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 Washington, D.C., law firm defending President Obama in a lawsuit challenging his eligibility to be president that earlier was tossed by a district judge because the issue already had been “twittered” now is threatening sanctions against opposing counsel if he doesn’t withdraw his appeal of that decision.
The warning from Robert F. Bauer of the Washington firm Perkins Cole was delivered via letter to the plaintiff’s attorney, John D. Hemenway. It is not the first such warning issued. Lawyers trying to kill a similar California lawsuit filed on behalf of Ambassador Alan Keyes also said they would seek sanctions against the plaintiff’s attorneys in that case unless they left the issue of the president’s eligibility alone.
The warning from Bauer noted that the firm represented Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in the case brought on behalf of Gregory S. Hollister, a retired military officer who is subject to being recalled to duty and, therefore, would need to know the legitimacy of any order coming from Obama.
“For the reasons stated in Judge Robertson’s ruling, the suit is frivolous and should not be pursued,” the letter warned. “Should you decline to withdraw this frivolous appeal, please be informed that we intend to pursue sanctions, including costs, expenses and attorneys’ fees, pursuant to Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 38 and D.C. Circuit Rule 38.”
The district judge in the case, James Robertson, also had suggested sanctions against Hemenway. But Robertson quickly backed away when Hemenway noted the judge had cited hearsay in his ruling. Hemenway argued that if he was going to be penalized, he was eligible to a discovery hearing in which he could see documentation of what the judge cited as fact.
There never was an actual court hearing in the Hollister case, with Robertson ruling that there was no need.
Robertson wrote: “The plaintiff says that he is a retired Air Force colonel who continues to owe fealty to his Commander-in-Chief (because he might possibly be recalled to duty) and who is tortured by uncertainty as to whether he would have to obey orders from Barack Obama because it has not been proven – to the colonel’s satisfaction – that Mr. Obama is a native-born American citizen, qualified under the Constitution to be president.
“The issue of the president’s citizenship was raised, vetted, blogged, texted, twittered, and otherwise massaged by America’s vigilant citizenry during Mr. Obama’s two-year-campaign for the presidency, but this plaintiff wants it resolved by a court,” Robertson wrote.
Robertson, warning of sanctions against Hemenway, ordered him to respond immediately. He did.
Hemenway wrote, “These are not frivolous matters, as the
learned Judge Robertson has suggested. Possible illegal orders are a matter of great
concern to officers in the armed forces. Undersigned counsel himself entered the Army
of the United States during WWII and was promoted to Infantry Second Lieutenant
preparing for the anticipated landings in Japan which were scheduled for November 1,
1945. But for President Truman’s use of nuclear weapons to end the war, this would
have transpired. The legality of orders in and out of combat is of paramount importance.”
Hemenway continued with a “second point” Robertson raised, that “the
president of the United States had been properly vetted.”
“This assumes facts not in
evidence and was not addressed. It is clear that the constitutional qualifications of
President Soetoro/Obama have not been properly vetted. Judge Robertson even cites an
earlier case filed in Pennsylvania by one of the two lead attorneys in this case, in which
the judge claimed candidates in the recent presidential election had never been more
closely vetted. Nothing was further from the truth. Effectively, the Pennsylvania District
Court judge was introducing his own hearsay and opinion into the case as if it were
acceptable evidence,” Hemenway wrote.
“It is sad to read this
court’s use of material from the Internet to imply that the issues in the numerous lawsuits
filed have been resolved by the ‘twittering and blogging’ to determine that the litigants
are invoking ‘conspiracy theorists.’ It suggests that the intellectual capacity of this court
focused on the issues in the instant suit at a very low level, perhaps for political purposes,
such as to win attention from the highest authority when a seat on the Supreme Court of
the United States becomes vacant,” Hemenway wrote.
He also asserted that if he was penalized he would have the right to a discovery hearing to see documentation of the judge’s statements – not supported by any evidence introduced into the case – that Obama was properly “vetted.”
