The woman who burst out with “except Obama” when New Jersey Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone was reading in Congress the Constitution’s requirement that the president be a “natural born Citizen” was simply exercising her free speech rights, according to a law team representing her.
“This case is not about President Obama’s eligibility for office or Theresa Cao’s affiliation with the birther movement – it’s about free speech in its purest sense,” said John W. Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute.
Whitehead told WND he’s helping Cao defend against charges she violated a congressional code against conduct intended to impede, disrupt or disturb sessions of Congress, for which she faces potential fines of up to $500 and/or six months in jail.
“The sad irony here is that Ms. Cao was arrested for exercising her constitutional right to free speech at the very moment that Congress was making a show of reading aloud the Constitution,” Whitehead said.
“One can’t help but wonder whether Congress actually understood anything that they read,” he said.
As WND reported, Cao was arrested Jan. 6 by Capitol police, given a court date and then released. She told WND in a telephone interview after her release, while she was standing in front of the Hart Office Building near the Capitol, that the only hope for the United States is a return to the faith of the Founding Fathers.
And that direction, she said, is opposite from the one Obama is leading the nation. Cao contends Obama is moving America toward “socialism,” citing his health-care plan and the takeover of private banks, insurance companies and car companies.
She said she had come to the U.S. House chambers to see the launch of the new Congress under the leadership of the Republicans. She was overwhelmed, she said, when the Constitution was being read, which came about as part of an effort by the new GOP majority to return the nation to its founding principles.
Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., was reading Article II, Section 1, regarding the requirement that the president be a “natural born Citizen,” when she burst out, “Except Obama.”
“Literally if this question of the natural born citizenship, if this question does not get answered, then I am allowing a tyrannical dictator – the spirit of the anti-Christ, the new world order system that has their plans right this second to collapse the U.S. economy, and we know their plan, the new world order system’s plan is to literally destroy humanity,” she told WND at the time.
Whitehead told WND it’s a troubling sign of the times in the U.S. when someone is arrested for saying a couple of words when the response from the House was a much greater disruption.
The Rutherford Institute statement said the House was engaged in the “symbolic gesture” of reading the Constitution “to acknowledge that the United States is a nation of laws, not men.”
Theresa Cao at post in front of White House
Cao told WND she obtained tickets for the House gallery a day before the Jan. 6 event. She was hoping the GOP majority would be dedicated to doing the “will of the people” after California Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s tenure as speaker, which included pushing through Obamacare even though a majority of Americans oppose it.
It was almost a year ago when Cao was profiled in WND as a lone woman evangelist delivering the message that “heaven is offering a ‘bailout’ far greater than dollars.”
At the time, Cao told WND, “I have a standard location literally right in front of the White House” – encouraging people to follow the Bible to see God’s miracles on earth and its companion warning of punishment for those who disobey.”
The message applies not only to individuals but to nations, she believes.
“Most Americans really are asleep concerning what’s taking place,” she said then. “People are willing to hand over their God-given rights and the Constitution to the prevailing wicked forces.”
The reading of the Constitution was described by Dahlia Lithwick of Slate.com as a “fetish” in her article, “Read It and Weep: How the tea party’s fetish for the Constitution as written may get it in trouble.”
“The way some people rub Buddha and they think the magic will come off, I think there’s a longstanding tradition in this country. We’re awfully religious about the Constitution,” she later told MSNBC. “I think there is this sort of fetishization that is of a piece with the sort of need for a religious document that’s immutable and perfect in every way.”
Syndicated columnist and commentator Charles Krauthammer said on Fox News that the objection to reading the Constitution aloud by many on the left “is truly astonishing.”
He said that in the 1960s, “Liberals got in trouble for being on the wrong side of the flag,” and are now in danger of being on the wrong side of the Constitution, which he called “the essence of America.”
For liberals to think there’s an advantage in dismissing the public reading of the document “is real bad politics,” Krauthammer said.
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 challenges 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. Some assert he was born a dual citizen because he father was a Kenyan subject to the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom. The cases contend the framers of the Constitution excluded dual citizens from qualifying as natural born.
Obama wrote in his own book that he was born a dual citizen of the U.S.
and Great Britain due to the fact his father was a subject of the
Several of the cases have been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, but justices have declined even to hear arguments. Among the other cases turned down without a hearing at the high court have been petitions by Mario Apuzzo, Philip Berg, Cort Wrotnowski, Leo Donofrio and Orly Taitz.
Complicating the issue is Obama’s decision to spend sums estimated in the hundreds of thousands of dollars to avoid releasing a state birth certificate that would put to rest the questions.