A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

The Obama Birth Chronicles, Chapter CCXCVIII


The latest development in the saga of the so-called "birther" challenges to Barack Obama’s presidency comes from Hawaii, Obama’s native state. Yesterday, Gov. Linda Lingle signed a law allowing state agencies to ignore requests for information if they determine the requests duplicate or are substantially similar to earlier ones. The law targets those who contend Obama wasn’t born in the U.S. and thus, under the Constitution, can’t be president; they still are sending 10 to 20 e-mails every week asking the state’s Health Department for verification of his birth certificate. Some file the same request even after receiving a response.

(As journalists, we wonder, "Since when has a government official needed a law to ignore a request for information?" But we assume Hawaii officials have their reasons.)

Hawaii officials tell requesters the same thing over and over: State law prohibits the release of a certified birth certificate to anyone who doesn’t have a tangible interest in the matter. For those coming in late, Obama requested and obtained a copy of his own birth certificate and released it publicly in 2008, after which we examined it and found all in order. The document is legal proof of citizenship, and it’s the only type of birth record the state issues. Nevertheless, some wanted more. So Dr. Chiyome Fukino, the state health director, issued a statement saying that she has seen the original vital records verifying that Obama was born in Hawaii and "is a natural-born American citizen." But that hasn’t stopped the inquiries.

Linda Lingle, we’d note, is a Republican, and stumped for Sen. John McCain in 2008.

In other news on this front, the Eleventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has upheld a $20,000 sanction against Orly Taitz, the most visible of those pressing the Obama-as-foreigner theory. As we wrote in January, a lower court judge imposed the fine to punish Taitz’ "misconduct" in filing "frivolous" legal claims on behalf of an Army officer who didn’t want to deploy to Iraq on the grounds that Obama’s presidency was illegitimate:

Judge Clay D. Land, Oct. 13 2009: While the Court derives no pleasure from its imposition of sanctions upon counsel Orly Taitz, it likewise has no reservations about the necessity of doing so. A clearer case could not exist; a weaker message would not suffice.

Land was named to the bench by another Republican, former President George W. Bush.

Another lawsuit filed by Taitz on the subject was dismissed in April by no-nonsense federal Judge Royce Lamberth in Washington, D.C. "This court is not willing to go tilting at windmills with her," Lamberth said, referring to Taitz.

Taitz, undeterred, is hoping to capture the Republican nomination to be California’s secretary of state. In that race, she claims that her primary opponent is ineligible to run, though for different reasons than his place of birth. Taitz contends that Damon Dunn was too recently registered as a Democrat to be a candidate in the GOP primary.