit John McCain with a keen sense of irony. Readers may recall that McCain was himself born in the Panama Canal Zone, raising the question of whether he qualified under the Constitutional standard of ‘natural born citizen.’

His campaign turned the tandem of Larry Tribe and Ted Olson, whose memo on the matter helped settle the media debate.

It argued, among other things, that:

“If the Panama Canal Zone was sovereign U.S. territory at the time of Senator McCain’s birth, then that fact alone would make him a “natural born” citizen under the well-established principle that “natural born” citizenship includes birth within the territory and allegiance of the United States…The Fourteenth Amendment expressly enshrines this connection between birthplace and citizenship in the text of the Constitution.”

Questioning the citizenship of our fellow Americans is an ugly thing. I should have thought that Senator McCain, of all people, would have remembered that.

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