It would be difficult for a non-citizen to run for and win a seat in the United States Senate, but there's at least an argument that he or she is eligible to do so, and there is one candidate who could just pull it off.
Article I, Section 3 of the United States Constitution has three paragraphs. The third provides that "No person shall be a senator who shall not have attained to the age of 30 years, and been nine years a citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that state for which he shall be chosen."
The first two paragraphs of Article I, Section 3 were totally rewritten by the 17th Amendment, which is itself three paragraphs long. There is no "savings clause" in the amendment, except for the clause that saves the "term of any senator chosen before" the 17th Amendment becomes valid. There is no age, citizenship or residency requirement in the 17th Amendment. It emerged at the height of the Progressive Era, an era not much given to upholding the old classifications.
The progressives could easily have renumbered old paragraph three as new paragraph four and kept it in place, but a reading of the 17th doesn't require that conclusion, so it would seem that the voters could decide for themselves if a non-citizen decided to run for a Senate seat.
The perfect test candidate for just such a proposition is none other than columnist-to-the-world Mark Steyn, all of whose work can be found at www.SteynOnline.com. He already has the T-Shirts, the campaign books and even a Christmas CD of holiday songs including a disco version, which puts him at a distinct advantage over all other would-be GOP-nominees.
He has a brain and is wickedly funny which puts him at a huge advantage over incumbent Jeanne Shaheen, the embodiment of the dull Democratic Party lifer: six years in the New Hampshire state senate, six years as New Hampshire governor, now in her fifth year as a New Hampshire United States senator. Yawn.
Shaheen has evolved like all post-Obama Democrats: She was for the Iraq war before she was against it; against gay marriage before she was for it; for "Don't ask, Don't tell" until she turned on it; for the economic stimulus and very much for Obamacare.
Steyn not only supported the invasion of Iraq, he drove to Fallajuh a few weeks after the troops got there for a chicken dinner. "I ordered the mixed grill," he wrote not long afterwards, "which turned out not to be that mixed. Just a tough old, stringy chicken."
"My tie would have been easier to chew," he continued. "The locals watched me - a few obviously surly and resentful, the rest wary and resentful. But I've had worse welcomes in Berkeley, so I chewed on, and, washed down with a pitcher of coliform bacteria, it wasn't bad."
And there's my case for Steyn for Senate, '14: "A Granite Stomach for a Granite State." Or, "Why not the funniest?" Sure he's a Canadian, but Game of Thrones aficionados know Mance Rayder when they see him. (Mance is the "King Beyond the Wall" in the epic, from the far, far north ... like Steyn.)
The Shaheen-Steyn debates could be pay-per-view, with proceeds to benefit the children. Publishers should be lining up with advance checks for Steyn, and modern political idiocy would never be so well chronicled as in this campaign memoir.
Run, Mark, run. Urge him on at www.SteynforSenate.com.
HUGH HEWITT, Washington Examiner columnist, is a law professor at Chapman University Law School and a nationally syndicated radio show host who blogs daily at HughHewitt.com.