Ocean County Politics

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Election 2016

Ted Cruz Survives NJ Eligibility Challenge

Ted Cruz

Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz will remain on the June primary ballot statewide, a New Jersey administrative law judge ruled Tuesday.

Professor Williams

Professor Williams

Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz

A group calling themselves the “South Jersey Concerned Citizens Fellowship,” led by out of state Washington DC law professor Victor Williams filed the formal challenge with the state to Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s eligibility to appear on the New Jersey ballot on the basis of Mr. Cruz having been born in Canada.

Administrative Law Judge Jeff S. Masin tossed the complaint, declaring Cruz eligible and writing in his 26 page decision:

“As demonstrated above and in the thoughtful examinations of the scholars whose materials are mentioned herein, it must be acknowledged that the arguments against finding a child born outside the United States to a non-diplomat or non-military citizen of the United States are not facetious and the issue can never be entirely free of doubt, at least barring a definitive ruling of the United States Supreme Court. While absolute certainty as to this issue is only available to those who actually sat in Philadelphia and themselves thought on the issue, having weighed the arguments as they are presented by those trying to understand the Framers’ intent, I CONCLUDE that the more persuasive legal analysis is that such a child, born of a citizen-father, citizen- mother, or both, is indeed a “natural born Citizen” within the contemplation of the Constitution. As such I CONCLUDE that Senator Cruz meets the Article II, Section I qualifications and is eligible to be nominated for President. His name may therefore appear on the New Jersey Republican primary ballot.”

Other media outlets have incorrectly reported this as a “court decision.” It would be improper to call it that, as the hearing was not held by a state or federal court of competent jurisdiction. Rather, it was held by the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law (OAL). The OAL is an executive branch state agency, not a component of the judiciary. Other state agencies will refer a matter to OAL for an administrative hearing, and the administrative law judge will render an initial decision, typically after the parties are given an opportunity for a hearing. Within 45 days of an initial decision, the agency head (in this case Kim Guadagno) can either accept the decision, modify it, or even reject it as state law gives the ultimate authority to the agency head.

Read the full decision here.

UPDATE: Kim Guadagno has affirmed ALJ Masin’s decision in its entirety, settling the issue for good.

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