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The attorney in a publicized challenge to Barack Obama’s eligibility to be president told WND the Florida case took an unexpected turn in court yesterday, one he says “pulled the rug out” from Obama’s lawyers and should force a quick answer from the judge.

Attorney Larry Klayman told WND he had expected an “uneventful” hearing in the ongoing case, which returned before Judge Terry Lewis yesterday, but instead found a legal tangle that he believes means Lewis will “have to make a decision, have to put it on record.”

Klayman originally filed the challenge to Obama’s eligibility for the ballot on behalf of Michael Voeltz, who identifies himself as “a registered member of the Democratic Party, voter and taxpayer in Broward County.”

As WND reported, however, attorneys representing Obama at the case’s main hearing, which was livestreamed by WND, argued that the Florida presidential preference primary, which listed Obama as the only Democrat nominee, didn’t make him the party’s nominee for president. They urged Lewis to decide that Obama is not yet the Democratic nominee for president and therefore ignore evidence challenging his eligibility.

A video recording of the hearing is available for viewing online at WND.

But Klayman told WND yesterday that Florida law is unique in that it gives the average voter “much greater freedom to challenge eligibility and fraud than most other states.”

Florida law permits filing for “declaratory relief” at any time, Klayman said, a move that would force a judge to rule on the facts of the case even before a decision on whether to compel some legal action. In other words, in the Voeltz case, instead of waiting until the nominating convention – which Klayman called a “shell game” Obama attorneys are playing to put off the issue –Lewis would be pushed to make a declaration on Obama’s eligibility “whether nominated or not.”

“Lewis would have to reach a decision; he would have to put it on record,” Klayman said. “By amending for declaratory relief, we’re pulling the rug right out from Obama and the Florida secretary of state.”

Klayman told WND Obama’s lawyers immediately went into a tailspin and filed to have the amendment for declaratory relief stricken, which the judge granted, arguing he wanted to wait to issue a formal decision in the case.

But Klayman said his team is willing to file a stand-alone complaint for declaratory relief with Lewis as soon as next week and “pull the rug out from under him, too.”

“This judge can’t get out from under his legal requirement,” Klayman said. “If he screws around, he’s violating law.”

In hundreds of cases filed challenging Obama’s eligibility, the full range of questions – from Obama’s birth records, charged by some as fraudulent, to the Constitution’s meaning of “natural born citizen” – have never been ruled upon, dismissed typically on questions of who has “standing” to bring the challenge.

Klayman, however, told WND, “It doesn’t matter how Lewis rules, the losing side will appeal, and this case is going up, maybe all the way to the Supreme Court.”

Still, he said, “I want Lewis to address the issue of eligibility and create a record, so we can take it up before the election. I’m still confident, hopeful that will happen.”

A fund has been set up for donations to cover legal expenses for the case.

Following the case’s first hearing, the judge said he would review the law, but he had pointed questions for both sides.

For example, When Klayman noted the Founding Fathers established the natural-born citizen requirement because they wanted to avoid foreign influence on a president from a non-citizen parent, Lewis countered by posing a hypothetical situation in which a candidate’s two U.S.-citizen parents later emigrate to Israel.

Klayman said the Founding Fathers’ attempt to avoid a conflict of interest in the Oval Office did not include every possible scenario.

The judge asked whether the Democratic Party, as a private group, had a right to choose a nominee, even if that person was ineligible.

Lewis questioned a citation by Obama’s attorneys of a Florida law that suggests when only one person is on the ballot, that person automatically becomes the nominee. He told the attorneys he would review the details of the law.

The arguments by Obama’s attorneys reflected their request that the judge simply dismiss the case because they claim a sitting president chosen by his party at multiple levels is not yet officially the nominee.

Klayman accused the Obama attorneys of trying to delay the issue, as numerous courts did in 2008 until the election was over and Obama was inaugurated.

The judge could remove Obama’s name from the November ballot in Florida, a crucial swing state, should he determine that the Constitution’s requirement that a president be a “natural born citizen” can be applied at the primary level.

