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WHAT IS A “NATURAL BORN CITIZEN?”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Jul. 21, 2012) — On June 28, 2012, Atty. Van Irion, founder of Liberty Legal Foundation, has filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court which stemmed from a ballot challenge to the constitutional eligibility of Barack Hussein Obama II in the state of Georgia.
During the hearing, Irion had contended that because Obama’s father was never a U.S. citizen, Obama cannot be considered a “natural born Citizen” under Article II, Section 1, clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution. He cited the case of Minor v. Happersett, decided in 1875, wherein the U.S. Supreme Court said:
The Constitution does not in words say who shall be natural-born citizens. Resort must be had elsewhere to ascertain that. At common law, with the nomenclature of which the framers of the Constitution were familiar, it was never doubted that all children born in a country of parents who were its citizens became themselves, upon their birth, citizens also. These were natives or natural-born citizens, as distinguished from aliens or foreigners. Some authorities go further and include as citizens children born within the jurisdiction without reference to the citizenship of their parents. As to this class there have been doubts, but never as to the first.
After the hearing, Malihi ruled that because Obama was born in Hawaii, he is considered a “natural born Citizen” and his name would be included on the Georgia ballot.
A ten-month investigation by a Cold Case Posse from Maricopa County, AZ yielded the determination by the posse and Sheriff Joe Arpaio on July 17 that the image Obama presented to the public on April 27, 2011 is “definitely fraudulent.” Lead investigator Mike Zullo also expressed doubt about Obama’s publicly-identified parents.
Irion’s Supreme Court filing combines his case with that of two plaintiffs of Atty. Mark Hatfield into a single petition and asks the court to rule on two questions:
- Does the right to associate force states to accept any candidate from political parties for presentation on state primary ballots when such a candidate does not meet the minimum legal qualifications for the office sought, thereby negating state election laws and state control of elections?
- Are all individuals born on U.S. soil Article II “natural born citizens,” regardless of the citizenship of their parents?
Irion told us that he has filed petitions with the Supreme Court before, and, based on the court’s schedule, he expects the court to review his case “in September or October” since it is time-sensitive.
“We are planning on filing a motion for an injunction,” Irion told us. ” Getting that kind of a motion from the Supreme Court is extremely rare, but we feel as if we have to file it to point out to the court that a decision needs to be issued quickly.” Irion said he recently received confirmation from the Supreme Court that his petition “fulfilled all of the procedural requirements.”
Following the hearing on January 26 and Judge Michael Malihi’s ruling that Obama’s name would appear on the state ballot, Irion had appealed to the Georgia Superior Court, which granted a motion to dismiss made by Obama’s attorneys on March 2, 2012. In his submission to the U.S. Supreme Court, Irion states that “The Georgia Superior Court dismissed an appeal by erroneously deciding that the Georgia statute under which the petitioners challenged candidate Obama’s eligibility, violated the Democratic Party’s right to freedom of association…”
The Georgia election law in question, OCGA 22-2-5, states, in part:
(a) Every candidate for federal and state office who is certified by the state executive committee of a political party or who files a notice of candidacy shall meet the constitutional and statutory qualifications for holding the office being sought.
(b) The Secretary of State upon his or her own motion may challenge the qualifications of any candidate at any time prior to the election of such candidate. Within two weeks after the deadline for qualifying, any elector who is eligible to vote for a candidate may challenge the qualifications of the candidate by filing a written complaint with the Secretary of State giving the reasons why the elector believes the candidate is not qualified to seek and hold the public office for which he or she is offering. Upon his or her own motion or upon a challenge being filed, the Secretary of State shall notify the candidate in writing that his or her qualifications are being challenged and the reasons therefor and shall advise the candidate that he or she is requesting a hearing on the matter before an administrative law judge of the Office of State Administrative Hearings pursuant to Article 2 of Chapter 13 of Title 50 and shall inform the candidate of the date, time, and place of the hearing when such information becomes available. The administrative law judge shall report his or her findings to the Secretary of State.
