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Liberty Legal loses

The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has affirmed the decision of a Tennessee district court that attorney Van R. Irion and the Liberty Legal Foundation must pay sanctions to the Tennessee Democratic Party in the amount of $10,563.25. The original lawsuit was almost identical to another suit Irion filed in Arizona District Court. After dismissing the case, US District Court Judge S. Thomas Anderson ruled that the lawsuit was frivolous and ordered sanctions to be paid to the Defense. He wrote:

…Plaintiff knew or reasonably should have known that the claims in this case had no basis in law. Specifically, counsel for Plaintiffs reasonably should have known that Plaintiffs lacked standing to pursue their claims…

The Circuit Court affirmed, saying:

…the district court correctly set out the applicable law and correctly applied that law to the case…

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Birther appeal of the day

Let us not forget among the detritus1 of failed birther lawsuits, the one filed in Tennessee by John Dummett, the Liberty Legal Foundation (a group who usually works to protect the rights of children to wear Confederate Flags at school2). If not for the high bar for sanctions set by Orly Taitz and now Christopher-Earl : Strunk, we would be celebrating it as the leading example of the consequences of filing a frivolous lawsuit.

Plaintiffs appealed the decision in Liberty Legal Foundation v. National Democratic Party of the U.S.A. (sic) as to the order of the award of $10,565.23 for their filing a lawsuit that they should have know was frivolous for lack of standing (perhaps by having looked at 200 other failed lawsuits). They are not appealing the fact that they didn’t have standing to bring the lawsuit in the first place, just the cash award, which only addresses a small portion of the costs of actually defending the suit ($69,932.50).

Featured following is the defense motion to dismiss the appeal for lack of jurisdiction. I had never heard of a motion to dismiss an appeal before, but here one is and it is based on an argument that the appeal is technically defective (filed wrong) and because it was filed wrong, the Court of Appeals can’t hear it.

LLF – TN – Appeal – 2013-03-21 – Appellees Motion to Dismiss by Jack Ryan



1This is the first time I have ever used this word in a sentence.

2The local high school sports team mascot is the “Rebels.”

No news is good news

It’s been a quiet week in the Birtherverse, my hobby town. That’s a good thing.

I get an email from time to time wondering why the Supreme Court is conferencing on Orly Taitz’ case, Noonan v. Bowen. “It’s just a formality,” I tell them and give them a hyperlink to my article, “Orly Taitz and the Supremes,” for further reading. (I spiffed up that article a little since I refer back to it so often.)

There’s not much on the court calendar upcoming. There’s some sort of mediation conference in Liberty Legal Foundation et. al. v National Democratic Party on Monday, probably working out the fees that LLF is going to have to pay.

Orly is still being Orly: corrupt judges, criminal regime, and so on, and she’s all excited about the about the Bounel guy, born 123 years ago, and who in her mind, is the rightful owner of Barack Obama’s social-security number. Her petition to Congress creeps in its petty pace to the last syllable of obscene prank signer names runs its course, “tomorrow and tomorrow” turning to “any day now.”

The birther blogs are still making stuff up, but nothing particularly interesting. So a quiet week is a good week. The birthers will soon be folding up their tents and going home: any day now.

Tabulating the cost of defending a birther lawsuit

You should have known better

imageAttorneys for the Democratic Party are getting in line for a piece of the birthers. This time it’s in Tennessee in the case of Liberty Legal Foundation v. National Democratic Party of the USA, Inc. (sic). The US District Court for the Western District of Tennessee dismissed the suit and granted reasonable attorney’s fees to be awarded to the defendants.

In a document filed late last week, the Defense details what those fees are. According the filing, the total cost of defending the lawsuit amounted to $69,932.50. Only the portion allocated to the Motion to dismiss and the Sanctions motion is to be awarded, and that comes to $22,800.

The sanctions order is being appealed.

Can you imagine what the fees would be for Orly Taitz in her case styled Judd v. Obama with no less than 31 defendants? Half a million?

The Democrats strike back

The Democrats and President Obama are taking the offensive, asking for sanctions in the form of attorney fees in two frivolous birther lawsuits, one in Tennessee and one in Florida.

