Update: Little Rock Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Over Cruz, Rubio Eligibility


Update: Little Rock Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Over Cruz, Rubio Eligibility
Ted Cruz

Update:

A federal judge in Little Rock has dismissed a lawsuit challenging the eligibility of Republicans Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio to run for president on the grounds that they are not "natural-born" citizens of the United States.

U.S. District Judge Brian Miller heard arguments Monday by David Librace of Helena, who was contesting the eligibility of Cruz and Rubio and asking that they be removed from the ballot. Miller dismissed the action, agreeing with attorneys of the candidates and the Arkansas Secretary of State's office, which was also named as a defendant, that Librace did not have standing to bring action.

Miller noted that voters generally do not have standing to bring political issues to federal court because they cannot establish that they suffered a a particular or individual injury qualifying them as plaintiffs. Miller issued an order Monday officially dismissing the suit and denying the request by Librace, who has filed numerous political lawsuits in the past.

— Kyle Massey

Original post, Feb. 29, 2016:

A serial litigator and political gadfly will get a chance on Monday to convince a federal judge in Little Rock that presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are not eligible to appear on Tuesday's Republican primary ballot because neither is a "natural born citizen."

U.S. District Judge Brian Miller on Friday granted David Librace's motion to proceed with the civil lawsuit he filed Feb. 3. Librace, of Helena, is representing himself. He is also running for president as an independent.

"In order to run for president, I think it finally needs to be defined," Librace, in an interview with Arkansas Business on Sunday, said of the constitution's citizenship requirement.

More: Read the full complaint.

On Monday morning, Secretary of State Mark Martin, the first named defendant, filed a 33-page response that begins by alleging that Librace is not a suitable plaintiff because he "is a previously convicted felon from the State of Florida" under the name of Roy Allen Cole.

Librace, who has filed numerous political lawsuits in the past, argues in his 10-page complaint that Cruz's birth in Canada means he is not a natural born citizen, which is one of the constitutional requirements for the presidency. He also argues that Rubio, while born in Miami, is not a natural born citizen because his Cuban parents were not citizens at the time of his birth.

The definition of a natural born citizen has never been settled by the U.S. Supreme Court, something Librace feels needs to happen. His complaint noted that the Naturalization Act of 1790, which specifically identified children of American citizens born outside the country as natural born citizens, was promptly repealed by Congress.

Cruz and Rubio, both U.S. senators, are named as defendants. But the first named defendant is Secretary of State Mark Martin, who placed Cruz and Rubio on the ballot at the behest of the Republican Party of Arkansas Executive Committee, which is also named as a defendant.

Librace argues that Cruz "was and is neither natural born or native born U.S. citizen," despite the fact that his mother was born in Delaware and was presumably an American citizen "unless it is found that she renounced her U.S. Citizenship."

Rubio, Librace said in his complaint, is the first person to seek the presidency despite neither of his parents being citizens at the time of his birth. (He also alleges that Rubio "embellished his family history" in a book and in speeches.)

Martin, the secretary of state with oversight of elections, objected to Librace's motion to proceed with the case without paying court costs, saying Librace was using pauper status to harass Martin. Librace has filed three previous suits against Martin, including one complaining that taxpayers should not bear the cost of party primaries.

Judge Miller, however, granted Librace's motion late Friday afternoon and set another hearing for noon on Monday, saying he thought Librace deserved to be heard.

"I started this day with a judge from Conway and ended the day with Ted Cruz," Miller commented. Then he proceeded with one more hearing: The sentencing of Albert Solaroli, the Florida businessman who received a fraudulent loan of $1.5 million from One Bank & Trust of Little Rock.

— Gwen Moritz