By Dave Tombers
One of the attorneys who challenged Barack Obama’s eligibility to be president all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court says he fears that even if the justices declared Obama constitutionally unqualified, he’d simply ignore the ruling and continue issuing orders.
But those who observed a court hearing today in Atlanta say it could be the beginning of the end for the Obama campaign, because of the doubt that could surge like a tidal wave across the nation.
The comments came today from Leo Donofrio, who led the pack in filing lawsuits over Obama’s 2008 election and his subsequent occupancy of the White House.
He was commenting on today’s hearing before a Georgia administrative law judge on complaints raised by several state residents that Obama is not eligible to run for the office in 2012. That hearing went on after Obama and his lawyer decided to snub the court system and refuse to participate.
A decision from the judge, Michael Malihi, is expected soon.
The Georgia residents delivered sworn testimony to a court that, among other things, Obama is forever disqualified from having his name on the 2012 presidential ballot in the state because his father never was a U.S. citizen. Because the Constitution’s requirement presidents be a “natural born citizen,” which widely regarded as the offspring of two citizen parents, he is prevented from qualifying, they say.
The historic hearing was the first time that a court has accepted arguments on the merits of the controversy over Obama’s status. His critics say he never met the constitutional requirements to occupy the Oval Office, and the states and Congress failed in their obligations to make sure only a qualified president is inaugurated. His supporters argue he won the 2008 election and therefore was “vetted.”
In Georgia, the 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.
Citizens bringing the complaints include David Farrar, Leah Lax, Thomas Malaren and Laurie Roth, represented by 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. Cody Judy is raising a challenge because he also wants to be on the ballot.
Donofrio’s case – like the others that have reached the Supreme Court – was refused recognition.
“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,” Donofrio said. “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.
The White House today was silent about the issue. The Georgia case is far different from the lawsuits over the 2008 election, in which judges virtually unanimously ruled that they could not make a decision that would remove a sitting president, no matter the circumstances.
This hearing was about concerns being raised, as allowed by Georgia state law, that Obama is not eligible for the office of president and therefore should not be allowed on the 2012 election ballot.
“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.
Kreep’s cases have argued there is precedent in the U.S. for the removal of a sitting chief executive over ineligibility.
Obama’s attorney, Michael Jablonski, had warned Secretary of State Brian Kemp yesterday that he needed to call off the hearing, and he and Obama would not participate.
Not only did Obama not participate, there also was no comment.
On a day when Obama was campaigning in Arizona and Colorado, he released formal statements about the retirement of Congressman Brad Miller and the retirement of Gov. Bev Perdue.
But WND calls to the White House brought only the instructions to e-mail a question to the media affairs department. WND sent an email but got no response. WND also got no response from Obama’s campaign headquarters.
Jablonski, the Atlanta attorney representing Obama, also declined to return WND messages left at his office today.
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.
“It’s a really important milestone that has been reached.”
Apuzzo warned that an administrative law judge certainly wields authority in such cases.
“We had a legitimate hearing in a legitimate court where this private person, Barack Obama, was asked to come there and satisfy the basic Georgia election law ballot procedure, and he doesn’t show up. Nor does he send an attorney. We don’t see this on television yet, but I can’t imagine this not being major news. It boggles the mind that a sitting president who is running for re-election doesn’t show up at a state’s legitimately constituted proceeding to make sure that he is indeed eligible to be on the ballot,” he said.
Charles Kerchner, on whose behalf one of the cases went to the Supreme Court, said, “Obama thinks he is a king and thus not subject to the election laws of Georgia and the United States Constitution. He will soon learn otherwise.”
He continued, “As the Georgia secretary of state said in warning Obama and his attorney if they did not show.up for the court hearing today … if they do that, they will do so at their own peril.”
Kreep said a ruling that would remove Obama’s name from the Georgia ballot would be a “tremendous victory for … America.”
“If the judge issues a default and rules that Barack Obama will not be on the Georgia ballot, and if the secretary of state upholds that, then Mr. Obama, having told the court to essentially stick it in their ear, he wasn’t going to participate, wasn’t going to recognize their power – he’s going to have a tough time convincing some other court to overturn the ruling, because he waived his right to object to it by not appearing,” he explained.
“That’s a big deal to judges. A judge may or may not agree with another judge’s ruling, but when one party waives their ability to object, judges are very reluctant to get involved, because the party has basically said, ‘We don’t care what you do, we’re not going to abide by it.’ Judges don’t like that. They don’t like to be blown off,” he said.
Kreep said the election outcome also could be decided because of Obama not being on a ballot in even one state. And he said there’s more to come.
“I can tell you from my own personal knowledge that there are challenges going on in other states. Van Irion has one in Arizona and one in Tennessee. We have one in Illinois that is has gone under the radar. We’re going to be filing similar challenges around the country. We’ll be filing one within a week and another right around the end of the month,” he said.