The conference earned Taitz mentions on Slate and Salon; the latter reported that “Taitz . . . kept making stranger and stranger assertions. At one point, she asked why the government had fined broadcasters for Janet Jackson’s ‘wardrobe malfunction,’ but didn’t intervene to force the media to report on Obama’s allegedly phony birth certificate.”

A few days earlier, the California Supreme Court had dismissed Taitz’s lawsuit asking for an emergency order to halt certification of the election results on behalf of Gail Lightfoot, the Libertarian vice-presidential candidate who had been on Ron Paul’s ticket in California. The dismissal just led Taitz to refile in the United States Supreme Court on Dec. 12. But on the day after the presidential inauguration came an event that seemed to shake Taitz to her core: She says her case inexplicably “disappeared” from the court’s online docket. It was only after “hundreds” of phone calls from Taitz and her supporters that, a day later, the case reappeared. Workers in the Supreme Court’s office told her it was due to a computer glitch that affected multiple cases. To Taitz, the whole thing smacked of foul play.

“I don’t know if it was hacking from outside, or whether it was hacking from inside, or if it was someone who works within the Supreme Court did it in order to show there are no challenges to Obama’s eligibility, but this is a serious issue,” Taitz says. “I think this is more of a scandal than many other issues. This, actually, might be another Watergate.”

Dr. Orly Taitz, Esq.: dentist, lawyer, mom, "eligibility" activist
John Gilhooley
Dr. Orly Taitz, Esq.: dentist, lawyer, mom, "eligibility" activist
Buena Park pastor Wiley Drake was Taitz's first plaintiff
Gustavo Arellano
Buena Park pastor Wiley Drake was Taitz's first plaintiff

On Jan. 26, the court declined to hear that case. Taitz thought she should try to find out why. She showed up at a lecture being given by Justice Antonin Scalia in Los Angeles and asked, during the Q&A session, whether he would hear her lawsuit. “He said, ‘Bring the case,’” she recalls. “So I said, ‘Well, why didn’t you hear the previous case, Lightfoot v. Bowen? And he kept saying, ‘I don’t know. I don’t remember. I don’t know.’” During the book-signing after Scalia’s talk, Taitz made sure she was the last person in line. When she got face-to-face with the justice, she had him sign two books—including a tome costing more than $100—to have more time to grill him about Lightfoot. The answers she got, Taitz says, were troubling: The court’s clerks must have prevented him from reading her pleadings and those of other eligibility lawsuits. To her, that’s the only plausible reason why he wouldn’t remember.

*     *     *

It’s difficult to estimate how many people believe that Obama isn’t eligible to be president. Berg claims the number is around 15 million (he’d like to see awareness reach 75 million, at least). World Net Daily, a right-wing news site that publishes a steady stream of Obama-slamming stories, reportedly has gathered 380,000 signatures for its petition related to the matter. But, as with any online petition, there’s no way to know how many of those are duplicates or fakes. Taitz has been able to direct her readers to flood government officials with so many e-mails, phone messages and letters that they eventually return her phone calls.

What isn’t difficult is understanding why someone would buy the eligibility idea. Taitz, even with her tendency to misuse pronouns and mispronounce words, can put together an explanation in a few minutes that actually sounds compelling.

It goes like this:

Article 2 of the U.S. Constitution specifies that the president of the United States must be, among other things, a “natural-born citizen.” There’s disagreement as to what that means (more on that later), but there’s no dispute that it requires a president to have been an American citizen at the time of his or her birth. Obama says he was born in Honolulu in 1961, but he has never publicly produced his original birth certificate—that piece of paper parents get when they have a new child, which features the name of the hospital as well as the name of the attending physician. Responding to rumors that Obama’s middle name is “Muhammad,” the Obama campaign in June 2008 published a scanned image of his Certificate of Live Birth (COLB), a short-form printout that doesn’t list hospital or doctor.

Taitz and others say they have reason to doubt the veracity of Obama’s COLB. Forensic experts have set up web pages and signed affidavits saying it’s a forgery. There’s a law on the books in Hawaii that allows foreign-born children to obtain a Hawaiian COLB. And the information on a late-registered COLB doesn’t need to be verified by anyone; it’s based solely on the testimony of one parent. On top of all that, there’s a recording and transcript of Obama’s Kenyan grandmother telling an interviewer that she was present when Barack Obama was born in Africa. And in 1981, Obama traveled to Pakistan; at the time, though, there was a ban on American passport holders entering that country.

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