March 22, 2009 in City

Justice’s visit revives case of Citizen Obama

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Anyone who thought questions about Barack Obama’s citizenship were laid to rest by the election – or a series of court decisions tossing out lawsuits trying to challenge the election on that issue – might have been surprised by a question Chief Justice John Roberts got during his recent visit to Idaho.

When Roberts finished his prepared speech and opened the floor to questions at the University of Idaho this month, the first person to the microphone was a woman who said she’d traveled since 3 a.m. that morning to get from California to Moscow, so she begged for a little indulgence on the moderator’s rule that questioners be from the sponsoring College of Law so she could ask a question.

About “illegal activity in the Supreme Court.”

About her case being “erased from the docket” under circumstances that sounded, to say the least, suspicious.

About the president, whom she called Barack Hussein Obama aka Barry Soetero, not legally being president because he was “a foreign national at birth.”

The woman is Orly Taitz, attorney for a case known as Lightfoot v. Bowen, which seeks to remove Obama from office over questions about his birth, birth certificate and the fact that his father was from Kenya and not a U.S. citizen. Lightfoot v. Bowen has been dismissed in California, as have similar cases in Washington state and other state courts. One case was bounced out of federal court in the District of Columbia on March 5 with a particularly pithy memorandum from the judge.

Where’s the proof?

The dismissals tend to turn on the question of proof, as in, the people making the claim don’t really offer any. Instead, they want Obama to produce the proof that he is not, in fact, a foreigner. That seems to be a departure from the standard way lawsuits work, in which the aggrieved party comes up with something that at least has a chance of being judged a preponderance of the evidence.

While questions about Obama’s birth certificate may sound like “grassy-knoll” stuff to most people, Taitz and her clients do lay claim to a constitutional issue. Article II of the U.S. Constitution sets up the qualifications for being president – among them, being a “natural born citizen.” They say Obama should be required, under the constitution, to produce the proof he fits that qualification.

Chief Justice Roberts told Taitz he couldn’t respond, because he can’t talk about pending cases and she obviously was hoping to have a pending case. He suggested she leave any document for him to look at, and the moderator rather helpfully added that she give the documents to security guards who were approaching her and ultimately escorted her out of the auditorium.

In a later Web report, Taitz was able to say that she confronted Roberts and that he promised to review the case. Whether that review will be a lengthy, in-depth analysis assigned to his best and brightest law clerks or something significantly less is up to Roberts, of course.

Taitz clip draws attention

The Spokesman-Review’s March 14 story about the chief justice’s visit didn’t include this exchange because it seemed like he talked about several more important things, such as people not understanding the courts, his definition of justice, and his suggestions that lawyers be honest public servants. Critics might argue that story was just a typical Main Stream Media attempt to hide the truth – and would be entitled to that opinion, even if it’s wrong.

But the audio clip of Taitz’s inquiry and Roberts’ response was posted to Spin Control online at spokesman.com and generated more hits than any previous sound clip: about 3,000 at last count. (Full disclosure: Most of those came after a mention on Politico.com, which has a wider, national audience.) And the online column item generated some comments that amounted to a debate over who’s being duped: the people so blind they can’t see that Obama stole the election, or the people who need to get a life and drop this quest.

End of debate? Hardly

So clearly, there is some interest out there – more likely in the Internet Empire than the Inland Empire – for this debate. One might think it could be ended, or at least muted, by saying the state of Hawaii issued a stamped, certified copy of Obama’s birth certificate months ago, which says he was born in Honolulu on Aug. 4, 1961, and one can even see a digital copy of that document on factcheck.org.

One would be wrong, of course. Because not only do some conspiratorialists believe this is a major issue, but a member of Congress agrees. U.S. Rep. Bill Posey, R-Florida, introduced a bill on March 12 that would require any presidential candidate to produce a birth certificate, “together with such other documentation as may be necessary to establish that the candidate meets the qualifications for eligibility to the Office of President under the Constitution.” H.R. 1503 has no co-sponsors, and has been assigned to the House Administration Committee for an as-yet unscheduled hearing.

It would only apply to future presidential candidates, but a spokesperson for Posey apparently has suggested Obama could put an end to the current questions by telling the state of Hawaii to release his original birth certificate.

So here’s the question for great minds to ponder: Which will happen first, the U.S. Supreme Court holding a hearing on Lightfoot v. Bowen or the House holding a vote on H.R. 1503?

Listen to the exchange between Orly Taitz and Chief Justice John Roberts, and see other documents connected to this story, at www.spokesman.com/blogs/ spincontrol. Jim Camden can be reached at (509) 459-5461 or jimc@spokesman.com.


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