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Earlier this spring, President Obama’s attorney Alexandra Hill went to court in New Jersey over a challenge to her client’s eligibility to appear on the 2012 presidential primary ballot.

New Jersey citizens, represented by attorney Mario Apuzzo, made two claims: that Barack Obama has not proved he meets the conditions for presidential eligibility (namely, that he is a “natural born citizen”), and that the proof Obama released attesting to his bona fides (an Internet image of his long-form birth certificate) is fraudulent.

Hill’s argument? A presidential candidate has no obligation under New Jersey state law to prove his eligibility, period.

Administrative Law Judge Jeff Masin agreed with Hill and ruled in Obama’s favor. He further asserted that, absent such an obligation, the Internet image of Obama’s birth certificate – the same image Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Cold Case Posse investigators believe to be a forgery – is “legally irrelevant.”

The upshot for New Jersey? As the president’s attorney put it, “you could have Mickey Mouse” on the presidential ballot so long as he received the requisite 1,000 petition signatures.

While such exercises may more closely resemble a tax cheat’s search for loopholes than a court ensuring the rectitude of a presidential primary, our elites consider it all a big yawn, something to endure until those awful people (denigrated as “birthers”) go away. This is the dirtiest secret of the great, non-reported Obama eligibility saga: The integrity of our leaders and our Constitution doesn’t matter to those citizens who are actually responsible for upholding it.

On the contrary, there is an unchecked rush to abdicate responsibility – a manifestation of “the death of the grown-up,” as I titled my first book. The following questions, asked last week by the three judges who heard the New Jersey case on appeal, typify the official attitude:

“Why is it incumbent on New Jersey to resolve this issue?”

Subtext: Voters, schmoters.

“What statute of New Jersey says he (Obama) has to prove his eligibility?”

Subtext: Please make it someone else’s problem.

“Why won’t Congress and (the Electoral College) protect the integrity of the election?”

Subtext: It’s not our problem.

“Why don’t we accept at face value that they made that determination (after the 2008 election)?”

Subtext: It’s no one’s problem anymore. Can we go home yet?

“Do you agree that we need not reach the issue of natural born citizen?”

Subtext: We don’t want to walk that scary plank, whatever we do.

Surprise, surprise, the appeals court upheld President Obama’s eligibility. The judges, along with Obama’s counsel, agreed that any eligibility questions should be kicked upstairs to Congress and the Electoral College – and after the November 2012 election.

That’ll be the day. Of course, the best way to settle the matter would be for Congress to investigate immediately: Is President Obama eligible to run for re-election? What’s up with that funky online ID of his? No junior high school would hire a P.E. teacher on the strength of that.

That’ll be the day, too. Congress has shirked its responsibility since 2008, when the U.S. Senate affirmed Sen. John McCain’s eligibility to become president but not then-Sen. Barack Obama’s.

Why not?

As I’ve previously noted, some media outlets that subscribe to this column have informed me they won’t run anything I write on the eligibility subject.

No doubt other writers are similarly censored – sometimes even after publication. For example, on March 5, 2012, Floyd and Mary Beth Brown’s syndicated column, “Sheriff Joe Exposes Forgery of Obama’s Selective Service Registration,” appeared at Townhall.com. Then it was taken down. On March 24, 2012, John Mariotti published a piece at Forbes.com called “Is There an Impostor in the White House?” That was taken down, too. As WND noted, Geraldo Rivera’s May 24, 2012, WABC radio interview with “birther Lord Christopher Monckton” is still listed in the WABC archive, but the audio file of the show is no longer there.

Why isn’t it?

Leaving all these questions hanging is unhealthy. And it’s not enough to promise to do better in the future, as former Republican Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Michigan, now running a Senate primary campaign, recently suggested. Advocating a department to check presidential credentials next time around, Hoekstra said: “I hate to say it, but I think the debate is over. We lost the debate in 2008 when our presidential nominee said, ‘I ain’t talking about it.’ … I’d love to … say that I’m going to fight it, we’re going to beat it and we’re going to win it. I think it wasn’t fought and we lost it.”

It wasn’t fought and we lost it. What a great motto for the shirkers of responsibility today, and the subjects of tyranny tomorrow.

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