If you haven’t heard about the controversy yet regarding Barack Hussein Obama’s potential disqualification for President, this post will surprise you. The first time that I read about it, months ago, it seemed clear that some arrant neocon kook had viciously concocted the nefarious disinformation scheme to rattle Obama’s campaign. Today, though, I’m more inclined to place some degree of credence in the story beyond mere fatuous optimism. Read this post and the referenced sites; see what you think.
First, what are the three qualifications for the Office of the President? They’re detailed in the US Constitution, Article II, Section 1:
If you’re going to be involved in government in the United States, citizenship is a must. To be a Senator or Representative, you must be a citizen of the United States. To be President, not only must you be a citizen, but you must also be natural-born. Aside from participation in government, citizenship is an honor bestowed upon people by the citizenry of the United States when a non-citizen passes the required tests and submits to an oath.
Who is a natural-born citizen? Who, in other words, is a citizen at birth, such that that person can be a President someday?
Currently, Title 8 of the U.S. Code fills in those gaps. Section 1401 defines the following as people who are “citizens of the United States at birth:”
- → Anyone born inside the United States
- → Any Indian or Eskimo born in the United States, provided being a citizen of the U.S. does not impair the person’s status as a citizen of the tribe
- → Any one born outside the United States, both of whose parents are citizens of the U.S., as long as one parent has lived in the U.S.
- → Any one born outside the United States, if one parent is a citizen and lived in the U.S. for at least one year and the other parent is a U.S. national
- → Any one born in a U.S. possession, if one parent is a citizen and lived in the U.S. for at least one year
- → Any one found in the U.S. under the age of five, whose parentage cannot be determined, as long as proof of non-citizenship is not provided by age 21
- → Any one born outside the United States, if one parent is an alien and as long as the other parent is a citizen of the U.S. who lived in the U.S. for at least five years (with military and diplomatic service included in this time)
- → A final, historical condition: a person born before 5/24/1934 of an alien father and a U.S. citizen mother who has lived in the U.S.
Anyone falling into these categories is considered natural-born, and is eligible to run for President or Vice President. These provisions allow the children of military families to be considered natural-born, for example.
Obama and Philip J. Berg …
Obama’s birth certificate rumors began swirling back in June. In response, the Obama campaign posted a “certification of live birth” document (COLB) on a special section on its web site, “Fight the Smears,” that attempted to debunk the many questionable stories that had circulated about the senator during the campaign.
Then on 2008-08-21, a prominent Philadelphia attorney and Hillary Clinton supporter filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against Illinois Senator Barack Obama, the Democratic National Committee, and the Federal Election Commission. The action seeks an injunction preventing the senator from continuing his candidacy and a court order enjoining the DNC from nominating him, all on grounds that Senator Obama is constitutionally ineligible to run for and hold the office of President of the United States.
Philip J. Berg, the filing attorney, is a former gubernatorial and senatorial candidate, former chair of the Democratic Party in Montgomery County (PA), former member of the Democratic State Committee, and former Deputy Attorney General of Pennsylvania. According to Berg, he filed the suit just days before the DNC was to hold its nominating convention in Denver for the health of the Democratic Party.
In the suit, Berg cites inconsistent accounts of Senator Obama’s birth, including reports that he was born at two separate hospitals … Kapiolani Hospital and Queens Hospital … in Honolulu, as well a profound lack of birthing records for Stanley Ann Dunham (his mother), though simple “registry of birth” records for Barack Obama are available in a Hawaiian public records office.
Should Senator Obama truly have been born in Kenya, Berg writes, the laws on the books at the time of his birth hold that U.S. citizenship may only pass to a child born overseas to a U.S. citizen parent and non-citizen parent if the former was at least 19 years of age. Senator Obama’s mother was only 18 at the time. Therefore, because U.S. citizenship could not legally be passed on to him, Obama could not be registered as a “natural born” citizen and would therefore be ineligible to seek the presidency pursuant to Article II, Section 1 of the United States Constitution.
Moreover, even if Senator Obama could have somehow been deemed “natural born,” that citizenship was lost in or around 1967 when he and his mother took up residency in Indonesia, where Stanley Ann Dunham married Lolo Soetoro, an Indonesian citizen. Berg also states that he possesses copies of Senator Obama’s registration to Fransiskus Assisi School In Jakarta, Indonesia which clearly show that he was registered under the name “Barry Soetoro” and his citizenship listed as Indonesian.
Additionally, the lawsuit claims three “independent” document forensic experts performed extensive tests on the digitally-scanned image of Obama’s Hawaiian “Certificate of Live Birth” posted on the campaign’s site and found the document to be “a forgery” … and actually belonged to Maya Kasandra Soetoro, Obama’s half-sister.
“Voters donated money, goods, and services to elect a nominee and were defrauded by Senator Obama’s lies and obfuscations,” Berg stated at the time of the filing. He then added “If the DNC officers had performed one ounce of due diligence we would not find ourselves in this emergency predicament, one week away from making a person the nominee who has lost their citizenship as a child and failed to even perform the basic steps of regaining citizenship as prescribed by constitutional laws.”
It is noteworthy that among the defendants, Berg itemized Obama’s various aliases: BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA, BARRY SOETORO, BARRY OBAMA, BARACK DUNHAM, and BARRY DUNHAM.
