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Judge rejects 'birther' lawsuit targeting Obama

A court rebuts arguments that the president is not a natural-born American

By Sam Stanton / Sacramento Bee

POSTED:


SACRAMENTO, Calif. » Nothing succeeds like persistence — unless you're Orly Taitz.

The 52-year-old lawyer-dentist-real estate agent from Laguna Niguel, Calif., brought her years-long battle to oust Barack Obama from the presidency to a federal courtroom Thursday.

Her appearance was part of a last-minute bid to stop the counting of Electoral College votes in Washington, D.C., that will pave the way for the president's second inauguration Jan. 21.

She failed. Again.

But the hearing before U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. was hardly routine.

Taitz has been dubbed the "birther queen" for her claims that Obama was born outside the United States and therefore cannot legally be president.

"What we're doing here is the right thing," she said during the hearing at Sacramento's downtown federal courthouse. "It's stopping treason.

"We are looking for one honest judge who will look at the case on its merits."

She ran into a brick wall with England. The judge sparred with her for more than an hour as the hearing played out in a courtroom overflowing with spectators, many of them clearly not Obama supporters.

"Your argument, it doesn't make any sense whatsoever," the judge told her at one point.

In the end, England rejected her request for a temporary restraining order that would stop the tally of Electoral College votes and deny Obama a second term.

The hearing stemmed from a suit Taitz filed Dec. 13 on behalf of two Electoral College electors and three minor presidential candidates.

In an argument that England said Taitz has pursued 13 previous times in court, she sought to present evidence that the president's birth certificate is a forgery.

"It's a joke," she told the judge. "It's not even a good forgery."

She added that the president is using a stolen Social Security number, that Obama might not really be his last name and that, basically, he is has no right to serve, "not (as) president, not a janitor in the office of president."

The arguments have been explored and debunked for years, but hard-core believers continue to raise them.

Taitz sought to introduce evidence from witnesses about the font size of the type on the president's birth certificate, as well as from an investigation launched by Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona's Maricopa County.

Obama staffers had long ignored the claims, but finally addressed them in the latest campaign when Donald Trump began to raise the issue. A copy of the president's birth certificate from Hawaii was posted on the White House website in an effort to put the matter to bed.

Mention of that by Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward Olsen, who was representing the federal government in court Thursday, brought derisive chuckles from the courtroom audience.

But Olsen was not swayed. "Even if this is all true in their wildest hopes, they still have not presented any evidence that the president is not a natural-born citizen," he said.

Taitz did try to present two witnesses, including one she said she had paid to fly in from Florida, but the judge said his order for the hearing allowed only oral arguments.

Taitz spent much of the hearing arguing over that point, and the audience became restless, with one man wearing a gray blazer and blue jeans eventually standing up in the front row as if to offer his own argument.

"Sit down," England sternly ordered.

He did, and a court security officer moved closer to him.

"Why do you keep filing these lawsuits when they keep getting rejected?" England asked at one point.

Taitz responded by comparing herself with Thurgood Marshall and his persistence in filing suits to fight segregation. She explained that one of the plaintiffs is a Republican elector for Mitt Romney, who came in second to Obama in November.

"But second," England countered. "What part of second don't you understand?"

Finally, the judge rejected the request for a restraining order, saying Taitz had no hope of prevailing anywhere.

"There is absolutely no way that this case will survive the challenge it faces," he said.

The reaction from courtroom watchers was unmistakable. "Mockery," one man shouted as he stormed out, followed by another who was holding his nose.

"That really stinks," he proclaimed.






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