FOREWORD: I am not a lawyer. Nor do I have any affiliations connected with this matter. Nor do I possess any “inside knowledge” as to this long-standing controversy over whether or not the man currently occupying the Oval Office (as of this writing) is legally eligible to serve as this nation’s President.
Nor, I hasten to point out, is my analysis below meant to fully explore the question of whether this individual is Constitutionally empowered to hold the reigns of the Presidency.
However, I do have a great concern as to how this issue has been, and is being, generally handled, as the potential consequences of that process are, in my view, bound to be far-reaching. And that is the focus of what my analysis below – which is purely an expression of my opinion as to the underpinnings and potential impact of those issues – is meant to be about.
(April 10, 2011) –
The Man in the Oval Office: Is he, or isn’t he, legally entitled to serve as President of the United States? A Question of Controversy – and of Exploration:
On May 2nd of this year, according to WorldNetDaily, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hold hearings (with invited parties) for oral arguments as to whether a lower-court ruling – which stated that any questions about Obama’s eligibility to serve as President should be directed not to the courts but to Congress – should be overturned. 
This is a major step forward in possibly getting to the truth of the matter. Or at least to exposing, for the public to witness, some of the most factually illuminating arguments on both sides of the issue.
Or – as has happened in so many of the previous court-cases in which the eligibility-issue was raised – not.
If these hearings take place as scheduled, and if all sides in this case are fully permitted to present their arguments and information, without restraint, in these hearings, and if the arguments and information presented therein are permitted, without restraint, to be concurrently (or promptly thereafter) fully open to the mass media and the public – and if the mass media presents, to the public, those arguments and points of information in a manner that is honest, comprehensive, and objective – then at least we may be getting somewhere.
Perhaps to where no court – or occupant of the Oval Office – has gone before.
Just watch any episode of “The Practice” or its successor “Boston Legal” – or even watch just a few hours of debates in the U.S. Congress – or follow this unbelievably long and, so far, continuing chain of actual refusals by numerous Federal courts to even address this Presidential-eligibility issue, no matter who had brought the charges and no matter the basis of the claims – and perhaps you’ll begin to get the picture:
Regardless of the facts of the matter: a case, or even the possibility that a court will permit or refuse either side’s request to present its evidence, and even the question of whether a court will allow a case to even be heard, can go either way. Sometimes the outcome reveals the truth – and sometimes the outcome has nothing to do with the truth.
Just look at the trial of O.J. Simpson. Or the trial of Reuben “Hurricane” Carter.
On cases in which the current Oval Office occupant’s eligibility to serve was the issue, guess which way those cases went?
Away. Far away.
But to Oblivion? Not by a long shot.
Because still, at least as per my understanding of the pros & cons of the matter, at least four fundamental things are still true:
(a) The actual, long-form, original, official, genuine, “Birth Certificate” – not the purported (whether genuine or not) “Certificate of Live Birth”, and not the statements by some officials asserting (but not stating in sworn testimony before a court, where evidence of making a false statement can be grounds for a ruling of Perjury) that they “have seen” the original, genuine, “Birth Certificate” – has not been publicly revealed. And all it would take for that original, genuine, “Birth Certificate” to be able to be publicly revealed would be for the person whom it’s all about to authorize its release. But instead that person has reportedly been spending millions of dollars to keep it sealed from public view! Why?
Or, as some have asked, might he be waiting “for the opportune moment” – such as at a moment shortly prior to the next Presidential election – to make it (or an approximation thereof) public? And if he is indeed waiting for that opportune moment, what does that say about his sense of concern over the fact — again, if this is the case — that his years-long refusal to release that document has put the nation through a continuing, costly, divisive, and totally unnecessary, trauma?
Too, as many critics are asking, what if there never existed this alleged “Birth Certificate”, or if that document does exist but shows him to not be eligible for this high office, and what if he was aware of these points when he ran for and assumed office: then what?
But maybe those issues are the heart of what this controversy is all about.
Why would a President of the United States – a person who, with, more or less, a phone-call or a stroke of a pen, can institute an international “Kinetic Military Maneuver” and commit this nation to a conflagration with potentially huge consequences – find it so hard to do what any American citizen can easily do regarding their own birth-documentation: request that his official, genuine, Birth Certificate be released for the mass media, and the public – and independent forensics experts – to see?
