Ralph Nader aged 2, with his older sister Laura (who has been a Professor of Anthropology at UC Berkeley since 1960). This photograph was taken in 1936.
THE HOLY TRINITY OF INELIGIBILITY?
by Rod Ciferri
I’ve previously written inquiries into the eligibility of the two major party candidates of the last presidential election in “War Is Over!” and “McCain’s Natural Born Problem”. Therein I noted that being a U.S. citizen is not enough to be eligible for president. The U.S. Constitution, in Article 1, Section 2, sets a higher standard, “natural born citizen”, which requires a presidential candidate be born in the country to at least a U.S. citizen father.
I’ve come to the conclusion that McCain’s undisputed Panamanian birth crushes his eligibility since the mere U.S. proprietary rights acquired in the Panama Canal Zone did not make it part of the U.S., and, absent pulling a rabbit out of the hat, and explaining some gigantic lies about his personal life, Obama’s eligibility is non-existent as well due to his father’s apparent Kenyan citizenship.
What about Nader? He did come in third place according to popular vote (although didn’t reach the radar screen with the Electoral College). If McCain and Obama are both disqualified, then Nader would be the presumptive front-runner to win the Electoral College vote. Is he a natural born citizen, and, thus eligible for president?
The short answer is: Maybe, maybe not.
Like Obama, it depends upon the citizenship of his father. Although information about Nader’s public life is voluminous on the internet, details about his parents are skeletal in comparison.
A glance at wikipedia.com reveals that Nader’s parents, Nathra and Rose, who were natives of Lebanon, were married in 1925 and “immigrated to the United States.” Nader was born in Winsted, Connecticut in 1934. It is not clear to me when Nader’s parents immigrated to the United States.
The question of Nader’s natural born citizenship, hinges upon whether or not Nathra was a naturalized U.S. citizen prior to Nader’s birth. If so, Nader is a natural born citizen, having been born in the country to a father who was a citizen, and, thus, eligible for president.
The immigration statute governing naturalization in effect from 1924 through 1952 was the Immigration Act of 1924. Under this law, it was possible for an immigrant to become naturalized a U.S. citizen within five years.
If Nader’s parents immigrated shortly before or after their marriage in 1925, they would have been in the country for nine years when Nader was born. Therefore, it is possible they had become U.S. citizens before Nader was born.
However, since I’ve found no information about the natural born citizen issue regarding Nader, his eligibility for president remains unclear.