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.