A service that posted copies of U.S. Supreme Court decisions online in which dozens of references to a key court definition of "natural-born citizen" vanished during the time Barack Obama was seeking the presidency now is explaining that the alterations were made by programmers.
Writer Declan McCullagh explained that Stanley said the numerous references to the Minor v. Happersett case in the U.S. Supreme Court in 1875 were dropped or altered because, "Justia's programmers typed in ".*" (which matches any character) when creating a regex. It's now an "\s" (which matches only spaces)."
The writer explained that "regex" is a term for "regular expression."
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But there was no definitive comment about what operation was being pursued when the changes were made or why programming was needed for opinions from the high court that presumably would not be subject to editing, alterations or changes.
Justia declined another request from WND today to respond to questions about the issue.
The issue developed when a New Jersey attorney who brought the first legal challenge to Barack Obama's occupancy in the Oval Office to the U.S. Supreme Court published a report revealing that references to a U.S. Supreme Court decision addressing the definition of "natural-born citizen" were altered at Justia.com.
The Minor v. Happersett case is significant because it is one of very few references in the nation's archives that addresses the definition of "natural-born citizen," a requirement imposed by the U.S. Constitution on only the U.S. president.
That case states:
The Constitution does not in words say who shall be natural-born citizens. Resort must be had elsewhere to ascertain that. At common law, with the nomenclature of which the framers of the Constitution were familiar, it was never doubted that all children born in a country of parents who were its citizens became themselves, upon their birth, citizens also. These were natives or natural-born citizens, as distinguished from aliens or foreigners."
In the dispute over Obama's eligibility, dating back to before his election, it has been argued that the Minor case does not apply. Some have argued that it applies only to voting rights.
Leo C. Donofrio, whose original Donofrio v. Wells against the New Jersey Secretary of State alleged Obama does not meet the Constitution's Article 2, Section 1 "natural-born citizen" demand for presidents because of his dual citizenship at birth, released research suggesting that even as Obama was preparing to be the Democratic candidate for president in 2008, someone was scrubbing court records of that case.
"New evidence conclusively establishes that 25 U.S. Supreme Court opinions were sabotaged then republished at Justia.com during the runup to the '08 election," he reported
He initially reported several months ago on a few of the adjustments in the text of the Supreme Court opinions at the online resource, "but last week, a third sabotaged case was discovered which led to a thorough examination of all U.S. Supreme Court cases which cite 'Minor v. Happersett' as they appeared on Justia.com between 2006 and the present."
Arguably, under the definition in the case, neither candidate in 2008, Democrat Obama nor Republican Sen. John McCain, would be eligible. McCain was born outside of the United States in the Panama Canal Zone, and Obama's father never was a U.S. citizen, raising a direct conflict with the Happersett's requirement for a birth "of parents who were its citizens."
The report from C/net confirmed that Justia noted the opinions as posted were inaccurate. And Donofrio concluded that the "deception" could have been undertaken on behalf either of Obama or GOP Sen. John McCain.
"This is the very definition of 'Orwellian' Fascism. It's propaganda. And there is no place for it in the United States. The sacrifices for truth and justice which created and have sustained this nation are wantonly debased by the subversive deception emanating from Justia.com servers," Donofrio said at the time.
Stanley, who was described by Donofrio as being associated with "Obama For America 2008," told C/net that the changes have "nothing to do with President Obama."
In fact, he told C/net there have been internal discussions about how to prevent the situation from developing in the future.
But Donofrio suggested to WND that the programmers may have gotten involved in the files when the site was being updated – probably late in 2006 – to include hyperlinks in the documents.
But he said he has screen views of the files showing that the update was accomplished by Justia without any evidence of issues with the Minor v. Happersett reference. He said specifically the case reference was there after the site was updated.
He said it was months later that the site sent programmers to work again – and he's convinced this time it was to change the Minor references.
Then when the current story erupted, he said, Justia blocked access through the Internet's Wayback Machine, a resource for time-dated pages from Internet sites, to U.S. Supreme Court opinions.
Donofrio told WND that action alone is a tacit admission there was some manipulation going on. And he wrote on his website, "A criminal investigation is required."
The public information officer for the U.S. Supreme Court, Kathleen Arberg, has declined to respond to a WND call and email query about whether there could be any ramifications from posting an incomplete court document and representing it as the full document.
Among the dozens of examples identified by Donofrio was the Luria case.
The case from 1913 was an appeal out of New York that concluded: "Where a point involving sufficiency of the complaint is not raised and defendant does not challenge the statement of the court that it supposes the point will not be raised, it is too late to raise it in this court.
"This court concurs in the conclusion reached by the district court that the residence in a foreign country of one whose certificate of naturalization was attacked as fraudulent was intended to be and was of a permanent nature and justified the proceeding on the part of the United States to cancel the certificate under § 15 of the Act of June 29, 1906."
Using the online Wayback machine, Donofrio found a 2006 image of the pertinent reference to Minor v. Happersett in the document. The reference is near the highlighted word:
Then Donofrio found a 2008 image of the same page, but the Minor v. Happersett reference had disappeared:
A subsequent image of the same page, from 2010, revealed that the Minor v. Happersett still was gone:
Finally, the current image, as of Friday afternoon, revealed that the reference had been restored:
Dianna Cotter wrote in the Portland Civil Rights Examiner: "This was done in these specific cases in order to prevent their being found by Internet researchers long before anyone had even begun to look for them, even before Obama would win the Democratic nomination at the DNC Convention in Denver, Colo., in August '08. This is premeditation and intent to deceive."
She noted that attorneys working on arguments always would return to the originals from the Supreme Court, "but 99.99 percent of the population has no access to dusty law texts or expensive legal research services such as Lexis and Westlaw.
"The manipulation at Justia.com diluted the importance of Minor by killing the citations in Supreme Court cases spanning over 100 years. Since Google most often returns Justia.com's version of the case being searched for as the first or second hit, Justia's version of Supreme Court opinions are most influential in the blogosphere's forums and comments. Erasing those citations and text on the Internet literally erases the importance of Minor and its precedents to millions of Americans otherwise unlikely to ever step into physical law library," she wrote.
There have been multiple court and other challenges to Obama's occupancy in the Oval Office. Essentially they have argued that he either isn't eligible because he wasn't born in Hawaii as he's said, or that he was never qualified because his father was a Kenyan citizen, giving Barack Obama dual citizenship (the U.S. and the United Kingdom) at his birth. Those people argue that the Founders, with their requirement that the president be a "natural-born citizen," disqualified dual citizens.
The White House in April released an image of a "Certificate of Live Birth" from the state of Hawaii in support of Obama's claim that he was born in the state. However, many computer, imaging, document and technology experts have stated it appears to be a forgery.
Obama long-form birth certificate released April 27 by the White House