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 ↑
For the first time in dozens of court cases challenging Barack Obama’s eligibility to be president, a judge has ruled that Obama must, in order to be a candidate on the Georgia ballot for president in 2012, meet the constitutional demands for candidates for the office.
A hearing has been scheduled later this month for evidence on the issue that has plagued Obama and his presidency since long before he took office. At issue is the constitutional requirement that a president be a “natural-born citizen.” Some allege he was not born in the U.S. as he has claimed and, therefore, is not eligible.
Others, including top constitutional expert Herb Titus, contend that the term “natural-born citizen,” which is not defined in the Constitution, would have been understood when the document was written to mean the offspring of two U.S. citizens. That argument is supported by a 19th-century U.S. Supreme Court decision
Under that standard, Obama could not qualify, because his father, as identified on the “Certificate of Live Birth” image released by the White House, was a foreign national who came from Kenya to study in the U.S. and never was a citizen.
The ruling came today from Judge Michael M. Malihi of the Georgia state Office of State Administrative Hearings.
In Georgia, a state law requires “every candidate for federal” office who is certified by the state executive committees of a political party or who files a notice of candidacy “shall meet the constitutional and statutory qualifications for holding the office being sought.”
State law also grants the secretary of state and any “elector who is eligible to vote for a candidate” in the state the authority to raise a challenge to a candidate’s qualifications, the judge determined.
While Obama’s attorney, Michael Jablonski, had argued that the requirements didn’t apply to candidates for a presidential primary, the judge said that isn’t how he reads state law.
“Statutory provisions must be read as they are written, and this court finds that the cases cited by [Obama] are not controlling. When the court construes a constitutional or statutory provision, the ‘first step … is to examine the plain statutory language,” the judge wrote. “Section 21-2-1(a) states that ‘every candidate for federal and state office’ must meet the qualifications for holding that particular office, and this court has seen no case law limiting this provision, nor found any language that contains an exception for the office of president or stating that the provision does not apply to the presidential preference primary.”
The decision from Malihi came as a result of a series of complaints that were consolidated by the court. They were brought against Obama’s inclusion on the 2012 election primary ballot by David Farrar, Leah Lax, Cody Judy, Thomas Malaren and Laurie Roth, represented by attorney Orly Taitz; David Weldon represented by attorney Van R. Irion of Liberty Legal Foundation; and Carl Swensson and Kevin Richard Powell, represented by J. Mark Hatfield.
The judge’s decision was to refuse to dismiss the complaints, an action that had been sought by Obama. He also granted a motion to sever the cases, and he scheduled a hearing at 9 a.m. on Jan. 26 for the complaint brought by Weldon. Following immediately will be hearings for the cases brought by Swensson and Powell, and the issue raised by Farrar, Lax, Judy, Malaren and Roth will be third.
Malihi’s ruling said: “The court finds that defendant is a candidate for federal office who has been certified by the state executive committee of a political party, and therefore must, under Code Section 21-2-5, meet the constitutional and statutory qualifications for holding the office being sought.”
There are similar challenges to Obama’s 2012 candidacy being raised before state election or other commissions in Tennessee, Arizona and New Hampshire as well.
Taitz told WND she will present the decision to a court in Hawaii, where she is arguing to have access to Obama’s original birth documentation as it exists in the state, which for many years allowed relatives of babies to simply make a statement and register a birth, even though the child may not have been born in Hawaii.
Irion had argued in his opposition to Obama’s demand to dismiss the concerns that, “The only fact relevant to this case is the fact that the defendant’s father was not a U.S. citizen. This fact has been repeatedly documented and stated by the party opponent, defendant Obama. This fact is also evidenced by plaintiff’s exhibit 6, previously submitted with plaintiff’s pre-trial order, and apparently authenticated by defendant’s citation to this exhibit in defendant’s ‘Statement of Material Facts Not in Dispute,’ number 7.
