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Eligibility challenger in Pennsylvania

The Baldwin-Whitehall Patch reports that a local resident, one Thomas Barchfeld, wrote a letter to Carol Aichele, Pennsylvania Secretary of the Commonwealth. In the letter Barchfeld repeats the usual Birther arguments about what it takes to be a “natural born citizen.” He misreads Minor v. Happersett and mentions Orly Taitz. He says Obama is not eligible. I left this reply on the article:

Challenges like this are springing up all over, and the courts are repeatedly saying that folks like Mr. Barchfeld have it wrong. Associate Professor Joseph Hylton of Marquette University Law School recently wrote:

“To cite Minor v. Happersett as the definitive statement of the meaning of the phrase ‘natural born citizen’ is to exhibit an unfortunate lack of understanding of the Supreme Court’s 1874 decision in that case.”

Administrative Law Judge Michael Malihi in Georgia cited the Indiana Court of Appeals in the 2009 case of Ankeny v. Governor that said Obama and those like him are eligible. The day before that, the Illinois Board of Elections acting on the recommendation of its legal counsel and Hearing Officer reached the same conclusion.

In January a federal judge in Virginia ruled on yet another of these ballot challenges, saying:

"It is well settled that those born in the United States are considered natural born citizens."

– US District Judge John A. Gibney, Jr.
– Tisdale v. Obama

I appreciate that there are dozens of Internet web sites repeating arguments that "sound good" to folks who are uninformed about history and don’t know how to read judicial opinions. I don’t blame Mr. Barchfeld for getting it wrong after hearing some of the persuasive, but legally bogus material out there.

However, none of these challenges is going anywhere because the judges who rule on them know the law a lot better than the cranks who raise them.

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14 Responses to Eligibility challenger in Pennsylvania

  1. avatar
    Daniel February 10, 2012 at 6:07 pm #

    WEll said Doc, I’d like to quote you on that from time to time if I may

  2. avatar
    donna February 10, 2012 at 7:09 pm #

    good job, doc

    native born citizen has 2 entries re pa

    http://nativeborncitizen.wordpress.com/2012/02/10/pa-orly-getting-involved/

    and the election code

    http://nativeborncitizen.wordpress.com/state-election-challenges/pennsylvania/

  3. avatar
    G February 10, 2012 at 7:21 pm #

    Yeah, for all the hype that Kerchener and the Birtheristani want to put into their latest Great White Hope in PA… every reality based assessment of the ballot laws there seems to indicate that the Birther arguments have even *less* relevance to PA’s laws than in the other states we’ve seen.

    But then again, hopelessly lost causes never stop the Birtheristani faithful in the least…

    donna: good job, docnative born citizen has 2 entries re pahttp://nativeborncitizen.wordpress.com/2012/02/10/pa-orly-getting-involved/and the election codehttp://nativeborncitizen.wordpress.com/state-election-challenges/pennsylvania/

  4. avatar
    JPotter February 10, 2012 at 7:41 pm #

    “It is well settled.”

    Such a peaceful, relaxing, contemplative phrase! And final.
    Makes it sound as though all is right with the world.

    A soothing reassurance for anti-birthers …. and a cattle prod to the nutters!

  5. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy February 10, 2012 at 9:17 pm #

    The original of that comment was about 29 characters longer. When I tried to save it, I got a messages somethings like: “Wait a minute Tolstoy, you can’t write more than 1500 characters.” Most everything I write has a few words that are better left out.

    For example:

    Most everything I write has a few words that are better left out.

    can be more concisely written:

    Most everything I write has a few words better left out.

    or

    Most everything I write has superfluous words.

    or

    My writing is not always concise.

    or

  6. avatar
    Keith February 11, 2012 at 1:42 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy: “Wait a minute Tolstoy, you can’t write more than 1500 characters.”

    Its been a while, but I recall Tolstoy, at least in the translations I read, as being reasonably concise.

