“If a District Court does not have subject matter jurisdiction, it must dismiss.” – 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals
In a decision, binding on district courts in the 3rd circuit, Philip J. Berg’s appeal was denied today. (A writ of certiorari in this case was previously denied by the U. S. Supreme Court.)
The appeal came before judges Sloviter, Fuentes and Hardiman, with the opinion written by Sloviter. This decision was marked “PRECIDENTIAL” indicating that it was binding on districts within the 3rd Circuit (comprised of Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and the U.S. Virgin Islands). The conclusion being drawn is that voters do not have standing to challenge the qualifications of someone running for president of the United States. (This does not completely close the door on Apuzzo’s appeal in Kerchner v. Obama, also in the Third Circuit, because Kerchner is suing as a member of the military reserve.)
“The District Court dismissed Berg’s action on the grounds that he lacks standing and failed to state a cognizable claim.”
Rather than simply affirming Judge Surrick’s District Court opinion, the Circuit Court went further, taking note that several similar cases had been filed. Judge Sloviter wrote:
In light of the public’s interest in the final resolution of this case – which is one of a series of cases brought challenging the qualifications of the 2008 presidential candidates from both of the major political parties – and the obvious lack of any merit in Berg’s contentions, we will exercise our discretion and address them to put some finality to the dispute.
In sum, we agree with the District Court that Berg lacks standing to bring this suit because he has suffered no injury particularized to him. A prerequisite of standing is that the litigant has suffered or will suffer an injury in fact that is caused by the complained-of conduct by a defendant and that can be redressed by the court. [Internal citations removed.]
The Court then goes into detail as to why Berg, as a voter, did not suffer specific and individual harm due to Barack Obama being on the ballot, concluding: “Even if we assume that the placement of an ineligible candidate on the presidential ballot harmed Berg, that injury, including any frustration Berg felt because others refused to act on his view of the law, was too general for the purposes of Article III.”
The essence of Berg’s complaint is that the defendants, the states, presidential candidates other than Obama, political parties, a majority of American voters, and Congress – a list that includes some who could have challenged, or could still challenge, Obama’s eligibility through various means – have not been persuaded by his claim. That grievance, too, is not one “appropriately resolved through the judicial process.”
I presume that those who “could still challenge Obama’s eligibility” are exactly those in Congress.
The balance of the decision contains words like “baffling” and “frivolous” in between the solid legal footing for the Court’s decision to affirm the dismissal of Berg v. Obama.