“If the court persists in pressing Rule 11 procedures against Hemenway, then Hemenway
should be allowed all of the discovery pertinent to the procedures as court precedents
have permitted in the past,” he wrote to the judge.
“The court has referred to a number of facts outside of the record of this particular
case and, therefore, the undersigned is particularly entitled to a hearing to get the truth of
those matters into the record. This may require the court to authorize some discovery,” Hemenway said.
Robertson instead offered a “reprimand” to Hemenway, who, he wrote, “is 82 years old and takes considerable and justified pride in his patriotic public service and his status as a Rhodes Scholar,” the judge wrote.
Hollister is represented by Philadelphia lawyer Philip Berg, who has brought several motions on the eligibility dispute to the U.S. Supreme Court that have been ignored. Hemenway acted as local counsel in filing the action on behalf of Hollister.
A WND message left for Bauer was not returned.
WND has reported on dozens of legal challenges to Obama’s status as a “natural born citizen.” The Constitution, Article 2, Section 1, states, “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 of the lawsuits question whether Obama was actually born in Hawaii, as he insists. If he was born out of the country, 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. Further complicating the issue are the reports he was adopted by an Indonesia man during his childhood and moved to Indonesia and attended school there. There also are questions on what nation’s passport he traveled to Pakistan.
Lawyers and plaintiffs in a multitude of lawsuits also have asked why, if a birth certificate actually reflects that Obama was born in Hawaii, has he spent sums estimated by observers of up to $1 million hiring various law firms to keep concealed his birth certificate, his college records and other documentation.
Adding fuel to the fire is Obama’s persistent refusal to release documents that could provide answers. While his supporters cite an online version of a “Certification of Live Birth” from Hawaii, critics point out such documents actually were issued for children not born in the state.
Keyes, in his case, has been critical of judges’ refusal to listen to evidence in the disputes and suggestions that those who bring such allegations for review should be penalized..
“In the final analysis if the courts refuse to respect the Constitution, they are not the judges of their own action. The people must ultimately decide. Which is why I and others will use every outlet to inform them of the injustice being done not just to individuals but to the sovereign people as a whole,” Keyes said.
In a commentary on the dispute, Keyes wrote that the suggestion of sanctions against those who bring up the questions, already raised as an issue by Obama’s lawyers in his case, “confirms Obama’s ruthless determination to destroy anyone who continues to seek the information the Constitution requires.
“Why should they demand penalties against citizens who are simply seeking the enforcement of the Supreme Law of the Land? It is simply because their persistence runs contrary to the will of a supposedly popular demagogue? This smacks of tyrannical arrogance. That Obama thus signals his intent to bring financial ruin on those who won’t accept his cover-up of the circumstances of his birth is a tactical escalation,” Keyes said.
“As one of the targets of this escalation, I need no more convincing proof of the ruthless disposition so far successfully masked by his empty rhetoric of hope and change. Obviously he means to offer hope only to those willing to surrender their most basic rights. To any who insist on questioning his actions, he offers the drastic change of ruin and destruction. So be it. We shall be among those who learn firsthand the meaning of the sacrifices made by the Founders of our free republic, as they pledged and gave up their lives, their fortunes and the world’s esteem,” Keyes said.
John Eidsmoe, an expert on the U.S. Constitution now working with the Foundation on Moral Law, told WND a demand for verification of Obama’s eligibility appears to be legitimate.
Eidsmoe said it’s clear that Obama has something in the documentation of his history, including his birth certificate, college records and other documents that “he does not want the public to know.”
Here is a partial listing and status update for some of the cases over Obama’s eligibility:
New Jersey attorney Mario Apuzzo has filed a case on behalf of Charles Kerchner and others alleging Congress didn’t properly ascertain that Obama is qualified to hold the office of president.
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. She also has been working on several other cases.