(c) The Secretary of State shall determine if the candidate is qualified to seek and hold the public office for which such candidate is offering. If the Secretary of State determines that the candidate is not qualified, the Secretary of State shall withhold the name of the candidate from the ballot or strike such candidate’s name from the ballot if the ballots have been printed…
An official opinion from Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens in 2005 said that “Other prominent assignments of powers and responsibilities to the Secretary in relation to the implementation of the state’s election laws include authorizing the Secretary to accept or challenge the qualifications of candidates for state or federal office (O.C.G.A. § 21 2 5),…”
“In this particular case, Judge Malihi ruled on the definition of ‘natural born Citizen.’ He explicitly refused to dismiss the case based on lack of standing or for any other procedural issues raised by the defendants, which made this case unique. It was the first time that a court had ruled on the substance of the definition of ‘natural born Citizen’ under Article II rather than ruling on a procedural issue. That’s what makes this case to this day unique. Of course, he ruled incorrectly, ” Irion said, which allowed an appeal to be filed with the state Superior Court.
Irion told us that the Superior Court was “unbelievably politically motivated” and “bent over backwards” to make it difficult to advance the case. “They agreed with the ruling below on ‘natural born Citizen,’ but in addition, they also said, ‘That court never should have reached that issue because the state of Georgia’s statute is unconstitutional under the First Amendment.’ So the Superior Court deemed a Georgia statute unconstitutional and void as it applies to presidential elections…this is something that you would think the Secretary of State of Georgia and the Supreme Court of Georgia would be very interested in.
“What we had was Judge Malihi, who ruled on behalf of the Secretary of State, saying, ‘We reject all claims that our statute is unconstitutional. We reject that, and we reached the substantive issue, and this is our decision.’ The Superior Court then said, “Oh, no; we disagree with you; the statute is unconstitutional. This was the posture we were in when we went to the Georgia Supreme Court.”
Irion said that the situation between the Secretary of State and the court was “analogous” to something called a “circuit split” in the U.S. Supreme court. “The federal Supreme Court grants only a tiny percentage of the petitions that are brought before it. The huge majority of those arise when one of the lower circuit courts are split on a particular issue: one circuit goes one way and the other circuit is going the other way on a specific law, especially when it has to do with the Constitution. That’s when the court is at its highest jurisdiction. The majority of the cases it takes are circuit splits,” Irion said.
“So here we have the state analogy to a circuit split: the Supreme Court is being asked to decide between the Secretary of State’s ruling on election law, as he is the one who administers the elections in that state, and the Fulton County Superior Court which is the only court in Georgia, by statute, which always reviews the secretary of state’s decisions on election law. When it comes to election law, the Secretary of State and the Fulton County Superior Court are the two bodies that always get these cases, and they’re in diametrically opposite positions on the constitutionality of a Georgia statute, and the Georgia Supreme Court said, ‘We don’t care.”
Irion stated that the Supreme Court issued a one-sentence decision: “We’re not going to take up your case.” He added, “That fact alone was absolutely stunning. It’s not just that this was a historical case that has to do with a sitting president’s eligibility under the Constitution; that alone would have been enough to say, “Wow, really, you don’t care?” But the fact that they had the Secretary of State and the court that takes election law appeals from the Secretary of State in diametrically opposed positions and they didn’t care is stunning.“
The Post & Email asked Irion why he believed the Georgia Supreme Court would not hear the case, and he responded, “You have the statute of Georgia which was put in place by the legislature, which is the people, ruled void instead of having to actually look at the substance of the case. I could go on and on about how corrupt the Georgia system is. There are people there who ought to be thrown in prison.”
