Fortuño for VP, and the Constitutional question

In today’s WSJ, William McGurn posits,
Fortuño Favors the GOP
Puerto Rico’s Republican governor would be a fine choice for vice president.

He’s young, dynamic, and well-spoken. As a Republican vice presidential nominee, he could help with Latino voters in 2012.

And he’s not Marco Rubio.

His name is Luis Fortuño, and he’s part of a rising generation of Republicans pushing pro-growth, small-government agendas. Like many of these men and women, Mr. Fortuño is a governor. What makes him striking is that he’s governor of an American territory, Puerto Rico, rather than an American state.

“I’m flattered,” says Mr. Fortuño when a reporter pitches the vice presidency to him. “But what I’ve done in Puerto Rico hasn’t been about my own re-election or advancement. It been about doing what I think is right.”

Spend any time with Mr. Fortuño, and you will learn that high on his list of doing what’s right is ensuring government lives within its means. When he was elected governor in 2008, one out of three Puerto Ricans were working for the government. When he was sworn in, there wasn’t enough money to meet the payroll. In response, Mr. Fortuño cut spending and 20,000 government workers, provoking angry protests.

The governor stood his ground. Earlier this year, he signed a bill slashing individual and corporate taxes—and he says there’s much more to do. For example, because Puerto Rico is not connected to the U.S. electric grid, it gets 68% of its electricity from oil (against about 1% for the U.S.), making its economy especially vulnerable to high oil prices. Just last week, Mr. Fortuño won a huge victory when the Army Corps of Engineers issued a favorable preliminary ruling on a natural-gas pipeline that would run 92 miles from southern Puerto Rico toward San Juan.

Just yesterday I posted the Stossel interview,

Newt also interviewed Fortuño,

Fortuño is certainly a long-standing Republican member of the RNC, a Conservative whose speech at CPAC last year brought down the house (the people running the CPAC website are linking the wrong video, in case you try, but here’s an amateur video of the event), who worked as Resident Commissioner in Washington, DC from 2005-2009.

The first thing he did when he took office as governor was give himself a 10% pay cut. He’s cut red tape drastically, making Puerto Rico the second-most competitive economy in Latin America.

He’s also announced that he’ll run for a second term as governor of PR.

The article makes one glaring error, however,

Puerto Ricans have been American citizens since 1971

Puerto Ricans have been born American citizens since 1941.

The Constitution, Article II, Section 1, stipulates,

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; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

Now, here’s the situation: Puerto Rico is a Commonwealth.

Since the Office of Vice-President by definition means its holder is eligible for the Office of President, the discussion in the WSJ comments section focuses on whether Fortuño is eligible. He definitely was born a Citizen of the US, as are all Puerto Ricans born on or after January 13, 1941

All persons born in Puerto Rico on or after January 13, 1941, and subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, are citizens of the United States at birth

All of us who live in the 50 States can, and do, vote in all elections, including for President.

I’ll leave to you the discussion.

The larger issue, though, is, who will the Republicans have in the 2012 ticket?


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