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December 08, 2008

Supreme Court Won't Review Obama's Eligibility for Presidency

Apparently this part of the Constitution is a dead letter, because the Courts will not admit the standing of anyone raising it as an issue.

I don't know if the Court specifically considered Alan Keyes' lawsuit, but, as a contender for the presidency, he undeniably has standing. So apparently the constitution now places no enforceable restrictions on candidates for President whatsoever.

For the record, I believe Obama was born in Hawaii. However, it is not his right to refuse the production of documents establishing his eligibility. John McCain produced his documentation, after all. One should not need to sue a candidate to compel evidence of his right to serve. Such documents should be produced immediately upon declaration, or shortly thereafter.

If you want to attend a very exclusive party, you show the invite at the door. Obama has sought admission to the most exclusive party in the world, but won't show his invite.

Obama and the DNC have been fighting these suits for a half a year. Even if they wanted to fight the suits just to establish they would not allow themselves to be compelled by nuisance suits, they could have produced the birth certificate independently. And they should have.

Instead, they continue fighting to not produce the document. And the Supreme Court has officially ruled that apparently no one in America has the right to challenge a candidate's constitution qualifications and compel the production of such documents.

Thanks to April and Poul.

Mark writes...

Let me say right up front that I believe Obama is a natural born American and is eligible to be President. However, the constitution sets the following requirements for the office of the President:
No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

Historically, who verifies that presidents meet these requirements? Haven’t all past presidents had to provide documentation to someone to prove they are actually eligible to be president? Isn’t asking Obama to verify his eligibility to be president standard operating procedure? If not, why not?

Historically, no one officially verifies them. The Constitution does not establish an eligibility-reviewing board, and Congress has not established one to enforce the Constitution's mandate.

Although some mischief might be had with a partisan board attempting to disqualify a candidate frivolously, note that only age and citizenship are constitutional requirements -- so such a hypothetical board would have a very narrow window to fuck around. And of course plainly absurd ruling could be appealed to a court.

However, such situations are common in law -- a right or restriction with no clearly defined executive institution to enforce it -- and the usual resort is that someone with standing sues to vindicate the right or mandate, and the courts issue a subpoena compelling the production of such documents (or whatever is necessary to enforce that right or mandate, as the particular case may require).

I grant that all of these guys -- save one -- lack standing.

But one of these guys does: Alan Keyes. As a minor-party candidate for president, no one can argue with a straight face he is not particularly and specifically affected by the case, which is the requirement for standing. (Vague claims of personal impact based only upon one's status as citizen or taxpayer have long been ruled inadequate to establish standing -- or else all 100 million liberals would be filing 50 lawsuits each against George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, General Petraeus, etc.)

But if a right or requirement appears in the Constitution, someone must have the standing to vindicate it. Either that or, as I say, it's dead letter.

Apparently it's dead letter. The Emoluments Clause is apparently now dead-letter, too, as I don't hear any sounds in Congress to repeal the pay raise for the Secretary of State to at least superficially cure Hillary's constitutional bar against taking that position.

Apparently, as the great Paul Anka once observed, we're "picking and choosing" which parts of the Constitution are still valid law.

Remember the Kat-Mo writes:

I thought they refused to grant the stay without comment? Where did standing come into it?

Well, the suit was dismissed by lower courts based on lack of standing. Although technically the court is not affirming a lower court's reasoning or even necessarily its decision when it simply refuses to act, the court will (and should) act when it finds the lower court's decision clearly erroneous. The fact that they're letting this pass (comment or not) lets the no-standing decisions stand.

Again, I don't know if Keyes' suit is still ongoing, or if his suit was considered. Assuming it's still ongoing, the court should have considered that suit as well, because, look, if a fellow presidential contender doesn't have standing to challenge the eligibility of a rival -- if even he doesn't suffer a specific and particular wrong, assuming his claims are true -- then who does?

Nobody, that's who. Dead letter.

Missing the Point: The wild-eyed liberals pretending to be common-sense "libertarians" at Reason waste no time in labeling conservatives kooky. Which is the whole point of libertarianism, pretty much. Attacking the right relentlessly to ingratiate oneself with the liberal establishment:

How much further will the fight to de-certify Obama go? It won’t stop if the Electoral College votes for Obama, as the skeptics will try to get a congressman or senator to officially challenge the result. Rep. Chris Cannon of Utah was willing to believe that Bill Ayers wrote Dreams From My Father, so the skeptics might have a chance.

And if every vote certification goes off without a hitch and Obama is inaugurated on Jan. 20? Gary Kreep is ready for that.

“When Obama starts signing executive orders and legislation,” Kreep says, “I’ll be filing lawsuits unless and until he proves he’s an American citizen. Some judge, someday, is going to want this proved on the merits. You can run, but you can’t hide.”

The point is that this is a constitutional mandate. Candidates routinely refuse to release medical, military, and school records. Fine. Well, not so fine; they should disclose. But the constitution makes no demands in these areas. There is no legal compunction along these lines, although there are of course political and ethical imperatives here.

But age and citizenship are, in fact, legal requirements to hold the office. While a candidate like Obama has the right to refuse the release of detailed medical records and school transcripts (though he shouldn't exercise that right; he should, of course, release them), he has no right whatsoever to refuse providing proof of his constitutional eligibility for the office he seeks.

What privacy interests does Barack Obama have in suppressing a document establishing his eligibility for an office he voluntarily seeks?

Incidentally, Reason: Obama almost certainly had Dreams From My Father ghostwritten, as most politicians do. The real question is by whom. We know most politician's ghostwriters; why not Obama's?

Reason poses as too smart to be taken in by such malarkey, and yet they're the ones taking the embarrassingly naive position that of course Obama, like no other politician before him, personally wrote his memoirs.

Yeah. Reason's really showing off its skeptical, independent streak with that one.

CTN... writes that only Donofrio's lawsuit was considered here. Again, I say the SC should have considered them altogether. They're all the same damn case.

Except for one-- Keyes has standing.


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posted by Ace at 05:46 PM

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