Obama on the campaign trail
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer today undid the work of Republican majorities in both houses of her state legislature by issuing a veto of House Bill 2177, the plan to exercise the state’s right to run elections and require presidential candidates to prove their constitutional eligibility.
But there’s a new proposal already in the works in Louisiana, House Bill 561 by Rep. Alan Seabaugh and Sen. A.G. Crowe, and there would be no veto there.
“It’s not part of our package, but if the legislature passes it, we’ll sign it,” Kyle Plotkin, press secretary to Gov. Bobby Jindal, told the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
Brewer’s veto message failed to address the reason for the bill: the uncertainty over whether Barack Obama is a “natural born Citizen,” as the Constitution requires for presidents.
“I do not support designating one person as the gatekeeper to the ballot for a candidate, which could lead to arbitrary or politically motivated decisions,” she said. “In addition, I never imagined being presented with a bill that could require candidates for president … to submit their ‘early baptismal or circumcision certificates’ among other records. … This is a bridge too far.”
Plotkin said Jindal believes Barack Obama is a citizen but would not object to the bill submitted to the legislature.
The bill would require candidates who want to appear on Louisiana ballots to file an affidavit attesting to their citizenship, which would have to be accompanied by an “original or certified copy” of their birth certificate.
The measure in Louisiana, along with a similar effort just announced in Pennsylvania, makes it 15 states that have had such proposals pending just this legislative session.
In Louisiana, House Bill 561 would requires the candidates to “prove” they “meet the requirements for president of the United States prescribed in Article II Section I of the Constitution.”
Seabaugh told the New Orleans newspaper he’s concerned that of all of the eligibility cases brought to court, attorneys representing the president have prevented any from reaching the stage in which evidence could be obtained.
“Not one of them has ever been decided on the merits,” Seabaugh told the newspaper. “As an attorney, that’s offensive to me.”
In Pennsylvania, it’s House Bill 1350.
State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe of the 12th legislative district in Pennsylvania said the bill is a matter of the law – and who must follow it.
“This legislation is intended to send the message that even those candidates who are running for our nation’s highest office are not above the law,” he said in his announcement about the plan. “Final passage of this legislation will provide additional levels of both trust and verification that anyone seeking elected office in Pennsylvania is just as much an American citizen as the voters supporting their candidacy.
“Requiring all candidates for the offices of president and vice president to submit valid proof of natural born citizenship documentation in exchange for statewide ballot access is a fundamental and long-overdue check and balance that must be implemented to further ensure that the Oval Office is never occupied by anyone other than a natural born American citizen,” he said.
Arizona’s legislative approval came just days ago. Its lawmakers were the first in the nation to adopt a law requiring candidates for president to document their qualifications as a “natural born Citizen.”
In Oklahoma, Senate Bill 91 already has been approved by one chamber and is moving through committee to the floor in the second.
Not complicated, it requires that all candidates – not just those for president – shall “provide proof of identity and eligibility to hold the office.”
It requires the secretary of state to write up rules to specify the documentation that will be required and mandates that the documents be made available for public inspection.
While opponents cast the idea as a direct attack on Obama, whose long-form birth certificate and other documentation that could shed light on his status have remained concealed, proponents say the 2008 election simply revealed a gap in the election processes in U.S. presidential elections.
“America’s founding fathers said it best, ‘a well-informed electorate taught to know and prize their God-given rights cannot be enslaved,'” Metcalfe said. “As a veteran and an elected official who takes an oath of office, just like every past and future president of the United States, to uphold and defend the constitutional rights of the citizens I represent, it is beyond perplexing and greatly troubling that a political candidate can ascend to the highest levels of government without providing sufficient documentation verifying his or her place of birth or American citizenship.”
The questions have arisen over Obama because while he has talked about his birth in Hawaii, he’s offered no documentation but a “Certification of Live Birth” online image of a document that during the time of Obama’s birth was available to any child whose parents would state he or she was born in Hawaii, whether true or not.
The New York Times has contended that Hawaii has “confirmed” that the online document is authentic, however no state official has publicly verified it is Obama’s Certification of Live Birth. They have said they have Obama’s records, but they haven’t detailed what information the records contain.
WND previously has reported on other state-level efforts to ensure that candidates for the Oval Office meet the requirements established in the U.S. Constitution.
Such bills appeared this year in New Hampshire, Montana, Iowa, Maine, Tennessee, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, Nebraska and Texas. Some efforts are conclusively out of the running this year, and in some states plans already are being made for next year, which still would give states time to impose a requirement for the 2012 election. Others still could be resurrected in the legislative process.
The Arizona bill would have required presidential candidates to document their eligibility with an original birth certificate or alternative documents such as a baptismal or circumcision certificate, a hospital birth record or a postpartum medical record. Also allowed would be a notarized affidavit from at least two people present at the birth.
