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Klayman files appeal of obscure ruling on Alabama law to the US Supreme Court

Late as usual

In a move that left Obots open-mouthed with incomprehension, birther attorney Larry Klayman (who has never been convicted of criminal failure to pay child support), started the process of appealing his loss in McInnish v. Chapman to the US Supreme Court on June 19, reports the Supreme Court docket. Klayman moved for more time to submit his appeal. Perhaps he is hoping to get some momentum by a favorable ruling.

The McInnish case dealt with an obscure provision of Alabama law, called the “jurisdiction stripping statute,” that prevents Alabama courts from getting involved in the conduct of elections. McInnish wanted to force the Alabama Secretary of State to investigate the eligibility of presidential candidates as a duty of office. Klayman lost the case before the Alabama Supreme Court last March on a 7-2 vote, Chief Justice Roy Moore and Tom Parker dissenting.

Klayman’s timing of this request for an extension is odd. An appeal must be filed within 60 days of the judgment (28 U.S. Code § 2101) and Klayman’s motion for more time (which the statute permits) was filed precisely on the 60th day; however, the rules of the Supreme Court require that the request for an extension be filed 10 days before the deadline. Supreme Court Rule 13 (5) states:

For good cause, a Justice may extend the time to file a petition for a writ of certiorari for a period not exceeding 60 days. An application to extend the time to file shall set out the basis for jurisdiction in this Court, identify the judgment sought to be reviewed, include a copy of the opinion and any order respecting rehearing, and set out specific reasons why an extension of time is justified. The application must be filed with the Clerk at least 10 days before the date the petition is due, except in extraordinary circumstances. The application must clearly identify each party for whom an extension is being sought, as any extension that might be granted would apply solely to the party or parties named in the application. For the time and manner of presenting the application, see Rules 21, 22, 30, and 33.2. An application to extend the time to file a petition for a writ of certiorari is not favored.

The request for an extension was not even docketed until June 25, long after the deadline. I don’t even know if it is possible for a Justice to grant an extension after the deadline has expired, and if that’s true then the extension must have been granted on the 19th, or not at all; the Supreme Court docket indicates no extension granted. It is hard to fathom a reason for this case to be considered  having "extraordinary circumstances." Klayman could have filed the request for an extension any time he wanted to. There’s certainly no new evidence in the interpretation of the Alabama jurisdiction stripping statute. The election, which is the subject of the case, is long over, making anything to do with that particular election moot.

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McInnish Appeal denied in Alabama

mighty Klayman has struck out

Today the Alabama Supreme Court issued its 7-2 decision in the case of McInnish v. Chapman, and the decision goes against plaintiffs Hugh Chapman and Virgil Goode, who were trying to force the Alabama Secretary of State to verify Obama’s eligibility to be on the 2102 Alabama presidential ballot. Larry Klayman was the attorney for the Appellants.

The Court’s Majority issued no written opinion, only affirming the lower court decision dismissing the case.

  • Majority decision to affirm dismissal, no opinion (Stuart, Murdock, Shaw, Main, Wise)
  • Concurring opinion (Bolin)
  • Concurring opinion (Bryan)
  • Dissenting Opinion (Moore)
  • Dissenting Opinion (Parker)

Chief Justice Roy Moore issued the major dissenting opinion, and Justice Bolin issued a concurring opinion specifically addressed to Moore’s dissent. Chief Justice Moore states that under Alabama Law, Secretary of State Chapman has an affirmative duty to verify candidate eligibility. Justice Bolin agrees that candidate eligibility is an important public interest, but that Alabama statutes do not place a duty on the Secretary of State to verify it. Further Justice Bolin points out that Secretary of State Chapman is a nonjudicial officer with no subpoena power or investigative authority. Justice Bolin concludes:

Under our current structure, however, the burden of investigating a presidential candidate’s qualifications is best left – unfortunately or not – to the candidate’s political party….

As I understand his position, Justice Bolin is saying that a state statute requiring verification of eligibility for candidates for president is a desirable thing, given his belief that the federal courts are prohibited from adjudicating eligibility because of the Political Question Doctrine.

Justice Bryan also issued a concurring opinion, briefly stating his belief that legislation could be passed to allow verification of candidate eligibility.

Chief Justice Moore’s dissenting opinion goes to the details of the Alabama statutes involved and at a brief reading has no particular high points. It is an analysis on the merits.

Chief Justice Parker also dissents from the majority opinion, supporting the analysis of Chief Justice Moore, but disagreeing on the Secretary of State’s affirmative duty to investigate candidate eligibility.