“It’s really a national problem, isn’t it?” The Post & Email asked, and Irion said:
Yes, top-to-bottom, side-to-side, yes, all of them…I can list the judges that I personally have been before that I don’t know for certain are corrupt on one hand. A vast percentage of judges are corrupt. By “corrupt,” I don’t necessarily mean that they’re doing it for their own benefit; what I’m saying is they have decided cases based on their personal preferences rather than what the law says. To me, that’s the definition of “corrupt.” When you add to that that some of them are doing it for their own political gain or actually being bribed, that’s just more corrupt.
“One thing we’ve found is that the judges are citing case law and the Rules of Criminal Procedure instead of looking at the laws passed by the legislature.”
What people don’t understand, including members of the legislature, is that the legislature has become moot. If the courts are willing to interpret the laws and place standards on them that make the laws no longer do what they were intended to do, then why bother becoming a member of the legislature? Why bother worrying about which laws the legislature passes or doesn’t pass when the courts are going to completely ignore them?
Let me give you an example. I had a case in Claiborne County a couple of years ago that was a classic example of everything we’re talking about. The Tennessee Consumer Protection Act passed by the Tennessee legislature in 1977 basically said if you’re in business and you’re doing something that a reasonable consumer would consider to be deceptive, you’re violating the law and they can sue you if they’re damaged. You don’t have to go to the high standard of proving fraud. All you have to do is show that what they did was deceptive. It doesn’t have to be intentionally deceptive; it’s just a reasonable consumer standard.
The law goes into great detail on particular types of things, and one of them in construction. Here in Tennessee, you have to be licensed to be a contractor. My clients hired a company to build their house; the contractor messed it up, partly because they weren’t licensed, an they didn’t know what they were doing; my clients sued them for that.
First off, the trial judge went all the way through school in this little, tiny town with the defense attorney, and at the end of the trial he took away the case by claiming that we hadn’t presented enough evidence to prove our case. The jury walked out of the jury room, looked at the defendant and said, “You are guilty; we were going to vote against you.” Essentially, it was one of these cases where you’re virtually certain that the judge was bribed. You can’t prove it, but there is just no possible explanation other than that.
We appealed, and on appeal – and this is the part that really gets me frustrated, because that was one thing; one judge being bribed in one case got me mad but it’s not something that is going to shake the foundations of the state – what does shake the foundations of the state is the fact that this judge essentially ruled that the law wasn’t to be applied because the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act explicitly says if someone is not licensed to be a contractor, it is per se violation of the act. If someone is drawing money from a bank and hiring people with that money, regardless of what they may call themselves, they’re a managing partner in that construction company. We proved, and he admitted, that he was taking money out of the bank; the bank officials confirmed it; he was hiring subcontractors. Therefore, by statute, he was a general manager of the contracting company, but he was exonerated at the trial because the judge said that we didn’t prove that he was a managing partner.
So this is what we took up on appeal. The courts basically said, “Yeah, we see that; we don’t care; we’re ignoring the statute, and you lose.” Then the Tennessee Supreme Court refused to take it up. So in Tennessee, we have courts saying, “We know what the statute says; we know what the legislature says. We don’t care; we’re not going to enforce it.”
This was before I founded Liberty Legal Foundation, when I was planning on being an attorney who would take cases like this. At the time, I wanted to help people who had been defrauded; it was going to be my life and profession, and come to find out, not only are the judges corrupt, but the court system…I can’t put into words how stunning it is when you find out that the courts are going to say, “Yes, we see that law; yes, you’ve proven those points; we don’t care; go home.”
The same thing is happening in Georgia and other places to a varying degree.
Let me tell you about our case in Arizona. The ruling we got dismissed our case. We are in the Ninth Circuit, which has already ruled that competitive candidate standing is something that they’re going to recognize. Judge Bolton would have really had to twist things around in order to dismiss for lack of standing because we have a presidential candidate, John Dummett, and the Ninth Circuit has said that if you have two candidates running for the same office, then they both have standing to challenge each other’s eligibility. She couldn’t go that way easily, so she said, “This court doesn’t have personal jurisdiction over the defendants,” and personal jurisdiction is the court saying, “It would violate due process.”
