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 ↑
Attorneys who argued in a Georgia court this week that Barack Obama isn’t eligible to be president say Administrative Law Judge Michael Malihi considered granting a default judgment before they even argued the case.
That presumably could have recommended that Obama failed to prove his eligibility and therefore should not be on the 2012 ballot, since he and his lawyer snubbed the hearing, for which Obama was subpoenaed.
But the attorneys argued against such an easy victory on the point of the single hearing, expressing instead their desire to get the evidence concerning Obama’s eligibility or lack of it in the record, so that it would be there should the case elevate to an appellate level.
The attorneys also said the strategy decision by Obama to simply ignore the subpoena and the hearing may ultimately backfire, because judges typically aren’t pleased to listen to arguments from someone who wants to introduce evidence during an appeal.
“The judge … was considering just entering a default judgment against Obama,” Hatfield said today. “The plaintiffs’ attorneys uniformly did not want the judge to do that because there wouldn’t be any evidence in the record at all.”
In Georgia, 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.
Hatfield and Irion told WND the expected process is that Malihi will make a decision over the course of the next week whether Obama, without appearing or being represented at the hearing, documented his eligibility to the court’s satisfaction.
That recommendation then goes to Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, to whom Obama’s lawyer, Michael Jablonski, earlier had complained that Malihi was letting the attorneys “run amok” since the issue of Obama’s “citizenship” had been resolved.
But in fact the U.S. Constitution demands a different status for presidents, that of a “natural born citizen,” which Founders likely considered to be the offspring of two citizen parents. If that is the case, Obama could not be eligible as his father was a Kenyan national subject to the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom.
At the time Jablonski complained to Kemp and told him he should simply cancel the hearing, Kemp warned Jablonski that he ultimately would be reviewing the hearing result, and to not participate would be at Obama’s “peril.”
Both lawyers, whose cases in fact are separate from each other as well as from the Taitz’ case, said it was important for them to be able to introduce evidence and build a court record.
Hatfield said the goal ultimately is to have a court rule on the substance of the controversy: Is it necessary to have citizen parents to be a “natural born citizen” or will that definition evolve as America ages?
Hatfield told WND that he specifically asked the judge at the end of the hearing to close the record, and he did that. Hatfield said that should make it clear that as the decision is made, and any challenges progress, no new information can be added to the evidence already submitted.
He said it’s very clear that the court had jurisdiction to take the case and accept evidence, since the ballot at issue is a ballot with which the state election in 2012 will be conducted.
And Hatfield noted that although Obama’s lawyer at least made a motion to quash the subpoena from Taitz for his testimony and records, Obama’s attorneys never even bothered to respond to his own motion to produce records.
Obama’s campaign declined to respond to WND emails and messages inquiring about a comment on the situation.
Irion told WND the default is a typical result when one side fails to appear for a dispute that’s being adjudicated in court, but in this case, that would have left it wide open for arguments on appeal that had nothing to do with the issue.
He said he explained to the judge that awarding a default judgment actually would have been rewarding Obama for failing to respond to the subpoena.
The attorneys said they would be watching for Obama’s next move in the contest. And they said they believe there is a possibility that because of the dispute, Obama may end up not being on the Georgia ballot in the fall.
Obama lost the state in the 2008 election to John McCain.
Earlier, several attorneys who previously took cases challenging Obama’s eligibility as high as the U.S. Supreme Court said Obama’s refusal to participate in the hearing was a travesty.
“That President Obama’s attorneys didn’t show respect for the court, the citizens, the secretary of state, and the statutes of Georgia reveals the true character of the administration as being completely and utterly against state’s rights,” said attorney Leo Donofrio. “The federal government is growing out of control with every administration and this action today is a loud announcement that this administration is going to do what it likes, and you can imagine that their response to this judiciary would be exactly the same if this had been the U.S. Supreme Court.”
He said if Georgia does decide to keep Obama off its state election ballots, he won’t appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, “because if he were to lose there, his entire administration would be void, including his appointments to the Supreme Court.”
“If Obama were to appeal in Georgia, only this election is in play, and only as to Georgia’s ballots, but if he loses in Georgia, appealing to the SCOTUS brings in his entire eligibility, and the legitimacy of his current administration,” Donofrio warned.
“My personal belief is that if the U.S. Supreme Court held that he was ineligible, he might simply ignore the ruling, and test the will of the nation, just as he is testing the will of the state of Georgia,” he said.
“If the judge’s recommendation – and I’ve been told that it’s going to be to disqualify Mr. Obama as a candidate – is followed by the secretary of state, Mr. Obama has got a real problem,” said Gary Kreep of the United States Justice Foundation.
His organization pursued several of the lawsuits over Obama’s occupancy of the Oval Office to the U.S. Supreme Court, which has not accepted any eligibility cases.
“He’s thumbed his nose at the court. He’s thumbed his nose at the secretary of state in Georgia. He’s thumbed his nose at the people and said, ‘I’m above it all. I’m above the law,’” Kreep said.
Mario Apuzzo, who also shepherded a case to the Supreme Court, said Obama, by not showing, “actually failed to meet his burden of proof, to show that he is eligible and should be placed on the ballot.”
“For him to just ignore due process here is really telling a lot,” he said, noting, “This decision will have a ripple effect.”
“He’s not above the law. That’s a very important thing here. He’s a private person running for office, so he had no business not showing up. So the court can enter the judgment, and then the secretary of state does what he wants with it. And this will have a ripple effect for other secretaries of state, for other states, for the public. Also for any case that could be pending in the Supreme Court, where the issue of Mr. Obama’s eligibility is implicated,” he said.