Defiant ‘birther’ lawyer laughs off fine for misconduct
Orly Taitz, the unofficial leader of the “birther” movement trying to prove President Barack Obama was not born in the United States, says she won’t pay a fine slapped on her by a federal judge for misconduct.
After being accused repeatedly by Taitz of compromising the judicial process in a motion challenging the president’s authority to deploy soldiers overseas, on Tuesday Judge Clay Land of the US District Court in Columbus, Georgia, slapped Taitz with a $20,000 fine.
Taitz “knowingly violated” court rules preventing lawyers from filing frivolous or unfounded lawsuits, Judge Land wrote in his ruling. “Her response to the Court’s show cause order is breathtaking in its arrogance and borders on delusional. She expresses no contrition or regret regarding her misconduct. To the contrary, she continues her baseless attacks on the Court.”
Last month, Taitz filed a motion with the federal court to stop Army Capt. Connie Rhodes from being deployed to Iraq. Rhodes had argued that President Obama was not born in the United States, and was therefore not eligible to be president, and did not have the authority to deploy soldiers.
Judge Land dismissed that suit and gave Taitz several weeks to explain why he shouldn’t fine her for misuse of court resources. Soon after, Capt. Rhodes wrote to Judge Land, saying she no longer wanted to be represented by Taitz.
But Taitz persisted even without her client. Instead of responding to the judge’s request, Taitz filed a motion asking the judge to recuse himself from the case, accusing him of colluding with Attorney-General Eric Holder to deny justice in the case. To support the claim, Taitz filed an eyewitness affidavit claiming that a private citizen had seen someone resembling Holder in a Columbus coffee shop on the day a hearing into the case was held. Taitz’s motion also compared the judge to Georgia’s racist jurists of past eras.
It was all too much for Judge Land, who wrote:
When a lawyer files complaints and motions without a reasonable basis for believing that they are supported by existing law … that lawyer abuses her privilege to practice law. When a lawyer uses the courts as a platform for a political agenda disconnected from any legitimate legal cause of action, that lawyer abuses her privilege to practice law. When a lawyer personally attacks opposing parties and disrespects the integrity of the judiciary, that lawyer abuses her privilege to practice law. When a lawyer recklessly accuses a judge of violating the Judicial Code of Conduct with no supporting evidence beyond her dissatisfaction with the judge’s rulings, that lawyer abuses her privilege to practice law.
Read the judge’s complete ruling here, courtesy of David Weigel at the Washington Independent.
In a phone interview with TalkingPointsMemo’s Justin Elliott, Taitz said she won’t pay the $20,000 fine.
Asked if she would send the judge a check, Taitz said: “Are you kidding? Of course not. … This is a form of intimidation.”
Taitz said she plans to file another motion with the court, challenging the judge’s decision, but, as Elliott pointed out, “it’s unclear whether the court will even accept one.”