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Ted Cruz may have the aura of a future presidential contender, but is he even eligible to run?

The newly sworn-in Texas senator and rising Republican star was born in Canada, to a mother who was born in Delaware and Cuban father. That’s triggered a debate about whether he’s eligible for the nation’s highest office — nevermind that he’s been in Congress less than a week.

While there’s no legal precedent for Cruz’s situation, most constitutional scholars surveyed by POLITICO believe the 42-year-old tea party sensation would be OK. But there’s just enough gray area to stoke controversy, as Cruz learned during his campaign for Senate last year.

The U.S. Constitution states: “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President…”

“The question ultimately is, What do we mean by a natural born citizen?” asked Yale law professor Bruce Ackerman.

“The problem is, no one knows what a natural born citizen is,” agreed University of Arizona professor Gabriel Chin, who argued in 2008 that Sen. John McCain was not eligible to be president.

The discussion may seem premature: Cruz is still learning his way around the Senate, his first elected office. Yet his appeal to activist and establishment types — and his Latino roots in a party desperately seeking to expand its reach — make for a rare combination in the GOP.

Continue reading on www.politico.com