There's a subpoena from a Georgia administrative court with Barack Obama's name on it for him to be in Atlanta on Thursday, along with the documentation about his birth, to answer to challenges from residents of the state objecting to the presence of his name on the 2012 ballot.
They believe he's simply not eligible under the Constitution's requirement that a president be a "natural born citizen." They say the Founders thought of that status as the offspring of two citizen parents, and Obama's father was Kenyan. Or they say he wasn't born in the U.S. They are legitimately allowed to raise those challenges under a state law.
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But several observers say no one really should expect Obama to arrive.
For one thing, his important presidential trip to Denver, Detroit and Las Vegas, three key regions where he wants to build his support before the November 2012 election, is on tap.
Discover what the Constitution's reference to "natural born citizen" means and whether Barack Obama qualifies, in the ebook version of "Where's the REAL Birth Certificate?"
Besides that, Eric Segall of Georgia State University told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that this is just like all the other lawsuits over Obama's eligibility: worthless.
"There have been many, many lawsuits trying to litigate the issue of the president’s nationality," the law professor opined. "They have all been dismissed and this one should be too. In light of the frivolousness of the case, the judge has no valid authority to require the president to appear in court."
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The administrative court itself probably would not pursue any sort of procedure against the president should he fail to appear, but Marietta, Ga., attorney Melvin Goldstein said the logical sequence of events would be, presuming Obama's failure to appear, for the court to refer the matter to a superior court judge in the county, who could determine whether a contempt citation against Obama would be supported.
It was White House Press Secretary Jay Carney who told reporters Obama would be delivering the State of the Union Tuesday, then traveling for three days, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
"He will be speaking specifically about … American manufacturing, American energy, and skill for American workers," Carney said.
WND reported Friday on the stunning decision from Judge Michael M. Malihi, who refused a demand from Obama's lawyer to quash the subpoena for Thursday.
WND had reported earlier when Obama outlined a defense strategy for a number of state-level challenges to his candidacy in 2012 which argue that states have nothing to do with the eligibility of presidential candidates. Such challenges have been raised in New Hampshire, Arizona, Illinois and several other states.
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"Presidential electors and Congress, not the state of Georgia, hold the constitutional responsibility for determining the qualifications of presidential candidates," Obama's lawyer argued in a motion to quash a subpoena for him to appear at the hearings in Atlanta Jan. 26.
"The election of President Obama by the presidential electors, confirmed by Congress, makes the documents and testimony sought by plaintiff irrelevant," the lawyer said.
Malihi, however, took a different view.
"Defendant argues that 'if enforced, [the subpoena] requires him to interrupt duties as president of the United States' to attend a hearing in Atlanta, Georgia. However, defendant fails to provide any legal authority to support his motion to quash the subpoena to attend," he wrote in his order.
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"Defendant's motion suggests that no president should be compelled to attend a court hearing. This may be correct. But defendant has failed to enlighten the court with any legal authority," the judge continued.
"Specifically, defendant has failed to cite to any legal authority evidencing why his attendance is 'unreasonable or oppressive, or that the testimony … [is] irrelevant, immaterial, or cumulative and unnecessary to a party's preparation or presentation at the hearing, or that basic fairness dictates that the subpoena should not be enforced.'"
Hearings have been scheduled for three separate complaints raised against Obama's candidacy. They all are raised by Georgia residents who are challenging Obama's name on the 2012 ballot for various reasons, which they are allowed to do under state law.
It is states, usually through the office of secretary of state, that run elections, not the federal government. The national election is simply a compilation of the results of the individual elections within states.
The schedule for the hearings was set by Malihi of the Georgia state Office of State Administrative Hearings. In Georgia, a state law requires "every candidate for federal" office who is certified by the state executive committees of a political party or who files a notice of candidacy "shall meet the constitutional and statutory qualifications for holding the office being sought."
State law also grants the secretary of state and any "elector who is eligible to vote for a candidate" in the state the authority to raise a challenge to a candidate's qualifications, the judge determined.
Three different plaintiffs' groups are lined up for separate hearings, including one represented by California attorney Orly Taitz. She had the judge sign a subpoena for Obama's testimony, and Michael Jablonski, Obama's attorney for the cases, argued that he should be exempted.