At the time the Constitution was written, many analysts suggest, a natural-born citizen was considered to be a child born of two citizen parents. If that is correct, Obama never would have been qualified to be president, as he himself has confirmed his father was a Kenyan subject to the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom, making Obama a dual citizen with Kenyan and American parentage at his birth.
Other definitions regard a natural-born citizen to be a person born of citizen parents on American soil.
There have been dozens of lawsuits and challenges over the fact that Obama’s natural-born citizen status never has been publicly documented. The controversy stems from the Constitution, Article 2, Section 1, which 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.”
The challenges to Obama’s eligibility allege he does not qualify because he was not born in Hawaii in 1961 as he claims, or that he fails to qualify because he was a dual citizen, through his father, and the framers of the Constitution excluded dual citizens from eligibility. There also are claims that he was adopted by his Indonesian stepfather.
There are several cases pending before courts over Obama’s eligibility. Almost all the cases, however, have been impeded by the courts’ interpretation of “standing,” meaning someone who is being or could be harmed by the situation. The courts have decided almost unanimously that an individual taxpayer faces no damages different from other taxpayers and, therefore, doesn’t have standing. Judges even have ruled that other presidential candidates also do not have standing.
As a result, none of the court cases to date has reached the level of discovery, through which Obama’s birth documentation could be brought into court.
Obama even continued to withhold the information during a court-martial of a military doctor, Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin, who challenged Obama’s deployment orders on the grounds he might not be a legitimate president. Lakin was convicted and sent to prison.
A year ago, polls indicated that roughly half of American voters were aware of a dispute over Obama’s eligibility. Recent polls, however, by organizations including CNN, show that roughly six in 10 American voters hold serious doubts that Obama is eligible under the Constitution’s demands.
Orly Taitz, the California lawyer who has worked on a number of the highest-profile legal challenges to Obama, was encouraging residents of other states to get to work.
“We need eligibility bills filed in each and every state of the union … as it shows the regime that we are still the nation of law and the Constitution, that the Constitution matters and state representatives and senators are ready to fight for the rule of law. During the last election there were some 700 more Republican state assemblyman elected all over the country, as the nation is not willing to tolerate this assault on our rights and our Constitution any further,” she said.
There also was, during the last Congress, Rep. Bill Posey’s bill at the federal level.
Posey’s H.R. 1503 stated:
“To amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to require the principal campaign committee of a candidate for election to the office of President to include with the committee’s statement of organization a copy of the candidate’s birth certificate, together with such other documentation as may be necessary to establish that the candidate meets the qualifications for eligibility to the Office of President under the Constitution.”
The bill also provided:
“Congress finds that under … the Constitution of the United States, in order to be eligible to serve as President, an individual must be a natural born citizen of the United States who has attained the age of 35 years and has been a resident within the United States for at least 14 years.”
The bill had more than a dozen sponsors, and while it died at the end of the last Congress, there are hopes the GOP majority in the House again will move such a plan forward.
There also is a petition, already signed by tens of thousands, to state
lawmakers asking them to make sure the next president of the United
States qualifies under the Constitution’s eligibility requirements.
“What we need are hundreds of thousands of Americans endorsing this strategy on the petition – encouraging more action by state officials before the 2012 election. Imagine if just one or two states adopt such measures before 2012. Obama will be forced to comply with those state regulations or forgo any effort to get on the ballot for re-election. Can Obama run and win without getting on all 50 state ballots? I don’t think so,” said Joseph Farah, CEO of WND, who is behind the idea of the petition.
An earlier petition had been directed at all controlling legal authorities at the federal level to address the concerns expressed by Americans, and it attracted more than half a million names.
For nearly two years, Farah has been one of the few national figures who has steadfastly pushed the issue of eligibility, despite ridicule, name-calling and ostracism at the hands of most of his colleagues. To date, in addition to the earlier petition, he has:
- erected billboards around the country demanding, “Where’s the birth certificate?”:
- produced a 40-page special report on the subject;
- produced a 60-minute documentary video primer on the issue;
- manufactured yard and rally signs to bring attention to the topic;
- pledged to donate at least $15,000 to any hospital in Hawaii or anywhere else that provides proof Obama was born there and given you an opportunity to raise the amount;
- created a line of T-shirts you can wear to appearances by the president to raise visibility of the issue;
- created a fund to which you can donate to further the kind of investigative reporting into this matter only this company has performed over the last two years;
- launched a line of postcards you can use to keep the issue alive;
- distributed thousands of bumper stickers asking, “Where’s the birth certificate?”
Farah says all those campaigns are continuing.
“Obama may be able to continue showing contempt for the Constitution and the rule of law for the next two years, as he has demonstrated his willingness to do in his first year in office,” he wrote in a column. “However, a day of reckoning is coming. Even if only one significant state, with a sizable Electoral College count, decides a candidate for election or re-election has failed to prove his or her eligibility, that makes it nearly impossible for the candidate to win. It doesn’t take all 50 states complying with the law to be effective.”
If you are a member of the media and would like to interview Joseph Farah about this campaign, e-mail WND.