NEW YORK – Though he's been in office some 16 months, one-third of his elected term, a multitude of questions still linger as to whether Barack Obama is legally eligible to serve as president of the United States.
And one organization, in Harlem, has decided to move the issue front and center by sponsoring what it calls "a real trial" it contends will "shed light" on the questions surrounding the 44th president.
Starting Friday and for a full week, the Atlah World Missionary Church will hold in essence a citizen's court in what it bills as "the greatest trial in American history."
The trial, which will include legal scholars and retired court officers, will examine several issues, including Obama's birth place, his citizenship status, his academic credentials and alleged ties to the Central Intelligence Agency as a student.
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The Atlah World Missionary Church, headed by Rev. James Manning, says the proceedings are not a mock trial and are permitted under the U.S. Constitution:
"A number of Americans have been gravely concerned about the eligibility issue of Barack Obama... We have been able to look at the briefs filed by several attorneys and the courts have just refused categorically to allow any access or due process on the matter... We are going to call a 10th Amendment sanctioned trial. It is not a grand jury, it's not a hearing, it's a trial and we are going to follow all the rules and practices of both federal and state jurisprudence... We are going to adjudicate this trial in such a way that it will be historically respectful and appellate proof."
Manning admitted that any verdict such a trial might produce would likely not be enforceable:
"It would not be our intent to enforce a verdict. We report such information to the appropriate authorities and it will be incumbent upon them to act accordingly. We don't have the power to imprison or fine. But we will turn the findings of this trial over to the appropriate authorities," he said.
The Harlem cleric believes the mainstream media has consistently ignored important questions on the Obama presidency and the time has arrived to push for answers.
Among those subpoenaed to appear at the trial are former Secretary of State Condolezza Rice, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakhan and Alan Keyes.
Atlah's invitation to the Obama trial
Manning says while he does not expect many of those subpoenaed to appear, some might. Keyes is among those "looking favorably" on the Harlem trial.
The White House, not surprisingly, has had little to say, says the pastor.
"There has been absolute silence," he said.
But Manning confirmed subpoenas and indictments have been served on administration officials, though he refused to identify the individuals.
The Harlem pastor said the Harlem community, an Obama political stronghold, at first was annoyed at the trial, but in a sign of the times, now is taking a wait and see attitude.
"You need to know that Obama's popularity in the African-American community has been slipping greatly. They have been just holding their noses too," he said. "They are definitely very concerned that they did not pick the right person to represent them as the first black president."
The trial begins Saturday. On Friday, Manning will lead a protest march at Columbia University.
Among other efforts that already have been launched against Obama are grand jury "indictments" that have been generated by citizens' groups and a multitude of lawsuits. Some have alleged that he was not born in Hawaii in 1961 as he has written, or that the framers of the Constitution specifically excluded dual citizens – Obama's father was a subject of the British crown at Obama's birth – from being eligible for the office.
Several of the legal cases remain pending at the appellate level.
Besides Obama's actual birth documentation, the still-concealed documentation for him includes kindergarten records, Punahou school records, Occidental College records, Columbia University records, Columbia thesis, Harvard Law School records, Harvard Law Review articles, scholarly articles from the University of Chicago, passport, medical records, his files from his years as an Illinois state senator, his Illinois State Bar Association records, any baptism records, and his adoption records.
"Where's The Birth Certificate?" billboard helps light up the night at the Mandalay Bay resort on the Las Vegas Strip.
Because of the dearth of information about Obama's eligibility, WND founder Joseph Farah has launched a campaign to raise contributions to post billboards asking a simple question: "Where's the birth certificate?"
The campaign followed a petition that has collected more than 500,000 signatures demanding proof of his eligibility, the availability of yard signs raising the question and the production of permanent, detachable magnetic bumper stickers asking the question.
The "certification of live birth" posted online and widely touted as "Obama's birth certificate" does not in any way prove he was born in Hawaii, since the same "short-form" document is easily obtainable for children not born in Hawaii. The true "long-form" birth certificate – which includes information such as the name of the birth hospital and attending physician – is the only document that can prove Obama was born in Hawaii, but to date he has not permitted its release for public or press scrutiny.
Oddly, though congressional hearings were held to determine whether Sen. John McCain was constitutionally eligible to be president as a "natural born citizen," no controlling legal authority ever sought to verify Obama's claim to a Hawaiian birth.
Your donation – from as little as $5 to as much as $1,000 – can be made online at the WND SuperStore. (Donations are not tax-deductible. Donations of amounts greater than $1,000 can be arranged by calling either 541-474-1776 or 1-800-4WND.COM. If you would prefer to mail in your contributions, they should be directed to WND, P.O. Box 1627, Medford, Oregon, 97501. Be sure to specify the purpose of the donation by writing "billboard" on the check. In addition, donations of billboard space will be accepted, as will significant contributions specifically targeted for geographic locations.)
If you are a member of the media and would like to interview Joseph Farah about this campaign, e-mail WND.