A Cook County judge on Tuesday threw out a petition seeking to knock Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz off the Illinois ballot because the Texas senator wasn't born in the United States.
Lawrence J. Joyce, of far northwest suburban Poplar Grove, petitioned the Illinois State Board of Elections in January to have Cruz's name removed from the March 15 primary ballot, arguing Cruz is not eligible to run for president because he is not a "natural-born citizen," as required by the U.S. Constitution. Cruz was born in Canada to an American mother and a Cuban father.
Cruz's lawyer, Sharee Langenstein, countered that the senator indeed is a "natural-born citizen" because American citizenship was conferred upon him at birth by his mother. Langenstein said it is customary for children born to Americans outside the country to receive American citizenship, citing the examples of Arizona Sen. John McCain and late Michigan Gov. George Romney. McCain was born to American parents in Panama and Romney was born to American parents in Mexico.
Republican Sen. Ted Cruz has voted in Houston as the Texan seeks to become president. Mar. 1 2016. (AP)
"Ted Cruz became a natural-born citizen at the moment of his birth because it was not necessary to become a citizen through the naturalization process at some point after birth," hearing officer James Tenuto wrote in his analysis. The election board endorsed Tenuto's ruling in early February and overruled Joyce's objection.
Joyce appealed the election board's decision to the Cook County Circuit Court.
But a Tuesday afternoon hearing before Circuit Court Judge Maureen Ward Kirby never addressed those issues because lawyers for Cruz and the election board successfully argued that Joyce did not fulfill the requirements of election law in filing his request for judicial review.
Specifically, Ward Kirby said Joyce did not properly serve Cruz or the members of the election board with copies of his petition before the court. Ward Kirby said failing to satisfy any of the Illinois Election Code requirements meant she had no legal standing to review his complaint.
Joyce said he was not sure whether he would appeal that decision. Joyce, a supporter of Dr. Ben Carson, said his main aim was to keep Cruz from securing the Republican nomination, which may prove a moot point after the Super Tuesday primaries and caucuses.
"My concern is that if Ted Cruz is the nominee of the party, Congressman Alan Grayson will go ahead with his threat, along with several other Democrats, to keep Ted Cruz off the ballot," Joyce said. "Fundraising for Ted Cruz would dry up, his standing in the polls would plummet, he may be forced to resign the nomination."
Had the judge been able to review the case, Langenstein said, she felt confident in their standing about Cruz's citizenship. She criticized Joyce's tactics, saying his petition unfairly tried to stymie Cruz's campaign.