Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, has chosen California Senator Kamala Harris to be his running mate.
While such a story may seem somewhat unremarkable, the particulars of the two people involved in this political decision make the story more problematic than it appears on its face.
Joe Biden suffers from what many reckon are substantial setbacks in his cognitive capacity and his advanced age is undeniable, placing Kamala Harris in a more-likely-than-usual position to assume the office of president.
That likelihood is made more meaningful given that Harris herself has made a run at the Democratic Party’s nomination that her now-ticket mate has all but wrapped up.
So while in most election years the specific constitutional qualifications of the vice-presidential nominee may be of no more than academic interest, in light of Biden’s decreasing awareness and increasing age Harris’ constitutional eligibility for the presidency is of urgent import.
Put simply, Kamala Harris is constitutionally ineligible to be president of the United States because she is not a natural born citizen, as required by Article II (and, by reference, the 12th Amendment) of the U.S. Constitution.
While born in the United States — Oakland, California — at the time of her birth, Kamala Harris’ father was a citizen of Jamaica and her mother was a citizen of India. This makes Kamala Harris a native-born American — thus eligible to serve as a U.S. senator — but she is not a natural born citizen, the higher standard set for those occupying the office of president.