The court case has made national headlines. One fact not widely reported, however, is that one of the indidivuals who is spearheading the state case is a Cedartown resident.
David Farrar, of Cedartown, said he this isn’t a political tactic to get Obama out of office.
“The main essence of my suit is to have candidate Barack Obama ‘prove’ by a preponderance of evidence that he was born when and where he has stated and sworn to,” Farrar said.
Farrar filed a lawsuit in recent months with Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp. Other citizens joined him in the challenge and are listed as Leah Lax, Cody Judy, Thomas Malaren and Laurie Roth.
All are represented by California attorney Dr. Orly Taitz, who is credited as one of the founders of what has become known as the “birther” movement.
Farrar’s suit was one of three regarding the issue of the president’s eligibility on the administrative judge’s schedule that day, according to one of the group’s websites. The hearings in Georgia were the first in the country to go to an administrative hearing.
Farrar said one judge’s opinion in a previous case states, “Accordingly, this Court finds that Defendant is a candidate for federal office who has been certified by the state executive committee of a political party, and therefore must, under Code Section 21-2-5, meet the constitutional and statutory qualifications for holding the office being sought.”
“I would suggest to you that the (challenges) submitted by the plaintiffs, all seeking some more and other independent “proof” candidate Obama has met his qualifications falls more in line with the judge’s finding than Defendant Obama’s (challenge), which totally ignores the judge’s findings,” Farrar said.
Candidates are traditionally thoroughly vetted for eligibility by their political parties and their personal history becomes public knowledge. Farrar said shadows over Obama’s early life prompted him to get involved.
“Professional curiosity,” he explains when asked why he took on this issue. “Prima face evidence doesn’t prove candidate Barack Obama has met his constitutional qualifications to take the oath of office of the presidency of the United States.”
Farrar’s lawsuit gained some momentum last month when Kemp accepted it. It challenges “the accuracy of Obama’s two birth certificates as well as his Article II natural born citizenship status.”
One of the other three Georgia lawsuits came from Kevin Powell, of Duluth, who is represented by J. Mark Hatfield, a Waycross attorney and a Georgia state representative.
While many of the lawsuits are focusing on Obama’s birthplace, Powell is challenging the president’s eligibility based on the fact that only one parent, Obama’s mother, was an American citizen. His father, Barack Obama Sr., was Kenyan and a British citizen.
One suit, filed in 2009, was the last to be dismissed by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. Taitz’ lawsuit representing Georgia soldiers on the issue was dismissed last year and she was fined $20,000.
More than 97 court cases have been filed in other states with all dismissed, according to public reports. There are currently nine challenges to the 2012 ballot headed for administrative hearings in Georgia, Illinois, and Texas. A similar challenge was dismissed in New Hampshire.
President Obama was not at the Georgia hearing. While his attorney sent letters to the court and to Kemp’s office seeking first to dismiss the case and then to block a subpoena of the president, Deputy Chief Michael Malihi of the Georgia Office of State Administration Hearings ruled against both, according to Atlanta media reports.
“Defendant’s motion suggests that no president should be compelled to attend a court hearing. This may be correct. But defendant has failed to enlighten the court with any legal authority,” Malihi said of the president
Kemp also sent a response to the president’s attorney stating a no show would be “at your own peril,” according to international media reports.
The judge is expected to rule before the March primary, according reports. If he rules against Obama, then Kemp will decide if the president’s name will go on the ballot.
Farrar quoted Gen. George Patton when asked if it mattered others think this movement is crazy.
“If we are all thinking alike, someone must not be thinking,” he said.
While the “birther” movement has been a source of ridicule by many in and outside politics, Farrar said it points to an important constitutional element. Namely, the definition of “natural born.”
Article 2 Section 1 Clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution states: No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty five years, and been fourteen years a resident within the United States.
In the past, constitutional scholars have debated whether this means born on American soil, born to American citizens or both. While the ongoing dissention and discussion of Obama’s birth is a new one for this generation, history proves this has been an issue before.
Chester Arthur, this country’s 21st president, actually had dual citizenship because he was born in 1829 while his father, William, remained a British citizen. So, Arthur was born as a British subject as well as an American citizen.
William Arthur became an American citizen in 1843.
Arthur also shared a similarity with Obama in the controversy over his birthplace. At the time of Arthur’s administration, there were speculations that he was born in Canada or Ireland. It was later proven that Arthur was born in Vermont.
Even recently, the question was raised about Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, who was competing with Obama for the Oval Office in the 2008 election. McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone, to American parents serving in the military.
A 1790 law, which is no longer in effect but provided some thoughts on the subject to scholars, states those born outside the United States to American parents are “natural born citizens.”
U.S. Senate Resolution 511 was approved in April 2008 clarifying that McCain was considered a “natural born citizen” by virtue both parents were American citizens at the time of his birth.
Ironically, one of those co-sponsoring the bill was fellow senator Obama.
One of the longest running public discussions on the subject came in 1967, when Michigan Gov. George Romney, the father of current Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, ran for president.
Romney was born in Mexico to parents who were American citizens and, therefore, Romney was born with dual citizenship. He and Republican leaders claimed no conflict with eligibility requirements, but columnists and others publicly stated concerns.
The concern was, according to New York Times’ articles, that questions could be legally raised after he became president that would throw the country into a tailspin. Most urged for the issue to be settled in court before the election.
Those constitutional concerns were never satisfied and proved unnecessary when Richard Nixon gained the nomination in 1968.