Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
A high-powered team of Los Angeles attorneys representing President Obama in his effort to keep his birth certificate, college records and passport documents concealed from the public has suggested there should be “monetary sanctions” against a lawyer whose clients have brought a complaint alleging Obama doesn’t qualify for the Oval Office under the Constitution’s demand for a “natural born” citizen in that post.
The suggestion came in an exchange of e-mails and documents in a case brought by former presidential candidate Alan Keyes and others in California. The case originally sought to have the state’s electors ordered to withhold their votes for Obama until his eligibility was established. Since Obama’s inauguration, it has been amended to seek a future requirement for a vetting process, in addition to the still-sought unveiling of his records.
The lawyer for the college, Stuart W. Rudnick of Musick, Peeler & Garrett, urgently contacted Fredric D. Woocher of Strumwasser & Woocher.
“This firm is counsel to Occidental College. The College is in receipt of the enclosed subpoena that seeks certain information concerning President-Elect Barack Obama,” he wrote via fax. “Inasmuch as the subpoena appears to be valid on its face, the College will have no alternative but to comply with the subpoena absent a court order instructing otherwise.”
Within hours, Woocher contacted Kreep regarding the issue, telling him, “It will likely not surprise you to hear that President-elect Obama opposes the production of the requested records.
“In order to avoid the needless expense of our bringing and litigating a Motion to Quash the subpoena, I am writing to ask whether you would be willing to agree voluntarily to cancel or withdraw the subpoena.”
Woocher warned, “Please be advised, in particular, that in the event we are forced to file a motion to quash and we prevail in that motion, we will seek the full measure of monetary sanctions provided for in the Code of Civil Procedures.”
Kreep, out of town for a business trip, did not respond immediately, and the motion eventually was filed. It states that the records, which could reveal on what name Obama attended classes at Occidental and whether he attended on scholarship money intended for foreign students, “are of no relevance to this moot litigation.”
The motion also claims the petitioners failed to serve the subpoena properly.
“The subpoena directed to Occidental College should therefore be quashed. Alternatively, this court should issue an order directing that the deposition of the custodian of records of Occidental College not take place,” the firm working on Obama’s behalf stated.
“The central issue in this lawsuit … is whether any Respondent had a legal duty to demand proof of natural born citizenship from Democratic Party’s nominee,” the motion said. “None of the documents sought by petitioners could possibly assist in answering this question.”
The motion then cited a precedent from a case involving a “former law firm client who brought malpractice action against firm claiming unconscionable rates was not entitled to discovery regarding amount paid by law firm to contract staff attorney because such information is irrelevant to unconscionability claim.”
The case, with Keyes, Wiley S. Drake and Markham Robinson as plaintiffs, names California Secretary of State Debra Bowen, Barack Hussein Obama, Joe Biden and the state’s electors as defendants.
“OBAMA has been inaugurated as the president of the United States. However, to properly assume such office, OBAMA must meet the qualifications specified in Article II, Section 1 of the United States Constitution for the Office of the President of the United States, which includes that he must be a ‘natural born’ citizen,” the amended complaint states.
“OBAMA has failed to demonstrate that he is a ‘natural born’ citizen. There have been a number of legal challenges before various state and federal courts regarding aspects of non-, lost, or dual citizenship concerning OBAMA. Those challenges, in and of themselves, demonstrate Petitioners’ argument that reasonable doubt exists as to his eligibility to serve as President of the United States.
“To avert a constitutional crisis which would certainly accrue after such an election through laborious legal challenges, this writ seeks to require SOS (Secretary of State) to verify the eligibility of a Presidential candidate prior to the candidate appearing on the California ballot. It is incumbent on the candidates to present the necessary documentation confirming his or her eligibility, but, to date, for this past election, OBAMA has failed to do so,” the complaint continues.
