It could be a game-changer.
A plan in Arizona to require presidential candidates to prove their eligibility to occupy the Oval Office is approaching critical mass, even though it has just been introduced.
The proposal from state Rep. Judy Burges, who carried a similar plan that fell short last year only because of political maneuvering, was introduced yesterday with 16 members of the state Senate as co-sponsors.
It needs only 16 votes in the Senate to pass.
In the House, there are 25 co-sponsors, with the need for only 31 votes for passage, and Burges told WND that there were several chamber members who confirmed they support the plan and will vote for it, but simply didn't wish to be listed as co-sponsors.
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The proposal, which also is being taken up in a number of other states, is highly specific and directly addresses the questions that have been raised by Barack Obama's occupancy of the White House. It says:
Within ten days after submittal of the names of the candidates, the national political party committee shall submit an affidavit of the presidential candidate in which the presidential candidate states the candidate's citizenship and age and shall append to the affidavit documents that prove that the candidate is a natural born citizen, prove the candidate's age and prove that the candidate meets the residency requirements for President of the United States as prescribed in article II, section 1, Constitution of the United States.
The critical phrases are "natural born citizen" and the requirements of "article II, section 1, Constitution of the United States," which imposes on the president a requirement not demanded of other state and federal officeholders.
At the time the Constitution was written, many analysts agree, a "natural born citizen" was considered to be a citizen born of two citizen parents. If that indeed is correct, Obama never would have been qualified to be president, as he himself has confirmed his father was a Kenyan subject to the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom, making Obama a dual citizen with Kenyan and American parentage at his birth.
Other definitions have called for a "natural born citizen" to be born of citizen parents inside the nation.
There have been dozens of lawsuits and challenges over the fact that Obama's "natural born citizen" status never has been documented. The "Certification of Live Birth" his campaign posted online is a document that Hawaii 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, through his father, of the U.S. and the United Kingdom's Kenyan terroritory when he was born and the framers of the Constitution specifically excluded dual citizens from eligibility.
There are several cases still pending before the courts over Obama's eligibility. Those cases, however, almost all have been facing hurdles created by the courts' interpretation of "standing," meaning someone who is being or could be harmed by the situation. The courts have decided almost unanimously that an individual taxpayer faces no damages different from other taxpayers, therefore doesn't have standing. Judges even have ruled that other presidential candidates are in that position.
The result is that none of the court cases to date has reached the level of discovery, through which Obama's birth documentation could be brought into court.
Obama even continued to withhold the information during a court-martial of a military officer, Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin, who challenged his deployment orders on the grounds Obama may not be a legitimate president. Lakin was convicted and sent to prison.
Burges told WND she's asked the proposal to be assigned to the Government Committee.
"I think every American should consider it of prime importance to ensure that all candidates for the highest elected position in our nation meet all constitutional requirements," she told WND. "We do not accept the federal government's unconstitutional treatment of states as one of their extended branches."
The Arizona bill also requires attachments, "which shall be sworn to under penalty of perjury," including "an original long form birth certificate that includes the date and place of birth, the names of the hospital and the attending physician and signatures of the witnesses in attendance."
It also requires testimony that the candidate "has not held dual or multiple citizenship and that the candidate's allegiance is solely to the United States of America."
"If both the candidate and the national political party committee for that candidate fail to submit and swear to the documents prescribed in this section, the secretary of state shall not place that presidential candidate's name on the ballot in this state," the state plan explains.
The governor's office is occupied by Republican Jan Brewer, who has had no difficulty in bringing direct challenges to Washington, such as a year ago when lawmakers adopted provisions that allowed state law enforcement officers to enforce federal immigration law. The state's move prompted an immediate court challenge by Washington.
WND also has reported that similar efforts are under way in Montana, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Texas:
Under Montana's plan by Rep. Bob Wagner, candidates would have to document their eligibility and also provide for protection for state taxpayers to prevent them from being billed for "unnecessary expense and litigation" involving the failure of 'federal election officials' to do their duty.
"There should be no question after the fact as to the qualifications [of a president]," Wagner told WND. "The state of Montana needs to have [legal] grounds to sue for damages for the cost of litigation."
Wagner's legislation cites the Constitution's requirement that the president hold "natural born citizenship" and the fact that the "military sons and daughters of the people of Montana and all civil servants to the people of Montana are required by oath to defend and uphold the Constitution of the United States and Montana against enemies foreign and domestic."
