Skip to comments.What's Obama's Birther Legal Bill?
Posted on 01/31/2010 4:42:58 PM PST by STARWISE
Activists charge that Obama has spent millions to silence them in court. Not exactly, say the governments lawyers.
Is President Barack Obama spending millions of dollars to hide the truth about his citizenship?
During Obama's 2008 run for the White House, his campaign and a host of other credible sources repeatedly debunked the conspiracy theory that Obama was born in Kenya, not Hawaii, and was thus ineligible to serve as president.
But this failed to quell the "birther" movement, whose acolytes have filed more than 60 civil lawsuits challenging the president's citizenship. None of these suits have gone anywhere in court.
But birthers say that's because Obama has unleashed a phalanx of powerful lawyers to silence themspending $1.7 million in the process, according to WorldNetDaily (WND), an enthusiastic online promoter of the birthers' cause.
Given the sheer number of cases, it seems plausible that the president and the government may have been forced to devote real resources to their defense.
But in fact the opposite may be true: The birthers' own copious legal bungling could wind up costing them more than Obama will have to spend defending himself.
The birthers have peppered dozens of state and federal courts around the country with legal challengesagainst the president and other government officials and organizations who had some role in allowing Obama's name to be placed on the ballot, including the Federal Election Commission, various state election officials, and the US Supreme Court. Some of the suits, particularly those filed by the movement's leading lady, California lawyer/dentist Orly Taitz, have been headlined by members of the military claiming they've been wrongfully made to serve in foreign wars by an illegitimate commander in chief.
Most recently, birther attorneys have represented car dealers who charge that Obama is a phony president who lacked the authority to order a restructuring of Chrysler that they say cost them their businesses.
WorldNetDaily has noted that FEC filings show that Obama's presidential campaign has paid out more than $1.7 million since the election to the law firm of Perkins Coie. Until recently, that firm was home to Obama's campaign lawyer, and now White House counsel, Robert Bauerthe very same DC lawyer, says WND, who has defended Obama in many of the birther lawsuits.
Ergo, WND concluded, Obama must be devoting that entire $1.7 million to crushing birthers in court. This is a ridiculous claim: Even after an election is over a presidential campaign has plenty of need for lawyers as it winds down operations and meets campaign finance law requirements.
But WND's editors believe they have a smoking gun in a letter Bauer sent on April 3 to John David Hemenway, a DC lawyer representing retired Air Force Colonel Gregory Hollister in a suit against "Barry Soetoro de facto President in posse." (Some birthers claim Obama is actually an Indonesian citizen who shares his last name with his Indonesian stepfather, Lolo Soetoro.)
The lawsuit claims that Hollister may be unable to perform his duty to uphold the Constitution if Obama called him out of retirement and ordered him to war, because Obama isn't a natural-born citizen.
A US District Court judge dismissed the "frivolous" case and reprimanded the 83-year-old lawyer for filing it. Nonetheless, Hemenway appealed, prompting Bauer to send him a letter warning that Obama would seek sanctions if he pursued the matter.
WND and many of its readers apparently believe this letter proves that Obama has teams of expensive lawyers working round the clock to stomp out the suits and intimidate the underdog plaintiffs and their attorneys.
The White House never responded to WND's questions about the legal fees, and Bauer didn't respond to Mother Jones. But the birthers' lawsuits don't exactly seem to be requiring Obama's lawyersgovernment or privateto burn the midnight oil.
Roger West, an assistant US attorney in the central district of California, represented the government in a lawsuit brought by Taitz on behalf of perennial presidential candidate Alan Keyes, asking the court to require that Obama prove he is a natural-born citizen.
The case has dragged on for more than a year, mostly because Taitz, a graduate of an online, unaccredited law school, failed to serve the defendants. Judge David O. Carter dismissed the suit in October for a host of reasons, but Taitz has appealed.
Yet West says that far from bleeding his office, Taitz and her co-counsel Gary Kreep have assembled such a weak case that he hasn't had to spend much time on it.
"I filed one motion that didn't take too long, we've had two hearings and that's it," he says. "It's not like we've devoted some sort of task force to this."
Army Major Rebecca Ausprung handled two of the birther cases against the Department of the Army that disputed Obama's authority as commander in chief to order soldiers to war. Ausprung says she spent a few hours drafting motions and doing research, and she did have to make three short trips to Georgia from Arlington, Virginia.
She prevailed in both cases. "The monetary cost to the government in defending these two cases was extremely minimal," she says.
Or consider a case filed by one of the most prolific birther litigants, Philip J. Berg, that went all the way up to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals. In November the court dismissed the appeal and ordered Berg to pay the legal costs for the defendants, which included the Federal Election Commission.
Here was the government's big chance to recoup its millions. But when the FEC submitted its bill, the grand total came to $20.40. This doesn't include the cost of the time government lawyers spent writing briefs and appearing in court.
Yet it's clear that as much of a nuisance as these suits are for the government, that's all they are: a nuisance.
In fact, the plaintiffs may be spending far more time and money on these cases than Obama or the government is, in part because of their failure to abide by basic court procedures.
In one of the Georgia cases Ausprung handled, a federal judge sanctioned Taitz in October for $20,000 for, among other things, pursuing a case long after a judge had dismissed it and her own client had discharged her. Taitz has refused to pay the fine.
