by Sharon Rondeau
(May 31, 2021) — The plaintiff in a case docketed at the U.S. Supreme Court scheduled for conference last Thursday challenging Kamala Harris’s constitutional eligibility to serve has received an acknowledgement of Laity’s having electronically sent through the court’s website a link to “Open Letter to Justice Clarence Thomas” authored by legal analyst and longtime P&E contributor Joseph DeMaio.
The Open Letter, which refers directly to Laity’s case, states, “Absent a constitutional amendment either clarifying the meaning of the eligibility restriction – or repealing and/or abrogating it altogether – the debates will continue. Therefore, assuming, arguendo, that the pending petition in Docket No. 20-1503 will be denied, it would not be unprecedented for one or more of the Justices to articulate their own views as to the propriety (or impropriety) of that denial. If such a view or views were to be disseminated, the likelihood is that that the issue would finally be perpetually avoided.”
Laughingly, in April 2010, Thomas admitted to a congressional panel that the high court was “evading the issue” of presidential eligibility, as DeMaio noted in his column.
Dated May 23, 2021, the Open Letter begins:
Dear Justice Thomas:
With respect, it is virtually certain that in the next Court conference – this coming Thursday, May 27, 2021 – the matter in Docket No. 20-1503, “Laity v. Harris” will be addressed. Further, it is also not altogether unlikely that, based on existing Court precedent, and as has happened in past cases involving the same plaintiff/petitioner – Mr. Robert Laity – his challenge to the constitutional eligibility of Vice-President Kamala Harris as a “natural born Citizen” may be denied on the grounds that he lacks the “requisite standing” to maintain and support his certiorari petition, arguments to the contrary notwithstanding.
This conclusion is not posited to advocate or suggest either a granting or denial of the petition, but merely to acknowledge the reality that based on precedent, the Court may deny the petition. Indeed, you may well concur in a determination that the petition be denied for lack of requisite standing under the Court’s existing precedent, including Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555 (1992).
With utmost respect, Mr. Justice Thomas, the issue of presidential eligibility as a “natural born Citizen” under Art. 2, § 1, Cl. 5 of the Constitution is not an insignificant one. Instead, it goes to the very core of who the Founders intended would be entrusted with command over the “[A]merican army” and be mandated to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” These directives would seem to be at least as important as those regarding, for example, whether individuals seeking redress for alleged and perceived environmental habitat and endangered species damage resulting from events in Egypt and Sri Lanka possessed “standing,” as encountered in Lujan.
Under the subject line, “FW: Open Letter to Justice Clarence Thomas – The Post & Email,” Laity addressed the email with the attachment to “firstname.lastname@example.org” and “email@example.com.” In a separate email, Laity sent the article through the court’s website, to which he received the response, “Thank you for your submission, it has been received and should it require any other information we will contact you at this e-mail address. – U.S. Supreme Court Webmaster” on Monday morning.
Laity’s email to the clerk and Thomas reads:
by Joseph DeMaio, ©2021 May 23, 2021 Dear Justice Thomas: With respect, it is virtually certain that in the next Court conference – this coming Thursday, May 27, 2021 – the matter in Docket No. 20-1503, “Laity v. Harris” will be addressed. Further, it is also not altogether unlikely that, based on existing Court precedent, […]
Monday is a federal holiday, with all federal and state courts closed.
Laity contends that because Harris’s parents were not U.S. citizens when she was born in Oakland, CA in 1964, she is not a “natural born Citizen” as the Framers of the U.S. Constitution would have defined it. Referring to the 14th Amendment, one legal analyst, former Chapman University School of Law Professor John Eastman, has suggested that Harris may not qualify as even a statutory U.S. citizen, as she may not have been “subject to the complete jurisdiction” [emphasis Chapman’s] of the United States given her parents’ citizenship when she was born.
Detractors of Laity’s continued efforts to compel a review of Harris’s qualifications as a purported “natural born Citizen,” which the Constitution and 12th Amendment require for the president and vice president, respectively, have predicted that the court will deny Laity’s petition for certiorari on Tuesday, thereby closing the matter. Such observers generally say that anyone born in the United States, regardless of their parents’ citizenship at the time, is a “natural born Citizen.”
Previously in lower courts, Laity’s case was dismissed for lack of “standing,” an element his detractors say he cannot overcome. Early Monday morning in response to such a comment, Laity responded, “I have a plan B.”