Exclusive: The Obama Birth Certificate Controversy – Not a Political Issue, but a Legal One

by MARGARET CALHOUN HEMENWAY March 10, 2009
My father-in-law has enjoined the Philip Berg suit, questioning President Barack Hussein Obama's eligibility to be President, based on principle and patriotism. John Hemenway is a World War II veteran, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy (class of 1951) and a Rhodes Scholar. He served in the Foreign Service in the former Soviet Union and in Germany as Chief of the Berlin section. 
 
Mr. Obama's lawyers are now threatening my 84-year-old father-in-law, through Judge Robertson, with penalties of legal fees for pursuing the truth about Mr. Obama's birth. This threat of financial sanctions is meant to silence all of us who remain unsatisfied with equivocations by the Obama camp about his legal qualifications to become President, and to punish us for pursuing our Constitutionally-guaranteed right to redress.
 
The Obama campaign, with questions about his birth in Kenya to his Kenyan father (a British citizen), and his years in Indonesia where he was known as Barry Soetoro (taking the surname of his stepfather), was not nearly as forthcoming as the McCain campaign. What was posted in support of Mr. Obama's eligibility was not a birth certificate, but something that resembles a "Certification of Live Birth" or COLB, which, even if authentic, does not prove "natural born" U.S. citizenship. In Hawaii, a Certification of Live Birth is issued within a year of a child's birth to those who register a birth overseas or one that takes place outside of a hospital.
 
What is most intriguing (and of course, elevated the eligibility controversy) is that it was largely fueled by a political ally of Hillary Clinton, now Obama's Secretary of State. This also begs the question of whether Mr. Obama provided Mrs. Clinton a Cabinet post in part to make this issue go away. Phillip Berg, a Democrat who served as Deputy Attorney General in Pennsylvania, filed suit to demand that Mr. Obama produce documents to prove his eligibility. It's hard for Obama fans to claim this is part of a vast right-wing conspiracy when it was an obvious attempt by the Clinton camp to derail on technical grounds, the Obama express train to the White House. Why would a sitting President, now that the campaign has ended, not turn over the documents to end the controversy? If those who believe he's hiding something are wrong, would they acknowledge that it is in his political interest to disprove the "conspiracy theorists," as Judge Robertson refers to them? Logic tells anyone looking at this objectively that it is nonsensical for President Obama to retain three law firms and to expend heavy costs of legal fees to hide records (some estimates are upwards of $1 million), unless there is something worth hiding from the American people.  
 
Embarrassingly, Members of Congress have offered up "SNOPES" and other flawed websites by way of background information to constituents troubled by the refusal by President Barack Obama to disclose any vital records which would prove his eligibility to be President. During the campaign, SNOPES alleged that Obama could obtain a security clearance. Having been interviewed numerous times by investigators for colleagues and co-workers seeking security clearances or periodic updates for existing clearances, Mr. Obama had numerous "red flags" in his background which would preclude the privilege of holding a clearance and access to classified government information – including his affiliation with known "subversive" individuals and organizations such as Weather Underground/unrepentant domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, Frank Marshall Davis (CPUSA), and PLO official Rashid Khalidi (at a time that the PLO was an officially designated terrorist organization) and Obama's admitted use of a hard drug – cocaine. SNOPES is discredited as a result of these pro-Obama, misleading assertions. (Running for high elective office obviates the requirement to undergo security clearance scrutiny since the clearance is automatically granted by virtue of the position attained.)
 
In addition to the indefensible references to SNOPES, it is embarrassing that the staff of some sitting Members of Congress (we will hope the Members didn't actually vet this correspondence and that these responses were simply emails handled by low-level legislative aides) failed to do their homework and included in letters to constituents such incorrect information as stating that Mr. Obama's birth certificate was posted showing he was born in Hawaii. The issue of the location of his birth remains in dispute, especially since Obama's paternal Grandmother and others have asserted that he was born in Kenya.  
 
Given this level of general incompetency and sloppiness within the Congress, is it any surprise that a sitting Judge (U.S. District Court Judge John Robertson, a Clinton appointee) would follow suit, and imply that the critical legal, Constitutional issue of whether Mr. Obama is eligible to be President, has already been determined by Twittering and blogging? The intellectual sloppiness and disregard for the requirements of the Constitution appear to be pouring over into U.S. courtrooms as well. Sen. John McCain, born to American parents at a U.S. military base, in contrast, was investigated for his birth in the Panama Canal Zone and to quell the dispute, produced his birth records. The Senate voted unanimously (in a nonbinding resolution) in April 2008 to declare that McCain was indeed, an eligible candidate. A senior official of the McCain campaign showed a reporter a copy of the senator's birth certificate issued by Canal Zone health authorities.
 
We are, first and foremost, a nation of law where laws are supposed to apply equitably to all Americans. Mr. Obama is not above the law. When I am required to produce my valid birth certificate in order to obtain a copy of my daughter's birth records from the Commonwealth of Virginia, then I expect at least the same standard of proof to be provided by a candidate for the highest elective office in the land. This is not a political issue – it is a legal issue and one of paramount national importance. Some question the wisdom of "undoing" an election if Obama's doubters are proven right. My father-in-law has lived through a World War, an actual impeachment and a President who was forced to resign under threat of impeachment – the nation survived, without chaos. The greatest danger to our freedom is disrespect for the Constitution and a President, who by his failure to provide evidence of his eligibility for the Presidency, evidently doesn't believe the rules should apply to him.    
 
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Margaret Calhoun Hemenway is a 15-year veteran of Capitol Hill and a former White House appointee, serving at both DoD and NASA. 

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