Adding an extra layer of surreality to the already farcical Georgia proceedings regarding President Obama’s constitutional eligibility for office, neither the defendant nor his counsel appeared at this morning’s hearing before an administrative law judge.
Yesterday, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp refused a last-minute request by the president’s attorney to cancel the hearing. Arguing that the administrative judge, Michael Malihi, has “exercised no control whatsoever over this proceeding,” Obama lawyer Michael Jablonski asked Kemp to “bring an end to this baseless, costly and unproductive hearing” before it further debased his office and the reputation of Georgia.
Kemp declined, writing that “if you and your client choose to suspend your participation in the … proceedings, please understand that you do so at your own peril.”
Thus warned, the president and his counsel both chose not to appear.
Fortunately, Orly Taitz – one of three lawyers to present “evidence” this morning – is a talented performance artist. Dressed in a somber black suit, platinum hair sprayed firmly aloft, the “birther queen” took center stage after brief presentations by two attorneys whose arguments rested on the nonsensical theory that the president is not a “natural born citizen” because his father was not a U.S. citizen.
Taitz stuck with her usual arguments, proclaiming that the president’s birth certificate is a forgery and that the man in the White House is actually Indonesian citizen Barry Soetoro. After questioning her witnesses so ineptly that the judge several times interrupted and asked her to reframe her queries, Taitz ascended to the witness stand herself and began a rambling speech about the alleged fraud in the White House. Mahili cut her short, asking that she put the rest of her testimony in writing and move on to closing arguments.
She did so with gusto. Alluding inexplicably to the hard-won voting rights of women and blacks, Taitz presented herself as a civil rights crusader, fighting on behalf of clients whose right to vote for a “legitimate” candidate was being trampled by a conspiratorial government that refused to hear their pleas.
Before stepping down, she asked the judge to hold Obama in contempt for refusing to appear in court. (In fact, Malihi does not have the power to hold the president – or anyone else – in contempt, and will have to refer the matter to a state trial judge.) Thanking her for her presentation, the judge banged the gavel and the courtroom emptied.