"Make no mistake about it. This is the beginning of Watergate Two or ObamaForgeryGate. I believe this is the second time in the U.S. history a sitting president is ordered to comply with a subpoena, and produce documents, which might eventually bring criminal charges to the president and a number of high-ranking individuals," Taitz said.
Separately, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona told WND he also had gotten a subpoena to be at the hearings in Georgia. He said the goal apparently is to ask him about his Cold Case Posse investigation of Obama's eligibility, but he said since the investigation remains open, he wouldn't be able to say much about it.
Citizens bringing the complaints include David Farrar, Leah Lax, Thomas Malaren and Laurie Roth, represented by Taitz; David Weldon represented by attorney Van R. Irion of Liberty Legal Foundation; and Carl Swensson and Kevin Richard Powell, represented by J. Mark Hatfield. Cody Judy is raising a challenge because he also wants to be on the ballot.
Hatfield also had filed with the court a "Notice to Produce" asking for Obama's documents and records.
He wants one of the two original certified copies of Obama's long-form birth certificate.
Obama's attorney, Jablonski, also had argued that the state should mind its own business.
"The sovereignty of the state of Georgia does not extend beyond the limits of the State. … Since the sovereignty of the state does not extend beyond its territorial limits, an administrative subpoena has no effect," the filing argued.
Taitz's supporters joined a discussion on her website, where she also solicits support for the expenses of the battles she's confronting, judging that Obama is on the defensive.
"What a joke. He claims to be too busy performing the duties of the president of the United States. How many days of vacation has he taken? How many rounds of golf? If he is too busy to provide the documents that provide the basis for meeting the requirements of the office, then perhaps he better sit out the next four years," said one.
Wrote another, "The election of President Obama by the presidential electors, confirmed by Congress, makes the documents and testimony sought by plaintiff irrelevant. … This is complete utter nonsense!"
In fact, a presidential elector in California brought a lawsuit challenging Obama's eligibility at the time of the 2008 election and was told the dispute was not yet ripe because the inauguration hadn't taken place. The courts later ruled that the elector lost his "standing" to bring the lawsuit after the inauguration.
Irion said his argument is that the Founders clearly considered a "natural born citizen," as the Constitution requires of a president and no one else, to be the offspring of two citizen parents. Since Obama himself has written in his books that his father, Barack Obama Sr. was a Kenyan, and thus subject to the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom, Irion argues that Obama is disqualified under any circumstances based on his own testimony.
Those who argue against his birth in the United States note that numerous experts have given testimony and sworn statements that they believe Obama's Hawaiian birth documentation to be fraudulent.
It is that concern that also has prompted Arpaio to turn over an investigation of that issue to his Cold Case Posse. Its investigative report is expected to be released in the next few weeks.
The Georgia hearing apparently will be the first time among dozens of so-far unsuccessful lawsuits brought over Obama's eligibility issue that evidence will be heard in a court. Other cases all have been dismissed over issues such as standing, without a presentation of the evidence.
There are similar challenges to Obama's 2012 candidacy being raised before state election or other commissions in Tennessee, Arizona, Illinois, New Hampshire and other states.
The image released by the White House in April:
Obama long-form birth certificate released April 27 by the White House
Top constitutional expert Herb Titus contends that a "natural born citizen" is born of parents who are citizens. That argument also is supported by a 19th-century U.S. Supreme Court decision, Minor v. Happersett in 1875. The case includes one of very few references in the nation's archives that addresses the definition of "natural-born citizen."
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."
An extensive analysis of the issue was conducted by Titus, who has taught constitutional law, common law and other subjects for 30 years at five different American Bar Association-approved law schools. He also was the founding dean of the College of Law at Regent University, a trial attorney and special assistant U.S. attorney in the Department of Justice.
"'Natural born citizen' in relation to the office of president, and whether someone is eligible, was in the Constitution from the very beginning," he said. "Another way of putting it; there is a law of the nature of citizenship. If you are a natural born citizen, you are a citizen according to the law of nature, not according to any positive statement in a Constitution or in a statute, but because of the very nature of your birth and the very nature of nations."
If you "go back and look at what the law of nature would be or would require … that's precisely what a natural born citizen is …. is one who is born to a father and mother each of whom is a citizen of the U.S. or whatever other country," he said.
"Now what we've learned from the Hawaii birth certificate is that Mr. Obama's father was not a citizen of the United States. His mother was, but he doesn't qualify as a natural born citizen for the office of president."