The sadly obligatory SCOTUS birth-certificate post
posted at 10:20 am on December 4, 2008 by Ed Morrissey
The Chicago Tribune briefly revives the Obama-birth-certificate kerfuffle in an update today, if only to throw more cold water on it. Tomorrow, the Supreme Court confabs over whether to grant a review to Leo Donofrio’s lawsuit after having it rejected in district and appellate courts:
The U.S. Supreme Court will consider Friday whether to take up a lawsuit challenging President-elect Barack Obama’s U.S. citizenship, a continuation of a New Jersey case embraced by some opponents of Obama’s election.
The meeting of justices will coincide with a vigil by the filer’s supporters in Washington on the steps of the nation’s highest court.
The suit originally sought to stay the election, and was filed on behalf of Leo Donofrio against New Jersey Secretary of State Nina Mitchell Wells. …
The Obama campaign has maintained that he was born in Hawaii, has an authentic birth certificate, and is a “natural-born” U.S. citizen. Hawaiian officials agree.
The latest buzz surrounds the decision by Clarence Thomas to circulate the appeal petition to the entire court after David Souter rejected it immediately. That really doesn’t mean much, as the Tribune explains. Of the 842 petitions circulated in that manner, only 60 got a spot on the court calendar, and not all of those succeeded. Thomas may have been interested in the technical aspects of the suit rather than the merits, or perhaps it was a slow week.
It does, however, make it news, no matter how much some of us wish it would go away. The state of Hawaii has repeatedly insisted that their records show Obama was born in Hawaii, as the Certificate of Live Birth states. The COLB would get any Hawaii native an American passport with no questions asked, even without the official endorsement of the Republican governor and her Department of Health. There is even a contemporaneous birth announcement in a local paper confirming it.
I’m sure the comments section will fill with various conspiracy theories over Indonesian school records, Kenyan births, and so on. None of it — absolutely none — has any real, solid evidence showing that Obama was born anywhere else than Hawaii apart from sheer speculation and hearsay, and even less evidence that Obama’s stepfather renounced Obama’s birthright citizenship, which he didn’t have the power to do anyway. It’s a conspiracy theory spun by conspiracy theorists (Philip Berg is a 9/11 truther) who use their normal thresholds of evidence for this meme.
Unfortunately, the Supreme Court can’t kill the conspiracy theories. It can only kill the lawsuits, which is what they will almost certainly do tomorrow when they meet.
Update: From October 31:
The director of Hawaii’s Department of Health confirmed on Friday what Barack Obama has been saying all along: the presidential candidate was born in Honolulu.
“There have been numerous requests for Sen. Barack Hussein Obama’s official birth certificate,” said Chiyome Fukino. “State law prohibits the release of a certified birth certificate to persons who do not have a tangible interest in the vital record.”
Citing her statutory authority to oversee and maintain Hawaii’s vital records, Fukino said she has “personally seen and verified that the Hawaii State Department of Health has Sen. Obama’s original birth certificate on record in accordance with state policies and procedures.
“No state official, including Gov. Linda Lingle, has ever instructed that this vital record be handled in a manner different from any other vital record in the possession of the State of Hawaii,” Fukino added.
Update II: From the comments, a link to Donofrio’s explanation:
“Don’t be distracted by the birth certificate and Indonesia issues. They are irrelevant to Senator Obama’s ineligibility to be President. Since Barack Obama’s father was a Citizen of Kenya and therefore subject to the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom at the time of Senator Obama’s birth, then Senator Obama was a British Citizen “at birth”, just like the Framers of the Constitution, and therefore, even if he were to produce an original birth certificate proving he were born on US soil, he still wouldn’t be eligible to be President.
The Framers of the Constitution, at the time of their birth, were also British Citizens and that’s why the Framers declared that, while they were Citizens of the United States, they themselves were not “natural born Citizens”.
Hence their inclusion of the grandfather clause in Article 2, Section 1, Clause 5 of the Constitution: No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution shall be eligible to the Office of President; That’s it right there. (Emphasis added.)
If so, this is an even dumber argument than first thought. The children of immigrants born in this country are ineligible to be President? Since when does “natural born” refer to the parents of citizens? Natural born means the person at question was born in US territory, and it always has. Immigration-enforcement activists have been trying to change that definition to eliminate the “anchor babies” issue.
Also, adoption only changes the parentage on the birth certificate, not the place, date, or time of birth. I’ve done an adoption myself and can personally attest to that fact. If Obama had been adopted by Mr. Soetero, Hawaii would only have changed the father’s name on the record — and since Barack Obama Sr has been listed on the birth certificate, it appears that Mr. Soetero didn’t adopt Obama anyway.
Update III: As a rebuttal to Update 1, this from the comments:
The paper lied on purpose. The HI Dept of health went of its way to say everything but that. They do have his original birth certificate, but from where?
The State of Hawaii only keeps birth certificates from births in Hawaii. The State of California only keeps birth certificates from births in California, Minnesota only keeps those from births in Minnesota, and so on. They don’t store information on births outside of their state. Why would they bother to do that? Use some common sense.
Update IV: The Honolulu Advertiser reported on the Dept. of Health statement on November 1 in a little more detail:
State Health Department employees continue to be barraged by requests from people demanding to see Barack Obama’s birth certificate, including some who have called the department’s registrar of vital statistics at home — in the middle of the night.
“This has gotten ridiculous,” state health director Dr. Chiyome Fukino said yesterday. “There are plenty of other, important things to focus on, like the economy, taxes, energy.”
So, in what likely will be a vain attempt to halt the inquiries, Fukino yesterday issued a statement saying that she and the registrar of vital statistics personally inspected Obama’s birth certificate and found it to be valid.
Will this be enough to quiet the doubters?
“I hope so,” Fukino said. “We need to get some work done.”
Fukino issued her statement to try to stomp out persistent rumors that Obama was not born in Honolulu — and is therefore not a U.S. citizen and thus ineligible to run for president.
Fukino, however, repeated the Health Department’s position that state law prohibits her or any other officials from actually releasing the birth certificate, which Obama’s campaign says shows he was born in Honolulu on Aug. 4, 1961.
“There have been numerous requests for Sen. Barack Hussein Obama’s official birth certificate,” Fukino said in the statement. “State law (Hawai’i Revised Statutes ¤338-18) prohibits the release of a certified birth certificate to persons who do not have a tangible interest in the vital record. … No state official, including Gov. Linda Lingle, has ever instructed that this vital record be handled in a manner different from any other vital record in the possession of the State of Hawai’i.”
I guess they’ll have to wait a little longer to get any work done.