Van R. Irion filed twin lawsuits in Tennessee and Arizona on behalf of the Liberty Legal Foundation and others. These are the usual birther lawsuits supplemented with two plaintiffs who are write-in candidates for President. In that case the Defendants (Democratic National Committee, Tennessee Democratic Party, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Chip Forrester) filed a motion for sanctions with the court under federal Rule 12(b). Judge S. Thomas Anderson of the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee court ruled:

…Plaintiff knew or reasonably should have known that the claims in this case had no basis in law. Specifically, counsel for Plaintiffs reasonably should have known that Plaintiffs lacked standing to pursue their claims…

The Court granted sanctions yesterday (August 24, 2012) in the form of reasonable attorney fees.

In Florida, attorney Larry Klayman re-filed his already dismissed lawsuit on behalf of Michael Voeltz, adding another cause of action, declaratory relief. Here too, the second lawsuit has drawn a motion for sanctions from Barack Obama through his attorney Mark Herron, brought under Florida statute 57.105.

Because much of Voeltz’ second lawsuit was already addressed by the Leon County Court, Defendants have a good argument that Voeltz should have known that the additional cause of action under the same allegations was equally frivolous. Herron concludes:

Wherefore, President Obama requests that the Court grant his motion for attorney’s fees and sanctions because the Plaintiff’s Complaint for Declaratory Relief is not supported by the material facts necessary to establish the claim and is not supported by the application of then-existing law to those material facts alleged.

The motion was filed on August 21, 2012.

The birther lawsuit count stands today at 152. To date, defendants have largely had a free ride to entangle the President and the Democratic Party (and in many cases state officials) in frivolous lawsuits. I think it is time for them to take responsibility for their actions and for the courts to mete out some justice.

The last Dummett standing

I wrote in my article “New: Dummett for President,”  that John Dummett hastily signed up (May 15 to be exact) as a write-in candidate for President in Tennessee in order to provide standing in the lawsuit styled Liberty Legal Foundation v National Democratic Party of the U. S. A. (NDPUSA whoever they are, was subsequently dismissed as a defendant).

LLF Attorney Van R. Irion has filed a memorandum of supplemental authorities from familiar birther lawsuits, Sibley and Tisdale in support of Dummett’s newfound standing as a candidate.

I am not a lawyer, but I think Irion has a point that one candidate has standing to sue another one.

At this point it might be helpful to refer to Judge Carter’s ruling in Barnett v. Obama (cert denied by the Supreme Court last Friday). Plaintiffs in the Keyes lawsuit included candidates, in particular Keyes, Drake, Lightfoot and Robinson, who were far more serious contenders than Mr. Dummett.  Judge Carter was loathe to go down the “slippery slope” of the defense argument that the plaintiffs were not “serious candidates” because they had no chance of winning. So Judge Carter concluded:

Because the political candidate plaintiffs are the only category of plaintiffs who potentially satisfy the injury-in-fact requirement, the Court will turn to whether the political candidates can satisfy the redressability requirement of the standing analysis and whether the political candidates can further clear the political question and separation of powers hurdles of justiciability.1

The redressability question was different in Keyes because the lawsuit was filed after President Obama’s inauguration, which is not the case for this 2012 election lawsuit.

In my view, Keyes is a much better case for Irion to have cited, since it addresses standing of candidates directly. Perhaps he hasn’t read the case. However, there is a fatal flaw in Irion’s theory, and that is that Mr. Dummett only became a declared candidate after the lawsuit was filed. I don’t think plaintiffs get to change the facts of the case in midstream.

TN 2012-06-7 LLF – LLF Notice Re Supplemental Authority (Tisdale)

Update:

Attorney Van Irion informed me by email that he had cited Barnett v. Obama in an earlier brief.


1The Court of Appeals corrected this part of the decision, saying that the plaintiffs were not candidates at the time of the filing of the lawsuit, and so they lacked standing; however, this point does not, I think, invalidate the application of Carter’s reasoning to the LLF case.