Whew, that was a long one. Laguna Niguel dentist/lawyer Orly Taitz, along with her co-counsel/nemesis Gary Kreep, spent a couple hours this morning in the Santa Ana Ronald Reagan Federal Building and Courthouse arguing why Judge David O. Carter shouldn't throw their case against Barack Obama out of court.
Carter's verdict? Eh, give him more time. No ruling today.
The courtroom discussion rambled across a range of topics, from John McCain's birth in Panama to Taitz's oppressed family in Siberia. But basically, there are two issues for Carter to decide.
The first is standing. Who has a right to ask the courts to determine Obama's eligibility to be president? In order to have standing, you've got to prove you've been harmed and could potentially obtain some kind of redress from the court. In this case, who has been damaged by the Usurper's alleged usurper-ness? The lawyers for the government say none of the four dozen plaintiffs meet the criteria. Taitz's cohort of retired military officers aren't likely going to be called into active duty. Her and Kreep's failed presidential candidates -- Alan Keyes and Wiley Drake among them -- didn't have a chance of hell in winning in the election, regardless of which Democrat was running for president. Taitz countered that all taxpayers have been standing to enforce the Constitution.
The second is justiciability. Hilariously, Judge Carter can't pronounce that word at all and apologized a few times for trying. The government's main argument is that courts have no business hearing a matter that might eventually remove a sitting president from office. The Constitution vests congress with the "sole" power to impeach, and the 25th amendment lays out the procedure by which a president is declared unfit for office. If one judge ruled a president ineligible, U.S. Attorney Roger West argued, the country would sit in a state of "disastrous" crisis while the decision worked its way through the appeals system. Kreep said that Congress has no power to impeach Obama, because Obama never was president in the first place.
Carter seemed genuinely perplexed by the issue of standing. A plaintiff claiming harm must prove that that harm is not "speculative and hypothetical." Again and again, he asked Taitz and Kreep to explain why that wasn't the case for their plaintiffs. After returning from a twenty minute recess, Taitz was armed with a compelling answer: Because she came from the USSR!
Taitz's question to the court: "Have you ever heard of a lawyer being able to challenge Stalin?" She then launched into the story of how her great uncle was sent to a labor camp in Siberia, and lawyers weren't able to free him. Her great aunt, stricken with grief, slit her own wrists but was rescued by a neighbor. After years and years in Siberia, Taitz's uncle returned to his family, only to die soon after. The moral of the story? "That's what happens when citizens don't have the power to enforce their constitutional rights given by God and given by the Constitution."
It was the biggest applause line of the day.
Taitz went on to say that she knew Obama was bad news from the moment she saw him open his mouth, and that she has since dedicated herself to working "25/7" for justice.
Quietly, calmly, Carter replied that he didn't want to "chill" the audience's enthusiasm, but the America that Taitz alluded to was not the America he grew up in: one where opposing parties could confront one another in a "thoughtful" manner in the courts and in the legislature. He said that he had heard that Taitz had exhorted followers on her blog to contact the court, and that his receptionist had to take as many as forty calls a day from Taitz's supporters. "I can assure you that during the proceedings, the government or President Obama haven't contacted me," he said. "If there's any undue pressure [on the court], it's from you." Carter said Taitz was welcome to have her followers continue to contact the court -- it wouldn't sway his decision either way -- but that phone calls would be sent straight to voice-mail and deleted.
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Earlier, Carter seemed to do some rambling of his own. Unprovoked, and in reference to John McCain's birth in Panama, he said that the notion that an American who gives birth while traveling in another country couldn't have that child run for president was "insulting" to "mothers." He went through the various defendants and requested depositions listed in Taitz's lawsuit, expressing confusion as to why foreign governments had to be subpoenaed and Barack Obama called for testimony. "He doesn't have any memory of his birth," Carter said. Taitz conceded that she, too, doesn't remember being born.
Carter also wondered whether anyone in Congress had brought up the eligibility issue. Taitz read what sounded to be like a form letter from Senator Jeff Sessions saying that he couldn't involve himself in pending litigation. Kreep pointed out that Senator Tom Coburn has talked publicly about eligibility. But still, Carter wondered: Why had no one pushed for impeachment or investigation?
Some time spent on this website might help clear that question up for Carter.
At the end of the nearly three-hour session, the spectators sitting in the courtroom and the overflow viewing room looked around at each other. Was it really over? Carter ended things saying he needed time to consider the arguments made in court today. He gave no real indication of when he'd issue a ruling, but he did close with a joke: They'd hear from him within a day to a year.