Neal Katyal, a constitutional lawyer who has argued numerous cases before the Supreme Court, said Thursday night that the notion of Kamala Harris being ineligible to serve as President of the United States is “half-witted and crazy,” and that Donald Trump has violated his oath of office by suggesting it.
Katyal appeared on MSNBC‘s 11th Hour, and compared this round of birtherism to attacks on Ted Cruz. “I defended, in the pages of Harvard Law Review, Ted Cruz’s eligibility to serve back in 2016, and this one is even nuttier. Any president who floats such nonsense betrays his oath of office.”
We asked @neal_katyal for his thoughts on Trump floating the latest bogus birtherism attack, this one on Kamala Harris. Katyal says Trump is betraying his Oath of Office.
— 11th Hour (@11thHour) August 14, 2020
Katyal defended Harris’ eligibility.
Article II of the Constitution sets out all of the requirements to be president. You must be 35 years old, resident in the country for the last 14 years, and a natural-born citizen. Senator Harris was born in Oakland, which President Trump should know is in California, our 31st state.
Sharing the clip himself later, Katyal added, “Look, I defended [Ted Cruz’s] eligibility 4 years ago, and this one is even easier. Far easier. Anyone who floats such nonsense disgraces our Constitution.”
Trump had previously questioned whether Kamala Harris could be ineligible, as seen in the NBC clip below.
I just heard that. I heard it today, that she doesn’t meet the requirements. And by the way the lawyer that wrote that piece is a very highly qualified, very talented lawyer. I have no idea if that’s right. I would have thought, I would have assumed the Democrats would have checked that out, before she gets chosen to run for vice president, but that’s a very serious — you’re saying that they’re saying that she doesn’t qualify because she wasn’t born in this country.
As The Denver Channel explains here, the lawyer Trump is crediting with the idea is John C. Eastman, who bases his claim on the idea that the Constitution doesn’t define “natural-born citizen.”
But the 14th amendment clearly states that those born on US soil are citizens at birth. “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 reads.
Eastman’s opinion piece also isn’t the origin of the claim. Snopes reported back in January 2019 that the claim had been made by Jacob Wohl — “a Twitter political troll and veteran of a failed smear campaign against Robert Mueller.”
Wohl’s Twitter account is currently suspended for multiple violations, including fake accounts. He’s directly connected to numerous conspiracies and false accusations, and has often allegedly produced fake witnesses to falsely accuse public figures of criminal acts.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com