Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin
An Army “investigating officer” has banished evidence about the controversy over President Obama’s eligibility – or lack thereof – to be commander-in-chief from a pending hearing for a career military doctor who announced he is refusing orders until Obama documents his constitutional status.
“In my view our constitutional jurisprudence allows Congress alone, and not a military judicial body, to put the president’s credentials on trial,” wrote Daniel J. Driscoll in a memorandum determining what evidence the defense for Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin will be allowed to explore at next week’s hearing.
“It is my opinion the discovery items pertaining to the president’s credentials are not relevant to the proof of any element of the charges and specifications set forth in the charge sheet,” he continued. “Consequently I will not examine the documents or witnesses pertinent to the president or his credentials to hold office.”
The ruling came prior to a scheduled Article 32 hearing for Lakin, who posted a video inviting his own court hearing because of the status of the president and questions over whether his eligibility means orders given under his control would be invalid.
Lakin is not the first officer to raise questions. Others have included Army doctor Capt. Connie Rhodes and Army reservist Maj. Stefan Cook. But Lakin is the first active-duty officer to raise the question.
And in at least one of the earlier disputes, the Army simply canceled the orders rather than allow the argument to come to a head.
But now the Army has scheduled Lakin’s Article 32 hearing – a military version of a preliminary hearing – for June 11.
Word about the ruling from Driscoll came from the American Patriot Foundation, which operates the Safeguard Our Constitution website which is generating support for Lakin.
While Driscoll cited “Rule for Courts-Martial 405” which allows “the production of witnesses ‘whose testimony would be relevant…'” he said questions about Obama’s eligibility – which could bear on the validity of military orders – will be ignored.
Driscoll then blamed the defense for not giving him what he wanted.
“I expressly instructed ‘[y]our submissions, if any, on the subject of lawfulness of orders, derivation of authority, political questions and the like should be sufficiently scholarly to allow me to make an informed determination of relevance of the requested items to the truth of the specifications and charges at issue,” Driscoll wrote.
“The defense submitted a memorandum outlining the concept of chain of command, showing that the president is at the top of the chain, showing that the Constitution requires the president to be a natural born citizen and stating that soldiers must disobey ‘illegal orders,'” Driscoll continued. “There is no scholarly discussion of what constitutes an illegal order or under what circumstances such an order can be disobeyed or must be disobeyed.”
Instead, he said, the “law of lawfulness of orders” should prevail.
The result is that he denied defense requests for Obama’s Punahou school records, Hawaii Health Department records, Occidental College records, Columbia records and Harvard records.
He also rejected a request that Obama be called to answer questions about his eligibility.
Driscoll said those who have custody of Obama’s records – several Hawaii and various school officials – also will not be allowed to testify.
Driscoll declined to respond to a WND request to comment on his ruling.
But Lakin said the result “makes it impossible for me to have a fair hearing.”
“I cannot even raise the issue of the president’s eligibility, on the grounds that my position has ‘no basis in law,'” he said.
Lakin, who previously has served in Afghanistan, refused orders this spring to go again, “because the president refuses – even in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary – to prove his eligibility under the Constitution to hold office.”
Lakin’s hearing is scheduled at 9 a.m. in Room 134 of Building T-2 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. It is open to the public.
It was Lakin’s stance that convinced CNN, which had ignored or ridiculed the issue for months, to give it a prime time focus recently.
Lakin’s advisers, however, told WND he will have an opportunity to raise the question again later during a court-martial process, once the Article 32 hearing is over.
Lakin and his attorney, Paul Rolf Jensen, appeared on Anderson Cooper’s program and sparred with the commentator about the facts related to Obama’s eligibility for the presidency.
The Constitution requires a president to be a “natural born citizen,” and while the term is not defined in the Constitution, many legal analysts believe at the time it was written it meant a person born in the U.S. of two U.S. citizen parents. Critics say Obama clearly does not qualify under that definition, since he has admitted in his book his father never was a U.S. citizen. Some legal challenges have argued he wasn’t even born in Hawaii.
