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story.lead_photo.caption Sens. Ted Cruz, left, and Marco Rubio. Photos by The Associated Press

4:30 UPDATE

A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by an Arkansas man who said Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are ineligible to be president because they do not meet the natural-born citizen requirement outlined in the Constitution, according to a court order filed Monday.

During an afternoon hearing, David Librace sought to have the senators' names removed from Tuesday's primary ballot in the state by arguing that Rubio cannot serve as president because his parents are not U.S. citizens and that Cruz is ineligible because he was born in Canada.

U.S. District Judge Brian Miller refuted Librace's argument, stating that Rubio was born in Florida and Cruz's mother was a U.S. citizen.

In addition to attacking the merits of his argument, Miller ruled that Librace lacked standing to raise the issue in federal court because he cannot show that he has been concretely and particularly injured.

Librace argued he is injured because his "right to vote will be diluted, debased, and desecrated by the presence of Mr. Rubio and Mr. Cruz on the Arkansas ballot," but Miller said that is overly broad because Librace shares it with every other Arkansan.

Miller's ruling was in line with several other court orders that dismissed cases against then-Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain in 2008 for similar reasons.

Read Tuesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

2:20 P.M. UPDATE

A U.S. district judge in Little Rock questioned Monday whether he could make a decision on natural birth citizenship that would set a precedent for a series of lawsuits that have been filed against recent candidates for president.

Presidential candidates from both parties, including Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama in 2008 as well as Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz in this cycle, have had to defend themselves against claims that the circumstances of their births make them constitutionally intelligible for the office.

But whenever those claims have been filed in court, judges have declined to define a "natural-born" citizen by saying it is a political issue not meant for the courts, according to arguments made by attorneys and U.S. Judge Brian Miller in the District Court of Eastern Arkansas on Monday.

Attorneys for Cruz, Rubio, Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin and the Arkansas Republican Party were making just that argument Monday, saying Miller should decline to rule on the merits of a suit brought by a Helena-West Helena man seeking to have the senators removed from the ballot in Arkansas.

In addition to arguing that Miller should not make a decision on natural-birth citizenship, attorneys arguing against the suit said it would cause "irreparable harm" a day ahead of the state's partisan primary elections if Miller orders an injunction against the candidates.

The ballots for Tuesday's vote have already been printed; 170,000 people have cast ballots during the early voting period; and an additional number of absentee voters in the military and abroad have received ballots, according to testimony from Rob Hammons, the director of elections for the secretary of state's office.

During the hour-and-a-half hearing, Miller questioned if a ruling in the other direction — that Cruz and Rubio both qualify as natural-born — could end similar arguments in other courts.

"When is a court just going to say here it is?" Miller said on the question of natural birth citizenship. "If a court would just be clear, we wouldn't have to file these cases over and over."

Miller said he would issue a written order later Monday.

Read Tuesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

EARLIER

An Arkansas man who has sued to have Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz declared ineligible for the presidency will get a chance to argue his case in federal court in Little Rock on Monday.

U.S. District Judge Brian Miller will hear David Librace's lawsuit against the senators and Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin, whose office placed them on the ballot, the judge's office confirmed Monday.

The hearing was first reported Sunday by Arkansas Business.

In his suit, Librace argues that the constitutional eligibility of the senators to run for president as natural-born citizens is, at best, unclear, and "must be adjudicated as soon as possible to prevent a Constitutional travesty."

Both Cruz and Rubio are of Cuban descent. Cruz was born in Canada to a Cuban father and American mother. Rubio was born in Miami to Cuban immigrant parents.

"A possible disenfranchisement of the voters of Arkansas looms if one of these candidates were to win and be challenged by another candidate or elector eligible to vote in an open primary," Librace wrote in the suit, which was filed earlier this month in Helena-West Helena.

In his response to the suit, Martin said that Librace is actually a convicted felon from Florida whose real name is Roy Allen Cole and that Cole is ineligible to file suit on behalf of Arkansas voters. Martin also wrote that he believes there to be numerous inaccuracies in Librace's (or Cole's) argument.

The Tampa Bay Times recently reported that a similar suit was filed against Cruz and Rubio by a Florida man named Michael Voeltz.

Check back with Arkansas Online for updates from Monday's court hearing and read Tuesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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Archived Comments

  • Kharma
    February 29, 2016 at 11:55 a.m.

    This sounds like a 12(b)6 issue to me - and a waste of valuable court resources.

  • mrcharles
    February 29, 2016 at 12:32 p.m.

    Carmel , Arkansas is famous for this, but it is worth looking into. Is it a coincidence both are of cuban heritage? That means their race might not be pure. I would submit for consideration that trump , the leading gop candidate, has thought this matter is worth looking into. I heard trump has an affidavit that both are born to suspicious parents and perhaps even plants by the castro government, as we all know Comrade Castro is an old man and had lots of time on his hands to set up a Manchurian Canaanite candidate .

