WASHINGTON (AP/The Blaze) — The Supreme Court - the only legal authority with the power to directly interpret the United States constitution - has refused to hear an appeal challenging President Barack Obama's U.S. citizenship and his eligibility to serve as commander in chief.
Without comment, the high court on Monday refused to hear an appeal from Alan Keyes, Wiley Drake and Markham Robinson.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the challengers did not have legal standing to file the lawsuit. At the time, the Los Angeles Times reported that:
None of the "birthers" who filed suit on Inauguration Day 2009 can show that they suffered any harm from the Obama presidency that would give them the right to sue him, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said in dismissing the lawsuit brought by dozens of opponents.
Even the political candidates who lost to Obama in 2008 would only have had standing to sue if they had filed their complaint alleging unfair competition from an ineligible candidate before the election, the 9th Circuit judges said.
Given that this decision was passed over without comment, one is safe in assuming that the US Supreme Court found nothing worth relitigating in the reasoning involved. There is also this crucially important point from the LA Times story:
The 9th Circuit judges noted at the hearing as well as in their ruling Thursday that aside from the plaintiffs' lack of standing, the challenge of Obama's legitimacy to serve as president is a political question beyond any federal court's power to decide. Only Congress can impeach a president, and any citizen petition for a common-law writ to initiate an inquiry into the legitimacy of the president would have to be brought through the federal court in Washington, D.C., the 9th Circuit panel noted.
In other words, given that the Supreme Court has declined to rule without comment, all Federal courts within the purview covered by the 9th Circuit Court are categorically barred from tackling this question.
Moreover, even if Federal courts were to declare President Obama ineligible to hold office, they would have no authority to enforce that ruling. Why? Because removal of a President from office (IE impeachment) is a power only enjoyed by Congress, pursuant to Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution.
The U.S. Constitution says only "a natural born citizen" may serve as president. The challengers allege that Obama, whose father was Kenyan, was born in that African country, rather than in Hawaii. They claim his Hawaii birth certificate is a forgery.
However, not only have Hawaii officials have repeatedly verified Obama's citizenship (Related: See Hawaii's Official Form Verifying They Have Obama's Birth Certificate), but the website snopes.com, which is devoted to debunking urban legends, has done an exhaustive run-through of the various claims that the certificate is a forgery and debunked them all. These include the claims that parts of the document are anachronistic, that the hospital name is wrong, and that layering appears in the document when it is put into Adobe Illustrator. On this last point, the Snopes article links to an analysis by an actual expert at Adobe software, who had this to say, according to Fox News:
But that’s not so, says Jean-Claude Tremblay, a leading software trainer and Adobe-certified expert, who has years of experience working with and teaching Adobe Illustrator.
“You should not be so suspicious about this,” Tremblay told FoxNews.com, dismissing the allegations.
He said the layers cited by doubters are evidence of the use of common, off-the-shelf scanning software — not evidence of a forgery. “I have seen a lot of illustrator documents that come from photos and contain those kind of clippings—and it looks exactly like this,” he said.
Tremblay explained that the scanner optical character recognition (OCR) software attempts to translate characters or words in a photograph into text. He said the layers cited by the doubters shows that software at work – and nothing more.
“When you open it in Illustrator it looks like layers, but it doesn’t look like someone built it from scratch. If someone made a fake it wouldn’t look like this,” he said.“Some scanning software is trying to separate the background and the text and splitting element into layers and parts of layers.”
Keyes and Drake ran against Obama on the American Independent Party ticket and Robinson serves as the party's chairman.
It is worth noting that the Court did not address the more complicated allegations of birtherism put forward by such figures as Joseph Farah of WorldNetDaily, who asserts that a natural born citizen must be someone who was born of two United States Citizens in order to be considered eligible for office.
However, this theory is controversial even among birthers, as it would invalidate not only the Presidency of Barack Obama, but also of Chester Arthur in the 1880s. There are controversies surrounding Arthur's eligibility to this day, but those controversies remain unsettled because they hinge on the question of whether Arthur was born in Vermont. The theory advanced by Farah would invalidate Arthur's claim simply because his father was not a United States citizen at the time Arthur was born, a theory of citizenship which the former chief of the U.S. Office of Citizenship under President George W. Bush has called "dangerous," and which was also debunked by Snopes.
Needless to say, calling into question the eligibility of obscure 19th century Presidents is a step that a Court will be reluctant to take, and with good reason. Moreover, this interpretation would render such conservative heroes as Marco Rubio ineligible for the Presidency, a prospect which many, even with Birther sympathies, do not find attractive.