By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
The Preacher vs. the President-Elect
Pastor Wiley Drake thinks he still has a prayer of unseating Barack Obama—sorry, Barack Hussein Obama
First Southern Baptist Church of Buena Park’s irrepressible Pastor Wiley Drake is not discouraged in light of the Dec. 8 announcement the U.S. Supreme Court will not hear a New Jersey man’s case that argued Barack Obama cannot be sworn in as president because his father was a British citizen. Alan Keyes, the American Independent Party’s 2008 presidential candidate, and his running mate, Drake, are plaintiffs in a separate lawsuit knocking around California courts that makes a similar claim about Obama’s birth status. Several other cases are also winding through the nation’s courts in what Drake characterized as a coordinated effort he started to prevent the Jan. 20 inauguration of “the first illegal-alien president in U.S. history.”
OC Weekly: Hello, Pastor Drake. This is Matt Coker at OC Weekly.
Wiley Drake: Well, hello Matt Coker of OC Weekly. How are you?
I’m fine. How about you?
I have my 65th birthday coming up, and I feel fine.
That’s great. I apologize for not calling back last week when you called. I was on assignment.
Well, that’s okay.
So I was calling today about your lawsuit, and then I heard about the Supreme Court decision this morning. Are you discouraged?
Well, no one likes to lose. But discouraged? No, there are several cases going on at one time, and we’re all working on these together. I’m really sort of the guy who started off looking at Mr. Obama. Philip Berg, who is Jewish, also brought a case against Mr. Obama in Pennsylvania [where it was shot down in federal court and immediately appealed]. . . . Leo [Donofrio of New Jersey] felt because he made some procedural errors, that’s why the Supreme Court did not hear it and there might be a chance of resurrecting it. There’s also another case, I understand, a Cort case [filed with the U.S. Supreme Court by Cort Wrotnowski of Connecticut] that was cleaner than Leo’s, procedurally. . . . It’s supposed to go before the court this week, so hopefully there will be a better answer.
How is your case different from these?
We went to California Superior Court. The respondents are the 55 Electoral College electors in the state and the Secretary of State. When Mr. Berg’s case was turned down by the federal court, they said the reason was he didn’t have standing; he was just a common citizen. That’s how our case was born. Since Alan Keyes was on the ballot in California as a presidential candidate and I as vice president, we had standing. The courts didn’t see Mr. Berg has the potential for injury, but we did have the potential for injury since we were running for election and did not get a fair shot. That’s why our attorneys, Orly Taitz and Gary Kreep, took it to California’s courts, where it is still in. We’re looking for a hearing date in the very near future. But first we have to serve all respondents—that’s 57 people we have to serve. Since we’re a shoestring organization, grassroots with no money, we’re using volunteers. Even though they are doing a crackerjack job, we hired a professional process server.
So you don’t sound discouraged at all.
Well, any time you go to court, you want to win. For the Supreme Court of the United States to deny a hearing on a case as important as the Constitution, we’re in trouble in this country. At the same time, we’re not gone yet. There is the Keyes and Drake case. In D.C., there is another case, the [unsuccessful ’08 Libertarian Party vice presidential nominee Gail] Lightfoot case, that is much cleaner. Instead of going to Superior Court and filing a lawsuit and waiting for it to be denied, she went directly to the Superior Court but filed an urgency injunction, which California courts said needs to go straight to the Supreme Court.
How can we have all these cases basically arguing the same thing?
They don’t. Donofrio says I don’t care where he was born, he is not qualified. Even if he were born in Hawaii, he was born to an American-citizen mother and a British-citizen father. That’s a proven fact. According to these fellows, the constitutional definition is no matter where you are born, both parents have to be Americans. Even if he were born on U.S. soil, that’s a moot point because he’s not qualified. Phil Berg’s case says we have evidence, proof, that he was not born on American soil. His own paternal grandmother says he was born in Kenya. That’s what got me turned on. I’m a pastor. I have a tendency to believe people. When I heard an elderly paternal grandmother—speaking in Swahili, if it was interpreted right, and I think it was—say that she saw her grandson, Barack Hussein Obama, come out of his mother here in Kenya, I can’t imagine why she made that up. There is no motive for lying. In all honesty, she’s just bragging on her grandson.