ASSOCIATE JUSTICE ANTHONY KENNEDY TO RETIRE
by Sharon Rondeau
(Jun. 27, 2018) — On Wednesday’s “Hannity” opening monologue, a list of judges on President Trump’s list to replace retiring Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy was presented in a fast-running backdrop. A complete list can be found here.
Kennedy’s retirement, announced earlier on Wednesday, immediately spurred discussion as to who Trump might nominate to his seat. Constitutionally, all potential cabinet members and federal court nominees must be confirmed by a majority of the U.S. Senate.
The Senate currently consists of 51 Republicans, 47 Democrats, and two Independents. In November, one-third of the chamber will face re-election or replacement.
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is unlikely to cast a vote, as he has been absent from the Senate for several months due to serious illness.
At present, minus Kennedy, the Supreme Court contains what many view as four “liberal” justices and four “conservative” justices. Kennedy was often referred to as “the swing vote,” as the way he would opine on any given issue could not always be discerned in advance.
Early last year, Trump nominated Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals Justice Neil Gorsuch to the high court. Gorsuch’s seating has been touted by Trump as one of his greatest accomplishments thus far.
One of the names on the list of potential picks is Sen. Mike Lee (R) of Utah, while another is Thomas Hardiman, who was reportedly on Trump’s “short list” of contenders when Gorsuch was chosen.
Hardiman currently sits on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and was one of a three-judge panel which rejected as “frivolous” an appeal in a case dealing with the issue of presidential eligibility stemming from the election of Barack Hussein Obama in 2008.
The appeal, submitted by plaintiffs’ attorney Mario Apuzzo of New Jersey, consisted of a 95-page brief challenging a lower court’s finding that the question of presidential eligibility is a “political” one. The U.S. District Court had also found that the plaintiffs in the case, Kerchner, et al v Obama & Congress, et al, did not have legal “standing” to demand that Obama prove his eligibility to hold office.
Article II, Section 1, clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution imposes three requirements for the president: that he have resided in the country for 14 years; that he be 35 years of age or older; and that he be a “natural born Citizen.”
In an interview in February 2017, Apuzzo told The Post & Email that the three-judge appellate panel’s opinion was shocking in that “neither the lower court nor opposing counsel had argued that the plaintiffs’ position on what gave them standing was frivolous.” The panel further ordered that Apuzzo submit a brief responsive to the court’s Order to Show Cause as to why he should not incur financial sanctions for having filed the alleged “frivolous appeal.”
On July 22, 2010, Apuzzo reported that the panel abruptly withdrew its Order to Show Cause on the basis of “Mr. Apuzzo’s explanation of his efforts to research the applicable law on standing.”
An appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court for a hearing on the merits was ultimately unsuccessful, as occurred with dozens of lawsuits challenging Obama’s eligibility during his first term in the White House.
Questions as to Obama’s “natural born” status arose in 2007, shortly after he announced his presidential candidacy and in light of a number of mainstream media reports stating that he was born in Kenya or Indonesia. The origins and bases of those reports, many of which were later changed to say Obama was “born in Hawaii,” have never been explained.
At the time Apuzzo’s case was active, a “Certification of Live Birth” posted on several websites in June 2008 was said to be the only available proof of Obama’s alleged birth in Hawaii. However, in April 2011, after months of public pressure from Donald Trump, the White House released what it said was a scan of a certified copy of Obama’s “long-form,” or more detailed, birth certificate.
Within hours, the image was declared a forgery by experts, and an ensuing five-year criminal investigation carried out by a former detective concurred with those findings. Further, in December 2016, investigator Mike Zullo declared at a press conference that two forensic analysts, each approaching the long-form birth certificate image from a different discipline, reached the same conclusion.
Another question regarding whether or not Obama is a “natural born Citizen” involves his claim to a father who was never a U.S. citizen.
The Obama eligibility issue remains untouched by the courts, while the origin of the birth certificate forgery has never been probed by Congress, the FBI or the Secret Service to the public’s knowledge.
This story was updated at 7:32 a.m. on June 28, 2018.
Sharon Rondeau has operated The Post & Email since April 2010, focusing on the Obama birth certificate investigation and other government corruption news. She has reported prolifically on constitutional violations within Tennessee’s prison and judicial systems.