By Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., Ph.D., J.D.
October 29, 2008
America is facing potentially the gravest constitutional crisis in her history. Barack Obama must either stand up in a public forum and prove, with conclusive documentary evidence, that he is “a natural born Citizen” of the United States who has not renounced his American citizenship—or he must step down as the Democratic Party’s candidate for President of the United States—preferably before the election is held, and in any event before the Electoral College meets. Because, pursuant to the Constitution, only “a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States at the time of the Adoption of th[e] Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President” (Article II, Section 1, Clause 4). And Obama clearly was not “a Citizen of the United States at the time of the Adoption of th[e] Constitution.”
Whether the evidence will show that Obama is, or is not, “a natural born Citizen” who has never renounced his American citizenship is an open question. The arguments on both sides are as yet speculative. But Obama’s stubborn refusal to provide what he claims is “his own” country with conclusive proof on that score compels the presumption that he knows, or at least strongly suspects, that no sufficient evidence in his favor exists. After all, he is not being pressed to solve a problem in quantum physics that is “above his pay grade,” but only asked to provide the public with the original copy of some official record that establishes his citizenship. The vast majority of Americans could easily do so. Why will Obama not dispel the doubts about his eligibility—unless he can not?
Now that Obama’s citizenship has been seriously questioned, the burden of proof rests squarely on his shoulders. The “burden of establishing a delegation of power to the United States * * * is upon those making the claim.” Bute v. Illinois, 333 U.S. 640, 653 (1948). And if each of the General Government’s powers must be proven (not simply presumed) to exist, then every requirement that the Constitution sets for any individual’s exercise of those powers must also be proven (not simply presumed) to be fully satisfied before that individual may exercise any of those powers. The Constitution’s command that “[n]o Person except a natural born Citizen * * * shall be eligible to the Office of President” is an absolute prohibition against the exercise of each and every Presidential power by certain unqualified individuals. Actually (not simply presumptively or speculatively) being “a natural born Citizen” is the condition precedent sine qua non for avoiding this prohibition. Therefore, anyone who claims eligibility for “the Office of President” must, when credibly challenged, establish his qualifications in this regard with sufficient evidence.
In disposing of the lawsuit Berg v. Obama, which squarely presents the question of Obama’s true citizenship, the presiding judge complained that Berg “would have us derail the democratic process by invalidating a candidate for whom millions of people voted and who underwent excessive vetting during what was one of the most hotly contested presidential primary in living memory.” This is exceptionally thin hogwash. A proper judicial inquiry into Obama’s eligibility for “the Office of President” will not deny his supporters a “right” to vote for him—rather, it will determine whether they have any such “right” at all. For, just as Obama’s “right” to stand for election to “the Office of President” is contingent upon his being “a natural born Citizen,” so too are the “rights” of his partisans to vote for him contingent upon whether he is even eligible for that “Office.” If Obama is ineligible, then no one can claim any “right” to vote for him. Indeed, in that case every American who does vote has a constitutional duty to vote against him.
The judge in Berg v. Obama dismissed the case, not because Obama has actually proven that he is eligible for “the Office of President,” but instead because, simply as a voter, Berg supposedly lacks “standing” to challenge Obama’s eligibility:
regardless of questions of causation, the grievance remains too generalized to establish the existence of an injury in fact. * ** [A] candidate’s ineligibility under the Natural Born Citizen Clause does not result in an injury in fact to voters. By extension, the theoretical constitutional harm experienced by voters does not change as the candidacy of an allegedly ineligible candidate progresses from the primaries to the general election.
This pronouncement does not rise to the level of hogwash.
First, the Constitution mandates that “[t]he judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution” (Article III, Section 2, Clause 1). Berg’s suit plainly “aris[es] under th[e] Constitution,” in the sense of raising a critical constitutional issue. So the only question is whether his suit is a constitutional “Case[ ].” The present judicial test for whether a litigant’s claim constitutes a constitutional “Case[ ]” comes under the rubric of “standing”—a litigant with “standing” may proceed; one without “standing” may not. “Standing,” however, is not a term found anywhere in the Constitution. Neither are the specifics of the doctrine of “standing,” as they have been elaborated in judicial decision after judicial decision, to be found there. Rather, the test for “standing” is almost entirely a judicial invention.