The Obvious Question …
If Barack Hussein Obama does, in fact, have a genuine birth certificate (or can legally request a bona fide copy), why doesn’t he simply offer it up as proof thereby immediately and irrefutably debunking the ever-growing controversy regarding his eligibility for the Presidency?
Obama’ Reaction to the Suit …
On 2008-09-24, Obama and Democratic National Committee filed a Joint Motion for Protective Order to Stay Discovery Pending a Decision on the Motion to Dismiss.
Two Months Later (2008-10-21) …
According to Rule 36 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a party upon whom requests for admissions have been served must respond, within 30 days, or else the matters in the requests will be automatically deemed conclusively admitted for purposes of the pending action.
Since Obama has only filed motions to dismiss and has not actually answered the charges in the lawsuit, Berg claims, according to Rule 36, Obama has legally admitted he is not a natural-born citizen. Now Berg is asking the court for a formal declaration of Obama’s admission and asking the Democratic National Committee for another presidential candidate.
In a statement released today, Berg argues that he filed Requests for Admissions on September 15, 2008, meaning Obama had until October 15 to answer or face the consequences of Rule 36.
“Obama and the DNC ‘admitted,’ by way of failure to timely respond to Requests for Admissions, all of the numerous specific requests in the Federal lawsuit,” Berg’s statement reads. “Obama is ‘not qualified’ to be president and therefore Obama must immediately withdraw his candidacy for president and the DNC shall substitute a qualified candidate.”
Default Admission …
“It all comes down to the fact that there’s nothing from the other side,” Berg told Jeff Schreiber for his blog, America’s Right. “The admissions are there. By not filing the answers or objections, the defense has admitted everything. He admits he was born in Kenya. He admits he was adopted in Indonesia. He admits that the documentation posted online is a phony. And, he admits that he is constitutionally ineligible to serve as president of the United States.”
Still Not Over …
This is, however, by no means a fait accompli for Philip Berg, as there are several options for Barack Obama and the DNC at this juncture. The most obvious, is the possibly bulletproof argument that pursuant to Rule 26(f), a request for admission may only be served after the conference for the purpose of planning discovery detailed under that rule, and therefore the 30-day time limit on Berg’s request has not yet begun.
On To Hawaii …
To date, lawsuits have been filed in four states requesting Obama’s birth certificate (or his removal from the campaign ballots). These include: Hawaii, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Washington.
And on 2008-10-20, Obama announced that he would make an emergency trip back to the islands to visit his grandmother on Thursday (2008-10-23). The 86-year old Madelyn Dunham is very ill. Some who have been following this ever-expanding story consider the timing of his trip to be a peculiar coincidence.
So … we wait … for Obama to simply produce the required birth certificate … or, now in Hawaii, for him and his vast financial resources to fabricate a legally acceptable document. Otherwise, we could well have a contitutional crisis looming on the horizon for early 2009.
Update 2008-10-23 …
Yesterday, Berg filed a motion for summary judgment (and a motion for Order for Expedited Ruling, Hearing and/or Resolution ), essentially asking the court to make a determination without going to trial. “Because Barack Obama and the DNC failed to answer or object to his request for admissions within the mandatory 30-day period,” Berg says, “the admissions are admitted by default and, therefore, there are no longer any genuine issues of material facts remaining and, therefore, Berg is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.”
Essentially, if the motion is granted, he wins. The next step would be to officially declare Barack Hussein Obama constitutionally ineligible to run for and hold the office of President of the United States.
Generally, according to the 1986 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, in order to defeat a motion for summary judgment, the non-moving party (in this case, Obama and the DNC) may not simply rely on his or her pleadings but must actually bring forth evidence on every material issue. Ergo, in this event, Obama and the DNC would be forced to confront, with evidence proving otherwise, the admissions claimed by Berg to have been admitted by default two days ago.
Update 2008-10-24 …
To date, Philip Berg has done four radio interviews regarding this intensively followed story. Two days ago he did a half-hour spot on G. Gordon Liddy’s popular program. Yesterday, he did a nearly two-hour interview with national radio host Michael Savage answering call-in questions. Savage also posted MP3’s of two segments from the broadcast.
Now, Greta Van Susteren of FoxNews on her GretaWire Blog has called for all four candidates (McCain, Palin, Obama, and Biden) to release valid proof of their citizenship so that we can move on.
Update 2008-10-25 …
The lawsuit filed by Democratic attorney Philip Berg alleging that Senator Barack Obama is ineligible to be president was dismissed by a federal judge yesterday on grounds that Berg lacks standing to bring the lawsuit.
In a 34-page memorandum that accompanied the court order, the Honorable R. Barclay Surrick concludes that ordinary citizens can’t sue to ensure that a presidential candidate actually meets the constitutional requirements of the office.
Surrick defers to Congress, saying that the legislature could determine “that citizens, voters, or party members should police the Constitution’s eligibility requirements for the Presidency,” but that it would take new laws to grant individual citizens that ability.
“Until that time,” Surrick continued, “voters do not have standing to bring the sort of challenge that Plaintiff attempts to bring.”
Is Barack Obama a natural-born U.S. citizen? We may never know.
The Federal Election Commission refused to require him to prove his citizenship declaring that the matter was not within their jurisdiction. The DNC actually supported his utter refusal to prove his eligibility for the Presidency. And, now Judge Surrick has determined that ordinary citizens can not require him to prove it either. Finally, since we now have to wait for Congress to take action … not gonna happen.
Related References …
Related References (update) …