Court accepts Wiley Drake's 'birther' appeal
PASADENA, Calif. (ABP) -- Nearly two-and-a-half years into his term, a
federal appeals court has agreed to hear oral arguments in a case
alleging that Barack Obama is not eligible to serve as president of the
"Praise the Lord Jesus," plaintiff Wiley Drake, pastor of First
Southern Baptist Church in Buena Park, Calif., commented on word that
the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had scheduled a hearing on his case May 2.
Drake, who served as second vice president of the Southern Baptist
Convention in 2006-2007, was a third-party candidate for vice president
of the U.S. in the 2008 election. He appeared on the California ballot
alongside American Independent Party nominee Alan Keyes.
Keyes and Drake garnered
39,620 votes, 0.3 percent of total ballots, ahead of a Green Party
ticket and behind Libertarian Bob Barr and Peace and Freedom nominee
Ralph Nader. The state was carried by Democrats Obama and Joe Biden over
Republicans John McCain and Sarah Palin 61 percent to 37 percent.
On Jan. 20, 2009, the day that Obama took the oath of office and
assumed the presidency, a lawsuit filed by numerous plaintiffs,
including Drake and Keyes, asked a federal judge to invalidate Obama's
election claiming he failed to present clear evidence that he met a
constitutional requirement that the president must be a "natural born
citizen" of the United States.
U.S. District Judge David Carter dismissed
that suit in October 2009, saying that failure to file the case until
after Obama took office made it a matter not of determining a
candidate's eligibility but instead removal of a sitting president, a
power that the Constitution gives to Congress but not to the courts.
The case is one of several lawsuits filed by groups and individuals
pejoratively called "birthers," who say that contrary to the President's
Hawaii birth certificate, there is evidence that he was actually born
in Kenya, making him ineligible for office.
Billionaire Donald Trump, who says he is considering running for president, recently entered the fray, saying in several media interviews that he has doubts about Obama's nativity.
Drake's lawyer, Gary Kreep of the United States Justice Foundation, said in a media interview posted
on the foundation's website that he does not consider himself a
"birther" but rather a "constitutionalist" and that if convinced about
Obama's eligibility he would drop the issue.
Kreep said even more than halfway into Obama's first term, he believes eligibility still matters.
"If Mr. Obama is not eligible to serve as president, everything that he
has done as president is null and void," Kreep said. "Since only a
validly sitting president can nominate someone to the Supreme Court, can
sign the Obama care bill, can nominate judges all over the country,
U.S. attorneys -- all the actions that the president can do, all that he
is required to do by law, without a valid president, none of those
actions are valid."
In February the California Supreme Court declined
to review dismissal of a separate lawsuit in the state court system
claiming that election officials should have verified Obama's
eligibility before putting his name on the ballot. The high court agreed
with an appellate ruling that determining eligibility for the office of
president is the responsibility of political parties and Congress, not