Main Menu

Archive | March, 2013

Just a guy with a blog

I’ve been rather busy of late, but primarily doing things unrelated to the blog. I’m close to finishing my 4th audiobook for LibriVox.org as well as writing some cool software to help with that activity.

One article of interest appeared at the Western Free Press (not to be confused with the birther rag, The Western Center for Journalism). The article was titled: “’Birtherism’ and the Tyranny of Ignorance.” It is another in a long line of “Ted Cruz is eligible to run for President” stories. The author, Greg Conterio, says something I strongly support:

One final observation: when you try to read-up on topics like this, sources do matter.  Some guy with a blog, or some attorney with some bizarre sounding legal theory are NOT authoritative sources. 

The problem is that Mr. Conterio so far as I can tell, is not an authority, nor does he cite authority in his article. For all intents and purposes he is “some guy with a blog.” The end of that cited paragraph says: “When it comes to law, the ONLY valid source is the published local, state or federal code on the topic.” Of course we all know that no statute uses the term “natural born citizen.” So what he does is jump to a conclusion that allows him to substitute “citizen at birth” for “natural born citizen,” saying:

A few points about section 1401 – The term citizen at birth is a synonym for natural born citizen.  They are not two different terms, with different meanings.

The two terms are trivially not the same since a citizen at birth is not necessarily even a citizen today, and I do not think anyone would argue that someone born a US citizen, having renounced his citizenship, is eligible to run for President.

However, I do agree that being a citizen at birth, or as I would prefer to say “a citizen from birth,” is the key to being a natural born citizen. I have written some articles arguing that this is the case. However, I am painfully aware that hardly any authority shares my views on the question of how the term “natural born citizen” gets its definition, most authorities deriving it as a term of art based on English Common Law. Conterio rejects the English Common Law as authority. So while I agree with the conclusion that Ted Cruz is eligible, I consider Conterio’s argument fringe at this point.

I guess that when it comes to guys with blogs, one needs to look at whether one cites sources or just simply asserts condescendingly.

I left some comments on the article.

Je recuse!

I am not a lawyer, so when I see some novel phrase from Orly Taitz, I may not know whether it makes sense or not. I remember when she accused the President of “uttering,” which was the right word for what she was trying to say, even though it wasn’t true.

The Orly Law legal term du jour following last week’s “ex parte,” is “recuse.” Here’s a sample from Orly’s latest filing in Grinols v. Electoral College:

Plaintiffs also moved to recuse the Department of Justice/US Attorney’s office from the representation of Barack Soebarkah, aka Soetoro, aka Obama…

Bryan A. Garner, author of A Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage and editor in chief of the Oxford Law Dictionary Project said:

Disqualify might be used in place of recuse, but the reverse does not hold. Disqualify, the broader term, may be used of witnesses, for example, as well of judges, whereas recuse is applied only to someone who sits in judgment, usually judges or jurors.

… but not in Orly Law. Taitz has moved that the court recuse the US Attorney from representing federal defendants in Grinols.

Specifically, Taitz has moved that the US Attorney be “recused” from representing the Electoral College. Given that there is no Electoral College right now, and that it is not an entity that can be sued, that doesn’t mean a lot. Second, she wants the US Attorney “recused” from representing Joe Biden, the President of the Senate. That’s OK, because Joe Biden isn’t a party to the case. Taitz wants the US Attorney “recused” from representing President Obama, and that’s not an issue either because apparently, until he is served with the complaint, President Obama isn’t a party to the suit either. The issue is with Congress, where the US Attorney has responded.

In this latter matter, Taitz is claiming that the the Congress is properly represented by the Office of the General Counsel of the House of Representatives, who has responded to Taitz that the House members whom Orly Taitz tried to contact directly will not answer her sham subpoenas. Continue Reading →

Media misunderstands birthers

Forbes magazine logoForbes Magazine published a story about Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin and CPAC, covering some of the same ground that I’ve touched on the past few days. Their headline is:

Birther Hypocrisy- Right Wing Has No Problem With Canadian Born Senator Ted Cruz Running For President

It appears to me that Forbes writer Rick Ungar didn’t quite understand the birthers, any more than he understood the context of Sarah Palin’s “background check” comment. The thrust of the article is that conservatives who believed Obama was foreign born and thereby ineligible to be President have no problem with an indisputably foreign-born Ted Cruz. It’s not the same, and I tried to explain that in the following comment I left at Forbes:

I think this article lost its way.

First, Sarah Palin’s remark in context was not a reference to Obama’s eligibility, but to his “associations and intentions”. Some who cheered her remark might have heard her going birther, but that’s clearly not what she said.

Second, there were two streams of eligibility controversy about Obama. There were those who falsely believed that Obama was foreign-born, and while Canadian-born Cruz was born a US citizen, a hypothetical Kenyan-born Obama would not have been born a US citizen due to an obscure technicality that existed at the time related to his US citizen mothers’ age.

The other stream of Obama citizenship deniers holds to a legal theory that only persons born in the United States to two US Citizen parents can be President, and among the activists in that group, neither Cruz nor Obama, nor Bobby Jindal1 for that matter is constitutionally eligible to be President. (Obama’s father was not a US Citizen, nor were Jindal’s parents.) While those folks are wrong, they are not hypocrites.


1In the published comment, I misspelled Jindal.

Settlement reached in Jordan v. Reed

Linda Jordan and the Attorney General of Washington State agreed, according to a report at Obama Release Your Records, on a settlement by which Jordan would pay  the State $3,500 for the cost of their defending a frivolous appeal filed by Jordan. The State had previously been awarded almost $13,000 in costs, but this amount had been appealed by Jordan’s attorney Richard B. Sanders.

According to ORYR, Jordan had already received donations towards her sanctions that exceed the settlement plus her attorney fees. So much for the theory that actions have consequences.

Is Ted Cruz a natural born citizen?

The Republican Party proxy folks at Fox News certainly think so, with host Sean Hannity assuring viewers that Cruz can meet the constitutional requirements to become President of the United States.

imageUnlike President Obama, who successfully deflected rumors that he was born outside of the United States, Cruz will have no problems with such rumors. In his case, they are facts. Ted Cruz was born in Canada.

With all due respect to some serious researchers who arrived at a different conclusion, my study of the question has led me to conclude that anyone like Cruz, born a U. S. Citizen, whether in the United States or not, is a natural born citizen. However, I think that another Canadian who ran in 2012 was not eligible.