“Change They Can Litigate”

by Walter Olson on December 8, 2008

Occasionally a reader will ask why I’m averse to linking to the conservative publication WorldNetDaily. Reason #17,945: the birth certificate/citizenship trutherism by which WND promotes litigation aimed at keeping Barack Obama from being inaugurated President. (David Weigel, Slate, Dec. 4).

Update: Supreme Court turns down first of such cases (Doug Mataconis, Below the Beltway, Dec. 8).

{ 14 comments }

1 MF 12.08.08 at 5:39 pm

I’m a faithful reader of WND, but have no vested interest in them other than the fact that I agree with many of their positions. Given that disclaimer, I see nothing wrong with what WND has done. If Obama would merely produce a certified, legitimate birth certificate (NOT a certification of live birth), detailing exactly when and where he was born, all such lawsuits would be put to rest. He has not done that. Until he does this, lawsuits will continue, because many believe he is not a natural-born US citizen.

Note that the major lawsuit is from Philip Berg, a big Hillary Clinton supporter and major Democrat. So the claims from many that the suits are all from sore loser Republicans (of which I am not even a Republican) is untrue. Berg’s lawsuit has been neither accepted nor rejected by SCOTUS so far.

2 John Burgess 12.08.08 at 6:31 pm

According to SCOTUS Blog, Berg has indeed had his day not in court. The Supreme Court denied to hear his petition on Nov. 3.

3 tim 12.08.08 at 7:35 pm

@MF

Berg is a hackjob and a 9/11 truther. Just because he calls himself a democrat is meaningless to the argument. He is a conspiracy theorist and a bad one at that.

Besides WND agreed that the birth certificate produced by Obama is legitimate (i refuse to link to em). But the bottom line is Obama could produce the doctor that delivered him and people wouldn’t be happy. They just don’t care.

The bottom line is WND is a dishonest publication and a hackjob. The only people that care are the fridge wingnut element which is (no offense) WNDs core readership.

4 gitarcarver 12.09.08 at 11:04 am

Besides WND agreed that the birth certificate produced by Obama is legitimate

You might be correct except that I haven’t seen or heard of Obama producing a birth certificate. He has produced a scan / image of one, but that is a far cry from producing the actual certificate.

But the bottom line is Obama could produce the doctor that delivered him and people wouldn’t be happy. They just don’t care.

Sorry, but I see that as a gross mischaracterization. There are too many discrepencies in the Obama birth story that should be settled and straightend out. Much of the confusion and contradiction has come from the writings of Obama and statements from his family. Obama’s team putting up a website and saying “nothing to see here….. move along….” is just as dishonest as some of WND’s articles.

I think the other thing to remember is that many people still have fresh in their mind the Bush TANG documents, and just as important, the Kerry military records. Kerry never truly lived up to his promise of releasing all of his records to the public, but instead chose to release the majority to the Boston Globe.

5 Ron Miller 12.09.08 at 1:41 pm

This is the definition of Overlawyered.

6 DBL 12.09.08 at 3:25 pm

David Horowitz has aptly noted the development of a psychiatric syndrome known as “Obama Derangement Syndrome,” which has marked similarities to the better known Bush Derangement Syndrome. ODS, like BDS, is characterized by an inability to face facts that contradict what the sufferer “knows” to be “true.” See, e.g., Dan Rather. The fact that many ODS sufferers cannot deal with is that a birth announcement for Obama appeared in a Hawaian newspaper 47 years ago; a fact that is irreconcilable with the notion that he was born in Africa. The legal claim that a son of an American mother is not a “native born American” because his father was foreign is frivolous it’s not worth the pixels to discuss it.

7 MF 12.09.08 at 4:51 pm

DBL writes: … a birth announcement for Obama appeared in a Hawaian (sic) newspaper 47 years ago; a fact that is irreconcilable with the notion that he was born in Africa.

Those two items are completely reconcilable. The birth announcement means nothing. Why can’t a family post a birth announcement in a paper where many of one’s side of the family reside, even if the birth didn’t actually take place there? Second, Hawaii has a “certificate of live birth” that merely states that a birth has been registered, but says nothing about where it took place, the presiding doctor, etc. It is not at all the same thing as a birth certificate.

I’m not saying Obama was or was not born in Hawaii. I simply don’t know, and we’ve been provided no real proof. DBL, your argument was either poorly worded, or you do not understand the real issues at hand.

