Newsweek Publishes Birther Attack On Kamala Harris

Twitter exploded overnight after Newsweek published a birtherism attack on Sen. Kamala Harris by John Eastman, chairman of the anti-LGBTQ hate group NOM. Eastman ran unsuccessfully against Harris to be California Attorney General, losing the 2010 Republican primary.

An excerpt:

The fact that Senator Kamala Harris has just been named the vice presidential running mate for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has some questioning her eligibility for the position.

The 12th Amendment provides that “no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.” And Article II of the Constitution specifies that “[n]o person except a natural born citizen…shall be eligible to the office of President.”

Her father was (and is) a Jamaican national, her mother was from India, and neither was a naturalized U.S. citizen at the time of Harris’ birth in 1964. That, according to these commentators, makes her not a “natural born citizen”—and therefore ineligible for the office of the president and, hence, ineligible for the office of the vice president.

Newsweek‘s editor responds to the furor:

Debating the meaning of these constitutional provisions and, in the particular case of Dr. Eastman’s piece, the meaning of the 14th Amendment’s phrase “subject to the jurisdiction thereof,” is not an attempt to deny facts or to make false claims. No one is questioning Harris’ place of birth or the legitimacy of an obviously valid birth certificate.

On the contrary, leading law schools have long entertained debates between competing scholars about the original public meaning of the Citizenship Clause.

The issue discussed in these debates, and contested by Dr. Eastman, is whether birthright citizenship (jus soli, birth by soil), as opposed to merely citizenship by parentage (jus sanguinis, that is, citizenship by citizenship of one’s parents at time of birth), is textually mandated.

Longtime JMG readers will recall Eastman’s many, many attacks on LGBTQ rights. In 2015, he wrote that he hoped that former Kentucky clerk Kim Davis’s defiance would ignite a wave of revolt against “lawless” same-sex marriage.

That same year he declared that Uganda’s should reinstate its life sentence for homosexuality “in short order.”

Also in 2015, Sen. Ted Cruz called Eastman to testify about the “tyranny” of the Supreme Court. Cruz, not incidentally, has also been accused of not being a “natural born citizen,” which Eastman has said he is.