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 team of taxpayer-supported lawyers arguing on behalf of President Obama’s eligibility to occupy the Oval Office say not even the U.S. Supreme Court has any input into the question at this point, and such cases should be barred from the courts.
“The Constitution’s commitment to the Electoral College of the responsibility to select the president includes the authority to decide whether a presidential candidate is qualified for office,” said a brief filed by government lawyers in a California lawsuit over Obama’s eligibility under the Constitution’s demand for a “natural born citizen” in the White House.
That’s because, the brief states, “the examination of a candidate’s qualifications is an integral component of the electors’ decision-making process. The Constitution also provides that, after the Electoral College has voted, further review of a presidential candidate’s eligibility for office, to the extent such review is required, rests with Congress.”
The lawsuit has been brought on behalf of a number of plaintiffs alleging that Obama is not constitutionally eligible for office. The case, being handled by attorney Orly Taitz, who now has been joined by Gary Kreep of the United States Justice Foundation, has a tentative trial date of Jan. 26, 2010.
Before then, however, U.S. District Judge David Carter is scheduled to hear the government’s demand that the case be thrown out.
The arguments submitted by acting U.S. Attorney George S. Cardona and assistant U.S. Attorneys Leon Weidman, Roger E. West and David A. DeJute, say the Constitution further specifies if no candidate gets a majority of the electoral votes, the House of Representatives has the authority to select the president, “and, in so doing, to evaluate the candidates’ qualifications.”
Further, the Constitution grants to Congress the responsibility “for selecting a president when a candidate elected by the Electoral College does not satisfy the Constitution’s eligibility requirements.”
While a U.S. president formally is selected by electors named by each state based on their congressional representation, Congress has the ultimate authority to approve the Electorical College votes. The process allows for objections to be raised as Democrats did following George W. Bush’s 2000 election.
But the issue of Obama’s potential ineligibility was passed over by Congress in 2009.
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 he 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.
Complicating the situation is Obama’s decision to spend sums estimated over $1 million to avoid releasing an original long-form state birth certificate that would put to rest the questions.
WND also has reported that among the documentation not yet available for Obama includes his kindergarten records, Punahou school records, Occidental College records, Columbia University records, Columbia thesis, Harvard Law School records, Harvard Law Review articles, scholarly articles from the University of Chicago, passport, medical records, files from his years as an Illinois state senator, his Illinois State Bar Association records, any baptism records and his adoption records.
In the U.S. Justice Department’s motion to dismiss, attorneys didn’t address the concerns directly but instead focused their efforts on technical procedures, stating the matter can’t be decided in court and that the dozens of plaintiffs cannot demonstrate they have been injured by having Obama in the Oval Office.
Attorney Kreep, who is representing plaintiffs Wiley S. Drake, the vice presidential nominee for the American Independent Party in 2008, and Markham Robinson, an elector for the party, has responded to the government’s motion to dismiss. Kreep also has responded to Obama’s demand that discovery – or access to evidence – be restricted.
He argues that existing court precedent includes the right for a candidate or a political party “to challenge the inclusion of an allegedly ineligible rival on the ballot, on theory that doing so hurts the candidate’s or party’s own chances.”
“Dr. Drake has an interest in having a fair competition,” the USJF brief filed in response to the government, said. “This interest is akin to the interest of an Olympic competition, where one of the competitors in an athletic competition is found to be using performance enhancing drugs, but is not removed despite a violation of the rules, and all of the athletes who had trained for the event legitimately are harmed if that disqualified contestant remains. …
“Obama entered this race without having met the eligibility requirements for the office of President of the United States and, as a result, Dr. Wiley Drake has been injured because he did not have fair competition for the office of Vice President of the United States.”
Kreep also explained the motion to dismiss is incorrect “in a number of ways” regarding the Constitution’s assignment of presidential eligibility verification.
“Even if the people of the United States voted to elect as president a candidate who did not qualify for the position, that vote would not be sufficient to overcome the constitutional requirements,” he wrote.
He cited a 2006 opinion from the Arkansas attorney general that the Baxter County Board of Election could not properly omit names of candidates who had failed to meet the requirements for eligibility.