One thing I will stand behind is that I believe that if Obama really was born in Hawaii and has a proper birth certificate, then he has absolutely no regard for his country. All he needs to do is to produce a certified copy (or the original) of his birth certificate, with all of the proper information provided, and also prove that he (or his mother) had not given up his US citizenship when he was in Indonesia (I think that’s the right location where he went to school for some period of time, where it is a requirement to be a citizen of that country in order to attend). By not doing so, he is causing many state and government agencies to spend large amounts of money debating the issue and battling lawsuits. If he took those very simple steps, there could be no more discussion. But he refuses to do it. Why?

8 Donna B. 12.10.08 at 12:15 am

Good Grief. Get over it. I wouldn’t link to WND from my barely viewed blog either. I have more pride than that.

9 ?Dave? 12.10.08 at 1:48 am

I think the place of birth is a red herring, and that Berg et al may be deliberately misdirecting attention away from the real issue, which is the condition of his birth. Under British Law, Obama was born a British subject, because his father was. Obama’s own website admits that he was a dual citizen until he turned 21. The issue is over allegiance, and as I understand it, until he was 21 he was qualified for a passport in three other countries besides the US. Indeed, it is presumed that he traveled to Pakistan on one of them while in college, since he couldn’t have gotten into that country with an American passport, at the time he traveled there.

I think the arguments of the attorneys involved in the New Jersey and Connecticut suits make a persuasive case that by definition, to be a Natural Born citizen requires that both parents be US citizens. They are available here: Leo Donofrio, Esq. Neither is challenging Obama’s place of birth, and they are collaborating on the WROTNOWSKI v. BYSIEWICZ case, which has been distributed for SCOTUS Conference of Friday, Dec. 12th.

Unlike Berg, Donofrio strikes me as a serious player, and his recent (just last Friday) unearthing of evidence that President Chester Arthur too was not a Natural Born citizen, is fascinating reading. ?Dave?

10 MF 12.10.08 at 2:34 pm

Two final items, and then I’m done. First, can anyone intelligently explain why Obama won’t release the proof concerning his birth certificate? It would be a simple matter for him to authorize release of the information from the Hawaiian authorities. That would certainly quell many of the questions surrounding this.

Second, Re: WND – to each, his (or her) own. I happen to find it to be a HIGHLY credible news source, far better than most of the leftist spin out there. I’ll drop further discussion of WND, but I had to add that since WND had two different comments disparaging it.

11 Benji 12.10.08 at 3:42 pm

What about ‘innocent until proven guilty’? Thus far there seems to be very conflicting accounts regarding key pieces of evidence that would support the notion that Obama is ineligible to be president. If the plaintiffs in the matter can’t convincingly demonstrate that they have much of a leg to stand on, I don’t see why Obama should have to produce documents to defend himself from insubstantial claims. Otherwise he’d be expected to respond to any claims people make about him no matter how well founded they are.

12 gitarcarver 12.10.08 at 6:42 pm

What about ‘innocent until proven guilty’?

What about it? This is not a criminal or even a civil trial. This is whether a man is legally able to meet the requirements to be President as outlined in the US Constitution.

In other words, the people don’t have to prove that someone ISN’T eligible. The person has to prove they ARE eligible.

(And no, I am not saying Obama is eligible or not eligible. I just wish he would step up, release the document, and let us move forward.)

13 Ed Darrell 12.26.08 at 6:10 pm

1. Obama posted his birth certificate, certified by the State of Hawaii, last June. Why won’t the Antiobamaniacs accept that? The State Department did, the FBI did, the full faith and credit clause requires it be accepted — are these guys outside the Constitution?

2. Now the Supreme Court has rejected two separate suits that were already rejected by other courts. One is on for conference on January 9 — and it’s Berg’s again. On the docket there is a little note: “Rule 11.”

Is it possible the Supreme Court is tired of being inundated with FedEx packages, mail and e-mail, and they’ll make a ruling on Rule 11 against the case? Anyone an expert in reading Supreme Court dockets?

14 SSFC 12.27.08 at 12:21 pm

I’m not an expert in reading Supreme Court dockets, but I believe you have the wrong set of Rules in mind. Federal Civil Procedure Rule 11 is, as you say, the rule that provides for sanctioning an attorney who brings a case not grounded in law or fact, the sort commonly referred to as “frivolous.”

However, Supreme Court Rule 11 (the Court has its own set) deals with petitions for writs of certiorari which seek to bypass Courts of Appeal on questions that are of such urgency that the regular process cannot be followed, as in, for instance, the question of whether Barack Obama is eligible to be inaugurated as President before January 20, 2009. I think that’s the rule that is cited on the docket, rather than the general federal rule on sanctions for frivolous suits.

You can find the Supreme Court’s rules, and Supreme Court Rule 11, here: http://www.supremecourtus.gov/ctrules/2007rulesofthecourt.pdf

Note that I agree with your opinion of these suits in general, and am in no way a birth certificate truther.

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