WASHINGTON — Question:
Is Sen. Kamala Harris eligible to be vice president of the United States?
Yes. Like the requirements to be president, the Constitution mandates that a person must be at least 35-years-old, must have lived in the United States for at least 14 years, and must be a "natural born citizen" to be eligible to be vice president.
Since Harris was born in California, she is deemed eligible, regardless of the fact that she was born to immigrant parents.
Article II, Section I of the Constitution
2011 Report from the Congressional Research Service
Lawrence B. Solum, University of Virginia
David Super, The Georgetown Law Center
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On Tuesday evening, a burning political question was answered, when former Vice President Joe Biden announced that Sen. Kamala Harris would be his running mate for the 2020 election.
The California senator gained national attention in 2019 when she first began her campaign for president. In the aftermath of the announcement, social media posts resurfaced, regarding her eligibility to be president or vice president.
"Kamala is a first-generation American," wrote one user on Facebook. "All Presidents must be the product of citizen parents, but Kamala is not. She's yet another ineligible Democrat candidate."
Similar posts were shared on Twitter.
Others posted that this was part of a scheme to get House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the White House, since her position would be third in line for the presidency.
But the Constitution is pretty clear about who is eligible to be president.
Article II, Section I states that in order to be president, one must be at least 35-years-old, must have lived in the United States for at least 14 years, and must be a "natural born citizen."
The most common way to become a natural-born citizen is to be born in the United States, regardless of the citizenship status of one's parents. David Super, a law professor at The Georgetown Law Center said this excludes the children of foreign diplomats.
"But if one is born in the U.S.," he said. "The nationality of one's parents is irrelevant."
A 2011 report by the Congressional Research Service addressed this question:
"There is no provision in the Constitution," the report read. "And no controlling American case law to support a contention that the citizenship of one's parents governs the eligibility of a native-born U.S. Citizen to be President."
Kamala Harris, born in California, would thus be a "natural born citizen," eligible to run for president or vice president, regardless of her foreign-born parents.