The Volokh Conspiracy
Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent
Law professor Victor Williams is running for president for the purpose of challenging whether Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) is a "natural born citizen" eligible to be elected president. Williams believes that "Ted 'Canadian' Cruz" is ineligible. He also brands Cruz as an "extremist." In order to establish standing to press this claim, Williams filed as a candidate in the Republican primary in nine states, subsequently filing ballot eligibility challenges against Cruz in each one.
One state—New Jersey—is taking Prof. Williams' charges seriously and has scheduled a hearing on Cruz's eligibility for Monday morning, according to this release. Because he has filed as a competing candidate, Williams believes that he has "competitor standing" to challenge Cruz's eligibility and, if his claim is rejected by state officials, to file suit in court.
As regular readers know, I believe that Cruz does qualify as a "natural born citizen" for purposes of Article II of the Constitution. I discussed this matter (and related academic research) here, here and here. Thus I believe Williams should lose on the merits. As for standing, however, he may have a claim. A genuine competing candidate can claim to be injured by the presence of an ineligible competitor on the ballot. Is Williams a genuine candidate? Perhaps, although it seems he is a candidate for the sole purpose of manufacturing standing. Should that matter? Another question to ponder.