Formally, Lakin is accused of “through design” missing “the movement of US Airways Flight Number 1123, departing from Baltimore/Washington International Airport arriving in Charlotte, North Carolina, in order to deploy for a Temporary Change of Station in support of Operation Enduring Freedom with the 32nd Calvary (sic) Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Kentucky, with which he was required in the course of duty to move.”
The second charge accuses Lakin of failing to report “to the office of his Brigade Commander, Colonel Gordon R. Roberts, at 1345 hours, or words to that effect, an order which it was his duty to obey.”
The SafeguardOurConstitution website explained the first charge, “missing movement,” is a serious crime in the nature of a felony. The second is “disobeying a direct order” and includes four specifications.
“Any soldier convicted on all charges and specifications would expect to be sentenced to years at ‘hard labor’ in the penitentiary,” the site said.
The charges against Lt. Col. Terry Lakin, the highest-ranking and first active-duty officer to refuse to obey orders based on President Obama’s eligibility.
Jensen, in an earlier interview on the G. Gordon Liddy radio program, suggested that he would pursue information through “subpoenas and depositions under the rules that are prescribed.”
“Every criminal defendant has to be allowed the benefit of doubt to discover information relevant or which may even lead to the discovery of relevant information that could support his case,” Jensen said.
“It would be shocking to me that a defendant … would not be permitted to discover information that would lend itself to proving his [case],” he said at the time.
The discovery issue previously was raised in court by attorney John Hemenway, who was threatened by a federal judge with sanctions for bringing a court challenge to Obama’s presidency.
Hemenway is serving in emeritus status with the Safeguard Our Constitution website. He brought the previous court challenge on behalf of a retired military officer, Gregory S. Hollister, who questioned Obama’s eligibility.
The Hollister case ultimately was dismissed by Judge James Robertson, who notably ruled during the 2008 election campaign that the federal legal dispute had been “twittered” and, therefore, resolved.
Robertson sarcastically wrote: “The plaintiff says that he is a retired Air Force colonel who continues to owe fealty to his commander in chief (because he might possibly be recalled to duty) and who is tortured by uncertainty as to whether he would have to obey orders from Barack Obama because it has not been proven – to the colonel’s satisfaction – that Mr. Obama is a native-born American citizen, qualified under the Constitution to be president.
“The issue of the president’s citizenship was raised, vetted, blogged, texted, twittered, and otherwise massaged by America’s vigilant citizenry during Mr. Obama’s two-year campaign for the presidency, but this plaintiff wants it resolved by a court,” Robertson wrote.
Then the judge suggested sanctions against Hemenway for bringing the case. Hemenway responded that the process then would provide him with a right to a discovery hearing to see documentation regarding the judge’s statements – not supported by any evidence introduced into the case – that Obama was properly “vetted.”
Hemenway warned at the time, “If the court persists in pressing Rule 11 procedures against Hemenway, then Hemenway should be allowed all of the discovery pertinent to the procedures as court precedents have permitted in the past.
“The court has referred to a number of facts outside of the record of this particular case and, therefore, the undersigned is particularly entitled to a hearing to get the truth of those matters into the record. This may require the court to authorize some discovery,” Hemenway said.
The court ultimately backed off its threat of sanctions.
WND columnist Vox Day earlier wrote about this very scenario, calling it a “get out of war free” card.
The comments followed the case of a reservist who challenged the legality of his deployment orders under Obama. The orders later were canceled by the government.
“Rather than contesting the suit,” Day wrote, “the Army took the highly peculiar step of revoking the major’s deployment order, suggesting that the Pentagon generals are not entirely confident that they can demonstrate the legitimacy of their purported commander in chief.”
Obama’s actual response to those who question his eligibility to be president under the Constitution’s requirement that the U.S. president be a “natural born citizen” has been to dispatch both private and tax-funded attorneys to prevent anyone from gaining access to his documentation.
The Constitution, Article 2, Section 1, states, “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President.”
WND has covered a multitude of challenges and lawsuits over the issue. 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.
Lakin earlier released a copy of a letter he sent to Obama saying, “The burden of proof must rest with you.”
The letter, posted at the Safeguard Our Constitution website, describes how Lakin tried through his chain of command and his congressional office to get answers to questions about Obama’s eligibility.
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.
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Note: A legal-defense fund has been set up for Lt. Col. Terry Lakin.