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Alaska Birther Launches ‘Sovereign’ Attack on ‘Mulatto’ Obama

By Leah Nelson on February 24, 2012 - 5:01 pm, Posted in Birther Extremism, Neo-Confederate, Sovereign Citizens

An Alaska man who is challenging President Barack Obama’s eligibility for office on the grounds that the president is a “mulatto” based his complaint on an argument common to the neo-Confederate and antigovernment “sovereign citizen” movements, Hatewatch has learned.

In a complaint filed Tuesday with the Alaska Division of Elections, Gordon Warren Epperly of Juneau argued that Obama isn’t eligible for office because, as a person of mixed-race descent, he is not a “natural-born citizen” of the United States.

“As Barack Hussein Obama II is of the ‘Mulatto’ race, his status of citizenship is founded upon the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Before the (purported) ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment, the race of ‘Negro’ or ‘Mulatto’ had no standing to be citizens of the United States under the United States Constitution,” the complaint says. “As the Fourteenth Amendment is only a grant of ‘Civil Rights’ and not a grant of ‘Political Rights,’ Barack Hussein Obama II does not have any ‘Political Rights’ under any provision of the United States Constitution to hold any Public Office of the United States government.”

Though this appears to be the first time it has been used in an effort to challenge Obama’s citizenship status, Epperly’s argument is not unique. Indeed, it seems to be an amalgam of two bizarre extremist legal theories — one that says that blacks do not have the same legal rights as whites because their citizenship is founded on the 14th Amendment, and another that claims that in order to be a “natural-born” U.S. citizen, one’s parents must both be U.S. citizens as well.

The latter theory most recently made its appearance in a Georgia court, where attorneys Mark Hatfield and Van Irion argued unsuccessfully that since the president’s father was never a U.S. citizen, Obama not a natural-born citizen and is constitutionally ineligible for political office. Van Irion is affiliated with the Southern Legal Resource Center, a neo-Confederate outfit co-founded by white supremacist attorney Kirk Lyons, who was married at the Aryan Nations compound in a ceremony officiated by the late Aryan Nations leader and Christian Identity preacher Richard Butler.

The 14th Amendment component of Epperly’s challenge stems from an idea promulgated by the Posse Comitatus, a racist and anti-Semitic group that roiled the Midwest in the 1970s and 1980s and believed that the county sheriff is the highest legitimate law enforcement authority. Posse ideologues argued, in effect, that God gave America to the white man and therefore the government cannot abridge most rights of whites unless they submit to a “contract” with that government. Black people were only made citizens by the 14th Amendment, they argued, meaning that they have permanently contracted with the government and therefore must obey all its dictates. Or, put another way, black people were truly second-class citizens, forced to obey government and tax laws that, the Posse argued, don’t apply to white sovereign citizens (the Posse often called them “organic citizens”).

Epperly appears to have been comingling sovereign and neo-Confederate ideology some time. In 2006, he sued Congress for unconstitutionally enacting the Reconstruction Acts of 1867, which, he alleged, placed him “in a state of involuntary servitude” and made him “liable for the debt of the United States.”

The Reconstruction Acts, enacted in the wake of the Civil War, placed the former Confederate States under military rule, and required them to draft new constitutions and ratify the 14th Amendment. Some neo-Confederate sympathizers argue that the 14th Amendment was not properly ratified because its ratification involved strong-arm tactics. Sovereign ideology – a form of which has recently been embraced by the neo-Confederate League of the South – says whites can reject the 14th Amendment and proclaim themselves independent, free from what they perceive as an overweening and downright criminal federal government.

The modern-day sovereign citizen movement, whose adherents believe they are exempt from most laws and are often confrontational with police officers, is a direct descendant of Posse Comitatus. Most modern sovereigns, however, seem unaware of the movement’s racist origins – and in recent years a permutation of sovereign ideology has gained traction among blacks.

Amazingly enough, this is not the first time Epperly has challenged the eligibility of an elected official he does not like. In a 2010 letter to the Alaska director of elections, he declared that Lisa Murkowski, who had just been elected senator, was not qualified for office “as she is not a citizen of the United States under Article I of the Constitution for the United States.”

His argument stemmed from a 22-page “Proclamation,” apparently researched solely by Epperly, which supposedly proves that female and non-white elected officials are “usurpers of office” who “have no political privileges to hold public offices of the United States under the qualification clauses of Article I, Article, II, and Article III of the United States Constitution.”

In the same proclamation, Epperly concluded also that Obama is a “usurper,” and that the president, Murkowski and all other non-whites and women who hold government office were “inserted” into their positions by seditious “domestic enemies” intent on infiltrating and destroying the United States under cover of “political correctness.”

Epperly ends with a barely veiled threat. Demanding that Congress and the Supreme Court “come forward and give answers to the allegations of sedition as stated herein,” he wrote: “If those who are participating in the sedition of the Constitution of the United States of America do not remove themselves from public office, the people will have no choice but to remove those individuals from office by what ever means it may take.”

  • Aron


    Hold on there, pardner. I just happen to BE the Duke of Aberdeen. And if my knowledge of Scottish noble customs (derived entirely from ‘Highlander’) is correct, Geoff and I may have to fight to the death. After all, there can only be ONE!

  • Reynardine

    Geoff, you can call yourself the Duke of Aberdeen, so long as it’s your choice. Historically, it has referred to Eurafricans who were not given the legal standing of “pure” whites, and if one parent was slave and one free, the child took the status of the mother. In colonial Haiti, a “mulatto” was in fact with one parent “pure” African and one “pure” European, with many terms for various degrees of descent. After Haitian independence, it was applied to those of noticeable European background, and frequently the status of artisan or better. The animosity between “mulattos” and “blacks” has had woeful implications since.

