Exclusive: Clinton-Appointed Judge Backs Off Sanctions on Obama Eligibility Suit
by MARGARET CALHOUN HEMENWAY
March 31, 2009
On March 25th, Clinton-appointed Judge James Robertson (U.S. District Court), after having threatened to impose financial sanctions on John D. Hemenway for having enjoined the Berg lawsuit to force President Obama to release his birth records to prove his citizenship, backed down. Instead of financial penalties, the Judge issued a reprimand tinged with flippancy.
Judge Robertson reconsidered his previous sanctions threat, possibly fearing monetary sanctions might spark a backlash and give a boost to the grassroots effort to force Mr. Obama to relinquish his records for public scrutiny. While the Judge gives passing tribute to Hemenway's long career of public service, "Mr. Hemenway is 82 years old and takes considerable and justified pride in his patriotic public service and his status as a Rhodes Scholar" he errs in one key respect, alleging that Hemenway is "unlikely to repeat the conduct that gave rise to this proceeding, and in his case the permissible alternative sanction of a reprimand will be sufficient." Reprimand aside, Hemenway will continue to seek the truth about Obama's birthplace and citizenship, as will other patriotic citizens who believe no President and no future Presidential candidate should be allowed to conceal documents that would prove that he or she is legally qualified to serve.
The Judge did concede that others "similarly situated" are "unlikely to be deterred, except by a penalty that would be unreasonable to impose on Mr. Hemenway alone." But curiously, the Judge previously only threatened Hemenway with financial sanctions, not Philip Berg, Hillary Clinton's ally, or the other lawyer involved in the case, Lawrence Joyce from Arizona.
The Judge errs in another respect, saying: "Many people, perhaps as many as a couple of dozen, feel deeply about this issue, a strong indication that this Judge feels he can dismiss the legal merits of the issue by pretending that there is no public interest at stake.” He must be unaware that an AOL poll, albeit admittedly unscientific, found that a majority of Americans believe Mr. Obama should release his records to determine his eligibility; that more than 345,000 U.S. citizens have signed an online petition demanding Obama's birth records be released; and that many more are blogging, calling, and writing Congressional offices to ask their Members of Congress to sign onto Congressman Bill Posey's bill.
The Posey legislation would require future candidates for President to be vetted for eligibility, an admission that the last national election's screening process for candidates was substandard. Ironically, it was this very process of blogging and Twittering that the Judge earlier invoked as having already settled the eligibility issue – therefore, based on this flawed rationale, there was no need for his own court to weigh in, review evidence and relevant documents to determine whether Mr. Obama is a "natural born" citizen.
This is a Judge who clearly is letting his skewed perception of public sentiment guide his judicial rulings. It would clearly have been judicially expedient, saving the taxpayers time and money, given the number of eligibility lawsuits filed across the country, simply to direct President Obama to produce an actual birth (or "vault") certificate and not a COLB (Certification of Live Birth and one that lacks a doctor's signature or hospital name) that has been given to others not born on the island of Hawaii.
According to the Washington Times, the Judge claimed he suffered "emotional distress" after receiving a letter from an elderly gentleman, Philip Merrell, a resident of Washington, D.C., who vented outrage at the Judge for his threat to levy sanctions on Hemenway for petitioning the court. The Judge's emotional distress resulted in the dispatch of two armed federal marshals who paid a visit to the Merrell home to inquire as to whether the gentleman knew Hemenway, purportedly at the judge's prompting. For the record, no Hemenway had ever heard of Mr. Merrell until the marshals' visit was exposed by the Washington Times, but we certainly understand his consternation about anyone aspiring to become President while keeping birth, academic and passport records under lock and key, while continuing to tout publicly the "openness" of his Administration. We also share Mr. Merrell's indignation that a judge whose principal duty is to uphold the law instead engages in judicial hocus pocus and obfuscation, rather than address in his courtroom the Constitutional requirement for the Presidency to be a "natural born citizen" as laid out in Article II, Section 1.
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Margaret Hemenway is the daughter-in-law of John D. Hemenway and spent 15 years in the Congress, both House and Senate, and five years as a White House appointee at DoD and NASA.