TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Attorneys arguing on behalf of Barack Obama’s re-election plans today urged a Florida judge to decide that Obama is not yet the Democratic nominee for president and ignore evidence challenging his eligibility.
The arguments were raised by attorney Mark Herron on behalf of Obama in a hearing before Judge Terry Lewis in Florida, who is best known for presiding over the 2000 Bush v. Gore election dispute.
Lewis is credited with making crucial rulings in the contested 2000 presidential election when ultimately a Florida recount was halted by the U.S. Supreme Court, and George W. Bush was declared the winner.
Attorney Larry Klayman filed the challenge to Obama’s eligibility for the ballot on behalf of Michael Voeltz, who identifies himself in the complaint as “a registered member of the Democratic Party, voter, and taxpayer in Broward County.”
Attorneys representing Obama at the hearing, which was livestreamed by WND, argued that the Florida presidential preference primary, which listed Obama as the only Democrat nominee, didn’t make him the party’s nominee for president.
Herron argued the Florida process affirms only that Obama is the choice in the state’s presidential preference primary but is not necessarily the party’s nominee for president.
“This language clearly indicates the winner of the president preference primary, not the nominee of the party,” he said.
But the judge noted that the party wrote to Florida’s secretary of state a letter indicating Obama’s name was the only one submitted, and he thought the state’s electors were bound to vote for him.
“Wasn’t there a letter [that said] this is the only candidate whose name will appear?” Lewis asked.
Obama’s attorneys said such a decision “has not been triggered yet.”
Klayman argued that according to state law, when only one name is submitted, that person automatically becomes the nominee, even if the national Democratic Party nominating convention has not been held.
No decision was announced immediately. The judge said he would review the law, but he had pointed questions for both sides.
When Klayman noted the Founding Fathers established the natural-born citizen requirement because they wanted to avoid foreign influence on a president from a non-citizen parent, Lewis countered by posing a hypothetical situation in which a candidate’s two U.S.-citizen parents later emigrate to Israel.
Klayman said the Founding Fathers’ attempt to avoid a conflict of interest in the Oval Office did not include every possible scenario.
The judge asked whether the Democratic Party, as a private group, had a right to choose a nominee, even if that person was ineligible.
Lewis questioned a citation by Obama’s attorneys of a Florida law that suggests when only one person is on the ballot, that person becomes the nominee. He told the attorneys he would review the details of the law.
The arguments by Obama’s attorneys reflected their request that the judge simply dismiss the case because they claim a sitting president chosen by his party at multiple levels is not yet officially the nominee.
Klayman accused the Obama attorneys of playing a “shell game” and trying to put off the issue, as numerous courts did in 2008 until the election was over and Obama was inaugurated.
The judge could remove Obama’s name from the November ballot in Florida, a crucial swing state, should he determine that the Constitution’s requirement that a president be a “natural born citizen” can be applied at the primary level.
Klayman told WND that during a hearing last month on discovery issues in the case, Lewis noted that the plaintiff’s brief cited U.S. Supreme Court case Minor v. Happersett from 1875 defining “natural born citizen” as the offspring of two citizens of the nation, while the Obama campaign’s arguments provided no citations.
Defining the term is critical. Such a step has not been reached in any of the more than 100 legal cases that have been brought over Obama’s eligibility.
The U.S. Constitution’s “natural born citizen” requirement is not imposed on other federal officials. The writings of the Founders indicate the requirement was meant to ensure that no person who had divided loyalties would serve as commander in chief.
Klayman has argued that since Obama, by his own admission, was not born to two citizen parents, he is not a “natural born citizen” and, therefore, is ineligible to be a candidate on the state’s election ballot.
Florida’s election statutes provide broad protections for voters to ensure that the integrity of the election system is beyond reproach. One of the laws allows voters to challenge the nomination of a candidate who is not eligible for the office he is seeking.
WND earlier reported on the case, which raises some of the same issues that have been raised in other state ballot challenges. Specifically it alleges:
On or about April 2011, only after years into his presidency, and under media and political pressure, Barack Hussein Obama published on the Internet an electronic version of a purported birth certificate alleging his birth in Honolulu, Hawaii on August 4, 1961, to American citizen mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, and Kenyan British subject father, Barack Obama Senior.
There is credible evidence indicating that this electronically produced birth certificate is entirely fraudulent or otherwise altered. No physical, paper copy of the actual long form birth certificate has been produced in order to definitively establish Barack Hussein Obama’s birth within the United States.
The action follows by weeks the release of Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s investigation into Obama’s eligibility. The investigation by professional law enforcement officers working on a volunteer basis for Arpaio’s Cold Case Posse found probable cause that Obama’s birth certificate was forged and fraudulently presented as a genuine document.
The plaintiff has submitted affidavits from Arpaio and others to support the claim.
The complaint explains that even if Obama was born within the United States, he is still not a “natural-born citizen” as required by the U.S. Constitution. That’s because his father was born in the British Colony of Kenya on June 18, 1936, making him a British subject, according to the British Nationality Act of 1948.
A case filing explains: “No physical, paper copy of defendant Obama’s birth certificate has been presented to establish his eligibility. … Defendant Obama has electronically produced a copy of what he purports to be his ‘birth certificate.’ Nevertheless, there is evidence to suggest that the electronically produced birth certificate is entirely fraudulent or otherwise altered.”
When asked by Judge Lewis, Klayman confirmed he could add to the complaint details of the evidence Obama was not born in the U.S.
Obama’s attorneys told the judge that other courts have decided that courts should not make such decisions and the process is better handled by Congress. They said state courts especially are not suited to making a decision on the eligibility of Obama.
“They are precluded from judging the qualifications of candidates for president of the United States,” the Obama attorneys said.
But Klayman pleaded with the judge to decide the issue, because a determination made after the election could negate Florida’s vote.
“Florida has a special duty not just on behalf of the citizens of Florida but on behalf of the United States,” he said.
Klayman referred to a recent Obama order to underscore the significance of the Founders’ desire that the president not have divided loyalties or “not even a hint of foreign influence.”
“Just a few days ago, he issued an executive order … which in effect allows illegal alien students who came into this country … to remain in this country. … The president’s own father was in fact here on a student visa and ultimately was deported because that visa expired.”
Klayman reiterated the Supreme Court’s Minor v. Happersett definition of “natural born citizen” as a person born in the country of two citizen parents.
“The point is this, your honor,” said Klayman. “The president is not like everybody else. If that was the case the framers would have said ‘citizens’ [can be president.]”
He accused Obama’s attorneys of trying to “push the issue down the road” until the legal process would fail due to lack of time.
“It’s a shell game,” Klayman said. ” … Neither the Florida Constitution nor the federal Constitution … would ever sanction what they are saying.”