Tuesday, 02 December 2008

Obama Citizenship Accusations Come to a Head

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Obama CitizenshipAs we have reported earlier in our article "Barack Obama and the Citizenship Scandal," it has been alleged that Barack Obama is ineligible to become president for two reasons: evidence has come forward that Obama was born in Kenya, not the United States as required by the Constitution (because only one of Obama's parents is an American); and even if he was born here, his mother relinquished his citizenship by marrying an Indonesian and becoming a naturalized Indonesian citizen.

This story has gained credence, separating it from Internet rumors, because Obama has reputedly hired three law firms (firms, not lawyers) to make sure that no one gets access to his birth records in Hawaii or his college transcripts from Occidental College and Harvard. (It is speculated that the transcripts will show he applied for aid to foreign students.)

Philip J. Berg, a lifelong Democrat, sued to see Obama's original birth certificate, but a court ruled that because Berg was not in some way harmed by Obama — monetarily, physically, or reputation-wise — he was not a plaintiff in good standing. This action by the court put a temporary end to the belief that we would ever know the answer to the accusations. But now the claim is flaring up again for several reasons:

• Alan Keyes, a presidential candidate of the American Independent Party, and Markham Robinson, a California elector, have now sued to see Obama's birth certificate (these men would definitely have legal "standing" to sue as plaintiffs in this case).

• The We the People Foundation took out a full-page ad in the Chicago Tribune about the scandal.

• On Friday, December 5, the Supreme Court will have a "conference" on the question of Obama's citizenship. (If four out of the nine justices vote to hear the case, oral arguments may be scheduled.)

Obama supporters have derided attempts to challenge Obama's citizenship as merely sour grapes by sore losers, and they point to the website FactChect.org, as well as a statement by Hawaii's Department of Health Director who said Obama has a legitimate birth certificate, as proof of their rightness. (Various quotes by Obama's supporters also make it clear that they don't care whether or not he was born in the United States, or whether or not the Constitution is upheld.)

Those pressing the issue note that FactCheck.org is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center and that Obama was on the board of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. They note also that Hawaiian Health Department officials did not state that Obama has an original birth certificate from Hawaii. In fact, what Obama has given to FactCheck.org to prove his citizenship is not a birth certificate, but a certificate of live birth, something that would not ordinarily be accepted as legal proof of citizenship. Also, it is suspicious that no doctors or nurses have come forward and said that they were at Obama's birth in Hawaii, but Obama's grandmother in Kenya has been taped saying that she was at his birth in Kenya.

Is Obama hiding something? Most likely yes. A person just doesn't spend something on the order of hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep one's birth records a secret unless one has something to hide. I personally have had to provide my birth certificate to several employers before they would agree to hire me. For a normal person, showing one's birth certificate is not a big deal. I've also had to give out my college records — again, not a big deal.

But that leads to important questions: should this be pursued, and will it succeed?

Yes, it should be pursued because to ignore it is to say that the Constitution is no longer the law of the land and is instead just an old piece of paper. Will it succeed? In my opinion, no. Neither the Supreme Court, nor the electors who will soon cast their votes for president, are impartial bodies. But that is not an argument for not pursuing it.

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