Monthly Archives: October 2011

We Write Letters (Natural Born Citizen Dept.)

Dear Mr. Leary,

As a sometimes professor of Constitutional Law, I would like to point out a small issue with the lede to your article today regarding Marco Rubio’s eligibility to be President.

As printed in the Miami Herald, the article begins,

“Unable to prevent Barack Obama from becoming president, rigid followers of the Constitution have turned their attention to another young, charismatic politician many think could one day occupy the White House.”

The word I have a problem with is “rigid”. It is wrong to describe the view that “natural-born” means “born as the child of citizens” as being somehow a strict reading of the Constitution analogous to, say, a literal interpretation of the Bible or the “strict constructionist” school of constitutional interpretation. In fact, this reading is ahistorical and pretty nearly delusional. It has no support in case law or in history. To call it rigid is to suggest that there is some textual backing for it. There really is not. There may be the occasional comment here or there that can pulled out of context, but there is actually very little even of that, and nothing substantive, and it is not, and has never been, our law.

So the reading being proffered here isn’t “rigid” — it’s deviant, unprecedented, novel, extreme. No doubt these are all words newspapers hate to use in their quest to seem neutral. But an unwillingness to call something what it is should not push you into giving it even a shred of false legitimacy.

I might add that I am in no way a supporter of Mr. Rubio. That doesn’t change the the facts about our understanding of this clause of the Constitution.

Yours Sincerely,

A. Michael Froomkin
Professor of Law

Previously: Is McCain a “Natural Born Citizen”?

Posted in Law: Constitutional Law, The Media | 5 Comments

What The Wall Street Protesters Are So Angry About

CHARTS: Here's What The Wall Street Protesters Are So Angry About… via Business Insider.


Posted in Econ & Money | Leave a comment

The “MIT School of Law”

For many years I have joked that my dream job would be at the MIT School of Law, if only such a thing existed. Well, maybe someday it will. At least virtually.

Posted in Law School | 1 Comment

Tax Law and Airline Baggage Checking Fees

In Why The Tax Code Encourages American Airlines to Award Bonus Miles for Checking Bags in Boston View from the Wing explains how the tax code encourages airlines to add fees to base ticket prices rather than bundle prices like cable TV companies do.

I guess this means we have to start taxing baggage checking fees?

[Edited shortly after original posting for clarity.]

Posted in Econ & Money, Law: Tax | Leave a comment

Smoke t No More

Local BBQ joint Smoke t seems to have closed three days ago, or so I discovered at lunch today.

Apparently, I’m the last to know that the location will become Shake Shack.

Smoke t always seemed busy when I went there, and I would have thought they were coining it. Either I was wrong, or the gurus at Shake Shake made them an offer they couldn’t refuse.

Posted in Coral Gables, Miami | 3 Comments

Putting an iPhone to the ‘Fullest Possible Use’

This image of the new Siri intelligent agent at work is the first thing I’ve ever seen that makes me think an iPhone might be a good thing to have.

Meanwhile, however, the Android remains a more open platform, which certainly has its virtues (and the occasional vice too).

Source: Brad DeLong (who got it from a Telstra user in Australia?).

Posted in Sufficiently Advanced Technology | Leave a comment