Thursday, December 22, 2011

Drake v. Obama (9th Cir. - Dec. 22, 2011)

Let me make clear at the outset:  The Complaint here is frivolous.  President Obama was born in the United States.  It's absurd -- frivolous -- to assert otherwise.

So too are many of the legal claims asserted in the litigation.  The FOIA claims are silly.  The quo warranto claim obviously belongs (if anywhere) in a court in D.C.  Plaintiffs' failure to articulate RICO claims -- even though they alleged they had them -- because there are "so many complex rules" about RICO pleadings that are difficult to follow is simply pathetic.

The Ninth Circuit rightly dismisses all of these obviously deficient legal claims.  It also holds that none of the plaintiffs have standing, and hence dismisses their assertion that President Obama was born outside the U.S. and is accordingly ineligible to be President.  The closest they came was when they gathered together some of the minor candidates who ran against President Obama -- e.g., Alan Keyes -- and included these parties as plaintiffs.  That might potentially have worked, notwithstanding the fact that these individuals actually had no chance whatsoever of winning the election even if a lame chicken was running in place of the allegedly ineligible Democratic nominee.  But plaintiffs filed their complaint only after the inauguration.  Which means they lack standing.  File before the inauguration, dudes.  Yeah, you run into potential ripeness problems, but those aren't nearly as severe as the standing problems that you obviously should have foreseen.

There's only one interesting part of the Ninth Circuit's opinion about which I had a question.  Everything else seems obviously right.  Judge Pregerson holds that active military personnel don't have standing, even though they say that they're potentially disciplined if they refuse to follow the orders of a Commander-in-Chief who's ineligible for office.  Judge Pregerson says that they have an alternative:  Obey the orders.  Which seems true, and so I agree that the standing claim here is speculative.  But imagine that one of the plaintiffs had violated an order.  Standing?  I can definitely see an argument.  Then you're not just talking about a generalized issue you have in common with everyone else.

Nonetheless, the Ninth Circuit's clearly right here.  No standing.  So one more frivolous lawsuit bites the dust.

Just in time for the next election.