A Georgia administrative law judge has left in place a subpoena directing President Obama to appear at a hearing on Thursday regarding a “birther” complaint challenging the president’s eligibility for office.
Deputy Chief Judge Michael Malihi issued his decision Friday, writing that the president’s legal team “failed to enlighten the court with any legal authority” to back up its argument that no U.S. president should be compelled to attend a court hearing. They also failed to prove that attending the hearing would be “unreasonable and oppressive” and that the president’s testimony would be “irrelevant, immaterial or cumulative,” he wrote.
Orly Taitz, who filed one of the complaints and has for years led the farcical battle to prove that the president is constitutionally unqualified for office, called Malihi’s decision a “major victory.”
“This is the beginning of Watergate2 or ObamaForgeryGate,” she predicted on her website.
Things did not go so well last time Taitz, known as the “birther queen,” tried to take her crusade to the Peach State. In 2009, a federal judge for the Middle District of Georgia fined her $20,000 after she ignored his warnings against filing frivolous lawsuits, slamming her for wasting time and resources and writing that her case and legal strategy “borders on delusional.”
Malihi, whose bailiwick as administrative law judge includes ballot disputes and citizens’ complaints against state agencies, has rarely made the papers since his appointment in 1995 by then-Gov. Zell Miller. However, the little information available suggests a record of broadly interpreting the public’s right to contest state decisions. In 2001, he created small waves by ruling that citizens could challenge a state-issued water-use permit without proving that they would be directly affected by it. And in 2006, he annoyed developers and politicians by ruling in favor of an environmental group that sought to put a marina project on hold because, it said, the state had failed to fully explore its environmental impact.
Court watchers interviewed by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution predicted that the president will not show up in Georgia on Thursday despite Malihi’s ruling. In that case, the administrative law judge will have the option of referring the issue to the county superior court, which would decide whether the president should be held in contempt.