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Opponents of Barack Obama's presidency claim small court victory

July 13, 2009 |  9:26 pm

Supporters of a case that disputes the legitimacy of Barack Obama's presidency claimed a small victory today when U.S. District Judge David O. Carter told them to fix their paperwork and that he would listen to "the merits" of their case. But others present for the hearing Monday at the federal courthouse in Santa Ana stressed that the case remains a long way from ever getting a full airing in court and may never get to that point.

The case, Alan Keyes, et al. v Barack H. Obama, et al. was filed on Inauguration Day and is one of a raft of suits alleging Obama is ineligible to be president because he is not a "natural born citizen.” Such claims have fared badly in court to date. In December, for example, the Supreme Court dismissed without comment a case challenging Obama’s right to take the oath of office.

Perhaps because of that history, Orly Taitz, the lawyer who filed the current suit, was greatly cheered by Monday’s hearing. "He's very determined to hear the case on the merits," Taitz said, referring to the judge. "He stated, the country needs to know if Mr. Obama is legitimate, if he can legitimately stay in the White House."

That’s not quite the way Asst. U.S. Atty. David DeJute heard the judge’s comments. Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office, said that “the judge did make a bunch of comments about having the matter correctly and thoroughly aired, once and if they got to the merits of the actual lawsuit, which was not the subject of today's discussion."

The key word is “if,” Mrozek stressed. “We're literally at procedural grounds at this point in time," he said.

At a previous hearing, Carter had ruled that Taitz had not properly served the case on Obama. In Monday's hearing, both Taitz and DeJute tried to prematurely argue the merits of the case. Carter, a former marine, told both parties that the case could easily be tied up for months or another year on procedural technicalities. A better approach would be for Taitz just to file the paperwork so that the case could proceed without more delays, the judge said.

Once the paperwork is filed, the government has 60 days to respond.

-- Tami Abdollah in Santa Ana

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