Here’s the idea: if you live in one state and someone sues you in another state, it violates your due process rights, because there is an expectation that if someone sues you, they are going to sue you where you are or where you’ve done something illegal. That’s the standard. If a company is based in Michigan and does business in Arkansas, can it be sued in Arkansas? The answer is, “Most of the time, yes.” If they’re intentionally selling things in Arkansas, then the answer is “Certainly, yes.” If they’re selling things that they know are going to probably end up in Arkansas, then the answer is, “Probably,” and there’s case law about when that’s true and when it’s not.
So we have a situation where we allege in our complaint, that the DNC, as the defendant is going to, in fact, send certificates, signed by the head of the DNC, to every secretary of state in every one of the 50 states, and that those certificates are going to be fraudulent. They’re going to assert a fact that’s not true, which is negligent misrepresentation. These are our allegations. The defendants came back and said, “The defendants don’t live in Arizona; they don’t have an office in Arizona…” which isn’t technically true; they have DNC offices in every state. The DNC is sending a certificate to the state of Arizona.
In our response to the motion, we said, “The DNC is sending a certificate to all 50 states,” and we asked for judicial recognition that Arizona is one of the states. So when our complaint says that they’re going to send it to all 50 states, they’re going to send it to Arizona! They’re sending a false document specifically to the Arizona Secretary of State – they’re not even just taking out an ad in Arizona or sending it to every Arizona citizen – they’re sending it to a high-ranking government official and asking that official to recognize the statement being made that we claim is false and asking the official to spend millions of taxpayer dollars on their behalf based on that statement. Her response was, “This is more like taking out an ad in a nationally-circulated magazine; you have no idea who’s going to read it.” She actually said that we didn’t allege that the defendants were going to be directing any specific act toward the state of Arizona. My reaction was, “You’ve got to be kidding me!” It’s beyond absurd.
They cited a case that had to do with a company taking out an ad in a magazine and being sued in some other state where they’d never done business over the ad. In that case, being sued was not about the product harming someone; they hadn’t even sold a product in that state. They had simply taken out an ad in a national magazine and someone in a different state had picked it up and said, “Hey, this is false advertising,” and sued them over it. My point was that Judge Bolton cited that case because it was the closest case that she could possibly find remotely supportive of what she wanted to to do. And you can see how far it is. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of cases that are exactly like our facts which she did not bring up. She ignored all of that precedent.
Defendants Debbie Wasserman-Schulz and the DNC asked Bolton to issue sanctions against Irion for filing a frivolous case, which Bolton denied. Irion responded, “She threatened me going out the door. She denied the motion for sanctions, but she denied it because it was so far and extreme away from a sanctionable action as you can get. They intentionally lied about my statement; they lied about what I said and why I said it; they couldn’t support any of it with any evidence because they lied. There were two grounds for the sanctions: 1) they claimed that I lied; and 2) they said that this was a frivolous case. This is Liberty Legal’s trademark: to say, ‘We recognize that precedent is against us here; our whole purpose for filing this case is to recognize that flawed precedent as flawed and get it changed and here’s why it should be changed and all of the problems with it.’ That’s our standard operating procedure, and it has been recognized as one of the highest forms of legal argument.”
Irion is appealing the Arizona case to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Regarding the general state of affairs in America, Irion concluded:
America is under judgment because America has turned away from God. We’ve killed 60,000,000 innocent babies. Think about it. Jefferson held church in the Capitol building. We have a picture of Moses holding the Ten Commandments on top of our Supreme Court building right in the center, so anyone who thinks that our law is not based on Hebraic Torah law and doesn’t have a strong, deep-rooted foundation in religion..although Congress should make no law establishing religion, but that’s as far as the First Amendment goes. As long as we’re trying to fix things while still turning way from God, God is just going to continue taking away blessings, and this country is doomed.