So far, judges have been remarkably tolerant of the birthers' shenanigansdespite being handed abundant opportunities to throw their petitions out of court. In one case, Taitz allegedly encouraged supporters to contact the judge by phone and mail to lobby for her causea glaring ethics violation that he chose to ignore.
Another of her cases only went forward because the federal judge basically begged the defendants to let Taitz serve themthe first step in any lawsuit, but one that Taitz had neglected to take for about seven months.
The judges' written opinions suggest that by giving the birthers' cases a full airing, they hope to put some of the most outrageous allegations to rest.
But not only have the birthers shown little gratitude to the judges who have indulged them, their court losses have also fueled the conspiracy theories that the judges had hoped to extinguish.
Taitz accused US District Judge Clay Land of having improperly discussed one of her cases with Attorney General Eric Holder, and submitted a sworn eyewitness account describing a clandestine meeting in a Columbus, Georgia, coffee shop between the judge and a man with a "trim upper lip mustache, not large of stature and general olive complexion"whom the source naturally assumed to be the attorney general.
On the day in question, however, Holder was making a public appearance 2,000 miles away in Los Angeles. Expect the birthers' theories to become even more far-fetched as their legal endeavors continue to fail.
It’s the same reason why Saddam Hussein charged the widows for the bullets with which Saddam executed their husbands.
The bills we should be paying are the costs for the FBI to do their job of catching criminals.
If the leftist MotherJones is talking about, it is getting to be a thorn in the lefties foot.
Thank you .. good info.
Interesting comment for this article:
Stephanie Mencimer, I’ll give
Submitted by PJ Foggy (not verified) on Tue Jan. 26, 2010 8:46 AM PST.
Stephanie Mencimer, I’ll give you a C+ for that article. There are a host of minor errors, but more important, you obviously didn’t check with the single most important website that debunks the Birthers, Politijab .
If you had, you would have learned of the Birther Case Scorecard, and learned that Obama only hired personal attorneys in 3 of the 64 Birther lawsuits.
Even if the federal government lawyers were spending a lot of time on these cases (which you accurately reported, they aren’t), that would result in no additional expense to the government. Both Roger West and Rebecca Ausprung receive the same salary no matter what cases they work on. Only if President Obama hires personal attorneys does the expense climb, and he hasn’t had to hire personal attorneys to work on these cases since he took office.
You missed one other important point, too.
Birthers have 3 main theories as to why he’s ineligible, of which you mention only one — that he may have been born in Kenya. Why didn’t you mention the theory that he lost his citizenship when he was “adopted” in Indonesia? Why didn’t you mention the theory that both your parents must be U.S. citizens for you to be a “natural born citizen”?
All the other MSM outlets that reported this story — Washington Post, UPI, New York Magazine, Washington Independent, etc. — contacted us at Politijab to get more accurate and complete information before writing their stories. Before you write about the Birthers again, give us a chance to educate you more fully.
And they STILL overlook the admitted fact that
he’s the son of a Kenyan/UK citizen.
I stumbled upon this letter on Saturday. Conressman Bobby L. Rush wrote a letter on January 11, 2010 regarding Bararack barry Soetoro finacial transcripts being released from Occidential College, Barry attended OC on through financial assistance as a international student from Indonesia. I accessed the letter at www.congress.org/congressorg/bio/userletter/?letter_id=4501135561
“FREE THE LONG FORM!”
In a country where an subdivision homeowners’ association can foreclose on someone’s house, homesteaded property, because they haven't mowed the yard, or failed to paint it in an approved color scheme, or insist on flying an AMERICAN flag, it's pitiful that the President of the United States can thumb his nose at proving his eligibility.
So Ms. Mencimer spends 1,277 words on an article entitled “What’s Obama’s Birther Legal Bill?”, and so far as I can tell, she never answered her own question.
Hey, Stephanie, here’s another question you can avoid answering: “What’s the name of the doctor who attended Obama’s birth?”
Just add this to the 10,000 OTHER laws broken by this administration.
I am surprised that Mother Jones is bring up the subject. By doing this they generate curiosity about his eligibility. ( Hm? Why would they do that?)
My sentiments exactly. If it’s not such a big deal, why are they bothering to write long articles about how frivolous these lawsuits are? I think there’s something there and the plaintiffs know it. Obama’s past is secretive and no one know anything about his education, his grades, who paid for it, how he went to Pakistan in 1981 when US citizens couldn’t go to Pakistan then. There’s a lot here and if the “free” press would do their job, perhaps we could find out that we have a man who has hijacked our presidency.
STARWISE. so he’s using government lawyers to defend him on “birther” related court appearances and legal work?
WE THE PEOPLE HAVE STANDING IF THE US GOV IS PAYING HIS DEFENSE.
That was letter TO Rush
“Letters To Leaders”
What's Obama's Birther Legal Bill?
If the leftist MotherJones is talking about, it is getting to be a thorn in the lefties foot.
“Assistant United States Attorney Chief, Civil Division ROGER E. WEST (State Bar No. 58609) Assistant United States Attorney First Assistant Chief, Civil Division
DAVID A. DeJUTE (State Bar No. 153527) Assistant United States Attorney Room 7516, Federal Building 300 North Los Angeles Street Los Angeles, California 90012 Telephone: (213) 894-2461/2574 Facsimile: (213) 894-7819 Email: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Attorneys for Defendants”
Is that right?
Are you a lawyer?
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