Is Obama constitutionally eligible to serve? Here’s WND’s complete archive of news reports on the issue

Klayman told WND that during a hearing last month on discovery issues in the case, Lewis noted that the plaintiff’s brief cited U.S. Supreme Court case Minor v. Happersett from 1875 defining “natural born citizen” as the offspring of two citizens of the nation, while the Obama campaign’s arguments provided no citations.

Defining the term is critical. Such a step has not been reached in any of the more than 100 legal cases that have been brought over Obama’s eligibility.

The U.S. Constitution’s “natural born citizen” requirement is not imposed on other federal officials. The writings of the Founders indicate the requirement was meant to ensure that no person who had divided loyalties would serve as commander in chief.

Klayman has argued that since Obama, by his own admission, was not born to two citizen parents, he is not a “natural born citizen” and, therefore, is ineligible to be a candidate on the state’s election ballot.

Florida’s election statutes provide broad protections for voters to ensure that the integrity of the election system is beyond reproach. One of the laws allows voters to challenge the nomination of a candidate who is not eligible for the office he is seeking.

WND earlier reported on the case, which raises some of the same issues that have been raised in other state ballot challenges. Specifically it alleges:

On or about April 2011, only after years into his presidency, and under media and political pressure, Barack Hussein Obama published on the Internet an electronic version of a purported birth certificate alleging his birth in Honolulu, Hawaii on August 4, 1961, to American citizen mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, and Kenyan British subject father, Barack Obama Senior.

There is credible evidence indicating that this electronically produced birth certificate is entirely fraudulent or otherwise altered. No physical, paper copy of the actual long form birth certificate has been produced in order to definitively establish Barack Hussein Obama’s birth within the United States.

The action follows by weeks the release of Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s investigation into Obama’s eligibility. The investigation by professional law enforcement officers working on a volunteer basis for Arpaio’s Cold Case Posse found probable cause that Obama’s birth certificate was forged and fraudulently presented as a genuine document.

The plaintiff has submitted affidavits from Arpaio and others to support the claim.

The complaint explains that even if Obama was born within the United States, he is still not a “natural-born citizen” as required by the U.S. Constitution. That’s because his father was born in the British Colony of Kenya on June 18, 1936, making him a British subject, according to the British Nationality Act of 1948.

A case filing explains: “No physical, paper copy of defendant Obama’s birth certificate has been presented to establish his eligibility. … Defendant Obama has electronically produced a copy of what he purports to be his ‘birth certificate.’ Nevertheless, there is evidence to suggest that the electronically produced birth certificate is entirely fraudulent or otherwise altered.”

When asked by Judge Lewis, Klayman confirmed he could add to the complaint details of the evidence Obama was not born in the U.S.

Obama’s attorneys told the judge that other courts have decided that courts should not make such decisions and the process is better handled by Congress. They said state courts especially are not suited to making a decision on the eligibility of Obama.

“They are precluded from judging the qualifications of candidates for president of the United States,” the Obama attorneys said.

But Klayman pleaded with the judge to decide the issue, because a determination made after the election could negate Florida’s vote.

“Florida has a special duty not just on behalf of the citizens of Florida but on behalf of the United States,” he said.

Klayman referred to a recent Obama order to underscore the significance of the Founders’ desire that the president not have divided loyalties or “not even a hint of foreign influence.”

“Just a few days ago, he issued an executive order … which in effect allows illegal alien students who came into this country … to remain in this country. … The president’s own father was in fact here on a student visa and ultimately was deported because that visa expired.”

Klayman reiterated the Supreme Court’s Minor v. Happersett definition of “natural born citizen” as a person born in the country of two citizen parents.

“The point is this, your honor,” said Klayman. “The president is not like everybody else. If that was the case the framers would have said ‘citizens’ [can be president.]”

He accused Obama’s attorneys of trying to “push the issue down the road” until the legal process would fail due to lack of time.

“It’s a shell game,” Klayman said. ” … Neither the Florida Constitution nor the federal Constitution … would ever sanction what they are saying.”

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