True enough, the test for “standing” is not as ridiculous as the judiciary’s so-called “compelling governmental interest test,” which licenses public officials to abridge individuals’ constitutional rights and thereby exercise powers the Constitution withholds from those officials, which has no basis whatsoever in the Constitution, and which is actually anti-constitutional. Neither is the doctrine of “standing” as abusive as the “immunities” judges have cut from whole cloth for public officials who violate their constitutional “Oath[s] or Affirmation[s], to support this Constitution” (Article VI, Clause 3)—in the face of the Constitution’s explicit limitation on official immunities (Article I, Section 6, Clause 1). For the Constitution does require that a litigant must present a true “Case[ ].” Yet, because the test for “standing” is largely a contrivance of all-too-fallible men and women, its specifics can be changed as easily as they were adopted, when they are found to be faulty. And they must be changed if the consequences of judicial ignorance, inertia, and inaction are not to endanger America’s constitutional form of government. Which is precisely the situation here, inasmuch as the purported “election” of Obama as President, notwithstanding his ineligibility for that office, not only will render illegitimate the Executive Branch of the General Government, but also will render impotent its Legislative Branch (as explained below).
Second, the notion upon which the judge in Berg v. Obama fastened—namely, that Berg’s “grievance remains too generalized to establish the existence of an injury in fact,” i.e., if everyone is injured or potentially injured then no one has “standing”—is absurd on its face.
To be sure, no one has yet voted for Obama in the general election. But does that mean that no one in any group smaller than the general pool of America’s voters in its entirety has suffered specific harm from Obama’s participation in the electoral process to date? Or will suffer such harm from his continuing participation? What about the Democrats who voted for Hillary Clinton as their party’s nominee, but were saddled with Obama because other Democrats voted for him even though they could not legally have done so if his lack of eligibility for “the Office of President” had been judicially determined before the Democratic primaries or convention? What about the States that have registered Obama as a legitimate candidate for President, but will have been deceived, perhaps even defrauded, if he is proven not to be “a natural born Citizen”? And as far as the general election is concerned, what about the voters among erstwhile Republicans and Independents who do not want John McCain as President, and therefore will vote for Obama (or any Democrat, for that matter) as “the lesser of two evils,” but who later on may have their votes effectively thrown out, and may have to suffer McCain’s being declared the winner of the election, if Obama’s ineligibility is established? Or what about those voters who made monetary contributions to Obama’s campaign, but may at length discover that their funds went, not only to an ineligible candidate, but to one who knew he was ineligible?
These obvious harms pale into insignificance, however, compared to the national disaster of having an outright usurper purportedly “elected” as “President.” In this situation, it is downright idiocy to claim, as did the judge in Berg v. Obama, that a “generalized” injury somehow constitutes no judicially cognizable injury at all. Self-evidently, to claim that a “generalized” grievance negates “the existence of an injury in fact” is patently illogical—for if everyone in any group can complain of the same harm of which any one of them can complain, then the existence of some harm cannot be denied; and the more people who can complain of that harm, the greater the aggregate or cumulative seriousness of the injury. The whole may not be greater than the sum of its parts; but it is at least equal to that sum! Moreover, for a judge to rule that no injury redressable in a court of law exists, precisely because everyone in America will be subjected to an individual posing as “the President” but who constitutionally cannot be (and therefore is not) the President, sets America on the course of judicially assisted political suicide. If Obama turns out to be nothing more than an usurper who has fraudulently seized control of the Presidency, not only will the Constitution have been egregiously flouted, but also this whole country could be, likely will be, destroyed as a consequence. And if this country is even credibly threatened with destruction, every American will be harmed—irretrievably, should the threat become actuality—including those who voted or intend to vote for Obama, who are also part of We the People. Therefore, in this situation, any and every American must have “standing” to demand—and must demand, both in judicial fora and in the fora of public opinion—that Obama immediately and conclusively prove himself eligible for “the Office of President.”
Utterly imbecilic as an alternative is the judge’s prescription in Berg v. Obama that,
[i]f, through the political process, Congress determines that citizens, voters, or party members should police the Constitution’s eligibility requirements for the Presidency, then it is free to pass laws conferring standing on individuals like [Berg]. Until that time, voters do not have standing to bring the sort of challenge that [Berg] attempts to bring * * * .