(b) The eligibility-issue further centers not just on where and when the current person serving as President was born; it also centers on his alleged parentage and their citizenship, as those factors, too, bear directly on whether or not he meets the Constitutional requirement that he be a “natural born citizen”.
(c) There are many other issues involved in this eligibility-debate too; but what particularly bothers me about them all is how, at least as I gather, most of the nation’s major media seem to have chosen to give this person in the Oval Office a “free pass” on this issue, and that they – as I see it – have largely abdicated their responsibility to honestly, diligently, thoroughly, and, most of all, objectively, dig for the truth of this matter.
Or has their “sense of responsibility” been redefined, such that, for whatever the reason, they have decided that their “responsibility” is not to the uncovering of the objective truth but instead is to accept as truth what they wish to be the truth — or what the financial, political, and market forces controlling them are directing them to accept as their definitions of “truth”?
Please note: I also do believe that various persons in the major media are, in their view, fully and conscientiously doing what they believe is their journalistic best to get at the root of these issues. I have also seen publicly available information that, to some degree, appears to persuasively refute some popular — but arguably less-than-valid — claims that the current occupant of the Oval Office is not eligible to occupy that office. And I’m doing my best to be open to exploring the eligibility-evidence from all sides.
And, I also recognize that I, too, am fallible.
But even so, in my view, the preponderance of coverage (or lack thereof) by the major media in the U.S. — and the often-dismissive attitudes expressed by a variety of prominent players on the national stage — appears to be along the lines that I’ve already mentioned above: they seem, by and large, to be giving this individual occupying the Oval Office a “free pass”.
And, as no doubt even Donald Trump must know – regardless of whatever the merits of his arguments may or may not be –, this particular issue, of whether or not the current occupant of the Oval Office was ever, or currently is, legally entitled to serve as the nation’s Chief Executive and to serve as Commander-in-Chief of the nation’s military, is just about as politically entangling and explosive as a case can get.
And now it seems to be reaching the stage of – in political terms at least – war. And what’s that little homily about war?
Actually, a few come to mind:
“All warfare is based on deception.” – Sun Tzu (Chinese Military General, 544–496 BC)
“In war, truth is the first casualty.” – Aeschylus (Greek tragic dramatist, 525 BC – 456 BC)
“…among the calamities of war may be jointly numbered the diminution of the love of truth, by the falsehoods which interest dictates and credulity encourages.” – “The Idler” magazine (11/11/1758)
To which I would add the following, more contemporary, quote from an April 24, 2006 commentary in the New Statesman, by journalist John Pilger. His commentary was written as the Bush-Cheney-Blair military action in Iraq was still in full-swing – but, in my view, the essence of Pilger’s words is also worth note in regard to this current “eligibility controversy” today:
“The oldest cliché is that truth is the first casualty of war. I disagree. Journalism is the first casualty. Not only that: it has become a weapon of war, a virulent censorship that goes unrecognised in the United States, Britain and other democracies; censorship by omission, whose power is such that, in war, it can mean the difference between life and death for people in faraway countries, such as Iraq.”
For clearly, whether it is ultimately decided, with the force of law, that the man in the White House must stay or leave, the consequences will be profound.
Yet, in what way has much of the major media in America – at least as I’ve observed – been dealing with this “eligibility” issue?
Ridicule — of the issue itself.
Ridicule — of those who would question the process by which the current man in the White House was deemed to be eligible to serve as President.
Ridicule — typically by those who, as it seems to me, would apparently more prefer to accept, on its face or with only cursory review or less than rigorous logic, the claim — even if it might be true — that the current occupant of the Oval Office is Constitutionally eligible to serve as President.
Ridicule of critics — denigratingly labeled, by those who would ridicule them and shut their voices down, as “Birthers” — who maintain that there is fully valid and substantial evidence that opens the whole claim of “eligibility” to legitimate — and necessary — question.
And then, of course, we have the courts:
Yes, the courts, to which a whole chain of independent cases, questioning that Oval Office occupant’s eligibility to serve, have been brought. And how have the courts, even including the United States Supreme Court, so far responded?