“The lengths to which the defendant goes in order to avoid the one relevant fact is telling. The defendant asks this court to interpret Georgia election code in a way that leaves the code in conflict with itself, goes against the plain language of the law, leaves the law without meaning, and conflicts with common sense. He then cites freedom-to-associate precedent to support an assertion that has never been supported by such precedent, and which would nullify election codes in several states. All of these arguments are futile attempts to distract from the undeniable conclusion: Barack Obama is not constitutionally qualified to hold the office of president of the United States,” Irion wrote.
He continued, “It is true that some states lack election codes authorizing any state officials to screen candidate selections from political parties. In these states political parties have essentially unfettered authority to determine which candidates appear on ballots. However, these instances represent decisions of the states to not screen candidates. It is the states’ right to decide how to administer its elections. The fact that some states have decided to not protect their citizens from unqualified candidates does not mean that other states don’t have the right to screen candidates. It simply means that some states have left the screening to the political parties.
“Georgia has determined that it is in the best interest of its citizens to screen candidates prior to placement on the ballot.
“Because it is undisputed that Mr. Obama’s father was not a U.S. citizen, the defendant can never be a natural-born citizen, as that term was defined by the U.S. Supreme Court. Therefore, the defendant cannot meet the constitutional requirements to hold the office of president. See U.S. Const. Art. II Section 1.5 Georgia election code requires such a candidate to be stricken from any Georgia ballot.”
The U.S. Supreme Court opinion cited is Minor v. Happersett from 1875. It includes one of very few references in the nation’s archives that addresses the definition of “natural-born citizen,” a requirement imposed by the U.S. Constitution on only the U.S. president.
That case states:
The Constitution does not in words say who shall be natural-born citizens. Resort must be had elsewhere to ascertain that. At common law, with the nomenclature of which the framers of the Constitution were familiar, it was never doubted that all children born in a country of parents who were its citizens became themselves, upon their birth, citizens also. These were natives or natural-born citizens, as distinguished from aliens or foreigners.
Irion said the goal would be an injunction that would deprive Obama of Democratic Party certification.
“Without such certification from the party, Obama will not appear on any ballot in the 2012 general election,” his organization said in an announcement when the cases were launched.
Liberty Legal said it is not addressing Obama’s place of birth or his birth certificate.
“These issues are completely irrelevant to the argument. LLF’s lawsuit simply points out that the Supreme Court has defined ‘natural-born citizen’ as a person born to two parents who were both U.S. citizens at the time of the natural-born citizen’s birth. Obama’s father was never a U.S. citizen. Therefore, Obama can never be a natural-born citizen. His place of birth is irrelevant,” the group said.
The White House in April released an image of a “Certificate of Live Birth” from the state of Hawaii in support of Obama’s claim that he was born in the state. The White House has not addressed the questions raised by Obama’s father’s nationality. In addition, many computer, imaging, document and technology experts have stated the document image appears to be a forgery.
The image that the new lawsuits contend is irrelevant:
Obama long-form birth certificate released April 27 by the White House
An extensive analysis of the issue was conducted by Titus, who has taught constitutional law, common law and other subjects for 30 years at five different American Bar Association-approved law schools. He also was the founding dean of the College of Law at Regent University, a trial attorney and special assistant U.S. attorney in the Department of Justice.
“‘Natural born citizen’ in relation to the office of president, and whether someone is eligible, was in the Constitution from the very beginning,” he said. “Another way of putting it; there is a law of the nature of citizenship. If you are a natural born citizen, you are a citizen according to the law of nature, not according to any positive statement in a Constitution or in a statute, but because of the very nature of your birth and the very nature of nations.”
If you “go back and look at what the law of nature would be or would require … that’s precisely what a natural born citizen is …. is one who is born to a father and mother each of whom is a citizen of the U.S. or whatever other country,” he said.
“Now what we’ve learned from the Hawaii birth certificate is that Mr. Obama’s father was not a citizen of the United States. His mother was, but he doesn’t qualify as a natural born citizen for the office of president.”