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Court dismisses Alan Keyes’ ‘birther’ lawsuit

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010 15:53 EDT
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A lawsuit claiming President Barack Obama is not eligible to occupy the White House because he is not a natural born citizen was thrown out by a state appellate court on Monday.

The leading plaintiff of the lawsuit, which was filed shortly after the 2008 election, was Alan Keyes.

Keyes, who lost to Obama in the 2004 Senate race in Illinois and was the American Independent Party candidate for president in 2008, claims there is “persuasive evidence” that Obama was born in Kenya in 1961. At the time, Kenya was a British protectorate, making Obama a British citizen automatically, based on his father’s citizenship.

The other plaintiffs in the case were Wiley S. Drake Sr., a Southern Baptist minister, and Markham Robinson, a software firm owner.

The plaintiffs claimed that the government of California “has the duty to ensure that all candidates on a California ballot meet the eligibility requirements to hold office.”

The Third District Court of Appeal ruled that the California secretary of state, who oversees elections, and the state’s Electoral College members are not legally responsible for certifying that candidates meet constitutional qualifications to hold office.

That responsibility rests with Congress, according to the 12th Amendment, which provides the procedure by which the President and Vice President are elected.

“Any investigation of eligibility is best left to each party, which presumably will conduct the appropriate background check or risk that its nominee’s election will be derailed by an objection in Congress, which is authorized to entertain and resolve the validity of objections following the submission of the electoral votes,” Presiding Justice Arthur G. Scotland wrote in his decision.

“[T]he presidential nominating process is not subject to each of the 50 states’ election officials independently deciding whether a presidential nominee is qualified, as this could lead to chaotic results,” Scotland continues. “Were the courts of 50 states at liberty to issue injunctions restricting certification of duly-elected presidential electors, the result could be conflicting rulings and delayed transition of power in derogation of statutory and constitutional deadlines.”

The court ordered the plaintiffs to pay all court fees of the defendants.

Last year, a district court judge dismissed a similar lawsuit filed by Orly Taitz.

“Even should the Court permit the issuance of a letter rogatory to Kenya, the Court would still engage in a comparative exercise in which the records of America, which has historically maintained some of the most credible recordkeeping practices in the world, would be contrasted with the credibility of the records obtained from Kenya,” wrote the judge in his decision.

Taitz was fined $20,000 for “wasting judicial resources” with her “frivolous” lawsuits.

 
 
 
 
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