The Ninth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals, as noted above, has scheduled oral arguments for a date in early May. It will be interesting to see whether that hearing-schedule holds and what then transpires.
But moving one step backward in time, to the most recent court case dealing with this eligibility-issue, what do we find?
On November 23, 2010, one of those cases finally received some consideration by the United States Supreme Court, which reportedly then “conferred … on whether arguments should be heard on the merits of Kerchner v. Obama, a case challenging whether President Barack Obama is qualified to serve as president” .
The outcome? On November 29, 2010, according to WorldNetDaily:
“The court effectively killed the Kerchner case with one terse statement: ‘The motion of Western Center for Journalism for leave to file a brief as amicus curiae is granted. The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.’” 
As far as this eligibility-issue goes, this seems to be “par for the course”.
And the arguments presented by Donald Trump? At least he, seemingly alone amongst all the prominent players on the U.S. political turf today, is making what appears to be a concerted, no-holds-barred, all-out effort – whether for personal principle or for political gain – to raise these critically important questions, and to bring attention to the valid issues involved, on the national stage.
Trump, in my opinion, is single-handedly doing what no other major national figure has dared to do or succeeded at doing: He is throwing the spotlight, with what many see as legitimate substantiation, on one of the most profound political questions of our time.
Gulf of Tonkin? Watergate? The Ellsberg Papers? Weapons of Mass Destruction? The whole controversy about 911? Like these, how could legitimate questions, with arguably valid supportive substantiation, about the eligibility of a President, not be of profound public importance?
Now, what if it turns out – as many say is already the case and that it has long been “a done deal” – that the current occupant of the Oval Office is, indeed, completely Constitutionally eligible to serve?
Well then, like him or not, he is President, and, as a consequence, perhaps a modicum of a sense of stability is applied to every law and situation that has been based on, or yet may pivot on, the certainty that he is indeed the Constitutionally-authorized President of the United States.
But what if it turns out that, according to the courts or the Congress (as in an impeachment and conviction), it is determined that he never was – and is not – eligible to serve as President?
In such a situation, of those Members of Congress (current or in the prior term) who, having had the opportunity and the responsibility to prevent or correct this situation in which an ineligible person was allowed to assume the reigns of the Presidency, what political and/or legal repercussions – if any – might, or perhaps should, befall them?
But, then again, how many such Members of Congress would want to set a spark to a political conflagration whose blowback might also burn them?
Could it be that such a potentially unpleasant vision might persuade them to seek to “play down”, or take no part in, this eligibility issue, and to seek to defuse any thoughts of impeachment or even of investigation?
Can you imagine the massive and incredibly convoluted tangle of “fallout” that a U.S. Supreme Court ruling – or a Congressional impeachment and conviction action – in which it is ruled that the current Oval Office occupant was not and is not eligible to serve as President, would generate?
For example, how many of these Government officials, and whatever projects or decisions they have generated or participated in or that they are currently tasked to pursue, would be affected by a U.S. Supreme Court verdict that declares that:
(a) a Constitutionally ineligible person is illegally serving as President,
(b) this same individual possibly knew he was ineligible to serve but accepted the nomination and election and Presidential position nonetheless, and
(c) this same individual thenceforth continued to knowingly illegally serve as (or usurp the functional authority of) the President of the United States?
And, would each and every such official then agree that each and every political project or decision that he or she participated in – as a consequence of any given action or influence by the individual who had unConstitutionally assumed the role of President – should now be nullified and invalidated?
How do you un-bake a cake?
Or might those same persons choose to keep those projects and decisions in place, maintaining — truthfully or otherwise — that those projects and decisions would have come about regardless of any Presidential action or influence? Or that, as a realistic and practical matter, it would just be an impossibility to undo everything that’s been done?
How do you undo the effects of an accomplished military attack? How do you undo already-spent expenditures that have already generated a multi-trillion-dollar Federal deficit? How do you pretend that alliances that have been made, or damages that have been done, never existed?
How do you undo the present and turn back time?
Against that backdrop, is it at all possible that if a Federal Court, especially the Supreme Court of the United States, were to rule that the current person serving as President is holding that position unConstitutionally and therefore illegally, that such a ruling would automatically carry within it a stipulation that each and every of this individual’s actions and points of influence as President — past as well as present — must automatically be made null and void?
