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Be careful what you pray for

Orly Taitz is thanking God [link to Taitz web site] for a ruling by DC Chief Judge Royce C. Lamberth that allows her to file 74 pages of motions and exhibits in the 2011 case, Taitz v. Astrue. I thought this case, a FOIA lawsuit to get at Obama’s Social Security records, was long-gone in October 2011 when Judge Lamberth denied Taitz’ motion for reconsideration of its summary judgment in defendant’s favor.

When the Court considers a motion for reconsideration, a party must show that there has been an intervening change of controlling law, that new evidence is available, or that granting the motion is necessary to correct a clear error or to prevent manifest injustice. Taitz is going for “new evidence” here, arguing speciously that she has proof that Obama is using the social-security number of one Harrison J. Bounel, born in 1890, and who has never been shown to even have a social-security number in the first place.

In his June 7 2013 order, Judge Lamberth notes:

Taitz has now, for at least the sixth time, failed to comply with her obligation in violation of Rule 5.2 [in regards to redaction of social-security numbers].

According to Taitz, she has now worked out a procedure for redacting the SSN, and has re-filed her motion for reconsideration. She didn’t get it 100%, but the judge must have given her points for effort (or more likely attempted to conserve judicial resources), saying in his June 17 Minute Order:

MINUTE ORDER. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 5.2, the Court made minor additional redactions to plaintiff’s Motion [45]. Only the last four digits of the taxpayer-identification number and the year of an individual’s birth may be included in court filings. Signed by Chief Judge Royce C. Lamberth on 06/14/2013. (lcrcl3)

Without going back through all the paperwork in the case, at least in Taitz’ mind the issue today is whether or not SSA will release the Social Security application of Harrison J. Bounel. What Taitz and other birthers did was to ask for his name, a birth date of 1890, and Obama’s social-security number. That was rejected, of course, because their policies don’t allow the release of Obama’s records, records pointed to by his SSN. However, there is a slim chance that this suit will elicit Bounel’s records, since he is past the 120 years of age criteria for release of the records. The smart money says that if she gets the record (or a statement that no number was ever issued to Bounel) it will show conclusively that President Obama never used a social-security number belonging to Bounel, making Orly Taitz look like a fool

Be careful what you pray for.

SSA: Astrue flees Taitz onslaught

After a relentless onslaught of lawsuits1 against him by Orly Taitz, the longest-serving Republican commissioner of Social Security, Michael Astrue, called it quits and is retreating to his home in Massachusetts.

Giving voice to the immense pressures of the job as he was dogged by Orly Taitz, Astrue said:

I consider it a great privilege to have led this remarkable agency for six years.

Awards received by Astrue include:

  • Humanitarian of the Year Award from the Alzheimer’s Association
  • Public Health Leadership Award from the National Organization of Rare Disorders
  • VIDA Award from the National Alliance for Hispanic Health
  • The Traitor and Usurper Enabler Award from the Confederate Birthers of America2

1Including, but not limited to Taitz v. Astrue, Taitz v. Sebelius, Taitz v. Democrat Party of Mississippi and Judd v. Obama.

2Not really.

Orly cries “wolf”

Orly Taitz has a penchant for interpreting judicial events as meaning her litigation targets are in default. She did it in Mississippi with Michael Astrue [link to Taitz web site] and she did it Indiana against the Secretary of State [link to Taitz web site]. And again against Barack Obama in the Judd case in California [link to Taitz web site]. Those are just since last October. She didn’t get a default judgment in any of these.

Well she’s at again, this time declaring Obama is in default in Grinols v. Electoral College [link to Taitz web site].  I am not a lawyer, and as I continue to do this web site I become more and more aware of how much I don’t know about the law and how it is difficult to substitute Google for a real legal education. Nevertheless, based on Orly’s track record and the presumed competence of Obama’s representation, I’m going out on a limb here and say that Taitz is wrong.

In the federal system there are two standards of response to the complaint in a civil lawsuit, one for ordinary folks and one for the government. This is detailed in FRCP 12(a). The normal 21-day response requirement is extended to 60 days when the United States or one of its Officers is sued in connection with their official duties. Orly Taitz is trying to sue Obama as a candidate, not as President, but she served him on January 4 through the Attorney General, and not personally. Since she served the government, only the government is obligated to respond, and they get 60 days. If Orly persists in saying that she is suing Obama personally, then she hasn’t served him at all, and the 21-day clock hasn’t even started.