Recall that this selfsame judge held that Berg has no constitutional “Case[ ]” because he has no “standing,” and that he has no “standing” because he has no “injury in fact,” only a “generalized” “grievance.” This purports to be a finding of constitutional law: namely, that constitutionally no “Case[ ]” exists. How, then, can Congress constitutionally grant “standing” to individuals such as Berg, when the courts (assuming the Berg decision is upheld on appeal) have ruled that those individuals have no “standing”? If “standing” is a constitutional conception, and the courts deny that “standing” exists in a situation such as this, and the courts have the final say as to what the Constitution means—then Congress lacks any power to contradict them. Congress cannot instruct the courts to exercise jurisdiction beyond what the Constitution includes within “the judicial Power.” Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. (1 Cranch) 137, 173-180 (1803).
In fact, though, a Congressional instruction is entirely unnecessary. Every American has what lawyers call “an implied cause of action”—directly under Article II, Section 1, Clause 4 of the Constitution—to require that anyone standing for “the Office of President” must verify his eligibility for that position, at least when serious allegations have been put forward that he is not eligible, and he has otherwise refused to refute those allegations with evidence that should be readily available if he is eligible. That “Case[ ]” is one the Constitution itself defines. And the Constitution must be enforceable in such a “Case[ ]” in a timely manner, by anyone who cares to seek enforcement, because of the horrendous consequences that will ensue if it is flouted.
What are some of those consequences?
First, if Obama is not “a natural born Citizen” or has renounced such citizenship, he is simply not eligible for “the Office of President” (Article II, Section 1, Clause 4). That being so, he cannot be “elected” by the voters, by the Electoral College, or by the House of Representatives (see Amendment XII). For neither the voters, nor the Electors, nor Members of the House can change the constitutional requirement, even by unanimous vote inter sese (see Article V). If, nonetheless, the voters, the Electors, or the Members of the House purport to “elect” Obama, he will be nothing but an usurper, because the Constitution defines him as such. And he can never become anything else, because an usurper cannot gain legitimacy if even all of the country aid, abets, accedes to, or acquiesces in his usurpation.
Second, if Obama dares to take the Presidential “Oath or Affirmation” of office, knowing that he is not “a natural born Citizen,” he will commit the crime of perjury or false swearing (see Article II, Section 1, Clause 7). For, being ineligible for “the Office of President, he cannot “faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States,” or even execute it at all, to any degree. Thus, his very act of taking the “Oath or Affirmation” will be a violation thereof! So, even if the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court himself looks the other way and administers the “Oath or Affirmation,” Obama will derive no authority whatsoever from it.
Third, his purported “Oath or Affirmation” being perjured from the beginning, Obama’s every subsequent act in the usurped “Office of President” will be a criminal offense under Title 18, United States Code, Section 242, which provides that:
[w]hoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States * * * shall be fined * * * or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if bodily injury results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire, shall be fined * * * or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, * * *, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined * * * or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.
Plainly enough, every supposedly “official” act performed by an usurper in the President’s chair will be an act “under color of law” that necessarily and unavoidably “subjects [some] person * * * to the deprivation of [some] rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution * * * of the United States”—in the most general case, of the constitutional “right[ ]” to an eligible and duly elected individual serving as President, and the corresponding constitutional “immunit[y]” from subjection to an usurper pretending to be “the President.”
Fourth, if he turns out to be nothing but an usurper acting in the guise of “the President,” Obama will not constitutionally be the “Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States” (see Article II, Section 2, Clause 1). Therefore, he will be entitled to no obedience whatsoever from anyone in those forces. Indeed, for officers or men to follow any of his purported “orders” will constitute a serious breach of military discipline—and in extreme circumstances perhaps even “war crimes.” In addition, no one in any civilian agency in the Executive Branch of the General Government will be required to put into effect any of Obama’s purported “proclamations,” “executive orders,” or “directives.”
