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Judge Tosses Obama Birthplace Lawsuit

Updated: Thursday, 29 Oct 2009, 4:47 PM PDT
Published : Thursday, 29 Oct 2009, 4:47 PM PDT

Posted by: Scott Coppersmith

Santa Ana -  A federal judge in Santa Ana today dismissed a lawsuit challenging Barack Obama's presidency on the claim that he wasn't born in the United States.

U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter ruled that the courts are not the proper place to challenge a president's election. Another federal judge in Georgia recently made a similar ruling.

So-called birthers have been challenging the legality of Obama's presidency, claiming he was not born in Hawaii, despite the existence of hospital records and a newspaper birth announcement at the time.

Rancho Santa Margarita-based attorney Orly Taitz and Ramona-based lawyer Gary G. Kreep filed the lawsuit in Orange County on the day of the president's inauguration. They represent 44 plaintiffs, including military personnel and third-party political candidates such as Alan Keyes.

In an Oct. 5 hearing, the judge denied a motion to sever Kreep from the case.

Kreep and Taitz have been sparring about legal strategies. Kreep represents the Rev. Wiley Drake, a conservative Orange County clergyman who ran for vice president under the anti-immigration American Independent Party, and Markham Robinson, the chairman of the American Independent Party.

Taitz represented Capt. Pamela Barnett and other military officers who have questioned whether they should follow orders issued by what they claim is an illegitimate commander in chief.

Taitz has filed similar lawsuits elsewhere in the country and has failed, most recently in Georgia, where U.S. District Court Judge Clay Land not only rejected her lawsuit by fined her $20,000 for "frivolous" litigation.

Department of Justice attorneys Roger West and David DeJute successfully argued that only Congress can remove a president through impeachment, and the only involvement of the courts is that the chief justice of the Supreme Court presides over an impeachment trial.

Otherwise, the country would be "crippled" if a lone judge could undo an election, West argued, and Judge Carter agreed.

"Instead of impeachment, which would allow succession by the vice president and continuation of the order of a functioning government, plaintiffs seek to shut down the government through an injunction and install a replacement government through a new election," Carter wrote in his decision.

"In other words, if the political candidates' harm is based on their inability to compete against constitutionally qualified candidates, in order to redress that harm the court would not only have to remove the president, it would have to order a new national election."

Taitz has called Land and other judges who have rejected her lawsuits as traitors, but Carter had a reply for that.

"Plaintiffs have encouraged the court ... to disregard the limits on its power put in place by the Constitution; and to effectively overthrow a sitting president who was popularly elected by "We the People" -- over 69 million of the people. Plaintiffs have attacked the judiciary, including every prior court that has dismissed their claim, as unpatriotic and even treasonous for refusing to grant their requests and for adhering to the terms of the Constitution which set forth its jurisdiction. Respecting the constitutional role and jurisdiction of this court is not unpatriotic. Quite the contrary, this court considers commitment to that constitutional role to be the ultimate reflection of patriotism."

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