“An unprecedented and looming constitutional crisis awaits if a President elected by the popular vote and the electoral vote does not constitutionally qualify to serve in that capacity,” the case said. “In addition, if OBAMA is not a ‘natural born’ citizen and not eligible for presidency, OBAMA will be subject to the criminal provisions of the California Elections Code, stating, ‘Any person who files or submits for filing a nomination paper or declaration of candidacy knowing that it, or any part of it, has been made falsely, is punishable by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000) or by imprisonment in the state prison for 16 months or two or three years or by both the fine and imprisonment,’” the complaint states.
WND has reported on multiple legal challenges that have alleged Obama does not meet the “natural born citizen” clause of the U.S. Constitution, Article 2, Section 1, which reads, “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.”
Some claim he was not born in Hawaii, as he insists, but in Kenya. Obama’s American mother, the suits contend, was too young at the time of his birth to confer American citizenship to her son under the law at the time.
Other challenges have focused on Obama’s citizenship through his father, a Kenyan subject to the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom at the time of his birth, thus making him a dual citizen. The cases contend the framers of the Constitution excluded dual citizens from qualifying as natural born.
Several details of Obama’s past have added twists to the question of his eligibility and citizenship, including his family’s move to Indonesia when he was a child and on what nation’s passport he traveled to Pakistan in the ’80s, as well as conflicting reports from Obama’s family about his place of birth.
In just the last few days, WND has reported on a developing lawsuit by a team of state lawmakers as well as military officers, both of whom would be bound to follow orders from the president and would need to know whether the orders were legitimate.
WND also reported this week on a separate case that accuses Congress of failing to investigate President Obama’s birthplace before approving the Electoral College vote giving him the presidency, after going through that very investigative process for GOP candidate Sen. John McCain.
Several of the cases – including those brought by Orly Taitz, Cort Wrotnowski, Leo Donofrio and Philip Berg, already have been discussed in conference at the U.S. Supreme Court, which has decided not to hold a hearing on any of the merits.
Here is a partial listing and status update for several of the cases:
Philip J. Berg, a Pennsylvania Democrat, demanded that the courts verify Obama’s original birth certificate and other documents proving his American citizenship. Berg’s latest appeal, requesting an injunction to stop the Electoral College from selecting the 44th president, was denied.
Leo Donofrio of New Jersey filed a lawsuit claiming Obama’s dual citizenship disqualified him from serving as president. His case was considered in conference by the U.S. Supreme Court but denied a full hearing.
Cort Wrotnowski filed suit against Connecticut’s secretary of state, making a similar argument to Donofrio. His case was considered in conference by the U.S. Supreme Court, but was denied a full hearing.
Chicago attorney Andy Martin sought legal action requiring Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle to release Obama’s vital statistics record. The case was dismissed by Hawaii Circuit Court Judge Bert Ayabe.
Lt. Col. Donald Sullivan sought a temporary restraining order to stop the Electoral College vote in North Carolina until Barack Obama’s eligibility could be confirmed, alleging doubt about Obama’s citizenship. His case was denied.
In Ohio, David M. Neal sued to force the secretary of state to request documents from the Federal Elections Commission, the Democratic National Committee, the Ohio Democratic Party and Obama to show the presidential candidate was born in Hawaii. The case was denied.
In Washington state, Steven Marquis sued the secretary of state seeking a determination on Obama’s citizenship. The case was denied.
In Georgia, Rev. Tom Terry asked the state Supreme Court to authenticate Obama’s birth certificate. His request for an injunction against Georgia’s secretary of state was denied by Georgia Superior Court Judge Jerry W. Baxter.
California attorney Orly Taitz has brought a case, Lightfoot vs. Bowen, on behalf of Gail Lightfoot, the vice presidential candidate on the ballot with Ron Paul, four electors and two registered voters.
The governor’s office in Hawaii said there is a valid certificate but rejected requests for access and left ambiguous its origin: Does the certificate on file with the Department of Health indicate a Hawaii birth or was it generated after the Obama family registered a Kenyan birth in Hawaii, which the state’s procedures allowed at the time?