Claiming a specific injury because of an ineligible president, Christopher John Rudy is suing the government for $90, a fee he had to pay as the result of a law signed by Barack Obama, whom Rudy alleges is not really the president. Of course, this case was dismissed on jurisdictional grounds.
The original case (1:2013cv00278) was filed in the Virginia Eastern District Court in March of 2013. The order dismissing the case agreed with the Patent Office’s contention that the courts lacked jurisdiction to decide presidential eligibility because it was a political question. A political question is defined by guidelines set down by the Supreme Court in Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186, 217 (1962), existing when any of the following holds:
- textually demonstrable constitutional commitment of the issue to a coordinate political department;
- a lack of judicially discoverable and manageable standards for resolving the issue;
- the impossibility of resolving the issue without an initial policy determination of a kind clearly for nonjudicial discretion;
- the impossibility of a court’s undertaking independent resolution of the issue without expressing a lack of respect due to the coordinate branches of government;
- an unusual need for unquestioning adherence to a political decision already made; or
- the potentiality of embarrassment from multifarious pronouncements by various departments on one question.
Defendants cited to three of the criteria (1, 5 and 6) and said: “numerous articles and amendments of the U. S. Constitution, when viewed together, make clear that the issue of the President’s qualifications and his removal from office are textually committed to the legislative branch and not the judicial branch.”
The decision was appealed to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals (case number 14-1056), and the lower court ruling was affirmed without comment on April 11, 2014.
What makes this latter-day case a little more interesting is the submission of an amicus brief by the United States Justice Foundation (Gary Kreep’s old outfit). This time the USJF attorney is William J. Olson. The USJF is a non-profit, right-wing nut job public interest organization. The USJF brief claims that up until now, “no one has questioned the validity of a law signed by the president.” That is, of course, is factually wrong. Orly Taitz did that in Taitz v. Sebelius. Very sloppy work, Mr. Olson. Our old buddy Herb Titus makes an appearance on the docket also, I presume with the amicus brief.