Even if #Ted Cruz had won the GOP nomination, even if he had won the general election, Cruz would have never been sworn in on January 20th at the presidential inauguration. This has nothing to do with partisan #politics, or the strength of his character, and everything to do with the #Supreme Court. There are only three requirements outlined by the Constitution for a person to become President of the United States. According to Article II, Section I, they have to be inhabitants of the US for at least fourteen years, be at least thirty-five years of age, and they have to be a natural-born citizen. Ted Cruz does not meet one of those qualifications.

Ted Cruz: Canadian first

By his own admissionnot a conspiracy theory created by political opponents—Ted Cruz was born on Canadian soil to civilian parents, and moved to the United States as a child. The issue is there is a high amount of debate over the exact definition of what is considered “natural-born.” The term is never defined in the Constitution, or by the Supreme Court. Some constitutional scholars believe that natural-born means someone who, at the moment of their birth, legally fits the requirements to becoming an American citizen. They’re eligible, but they or their parents have to still apply. However, most argue that the candidate needs to have been born on U.S. soil.

Why the ambiguity?

The reason this has not yet been addressed by the Supreme Court (the only branch of the government that can define the Constitution) because no one with this kind of heritage has ever been elected president. The only one who really comes close to Cruz’s background is former president Dwight Eisenhower, but with a few key distinctions. Eisenhower may have been born abroad, but he was born to two American parents on a U.S. military base—technically American soil. Cruz’s father was a Cuban citizen until 1973, before he became a Canadian citizen. Ironically, this is the exact situation several Tea Party supporters—falsely—gave as a reason for why the Hawaiian-native Barrack Obama should be ineligible to become President. Except with Ted Cruz, the accusation is actually true. He was born in a different country, to a mother who is an American citizen, and a father who is a foreigner. Sound familiar?

The Supreme Court: not looking for a mind at work

There’s never been an actual Supreme Court case regarding Cruz’s eligibility because the Supreme Court does not deal in hypotheticals. For them to hear the case, there needs to be concrete harm already done. The Court—nine people, along with their staff—already has to sift through thousands of case files every year to determine whether or not they’ll review the lawsuit. Unlike Congress, Supreme Court Justices—both liberal and conservative—earn their paychecks. They wouldn’t even have time to breathe if they also had to respond to hypothetical situations.