    As you are not a grand jury, you can “indict” neither me nor anyone else on this blog, and I caution you about calling anyone a n*, lest you get a smack in the mouth.

  • Geoff

    Andy (and Reynardine),

    I had always understood the term “Mulatto” to mean a person (child) who was born of one white parent and one black parent. Only when I got older did I learn the term applied to any person with one white parent and one non-white parent.

    As a person of mixed-race heritage (like our President), I frequently refer to myself as “Mulatto”. People tend to understand what the term implies, and I guess that when I use that term to self-identify, it takes power away from those who intend to use it as derogatory.

    Similar to the way the “N” word (which I personally detest) is used as a term of endearment used among people within the black community, but un-acceptable when used by people outside the black community.

    I’m not indicting either of you, mind you. Just noticed the discussion, and decided to give the opinion of the term by someone who is of mixed-race/heritage.

  • Reynardine

    Ruslan, I’m not talking to Zhirinovsky, because:
    A. My Russian is rusty.
    B. Our prefessors were people of cultivation and refinement, who would never have taught us the kind of vocabulary suitable for conversations with Zhirinovsky, apart from referring us to certain lexicons needed for understanding the works of Solzhenitsyn.
    C. I did once contemplate entering the psychiatric field, but it was premised on my being the one with the key.

    Sorry I didn’t reply sooner, but actually, I did, and it glitched.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Reynardine, there’s a guy named Zhirinovsky you should talk to about that.

  • Reynardine

    True, Andy, but what I said was that *I* hadn’t heard it. I wasn’t following popular music at that point; for reasons explained long ago, most of my musical exposure was then to Bollywood and Lollywood. In legal and sociological contexts, though, the only use of the word “mulatto” was then in historical contexts. E.g., “the mulatto population of Hispaniola, who were not recognized as white by the French, joined the Haitian rebellion”.

  • Reynardine

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch, although all Americans were doubtless glad of Seward’s Folly during the Cold War, I’m starting to wonder how much money the Russians would demand from us to take…the damned…thing…back.

  • Andy

    “Mulatto”? I have not heard that appelation used, outside of certain historical contexts, since 1972 or so.

    Actually, Reynardine, there was an excellent indie band in the 1980s called Tragic Mulatto.

  • krissy

    Sovereigns are gonna have a hard time on election day choosing between Obama, whose father is from Kenya, and Romney, whose father is from Mexico. I guess they’ll sit this one out.

  • Mitch Beales

    Erika I seriously doubt that it was anything the slave women raped by their white owners did that made them “better in bed than their wives.” More likely the sort of person who rapes a slave or anyone else gets perverse pleasure from the abusive nature of the act. Perhaps the slaves resisted more than the wives which no doubt added to the sick thrill these perverse animals derived from the rape.

  • Erika

    I’m surprised that Epperly didn’t try one of the “tax protesters” favorite crazy arguments – that the 16th Amendment is illegitimate because Ohio never legally became a state.

    Incidentially, most of the White Supremacists myths about Black male sexuality started when slave owners decided that their slaves were better in bed than their wives. The White males were afraid that their wives would reach the same conclusion so naturally, the response by the White men (like Epperly) was to try to repress White women and Black males- Erectus Walks Among Us, right down to the title appesrs to be cut out of the same cloth – the White Supremacist’s hate and represession of fails to hide the inherient insecuirty and jealously behind it. The White Supremacist like Epperly and Jason Smith therefore is a pathetic creature.

  • Aron

    Kate, that was hilarious. It really would be nice if ‘[Homo*] Erectus Walks Among Us’ really WAS gay erotica. Then it would very likely prove to be far less dangerous. Perhaps the cause for marital strife (LOL), but not terrorism. I hope.

    *HA! Notice how I managed to work Homo in there? My skill at satire never ceases to amaze me. :p

  • Justina

    the issues raised are worthless, because the race thing didn’t matter re citizenship in non slave states, did it? and Obama wasn’t born in a state that had declared for slavery.

    The 14th amendment non legitimacy thing is stupid anyway, because the south had declared itself a separate nation and had to conform to some issues before it could be treated as not conquered enemy but part of the USA again.

    Also, the points made very clear in the 14th are mostly present less obviously but easily treatable that way in Article 6 and elsewhere but the Supreme Court was dominated by southerners all those days, so of course whatever could have been used against slavery and so forth was not used. The little time bombs were defused and had to be restated in clear terms.

    even so, the fact that a slave counted for either 1/3 or 2/3 I forget which of a white in calculating population for representation, it meant they were still a kind of citizen since they were being represented.

  • kate

    As for Epperly, it is really a shame that medication to inhibit or reduce paranoid delusion requires that the patient be lucid enough to imbibe in it.

  • kate

    “Erectus Walks Among Us” Really?

    If I saw that on a bookshelf I would so pick it up, thinking it was some really funny gay porn.

    But in reality its just a tome about a guy with homophobia.

    Oh its not that? Wait…what? Its a compendium of tomes from old KKK literature, written as typical for someone with 3rd grade thinking skills.

    Carry on.

  • Marisa

    WHY, oh WHY, doesn’t someone just make sure Gordon Warren Epperly never reproduces!!!!!! The same strategy might be perpetrated on Jason Smith – benefits to the whole USA.