A lawsuit has been filed in California seeking proof that presidential candidates are eligible for the office before their names are placed on the state’s election ballot, and to have declared unconstitutional a part of the state’s election code.
The action has been filed by attorney Gary Kreep of the United States Justice Foundation on behalf of presidential candidate John Albert Dummett Jr.; Markham Robinson, chairman of the executive committee of the state central committee of the American Independent Party of California; The Constitution Party, Gil Houston; Larry LaKamp, Milol Johnson; and Joe Ott.
It seeks a court determine whether the secretary of state has required presidential candidates to provide proof of their eligibility, to prevent names of ineligible candidates from being on the ballot, and to have section 6901 of the state’s election code thrown out.
Many of the same players were involved in lawsuits over Barack Obama’s election in 2008, and a federal appeals court last year said they should bring their allegations to court during an election, not after.
That’s what they’re doing.
The case names as defendant Secretary of State Debra Bowen.
“This action challenges the failure of Respondent Debra Bowen, California secretary of state, to verify that all candidates for the office of president of the United States seeking to be placed the California presidential primary ballot are eligible for that office under the U.S. Constitution,” the complaint says.
At issue is Obama’s constitutional eligibility since that document requirements presidents to be a “natural born citizen.” Largely that’s thought to have meant the offspring of two citizens of the country. But Obama’s father was Kenyan, subject to the rule of the British crown.
“An unprecedented and looming constitutional crisis is before this court if Bowen does not require that presidential candidates provide proof that they meet the Article 2 requirements for the office of president prior to candidate names being placed on the ballot, since the voters can, and will, reasonably rely on the assumption that all names on the ballot have been verified as eligible for the office,” the complaint explains.
It cited the potential damage of Dummett having to campaign against unqualified candidates.
“He will suffer irreparable harm due to his being denied a fair competition for the presidential nomination.”
The case notes that section 6901 in the California election code has the secretary of state accept candidates from major political parties – without any eligibility verification. That should be declared unconstitutional, the complaint states.
The requests are not anything really new, the complaint explains.
“California secretaries of state have historically exercised their due diligence by
reviewing necessary background documents, verifying that the candidates that were submitted by the respective political parties as eligible for the ballot were, indeed, eligible. In 1968, the Peace and Freedom Party submitted the name of Eldridge Cleaver as a qualified candidate for president of the United States. The then-Secretary of State, Mr. Frank Jordan, found that, according to Mr. Cleaver’s birth certificate, he would be only 34 years old at the time of the general election, one year shy of the 35 years of age needed to be on the ballot as a candidate for president,” the complaint said.
“Using his administrative powers, Mr. Jordan removed Mr. Cleaver from the ballot. Mr. Cleaver, unsuccessfully, challenged this decision lo the Supreme Court of the State of California, and, later, to the Supreme Court of the United States, which affirmed the actions of the California Secretary of State by denying review.
Similarly, in 1984 Peace and Freedom Party candidate Larry Holmes was removed from the ballot when the “then-California Secretary of State, Daniel M. Burns, checked Mr. Holmes’ eligibility, it was found that Mr. Holmes was, similarly, not eligible, and Mr. Holmes was removed from the ballot.”
Even Bowen has done that for other candidates.
“Just this year, one Peta Lindsay was selected by the Peace and Freedom Party to be their presidential candidate on the 2012 California primary ballot. Bowen, however, rejected Ms. Lindsay, and refused to place her name on the ballot, because she is 27 years old, when the U.S. Constitution, Article 2, … requires that candidates for president to be at least 35 years of age.”
“There now exists a similar situation to that in which California secretaries of state have removed presidential candidates from the ballot in the past, namely that the Democratic Party has submitted Barack Hussein Obama, Jr., as a Democratic Party candidate for president, when he is arguably ineligible for the office,” the complaint said.
“Further, a similar situation may exist concerning the Republican Party
candidacy of Mitt Romney. Since Bowen has demonstrated by her actions that she can and does remove ineligible presidential candidates from the ballot, she should be required to make such verification of eligibility for all presidential candidates, and not just verify the eligibility of candidates from third parties,” the case said.
Earlier this week, a lawsuit was filed asking state officials in Florida to remove Obama’s name from the 2012 election ballot because he has not documented that he is eligible for the office, but this case has a twist: It was brought by a Democrat.
The case was filed by Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch USA on behalf of Democrat Michael Voeltz, “a registered member of the Democrat Party, voter, and taxpayer in Broward County, who was an eligible elector for the Florida Primary of Jan. 31, 2012.”
As part of his responsibilities, the lawsuit explains, Voeltz took “an oath to ‘protect and defend’ the U.S. Constitution.”
The complaint cites widely reported suspicions that Obama might not have been born in the United States and the fact that his father never was a U.S. citizen. It contends that because of those circumstances, Obama is not a “natural-born citizen” as the Constitution demands of the president.
Named as defendants are Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner and the state Elections Canvassing Commission.
“The requirement for natural-born citizenship, which is found in the U.S. Constitution, was intended to prevent foreign influences from ‘influencing’ an American president,” Klayman said as the action was being filed. “These ‘influences’ have regrettably been witnessed by the American people during President Obama’s term in office. It is clear the Founding Fathers intended to avoid such a situation, where an American president seems to frequently sympathize with and take actions benefiting foreign interests.”
The new cases follows about a dozen others that already have been filed on similar grounds in other states. Some have been dismissed and some now are on appeal.
In Georgia, for example, the state Supreme Court rejected a petition for an injunction, but still must hear the underlying case.