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Is Canadian-born Ted Cruz eligible to be president? ‘No question’ says Senator Orrin Hatch

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Posted at 6:30 PM, Jan 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-07 20:30:59-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- Texas Senator Ted Cruz doesn't have the endorsement of Utah's senior Republican Senator, but he just got an important legal opinion that could be more valuable.

Senator Orrin Hatch is the senior Republican and President Pro-Tem of the Senate. He's also a long-time member and former chair of the Judiciary Committee, putting him as close to the federal judiciary as any legislator in Washington.

So, when Donald Trump asks if Cruz (who was born in Canada and renounced his Canadian citizenship about 18 months ago) is constitutionally eligible for the presidency, a supportive answer from Hatch helps, and that's what Hatch provided on Fox 13's Live at 4 Thursday.

"There's not even a question about that," Hatch said. "Constitutionally, he's a citizen. He was born to a citizen who was out of the country at the time, and I think Trump was way off-board in doing that."

Hatch's statement contradicts fellow GOP Senator John McCain, who has said the question is valid. McCain himself was born on a U.S. military base in Panama. But McCain does not have Hatch's legal training or judiciary committee experience.

The natural-born citizen question has never been adjudicated because, while candidates McCain, Barry Goldwater, and George Romney were born outside of the U.S., none of them won the job.

Hatch also discussed other current events during his stop at the FOX 13 Studio Thursday, see the video below for his complete interview.