Fifth, as nothing but an usurper (if he becomes one), Obama will have no conceivable authority “to make Treaties”, or to “nominate, and * * * appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the Supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not * * * otherwise provided for [in the Constitution]” (Article II, Section 2, Clause 2). And therefore any “Treaties” or “nominat[ions], and * * * appoint[ments]” he purports to “make” will be void ab initio, no matter what the Senate does, because the Senate can neither authorize an usurper to take such actions in the first place, nor thereafter ratify them. One need not be a lawyer to foresee what further, perhaps irremediable, chaos must ensue if an usurper, even with “the Advice and Consent of the Senate”, unconstitutionally “appoint[s] * * * Judges of the Supreme Court” whose votes thereafter make up the majorities that wrongly decide critical “Cases” of constitutional law.
Sixth, and perhaps most importantly, Congress can pass no law while an usurper pretends to occupy “the Office of President.” The Constitution provides that “[e]very Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States” (Article I, Section 7, Clause 2). Not to an usurper posturing as “the President of the United States,” but to the true and rightful President. If no such true and rightful President occupies the White House, no “Bill” will or can, “before it become a Law, be presented to [him].” If no “Bill” is so presented, no “Bill” will or can become a “Law.” And any purported “Law” that the usurper “approve[s]” and “sign[s],” or that Congress passes over the usurper’s “Objections,” will be a nullity. Thus, if Obama deceitfully “enters office” as an usurper, Congress will be rendered effectively impotent for as long as it acquiesces in his pretenses as “President.”
Seventh, if Obama does become an usurper posturing as “the President,” Congress cannot even impeach him because, not being the actual President, he cannot be “removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors” (see Article II, Section 4). In that case, some other public officials would have to arrest him—with physical force, if he would not go along quietly—in order to prevent him from continuing his imposture. Obviously, this could possibly lead to armed conflicts within the General Government itself, or among the States and the people.
Eighth, even did something approaching civil war not eventuate from Obama’s hypothetical usurpation, if the Establishment allowed Obama to pretend to be “the President,” and the people acquiesced in that charade, just about everything that was done during his faux “tenure in office” by anyone connected with the Executive Branch of the General Government, and quite a bit done by the Legislative Branch and perhaps the Judicial Branch as well, would be arguably illegitimate and subject to being overturned when a constitutional President was finally installed in office. The potential for chaos, both domestically and internationally, arising out of this systemic uncertainty is breathtaking.
The underlying problem will not be obviated if Obama, his partisans in the Democratic Party, and his cheerleaders and cover-up artists in the big media simply stonewall the issue of his (non)citizenship and contrive for him to win the Presidential election. The cat is already out of the bag and running all over the Internet. If he continues to dodge the issue, Obama will be dogged with this question every day of his purported “Presidency.” And inevitably the truth will out. For the issue is too simple, the evidence (or lack of it) too accessible. Either Obama can prove that he is “a natural born Citizen” who has not renounced his citizenship; or he cannot. And he will not be allowed to slip through with some doctored “birth certificate” generated long after the alleged fact. On a matter this important, Americans will demand that, before its authenticity is accepted, any supposed documentary evidence of that sort be subjected to reproducible forensic analyses conducted by reputable, independent investigators and laboratories above any suspicion of being influenced by or colluding with any public official, bureaucracy, political party, or other special-interest organization whatsoever.
Berg v. Obama may very well end up in the Supreme Court. Yet that ought to be unnecessary. For Obama’s moral duty is to produce the evidence of his citizenship sua sponte et instanter. Otherwise, he will be personally responsible for all the consequences of his refusal to do so.
Of course, if Obama knows that he is not “a natural born Citizen” who never renounced his American citizenship, then he also knows that he and his henchmen have perpetrated numerous election-related frauds throughout the country—the latest, still-ongoing one a colossal swindle targeting the American people as a whole. If that is the case, his refusal “to be a witness against himself” is perfectly explicable and even defensible on the grounds of the Fifth Amendment. Howsoever justified as a matter of criminal law, though, Obama’s silence and inaction will not obviate the necessity for him to prove his eligibility for “the Office of President.” The Constitution may permit him to “take the Fifth;” but it will not suffer him to employ that evasion as a means to usurp the Presidency of the United States.
© 2008 Edwin Vieira, Jr. – All Rights Reserve