Image By Phil Dragoo
Link for image:
Steven D. Laib is a semi-retired attorney living in Cypress, Texas, just northwest of Houston. He is a member of the California State Bar, and United States Supreme Court Bar.
The government should have an affirmative duty to investigate candidate qualifications and to make public any documentation thereof; after all, when they apply for the highest office in the land, they should be held to the strict constitutional standard and every citizen has a right to see that the Constitution is followed.
The state of Hawaii is asserting that privacy laws forbid it from revealing the certificate. This should be considered a bogus claim. Anyone running for the presidency has placed himself in the arena of a public, rather than a private citizen. A candidate is, for all practical purposes, giving up his privacy rights, and making his or her entire life open to scrutiny by the public and the press. Their personal records should and must be part of this. If Obama supporters are allowed to investigate and report on “Joe the Plumber” with impunity, the public has an equal and reciprocal right to investigate a candidate.
There is a second and even more important reason why the certificate must be produced. As Berg’s suit, and those of other parties have pointed out, birth status is a constitutional requirement to hold the office of president. If this rule is not followed, then it brings into question the issue of whether or not any aspect of the Constitution, at all, must be followed. Already we have seen challenges in the courts and in the overall media environment of certain government actions. Whether we are dealing with establishing the Federal Reserve Bank, removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq, or bailing out the financial and automobile industries, people have valid questions. Sometimes it is not enough to say “you have no standing to sue” or “this is covered under the legislative interstate commerce clause and is settled law.” It is a slippery slope argument, but such arguments are not invalid simply because of the foundation they are built on. The courts should regularly review such actions to prevent legislative power from running unchecked. The intent of the framers of the document should carry significant weight in such review.
As for the Obama birth certificate, I, personally, have no interest in the thing beyond silencing the argument over it once and for all. If the certificate is never produced, and proper birth status is never verified, one way or the other, it will likely become the core of another Great American Conspiracy Theory such as those surrounding the death of John F. Kennedy. The Kennedy assassination conspiracies have been debunked, for all practical purposes, but they haven’t gone away. We don’t need another one of these things. We need openness, we need transparency and we need honesty. If there is a valid certificate, stating all of the relevant information as the state of Hawaii asserts, the Supreme Court or any other court should support its production for public view. I doing so, it can state a compelling public interest; the interest that the Constitution must be followed, and that anyone who seeks office governed by the Constitution must prove their eligibility, or it calls constitutional authority into question. In fact, every candidate from Hilary Clinton to Rudy Giuliani should have been required to produce their certificates when filing as candidates. The matter should not be subject to question because of the constitutional requirement.
Paul Berg isn’t entirely a crackpot. His case has merit, as do the others seeking production of the certificate. If it is produced and everything is in order, the case disappears along with the conspiracy theorists and the office of the presidency goes on without a hitch. If it is not produced, the potential for future complications could be very significant. We might even end up with President Ahhnold, who could claim that he wasn’t really born in Austria, and that he doesn’t have to prove he was born here. See what I mean?
Phil Berg Barack Obama Ron Polarik Jeff Schreiber