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The day before Utahns saw Texas Sen. Ted Cruz make his case to become their next president, a judge tossed a federal lawsuit from a Utah resident who said Cruz was ineligible to do so.
U.S. District Judge Jill N. Parrish wrote that because Cruz's campaign has done Walter Wagner no harm, the 65-year-old former attorney lacks standing for his contention that Cruz does not qualify as a "natural-born" citizen.
Wagner, who lives in Utah County and previously sued to prevent atom-smashing in the Large Hadron Collider, was among a half-dozen nationwide to challenge Cruz's eligibility.
"I figured that she'd look for a cop-out, which is what they do when they don't want to rule on the substance," he said by phone Saturday. "... She doesn't want to be the one to derail a campaign, I guess."
He said he will appeal Parrish's ruling and petition the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case.
Cruz was born in Canada to an American mother and a Cuban father a U.S. citizen but not a natural-born U.S. citizen as understood by the Constitution's framers, Wagner argued.
That claim was made popular by GOP front-runner Donald Trump, who again questioned Cruz's eligibility during a rally at Salt Lake City's Infinity Event Center on Friday night.
Wagner argued that he had standing as a citizen who was registered to vote, but University of Utah law professor Wayne McCormack previously told The Tribune that it's likely only Congress or another presidential candidate would be able to challenge Cruz's eligibility.
Still, Cruz took Wagner's threat seriously enough that his defense team included Gene Schaerr, the Washington lawyer who led Utah's challenge of U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby's landmark gay marriage ruling in Kitchen v. Herbert.
Cruz's defense had argued that "to describe a person as 'natural born' is to say that the person was vested with a particular trait at birth," and Cruz was born a U.S. citizen, it said.
Parrish wrote that her ruling "does not reach the underlying question of Senator Cruz's eligibility to be President of the United States."
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