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Complaint Questions McCain Citizenship

•  Political and Legal     updated  2008/03/11 20:42

John McCain has been called an American hero. But is he a natural born citizen?

A federal judge in California has been asked to determine if the Republican presidential candidate, who was born in the Panama Canal Zone in 1936, meets the legal test to qualify for the nation's highest office.

The Constitution requires that only "natural born" citizens hold the presidency, a term on which the Founding Fathers did not elaborate.

McCain has said there is no question about his eligibility, an assessment echoed by former Solicitor General Ted Olson, who is examining the issue for the campaign. It was also researched for his first presidential bid in 2000.

Questions about McCain's citizenship are "nonsense," campaign spokeswoman Jill Hazelbaker said Tuesday in an e-mail.

A two-page complaint filed March 6 in U.S. District Court in Riverside, Calif., argues that a judge should step in because the constitutional language is not precise, opening questions about the Arizona senator's standing.

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