A Texas state lawmaker has filed a bill that would require candidates for president or vice president to show their birth certificates to the secretary of state before being allowed on the ballot, and the measure could become effective as early as next year if adopted and signed into law.
The move by Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, renews the threat to a second Oval Office term for Barack Obama that was posed last year when the state House in Arizona actually adopted the requirement, but the session ended before the Senate acted.
Berman's legislation, House Bill 295, is brief and simple:
It would add to the state election code the provision: "The secretary of state may not certify the name of a candidate for president or vice-president unless the candidate has presented the candidate's original birth certificate indicating that the person is a natural-born United States citizen."
It includes an effective date of Sept. 1, 2011, in time for the expected presidential campaigning for 2012.
State Rep. Leo Berman
Berman told WND he's seen neither evidence nor indication that Obama actually qualifies under the Constitution's requirement that a president be a "natural-born citizen," a requirement not imposed on most other federal officers.
"If the federal government is not going to vet these people, like they vetted John McCain, we'll do it in our state," he said. He noted the Senate's investigation into McCain because of the Republican senator's birth in Panama to military parents.
Berman also said there will be pressure on any lawmaker who opposes the information plan, since voters would wonder why they wouldn't want such basic data about a president revealed. And he said even if one state adopts the requirement, there will be national implications, because other states would be alerted to a possible problem.
"If Obama is going to run for re-election in 2012, he'll have to show our secretary of state his birth certificate and prove he's a natural-born citizen," he said. "This is going to be significant."
Berman said he's convinced there are problems with Obama's eligibility, or else his handlers would not be so persistent in keeping the information concealed.
A year ago, polls indicated that roughly half of American voters were even aware of a dispute over Obama's eligibility. Recent polls, however, by organizations including CNN, show that roughly six in 10 American voters hold serious doubts that Obama is, in fact, eligible under the Constitution's demands.
WND requests for comment to the office of the Texas House speaker, as well as Democratic leadership, did not generate responses.
The Texas House is expected to be dominated by the GOP, with a roughly 2-1 margin, but in the 31-member Senate, Democrats will have probably 12 seats and might be able to kill off legislation using the chamber's requirement that there is support from two-thirds of the membership before holding a floor vote.
There, the state House of Representatives adopted a similar plan put forward by Rep. Judy Burges, but it died in the state Senate in the closing days of the session. Burgess has told WND she will work to bring the plan forward again.
A number of other states also have taken launched their own work on the subject:
- Georgia has a plan by Rep. Mark Hatfield, House Bill 1516, introduced just as the last legislative session was closing. He told WND he expects to use it to create support for the plan when the legislature returns this winter.
- New Hampshire had a proposal pending that would require candidates meet the "qualifications contained in the U.S. Constitution."
- Oklahoma had a proposal that would be a referendum for voters on the issue.
- South Carolina had discussions over a plan to prohibit the name of a candidate on a ballot "unless that person shows conclusive evidence that he is a legal citizen of the United States."
- Several other states have discussed requirements for candidates but they did not specifically address the Article 2, Section 1 constitutional compliance so it's unclear whether they would have addressed Obama's situation.
Then there's Rep. Bill Posey's bill at the federal level.
Posey's H.R. 1503 states:
"To amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to require the principal campaign committee of a candidate for election to the office of President to include with the committee's statement of organization a copy of the candidate's birth certificate, together with such other documentation as may be necessary to establish that the candidate meets the qualifications for eligibility to the Office of President under the Constitution."
The bill also provides:
"Congress finds that under … the Constitution of the United States, in order to be eligible to serve as President, an individual must be a natural born citizen of the United States who has attained the age of 35 years and has been a resident within the United States for at least 14 years."
The sponsors' goal is for the bill to become effective for the 2012 presidential election. The legislation now is pending in a House committee and has more than a dozen co-sponsors.
tens of thousands of others who already have signed a petition to state
lawmakers asking them to make sure the next president of the United
States qualifies under the Constitution's eligibility requirements.
There have been dozens of lawsuits and challenges over the fact that Obama's eligibility never has been documented. The "Certification of Live Birth" his campaign posted online is a document that Hawaii is a document that has made available to those not born in the state.
The controversy stems from the Constitution, Article 2, Section 1, which 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."
The challenges to Obama's eligibility allege he does not qualify because he was not born in Hawaii in 1961 as he claims, or that he fails to qualify because he was a dual citizen of the U.S. and the United Kingdom when he was born and the framers of the Constitution specifically excluded dual citizens from eligibility.
Complicating the issue is the fact that besides Obama's actual birth documentation, he has kept from the public documentation including his 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, files from his years as an Illinois state senator, Illinois State Bar Association records, baptism records and his adoption records.
A petition that has been launched by WND founder and CEO Joseph Farah asks that state lawmakers do their duty in making sure the next presidential election will feature candidates whose eligibility has been documented.
Tens of thousands already have signed on.
"What we need are hundreds of thousands of Americans endorsing this strategy on the petition – encouraging more action by state officials before the 2012 election. Imagine if just one or two states adopt such measures before 2012. Obama will be forced to comply with those state regulations or forgo any effort to get on the ballot for re-election. Can Obama run and win without getting on all 50 state ballots? I don't think so," he said.
For 18 months, Farah has been one of the few national figures who has steadfastly pushed the issue of eligibility, despite ridicule, name-calling and ostracism at the hands of most of his colleagues. To date, in addition to the earlier petition, he has:
- erected billboards around the country demanding, "Where's the birth certificate?":
- produced a 40-page special report on the subject;
- produced a 60-minute documentary video primer on the issue;
- manufactured yard and rally signs to bring attention to the topic;
- pledged to donate at least $15,000 to any hospital in Hawaii or anywhere else that provides proof Obama was born there and given you an opportunity to raise the amount;
- created a line of T-shirts you can wear to appearances by the president to raise visibility of the issue;
- created a fund to which you can donate to further the kind of investigative reporting into this matter only this company has performed over the last two years;
- launched a line of postcards you can use to keep the issue alive;
- distributed thousands of bumper stickers asking, "Where's the birth certificate?"
Farah says all those campaigns are continuing.
"Obama may be able to continue showing contempt for the Constitution and the rule of law for the next two years, as he has demonstrated his willingness to do in his first year in office," he wrote in a column. "However, a day of reckoning is coming. Even if only one significant state, with a sizable Electoral College count, decides a candidate for election or re-election has failed to prove his or her eligibility, that makes it nearly impossible for the candidate to win. It doesn't take all 50 states complying with the law to be effective."
If you are a member of the media and would like to interview Joseph Farah about this campaign, e-mail WND.