Friday, July 24, 2009

The Birthers Come to Court . . . then what?

Was President Obama born in Hawaii, or wasn't he? And if he was, why can't he produce an original birth certificate?

I do not know where President Obama was born. Nor do I care.

But that is not the real question posed by those who challenge President Obama's birth status.

Assume for the purposes of this post that the "Birthers" are right and President Obama was not born in Hawaii as he claims. This would mean that he is not a "natural born citizen," and thus ineligible for his current office as required under Article II ("No person except a natural born citizen . . . shall be eligible to the office of President").

Would a federal court accept such a challenge to the president's status? No, really: would the U.S. Supreme Court remove a sitting President on the basis of a challenge to his citizenship?

Let me ask a different question: what if a recently elected President and Vice-President were from the same state? Under the Twelfth Amendment, they cannot both be elected. Assuming two candidates were in fact elected, would a court remove a newly elected Vice-President from office due to his residency status?

I seriously doubt it.

At the end of the day, you have to love the political question doctrine.