But there are estimates of up to $2 million being spent on Obama's defense against eligibility lawsuits. There have been dozens of them and some have been running for more than two years. So Wagner goes a step beyond.
"Whereas, it would seem only right and just to positively certify eligibility for presidential and congressional office at the federal level; and whereas, it is apparent that the federal authority is negligent in the matter; therefore, the responsibility falls upon the state; and whereas, this act would safeguard the people of Montana from unnecessary expense and litigation and the possibility that federal election officials fail in their duty and would ensure that the State of Montana remains true to the Constitution," says his proposed legislation.
In Pennsylvania, there was excitement over the GOP majority of both houses of the state legislature as well as the governor's office.
Assemblyman Daryl Metcalfe told WND he is working on a proposal that would demand documentation of constitutional eligibility.
He described it as a "problem" that there has been no established procedure for making sure that presidential candidates meet the Constitution's requirements for age, residency and being a "natural born citizen."
"We hope we would be able to pass this legislation and put it into law before the next session," he said.
He said any one of the states imposing such a requirement would be effective in solving his concerns.
"I think the public relations nightmare that would ensue if any candidate would thumb their noses at a single state would torpedo their campaign," he told WND.
Rep. Mark Hatfield has confirmed to WND that he will have a similar proposal pending.
He had introduced the legislation at the end of last year's session to put fellow lawmakers on alert that the issue was coming.
"I do plan to reintroduce the bill," he told WND. "We'll move forward with trying to get it before a committee."
In Georgia, Republicans hold majorities in both houses of the legislature as well as "every constitutional statewide office," he noted.
"I would be optimistic that we can [adopt the legislation]," he said.
Hatfield said if only one or two states adopt such requirements, it readily will be apparent whether a candidate has issues with eligibility documentation or not. And while he noted a president could win a race without support from a specific state, a failure to qualify on the ballot "would give voters in other states pause, about whether or not a candidate is in fact qualified," he said.
"My goal is to make sure any person that aspires to be president meets the constitutional requirements," he said. "This is a first step in that direction."
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 2012 presidential campaigning.
State Rep. Leo Berman
Berman told WND he's seen neither evidence nor indication that Obama qualifies under the Constitution's requirement that a president be a "natural-born citizen."
"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 bill, 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 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 eligible under the Constitution's demands.
Other state plans also might be in the works but unannounced yet. Officials with the Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures said they were not tracking bills in development.
But Orly Taitz, the California lawyer who has worked on a number of the highest-profile legal challenges to Obama, said efforts are under way now in Missouri and Oklahoma, too.
She said the bill is expected to be successful in Missouri where there is a GOP majority in the legislature, and in Oklahoma, where last year a similar plan failed by only one vote in the state Senate.
She encouraged residents of Tennessee, New Hampshire, South Dakota, California, Maine, New Mexico, South Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey and Iowa to contact their lawmakers, as there has been some interest expressed.
"We need eligibility bills filed in each and every state of the union … as it shows the regime that we are still the nation of law and the Constitution, that the Constitution matters and state representatives and senators are ready to fight for the rule of law. During the last election there were some 700 more Republican state assemblyman elected all over the country, as the nation is not willing to tolerate this assault on our rights and our Constitution any further," she said.
Last year, several other states listened to proposals that could have had an impact on eligibility documentation. In New Hampshire, officials wanted to require candidates to meet the "qualifications contained in the U.S. Constitution." In Oklahoma, lawmakers heard a plan to let voters decide the issue, and in South Carolina, the plan was to prevent candidates from being on the ballot unless "that person shows conclusive evidence that he is a legal citizen of the United States."
Further, several other states 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.
There also was, during the last Congress, Rep. Bill Posey's bill at the federal level.
Posey's H.R. 1503 stated:
"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 provided:
"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."
It had more than a dozen sponsors, and while it died at the end of the last Congress, there are hopes the GOP majority in the House this year will move such a plan forward.
There also is a petition, already signed by tens of thousands, to state
lawmakers asking them to make sure the next president of the United
States qualifies under the Constitution's eligibility requirements.
"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," said Joseph Farah, CEO of WND, who is behind the idea of the petition.
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.