“As a preliminary matter, I should note that the Baxter County Board of
Election Commissioners is not empowered to omit from the ballot the names
of any candidates who have complied with the filing requirements for the
office. When questions arise as to a candidate’s eligibility prior to an election,
the proper remedy is resort to the courts, by virtue of an action for a
declaratory judgment and mandamus,” the opinion said.
“Because of the risk of ‘corrupt and partisan action’ the proper remedy for
eligibility disputes is to bring such disputes to the court for a determination, rather
than to Congress or the Electoral College, and because this court has the power to
make determinations of fact and law regarding controversies over the eligibility of a
political candidate, this court has the power to redress the injury,” Kreep argued.
“Here, the issue is one arising under the Constitution,
whether Barack Obama meets the eligibility requirements for the office of president
of the United States, as required under Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution. As
established above, PLAINTIFFS have standing to bring this action as they have
suffered a concrete injury in fact, caused by Barack Obama, for which the court has
a remedy. Because PLAINTIFFS have established the requirements for standing,
and because this case presents an issue regarding a federal question arising out of
the Constitution, this court has subject matter jurisdiction over the issues raised in
this case,” he said.
Kreep also argued for immediate access to documentation that could be evidence in the case, such as Obama’s original long-form birth certificate, to give the sides time to prepare for a January trial.
Among the other plaintiffs are former ambassador and presidential candidate Alan Keyes and vice-presidential candidate Gail Lightfoot, both of whom ran in 2008.
Among the issues that appear to be looming in the case is a claim that Obama’s actual birth certificate from Kenya has emerged.
“The true and correct photocopy of the birth certificate obtained is attached to this affidavit as Exhibit A,” the declaration reads. “I declare, certify, verify, state and affirm under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that the foregoing statements of fact and descriptions of circumstances and events are true and correct.”
Smith’s affidavit, which includes a copy of the certificate, has been filed with Carter, who works in the Central District of California.
In his filing, Smith declares that he traveled to Kenya in February and paid off a military officer in order to obtain a copy of the birth certificate from Coast General Hospital in Mombasa. The declaration also states that the hospital administrator signed and sealed the copy, which indicates Obama’s birth in Africa on Aug. 4, 1961, at 7:24 p.m.
WND first reported earlier this year when Lucas Smith, a former resident of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and known by the eBay handle “colmado_naranja,” claimed to have a document proving Obama’s birth in Mombasa, Kenya.
After promising to reveal the document to WND, Smith then dropped communications with a team of people offering to help him verify the document, only fueling the belief the sale – and therefore the alleged document – was a scam.
WND followed Smith’s ongoing saga as “colmado_naranja” as he attempted several times to sell the document, or photos and stories surrounding it, on eBay, only to have the auctions repeatedly removed by site administrators.
WND also launched an investigation into “colmado_naranja,” which led through several online aliases and reported collaborators, including Dawnella Wilson, “InspectorSmith” and, eventually, Lucas Smith.
Smith, whose background includes a lengthy criminal record and a reported attempt to sell his kidney to a man in need of organ transplant, nonetheless insists that his motives are above board, even if his past looks dubious.
“I do have a background. I’ve made mistakes in my life,” Smith told WND in an e-mail. “It took a guy like me to go and get tangible proof about Obama. I don’t mind breaking a few laws or policies here and there. I don’t mind paying the military in foreign countries to look the other way … The military [in Africa] will grant you access to anything for just a few dollars. People are starving. So yes, it takes a guy like me to get things done once in a while.”
The “certification of live birth” posted online and widely touted as “Obama’s birth certificate” does not in any way prove he was born in Hawaii, since the same “short-form” document is easily obtainable for children not born in Hawaii. The true “long-form” birth certificate – which includes information such as the name of the birth hospital and attending physician – is the only document that can prove Obama was born in Hawaii, but to date he has not permitted its release for public or press scrutiny.
Oddly, though congressional hearings were held to determine whether Sen. John McCain was constitutionally eligible to be president as a “natural born citizen,” no controlling legal authority ever sought to verify Obama’s claim to a Hawaiian birth.