A judge in Cook County Circuit Court will hear testimony Friday in a lawsuit filed by an Illinois voter that alleges Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz should not be allowed to run for president, CNN and ABC are reporting.
Lawrence Joyce, an Illinois voter who has objected to Cruz’s placement on the Illinois primary ballot next month, will have his case heard in the Circuit Court of Cook County in Chicago. Joyce’s previous objection, made to the state’s Board of Elections, was dismissed on February 1.
Joyce challenges Cruz’s right to be president in the wake of questions put forth by GOP rival Donald Trump about being born in Canada, according to CNN.
Cruz maintains he is a natural-born citizen since his mother is American-born.
“My case presents the perfect opportunity for Donald Trump himself to step forward and bring the matter to court personally,” Joyce told WBBM radio.
Joyce, of Poplar Grove, Ill., said he’s concerned about what could happen if Cruz is the Republican nominee, saying the Democrats could file a challenge in the fall, ABC’s channel 7 in Chicago reported.
“At that point, all of his fundraising would dry up. And his support in the polls would drop dramatically. He may be forced at that point to resign the nomination,” Joyce said.
Joyce said he has not spoken to the Trump campaign and that he supports Republican contender Ben Carson.
The Trump and Cruz campaigns could not immediately be reached.
An attorney for the Ted Cruz campaign asked a Cook County judge Friday to dismiss an Illinois man’s lawsuit challenging the Texas senator’s eligibility to run for president, citing that the Republican hopeful wasn’t properly served with the complaint.
Lawrence Joyce, an Illinois voter and Ben Carson supporter, brought his complaint earlier this month to the Illinois State Board of Elections, which dismissed it.
Now, he is appealing the case with the Cook County Circuit Court in Chicago, asking it to rule Cruz ineligible to run in next month’s GOP primary in Illinois. Joyce challenges whether the senator from Texas meets the criteria to serve as president because he was born in Canada.
Sharee Langenstein, an attorney for Cruz, said in court Friday it is “very, very clear” the Cook County court doesn’t have jurisdiction to hear the case because state law stipulates the candidate be served with the complaint. Joyce, a pharmacist and attorney from Poplar Grove, Ill., failed to serve Cruz, whose home address is listed in his petition to be placed on the state’s ballot, Langenstein said.
The issue of whether Cruz is a “natural-born” citizen has been raised by others, including rival GOP presidential contender Donald Trump, who has threatened to file a lawsuit on the issue. Cruz maintains he meets the criteria because his mother is American-born.
Judge Maureen Ward Kirby set a March 1 court date to hear arguments on the motion to dismiss. Joyce, who works the midnight shift at a hospital pharmacy, told the judge he wasn’t available for arguments before then because of work commitments. The Illinois primary is March 15 and early voting has already begun.
Despite the close timing, Joyce said it is worth letting his complaint play out.
“The nomination doesn’t take place until July,” Joyce said. “So if a determination is made after the primary that Ted Cruz is not eligible to be president then certainly it would be incumbent upon the Republican National Committee not allow the name of Ted Cruz to be entered at the convention in July.”
Voters in Texas and New York also have filed legal challenges on whether Cruz meets the citizenship qualifications. The Indiana Board of Election is scheduled to hear a complaint Friday from a Republican voter challenging whether Cruz and fellow GOP presidential hopeful Marco Rubio meet the “natural-born” requirement. Rubio, whose parents immigrated from Cuba, was born in Florida.
Cruz has dismissed the efforts as “political mischief.”
He defended his citizenship and right to run at a CNN candidates’ forum Wednesday, saying he was born in Canada to a U.S. citizen, making him an automatic U.S citizen. His mother was born in Wilmington, Del., Cruz said.
“I never breathed a breath of air on this planet when I was not a U.S. citizen,” he said. “It was the act of being born that made me a U.S. citizen.”