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Thomas Lamb 15 minutes of fame next week

Thomas A. Lamb of Alaska sued Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in 2012 to get disclosure of records, student loan records form Obama and tax returns from Romney, as reported by the Joe Miller “Restoring Liberty” blog. Lamb cited a 2010 Alaska case where the personnel records of a Senate Candidate were ordered released by a Fairbanks judge and a case in another state about divorce records for Jack Ryan. This lawsuit was totally off my radar, although NBC had an article.

Lamb has an appeal before the Alaska Supreme Court and the birther calendar had his oral argument listed as for today; however, it appears that his 15-minute appearance is scheduled at 9:00 AM on January 15. No attorneys are listed for the case of Thomas A. Lamb v Barack Obama (leading me to assume that appellee Obama didn’t respond and indeed the Court indicated that it hadn’t received a timely reply form him).

Lamb’s case against Obama and Romney demands a range of documents from  candidates Obama and Romney, based on his claimed right to be an informed voter. The original case was filed before the 2012 election. An amended complaint was filed after the election, dropping Romney and adding Obama’s birth records. The case was dismissed for the usual lack of standing, lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. And there was some kind of problem with service.  Lamb petitioned for review of the case to the Alaska Supreme Court and that petition for review was denied as moot a year ago (January 4, 2013). Indeed, one can see how that after the election, Lamb’s need to be an informed voter evaporated and his remedy (getting the records) no longer applies. Lamb failed to reply to the Alaska Supreme Courts order that he explain why it shouldn’t be denied as moot, and so it was. The present appeal (S-15155)  is of the same original case.

There is some peculiar language in the amended complaint, none more so than:

Article 1 to the federal constitution is controlling the Plaintiff’s right to redress Congress through a Congressional inquiry and the use of this court to ascertain the facts herein.

Article I, of course, doesn’t give anyone the right to redress Congress, but rather the right to petition the government, and there is nothing in the Constitution requiring the government to respond, nor are the courts a legitimate vehicle for a private citizen to obtain an investigation.

I present this catalog of birther stuff Lamb bases his doubts on (and I am omitting many things that are irrelevant):

  • Sally Jacobs at the Boston Globe said that the Obamas spoke of putting Barack up for adoption (not sure why that’s relevant).
  • Indonesian school registration
  • Only Indonesian citizens could attend school (not true)
  • Obama said he was an “Indonesian prince”
  • Allen Hulton (the postman) said Obama was a foreign student.
  • There is a claim that Obama’s birth certificate is forged
  • Hawaiian law regarding adoptions, and sealing of the original records.

If I had to list the reasons why, from where I set as a non-lawyer, why this appeal is


  1. It is well-established in law that the constitutional right to petition the government does not require that the government accede to the petition.
  2. There is no general constitutional “right to know.”
  3. The Full Faith and Credit clause does not grant someone the right to obtain a protected record from another state, even if a similar record is available in their own state. As far as I can determine birth records are only open in Alaska after 100 years anyway. Education records are closed everywhere by Federal law.
  4. Contrary to Lamb’s unsourced assertion, Indonesian law does not restrict school attendance to Indonesian citizens.
  5. Lamb never alleged sufficient facts to infer that Barack Obama was adopted by his step-father, or was ever an Indonesian citizen (and Obama denied this in another case).

If I had to sum up the complaint, Lamb is saying that he has a right not to be confused by the birther controversy. He has my sympathy for being confused, but not my support in the way he attempts to resolve it.

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1Ah, the dreaded empty chair™ again.