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March 06, 2009

Judge Smacks Down Birther Suit

This is just too good to pass up. U.S. District Judge James Robinson is fed up with the frivolous birther lawsuits. The latest one, captioned "Gregory Hollister v. Barry Soetero" (so you know its crap right from the get-go?) was just dismissed. The judge also issued this memorandum, which is so good I want to dip my balls in it. Some of the good stuff:

This case, if it were allowed to proceed, would deserve mention in one of those books that seek to prove that the law is foolish or that America has too many lawyers with not enough to do. Even in its relatively short life the case has excited the blogosphere and the conspiracy theorists. The right thing to do is to bring it to an early end.

The plaintiff says that he is a retired Air Force colonel who continues to owe fealty to his Commander-in-Chief (because he might possibly be recalled to duty) and who is tortured by uncertainty as to whether he would have to obey orders from Barack Obama because it has not been proven -- to the colonel’s satisfaction -- that Mr. Obama is a native-born American citizen, qualified under the Constitution to be President. The issue of the President’s citizenship was raised, vetted, blogged, texted, twittered, and otherwise massaged by America’s vigilant citizenry during Mr. Obama’s two-year-campaign for the presidency, but this plaintiff wants it resolved by a court.

The real plaintiff is probably Philip J. Berg, a lawyer who lives in Lafayette Hill, Pennsylvania, and who has pursued his crusade elsewhere, see Berg v. Obama, 574 F. Supp. 2d 509 (E.D. Pa. 2008), invoking the civil rights statutes, the Federal Election Campaign Act, the Freedom of Information Act, the Immigration and Nationality Act, and the law of promissory estoppel. That case was the subject of a scholarly opinion by a judge who took Mr. Berg’s claims seriously –- and dismissed them. Mr. Hollister is apparently Mr. Berg’s fallback brainstorm, essentially a straw plaintiff, one who could tee Mr. Berg’s native-born issue up for decision on a new theory...

Mr. Berg and Lawrence J. Joyce, an attorney who lives in Tucson, Arizona, signed the complaint in this case. (They have been filing electronically although they have not been admitted pro hac vice, see [#10].) They are agents provocateurs –- and any attempt to sanction them for misuse of the public and private resources that have had to be devoted to this case would only give them a forum to continue their provocation.

The Court went on to issue an order to show cause why another lawyer involved, who is a member of the federal bar, should not be sanctioned for filing the frivolous lawsuit. He also noticed the attorneys to show cause why they should not be required to pay the President's attorney's fees for defending against the frivolous lawsuit.

Edited to add: Thanks to DrewM. for the tip.


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posted by Gabriel Malor at 12:56 PM

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