Opponents of Cruz White House bid take case to N.Y. appeals panel

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 23, 2016 4:13 PM

By James Odato

ALBANY, N.Y. (Reuters) - Lawyers for two New York residents seeking to throw Ted Cruz off next month's presidential primary ballot in the state urged an Appeals Court panel on Wednesday to consider whether the U.S. senator from Texas is eligible given his Canadian birth.

The case put forward by New York residents Barry Korman, 81, of Manhattan and William Gallo, 85, of Manhasset, had been dismissed by a Supreme Court judge earlier this month because it was filed after a procedural deadline.

Lawyers Roger Bernstein and Judith Hancock urged the five judges of the Appellate Division of New York to consider the merits of their case to block Cruz from the April 19 New York state primary election.

The objectors attached Cruz's birth certificate showing he was born in December 1970 in Calgary, Alberta.

Bernstein told the panel the primary ballot must only contain constitutionally eligible presidential candidates, and argued the appeals judges should give greater weight to the importance of the issue than the missed deadline.

Their petition to block Cruz came 19 days beyond the three-day limit after a candidate files a request to be placed on the ballot, Cruz’s lawyers said, adding that the objection should not go forward because it was tardy.

The appeals judges are expected to rule later this week.

The case is one of several similar challenges to Cruz's eligibility to run for the White House - including lawsuits in Alabama, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Texas - filed since Republican front-runner Donald Trump brought up questions about whether Cruz meets the constitutional requirement to be president.

The Constitution says that to be president, a person must be a "natural-born citizen" of the United States. Cruz has argued that he is eligible to run because of his mother's U.S. citizenship, and many legal experts say it is unlikely any judge in the United States would block his presidential bid.

The lawyers representing the New York objectors are also representing the appeal of Carmon Elliott, who is complaining about Cruz being on the ballot in Pennsylvania.

(Editing by Richard Valdmanis)