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'Birther' bid to challenge Obama's right to be president rejected

December 22, 2011 | 10:51 am


Opponents of President Obama can't take him to court to answer their claims that he wasn't born in the United States, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday.

None of the dozens of so-called "birthers" who filed a federal lawsuit against Obama has the right to sue the president because none has suffered any injury that the court could heal with a ruling, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said in upholding a lower court's dismissal of their lawsuit.

Among those challenging Obama's eligibility for the presidency is Wiley Drake, a Buena Park minister who once called on his First Southern Baptist flock to pray for Obama's death, and the American Independent Party's 2008 presidential candidate, Alan Keyes.

The 9th Circuit judges said that even political candidates who argued that they were unfairly disadvantaged by the competition from someone ineligible to run for the office would have had a case only if they had brought it before the election, not after.

The birthers converged on the 9th Circuit's Pasadena courthouse in May to air their grievances against the president, whom they contend falsified his Hawaii birth certificate and was actually born in Africa.

The judges noted at the hearing as well as in their ruling Thursday that, aside from the plaintiffs' lack of standing, the challenge of Obama's legitimacy to serve as president is a political question beyond any federal court's power to decide. Any legal challenge would have to be brought by the U.S. attorney general, the court said.


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-- Carol J. Williams

Photo: President Obama. Credit: Los Angeles Times