    Now if you want to talk verbose Russians, Dostoevsky rings the bells for me.

    If you want to go to folks who wrote in English you gotta go with James Joyce (well his stuff is almost English anyway). His stuff is so verbose and obscure that you need a decoding book twice the size of the one you are reading in order to figure it out.

  7. avatar
    Majority Will February 11, 2012 at 12:21 pm #

    Keith: Its been a while, but I recall Tolstoy, at least in the translations I read, as being reasonably concise.

    Now if you want to talk verbose Russians, Dostoevsky rings the bells for me.

    If you want to go to folks who wrote in English you gotta go with James Joyce (well his stuff is almost English anyway). His stuff is so verbose and obscure that you need a decoding book twice the size of the one you are reading in order to figure it out.

    Had I not been young and daring, I might have stopped with A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

    I took a college course on Joyce and the recommended deciphering texts outnumbered his books by almost three to one.

    “Christopher Columbus, as everyone knows, is honored by posterity because he was the last to discover America.”
    – James Joyce

  8. avatar
    gorefan February 11, 2012 at 3:44 pm #

    From the article:

    “It has nothing to do with Obama you understand. If you were born here, you’re a natural-born citizen.” Bruce Ledewitz, a professor for the Duquesne University School of Law

  9. avatar
    Keith February 11, 2012 at 5:33 pm #

    gorefan:
    From the article:

    “It has nothing to do with Obama you understand. If you were born here, you’re a natural-born citizen.”Bruce Ledewitz, a professor for the Duquesne University School of Law

    I’m taking people at their word when they say that.

    Its all about ‘anchor’ babies (otherwise knows as Natural Born Citizens).

  10. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy February 11, 2012 at 5:46 pm #

    Of course. That’s why I publish this stuff, for the general welfare.

    Daniel: I’d like to quote you on that from time to time if I may

  11. avatar
    John Potter February 11, 2012 at 8:38 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    Of course. That’s why I publish this stuff, for the general welfare.

    Soooo …. there’s no book deal in the works? No Sifting the Afterbirth, by Doc C. ? Heh.

    This whole episode in our history would make …. a really lame movie*. Plenty of hysterical documentary potential, tho.

    How many scripts for The Orly Taitz Story are in the works?

    * Unless it was a Wizard of Oz spoof in which Dorthy plays an average citizen just trying to inform themselves.

  12. avatar
    Squeeky Fromm, Girl Reporter February 11, 2012 at 10:15 pm #

    Well, I just left this for CRD Kerchner at the Patch website:
    ====

    CDR Kerchner

    I read that you have started a Birther PAC, and I wanted to tell you that I thought of a wonderful nautical name for your PAC!!! Here it is “People Opposing Obama’s Presidency” or POOP-PAC for short. You know like the POOP deck, or POOP like being the news on something.

    This is a really good name and I hope you can use it!!!

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter
    =======

    Think he will fall for it???

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  13. avatar
    G February 11, 2012 at 10:28 pm #

    ROTFLMAO!!! 😉

    Squeeky Fromm, Girl Reporter: Well, I just left this for CRD Kerchner at the Patch website:====CDR KerchnerI read that you have started a Birther PAC, and I wanted to tell you that I thought of a wonderful nautical name for your PAC!!! Here it is “People Opposing Obama’s Presidency” or POOP-PAC for short. You know like the POOP deck, or POOP like being the news on something.This is a really good name and I hope you can use it!!!Squeeky FrommGirl Reporter=======Think he will fall for it???Squeeky FrommGirl Reporter

  14. avatar
    misha February 12, 2012 at 4:02 am #

    “Eligibility challenger in Pennsylvania”

    Never a dull moment in the Keystone state:
    http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/dncrime/Cops-investigating-massage-parlor-robbery.html

    I could not walk Angel until after midnight, and then an officer walked along with us. The massage parlor is back in business.