A text search of all of the opinions affirms my opinion that the Affidavit of Mike Zullo is irrelevant to the decision, being cited not once, except that the dissenting opinion from Justice Parker made reference to materials submitted previously to the Secretary of State that were sufficient, in his mind, to warrant investigation. Those materials reference results of Zullo’s investigation and contain a brief statement from him.

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Zullo irrelevant in Alabama

There are rumors swirling among the birthers that the Alabama Supreme Court will rule on the McInnish v. Chapman case this week. I don’t have any reason to think one way or the other about this prediction, but whatever the Court says, the affidavit of Mike Zullo, submitted to the court, is irrelevant. (On March 12, there was a Zullo Affidavit page on the Cold Case Posse Web site, but it was gone this morning. I don’t know if it was intentionally scrubbed or if it was lost in the recovery from a recent hacking incident.) The Zullo affidavit was submitted by the Appellants as part of a motion to strike an amicus brief from the Alabama Democratic Party because that brief contained items not part of the record of appeal. The Zullo affidavit, of course, is itself full of things not in the record of appeal.

The problem with predicting with certainty what the Alabama Supreme Court will do is that there are at least two birther sympathizers on the court, Chief Justice Roy Moore and Associate Justice Tom Parker. It’s possible there there will be a split decision and it is also possible for them to rule against McInnish, but insert birther-friendly language whining about having their hands tied by the law in an otherwise serious question about Obama. I have confidence in the ultimate victory of right over chaos and so I think the Alabama Supreme Court will look at the merits of the case and affirm the Montgomery Circuit Court’s ruling.

The sole questions to be decided by the Alabama Supreme Court are whether or not the “Jurisdiction Stripping Statute,” prevents the court from hearing this case,1  and if not whether or not the Secretary of State of Alabama had a duty in the last election to investigate President Obamas qualifications to appear on the ballot in Alabama.

The parties to the case and an amicus brief from the Alabama Democratic Party argue the issues upon which the court will rule. Several nut case amicus briefs were also submitted making wild claims about President Obama; they are not relevant to the question of law in this case. (See also my article: “Zullo’s irrelevant affidavit.”)

The first few sentences of the Zullo affidavit show that it is incompetent. Zullo swears that he has personal knowledge of things he’s heard from other people and that’s not how it works. Such testimony would not be allowed in court. One would think that anyone who was familiar with law enforcement would know what is testimony and what is not, but Zullo appears not understand this, nor apparently does he know what’s being decided in Alabama. But whatever opinion one has of the Zullo affidavit, it is irrelevant to this Alabama Supreme Court decision because it does not address the questions of law that the Court is deciding. The Alabama Democratic party references the Zullo affidavit in its response to the motion to strike thusly:

…the ADP assumes that it is unnecessary to further address whether this Court should consider the rambling screed that passes for an “affidavit” attached to the Appellants’ Motion to Strike. Virtually none of the information contained in the affidavit is admissible or credible…. The “affidavit” is inadmissible on its face and is composed of hearsay, speculation, and unsupported conclusions.

Read all of the briefs:

1The Jurisdiction Stripping Statute (Ala. Code 17-16-44) precludes Alabama courts from hearing cases regarding the “legality, conduct or results of any election except so far as authority to do so [is] specially and specifically enumerated and set down by statute.”

Alabama supreme court judge goes coo coo for cocoa puffs

imageIf I had seen this story tomorrow, April Fool’s Day, I wouldn’t have believed it. The Friends of the Fogbow (who have a certain penchant for punking the birthers) have obtained an “unpublished” (so how did they get it?) concurring opinion appearing in McInnish v. Chapman from an associate justice of the Alabama Supreme Court that agrees that there is no original jurisdiction at Alabama Supreme Court to issue a writ of mandamus to a state official, nonetheless, he says there might be something to the allegations of a fake birth certificate. Associate Justice Parker wrote:

McInnish has attached certain documentation to his mandamus petition, which, if presented to the appropriate forum as part of a proper evidentiary presentation, would raise serious questions about the authenticity of both the “short form” and the “long form” birth certificates of President Barack Hussein Obama that have been made public.

Of course WorldNetDaily is all over this.

In researching Associate Justice Tom Parker, I found sound academic credentials. I also found that he had addressed a Tea Party meeting, and spoke on a child welfare topic, arguing in favor of absolute parental rights until proven unfit.

Parker attempted to get his opponent removed from the ballot [text of lawsuit] in a previous judicial election, unsuccessfully. In that race, Judge Parker received a $146,000 contribution from the “Patriot PAC,” a conservative policy organization whose only political activity appears to be giving money to Parker.

Parker got a shout out at the Free Republic for his dissent from an Alabama Supreme Court decision upholding the administration of Drivers License written tests in Spanish.

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