And, too, what of the fate of Vice President Joe Biden? Since Biden ran on the same ticket with this individual and attained the Vice Presidency on that basis, and if the Supreme Court, for example, rules that the individual now serving as President is doing so unConstitutionally, would Biden be Constitutionally authorized to become Acting President — or would Biden’s very election to the Vice Presidency, despite his personally meeting all Constitutional requirements, be ruled to be unConstitutional as well?
What a tangle.
But somehow, I suspect that the Court, much as it did in generating a concatenation of questionable (and some might say “bizarre”) rulings in regard to the vote-count in the first George W. Bush election, would find a way to avert this problem, and would equally find a way to rule that this now-ruled-ineligible person’s actions and influence as putative President must instead be permitted to remain intact.
Who knows? Perhaps the decision could be that it is entirely reasonable to leave the effects of all the actions of the individual occupying the Presidency intact, based on the Court’s possible assumption (or “finding of fact”) that it was broadly believed, in good faith, by the nation and the world at large – and possibly even by he himself – that he was fully Constitutionally authorized to serve as the nation’s President and as the Armed Forces’ Commander in Chief.
Too, whether or not the Court were to rule that he is, or is not, ineligible to serve as President, might the basis for that ruling be founded not solely on the canon of law but also on a perceived superior foundation of “a need to maintain political and social stability”?
Or, in other words, a tendency to accord a particular primacy to the thought that “Discretion is the better part of valor”?
The question also arises as to what such a decision might mean for the operations of, and the impact on, the Supreme Court itself, not just in terms of how it reached that decision but also in terms of the aftermath that its process of reaching that ruling, and the effects that the ruling itself, might generate.
For the Supreme Court to, essentially, “throw a President out of office”, may well quickly spark a huge Constitutional crisis, one with vast and possibly drastic repercussions.
Perhaps, to some observers, the Court’s action would be viewed as a “judicial coup d’etat” – an aggression, by the Judicial Branch, with the goal of usurping the legal and Constitutional authority of the Executive Branch, an act that could send the nation into a political tail-spin.
But if the Court will have “done the right thing” – which is what it is supposed to do – quite possibly the outcome would not be so drastic, in that they will perhaps have been widely perceived as having set the country back onto a positive and broadly-welcomed track.
For example, during a time of tremendous national turmoil, largely culminating with Richard Nixon resigning from the Presidency (even though he was not forced out by the Supreme Court), the nation did not fall apart.
Rather, the nation, and its system of Government, prevailed. As his successor, President Gerald Ford, then said:
“My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over. Our Constitution works; our great Republic is a government of laws and not of men. Here the people rule.” 
Perhaps, similarly, if it is legally determined that the current person in the Oval Office must go, we will survive through that too, and the nation will move on.
But getting back to an issue as to the mechanics of how the Supreme Court, if it accepts a case about this eligibility-issue, might proceed – this too is of critical importance:
Two of the current justices on the Supreme Court – Justices Sotomayor and Kagan – were appointed to those positions by the same person whose eligibility to serve as President – and whose authority to have nominated and appointed them – is the very question that would be confronting the Court.
Unless these two justices were to recuse themselves from this case, is it possible that their participating in the case would constitute, as some have argued, a “conflict of interest”?
Even so, whether or not they were to recuse themselves, what if the Court were to rule that the person in the Oval Office was not, and is not, eligible to serve as President? Might such a ruling have the effect – unless the Court figures a way around this conundrum – of nullifying those same two justices’ appointments to this Court?
Would it put them out of a job?
But, then again, as this issue is such a monumental “hot potato”, will the case even be heard?
And, whether in the Judicial System, or in the Congress, or in “the Court of Public Opinion”, when and how thoroughly and how accurately will this Constitutional eligibility-issue finally and convincingly be resolved?
Inquiring minds want to know.
I want to know.
Isn’t it amazing:
All this individual had to do was to publicly release his actual, official, verifiably genuine, “Birth Certificate”. But, it seems, he chose another route. And look where that has lead us now.
Just as a tiny acorn can grow into a mighty oak, and as a small truth can grow into a mighty shield of honor, so can a small misdeed or error grow into something monstrous.
John Lennon said it best: “All I want is some truth!”
Whither the truth?