Anyhow, Taitz has filed for a “expedited default judgment” against Obama and in that judgment she is asking the Court to declare Barack Obama ineligible to be President (point 8 in the proposed order).

Orly Taitz is crying “wolf” and wasting the taxpayers motion tilting at windmills.

Here’s Orly’s motion:

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The birther contribution to American jurisprudence

Dealing with frivolous litigation, whether filed by a seasoned attorney or a novice pro se litigant, is a bit like wrangling cats.

Robert J. Davis

Where's the Birth Certificate? billboardWhile one doesn’t usually combine “birther” and “contribution” in the same sentence, the birther phenomenon has left its mark on the US justice system through educational examples, black letter law, and a bit of humor to spice up otherwise dull legal briefs. This article details ways in which the birthers in general, and Orly Taitz in particular, have contributed to the law.

A good example of bad behavior

I don’t know whether they teach this at the William Howard Taft online law school, but there are certain standard reference works that attorneys rely on to inform their practice and to find the citations that they need to make legal arguments. One source is the Practicing Law Institute whose mission is:

To enhance the professionalism of attorneys and other qualified persons by providing, in a cost effective manner, the highest quality and most innovative programs, publications and other services to enable them to practice law competently and ethically, and to fulfill pro bono responsibilities.

In 2010, the PLI published a paper by Koral and Price titled: “Trying the Court’s patience instead of the case: common litigation mistakes” to draw the line between “zealous advocacy” and “impermissible or injudicious tactics.” One way of brightening the line is to give examples of what constitutes “impermissible or injudicious tactics” and the birthers, in the person of Orly Taitz, provide a featured example of being on the wrong side of the line. Writing about Rhodes v. MacDonald, where Judge Clay D. Land sanctioned Taitz:

Attorney Orly Taitz provides a notorious recent example of an attorney’s conduct succeeding more at irritating the judge than at advancing the interests of her client. A member of the “birther” movement, which challenges President Obama’s citizenship on the grounds that he had failed to adequately prove that he was born in the United States, Ms. Taitz filed a motion in connection with this litigation on behalf of a Captain in the United States Army to enjoin her deployment to Iraq. District Judge Clay D. Land held that the motion was frivolous, and further found that “Plaintiff’s motion is being presented for the improper purpose of using the federal judiciary as a platform to espouse controversial political beliefs rather than as a legitimate forum for hearing legal claims.”

Taitz was sanctioned for her conduct in the case because, as Judge Land said:

[t]his pattern of conduct reveals that it will be difficult to get counsel’s attention [and so a] significant sanction is necessary to deter such conduct.

The PLI article was written in 2010, before Orly Taitz brought a federal lawsuit against Judge Land. I wonder what the article would say if it were written today!

Black letter law

The Wikipedia article on Precedent says:

gavelIn common law legal systems, a precedent or authority is a principle or rule established in a previous legal case that is either binding on or persuasive for a court or other tribunal when deciding subsequent cases with similar issues or facts.

Black letter law is the body of cases that attorneys and courts look to for established precedent. If you have ever read a birther legal decision that involves dismissal for lack of standing, you will almost invariably see Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife cited. Once the body of birther lawsuits built, one began to see citations on standing to decided birther cases, notably Hollander v. McCain and Berg v. Obama. More recently we see extensive citations to Ankeny v. Governor of Indiana alongside US v. Wong on the question of whether Obama is a natural born citizen and Robinson v. Bowen on ripeness of election challenges.

The precedential value of birther lawsuits now extends beyond the backwaters of birtherism; they have become mainstream precedent in several areas of the law and now appear in the standard reference resources used by attorneys.

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Orly Taitz: Two short, sharp shocks

In a scene reminiscent of Star Wars, Federal appellate judges Rogers, Griffith, and Kavanaugh said: this isn’t the case we’re looking for, and summarily dismissed:

What they really said yesterday was:

The merits of the parties’ positions are so clear as to warrant summary action.

Taitz: not qualified to file electronically

Orly Taitz is appealing her loss to the Social Security Administration in the case of Taitz v. Astrue with the DC Court of Appeals. She filed a motion to file electronic documents with the court. The Court said no:

The motion does not demonstrate that the appellant meets the technical standards to participate as an ECF filer for the purposes of this case based on the party’s access to the internet and capacity to file and receive documents electronically on a regular basis.

So they gave her more time. She has until March 16.