In the most detailed examination yet of Senator John McCain’s eligibility to be president, a law professor at the University of Arizona has concluded that neither Mr. McCain’s birth in 1936 in the Panama Canal Zone nor the fact that his parents were American citizens is enough to satisfy the constitutional requirement that the president must be a “natural-born citizen.”
The analysis, by Prof. Gabriel J. Chin, focused on a 1937 law that has been largely overlooked in the debate over Mr. McCain’s eligibility to be president. The law conferred citizenship on children of American parents born in the Canal Zone after 1904, and it made John McCain a citizen just before his first birthday. But the law came too late, Professor Chin argued, to make Mr. McCain a natural-born citizen.
A lawsuit challenging Mr. McCain’s qualifications is pending in the Federal District Court in Concord, N.H.
There are, Professor Chin argued in his analysis, only two ways to become a natural-born citizen. One, specified in the Constitution, is to be born in the United States. The other way is to be covered by a law enacted by Congress at the time of one’s birth.
Professor Chin wrote that simply being born in the Canal Zone did not satisfy the 14th Amendment, which says that “all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States.”
Like I said--I don't expect that this will be an issue. It's unfathomable that the child born to parents serving their country overseas would not automatically be a citizen of this country--but the legal analysis appears to be spot on and McCain appears to be in a grey area of the law.