The birther movement, which has bedeviled President Obama since well before his inauguration with questions about his citizenship, is celebrating something of a watershed moment as it prepares to have a day in court.
Earlier this month, Deputy Chief Judge Michael Malihi in Georgia’s Office of State Administrative Hearings denied a motion from the Obama campaign to dismiss four complaints seeking to remove the president’s name from the state’s Democratic primary ballot in March. The decision ultimately cleared the way for a procedural hearing on the challenges.
“I can’t believe this,” Orly Taitz, an attorney who filed one of the complaints, exclaimed on her blog. “[Obama] will have to stand trial to prove his eligibility for office.”
Not exactly. Under the rules of the hearing, scheduled for Jan. 26, Obama does not have to be present – and he won’t be put on trial. Nevertheless, Malihi’s decision has been heralded far and wide as a defining moment for those who have hounded Obama about his lineage. Their celebration, in fact, is notable considering the setbacks their cause has suffered before.
Several years ago in Georgia, another federal judge warned Taitz –– who calls herself “Queen of the Birthers” –– against filing frivolous lawsuits during a trial where she represented two soldiers who fought deployment orders by arguing Obama wasn’t really the commander-in-chief because he wasn’t eligible to be president. The judge fined her $20,000 after he denied her claim.
Then there was the obvious moment that should have derailed the entire birther movement last April, when Obama released his “long-form” birth certificate. It was the answer to years of incessant questions, but it wasn’t enough for Taitz.
Joining her with challenges in Georgia is another man represented by Van R. Irion, of the Liberty Legal Foundation in Knoxville, Tenn. Irion was a former board member of the Southern Legal Resource Center, which serves as the legal arm of the neo-Confederate movement by challenging “heritage violations.” Two other people have filed complaints in Georgia, and similar challenges have been filed in Hawaii and Alabama.
Earlier this month, a state judge in Alabama dismissed the challenge there, agreeing with attorneys for the state Democratic Party that the court should not hear “a complaint that is political in nature.”