Rethinking Presidential Eligibility

By Eugene D. Mazo
November 29, 2016


Many aspiring American Presidents have had their candidacies challenged for failing to meet the Constitution’s eligibility requirements.  Although none of these challenges have ever been successful, they have sapped campaigns of valuable resources and posed a threat to several ambitious men.  This Article examines several notable presidential eligibility challenges and explains why they have often been unsuccessful.  The literature on presidential eligibility traditionally has focused on the Eligibility Clause, which enumerates the age, residency, and citizenship requirements that a President must satisfy before taking office.  By contrast, very little of it examines how a challenge to one’s candidacy impacts a presidential campaign.  This Article seeks to fill this gap.  It also offers a modest proposal:  Congress should pass legislation defining exactly who is eligible to be President and also implement procedural rules that would expedite presidential eligibility cases for review to the Supreme Court.