    12(b)(6), is that some kind of code for redneck hate language? Our courts will be needed to settle the monument issue coming up that may decide the fate of Western Civilization. I also hear the baptist got wind the legislature will mandate prayer in the catholic manner and they will not stand for any intervention by the mother of Christ.

    Cruz may have a real problem. Rubio they say is really american.

    I would have to admit certain churches in Arkansas really support these guys. Must be something in their politics of these tax exempt entities.

  • TimberTopper
    February 29, 2016 at 12:47 p.m.

    They may find Cruz not eligible to serve as POTUS. The basic reason John McCain could was that his father was in the military and stationed outside the US which in that event is considered being born on American soil. The parents of Cruz were just working in Canada. Trump is probably correct by the time his lawyers get through with the case. After all the time spent on the Republicans trying to get Obama for not being a citizen, it seems what goes around may come around. Especially since Cruz was in on the trying to get Obama ousted.

  • Kharma
    February 29, 2016 at 2:41 p.m.

    No Chucktard, 12(b)6 as in The Federal Rules Rules of Civil Procedure:

    (b) How to Present Defenses. Every defense to a claim for relief in any pleading must be asserted in the responsive pleading if one is required. But a party may assert the following defenses by motion:

    (6) failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

    You may now slink back into your leftard hovel ...

  • Capitalist12
    February 29, 2016 at 3:09 p.m.

    Librace is actually a convicted felon from Florida whose real name is Roy Allen Cole and that Cole is ineligible to file suit on behalf of Arkansas voters. And I thought he was just a kook. Can Cole not be charged for using a false identity in a legal suit?
    Under this felon's logic any US military serviceman or woman who married a foreigner and had a child in a foreign land would have their child excluded from being "natural born." Just as McCain was born in Panama and retained this status, so would Cruz likewise retain this status since his mother was American, although he was born in Canada. Would a pregnant American woman having a baby in a foreign country no longer have a "natural born" citizen for a child? How absurd.
    And the judge is correct: this is a political issue, not a legal one. I expect this nonsense to be discarded as easily as the inaccuracies in his specious arguments deserve. Nice try, now go back to a Florida prison.

  • RBBrittain
    February 29, 2016 at 3:15 p.m.

    Kharma, I might meet your definition of "leftard" but I think you're on to something. The underlying basis for this case possibly failing to state a claim is the strict rules in Article III of the U.S. Constitution on who may bring a Federal lawsuit, commonly referred to by lawyers today as "Article III standing". Like most of the "birthers", it is highly unlikely that an ordinary citizen off the street can show sufficient "concrete injury" from an ineligible candidate on the ballot to have Article III standing; even "birthers" in the military were unable to use the President's constitutional role as Commander in Chief to achieve Article III standing.

    About the only case that *could* reach Article III standing -- *and* would almost certainly be actionable in Arkansas state court, where Article III doesn't apply and the cause of action is expressly recognized by state election law in most cases -- would have to be brought by an opposing candidate. However, the short period of time where it could be actionable would discourage an opponent from bringing suit; essentially such a case would die as moot once the election is held (in this case the primary, NOT the general election).

    Legally the best way to challenge a candidate's qualifications is before Congress when the electoral votes are formally counted in early January 2017, *not* in court; but that also has a short amount of time (just over 2 weeks before inauguration). A state's vote totals could be subject to a Bush v. Gore-like challenge, but even that proved too messy for most future politicos to touch.

  • RBBrittain
    February 29, 2016 at 3:25 p.m.

    Capitalist12, I doubt his case will be thrown out SOLELY for using a "fake" name; at common law you can use any name you want as long as it's not fraudulent (modern ID rules do *not* supersede that in Arkansas), and this doesn't rise to that level. If he has completed ALL requirements of his sentence INCLUDING parole & probation, neither would his felon status prevent him from registering in Arkansas. However, if he actually resides in Florida instead of Helena-West Helena...

  • RBBrittain
    February 29, 2016 at 3:39 p.m.

    The real kicker is he has virtually NO case against Rubio, and only a slim one against Cruz. Rubio was born in the U.S., so he's unquestionably a U.S. citizen *and* is almost certainly a "natural born citizen" under the common-law "natural born subject" rules the presidential qualification is likely based on, regardless of his parents' status (both were legal Cuban immigrants). Cruz is also unquestionably a U.S. citizen from his 1970 birth (even though in Canada), as his American mother met the requirements of Federal law at that time to give immediate citizenship from birth to her foreign-born children; it's not 100% clear if that makes him a "natural born citizen", but most non-"birther" legal scholars say it does. I don't support them, but I don't think they're legally ineligible either.

  • Jackabbott
    February 29, 2016 at 4:01 p.m.

    Interesting Both these men are attorneys They should have been smart enough early on, before running, to get this cleared. Stupidity will replace idiocy in the WH with one of these two.

  • PopMom
    February 29, 2016 at 4:13 p.m.

    Most legal scholars agree that Cruz is a natural born citizen because he was a citizen at birth through his mother. Rubio is a natural born citizen without question. While Miami does have a hispanic flair to it, it is still in the United States--though it is starting to flood due to global warming.

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