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Thursday, August 23, 2012


Doctor sues to have President Barack Obama removed from Kentucky ballot

A Louisville anesthesiologist has asked a Frankfort court to bar President Barack Obama from the November ballot.

Dr. Todd House — who is running for president as a write-in candidate with his wife, Suzanne Dudgeon House as his vice presidential candidate — filed the lawsuit Aug. 10 claiming that Obama is not a “natural born” citizen, which is required of presidential candidates by the U.S. Constitution.

Obama’s campaign spokeswoman for Kentucky didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.

Claims like House’s have been put forward by Obama opponents — often called “birthers” by Obama supporters — since he first ran for president in 2008. They claim Obama was born in the African nation of Kenya.

About 20 similar cases have been filed across the country. All of the cases that have come to a conclusion have been rejected by judges — both in federal and state courts — and most have failed on technical reasons. Courts have rejected several of the cases, ruling that those who filed the suits didn’t have “standing” to bring them.

In an interview Wednesday, Todd House, 52, said that he filed to run for president in part to give him standing to file the suit but also because he opposes both Republicans and Democrats and wanted to help get the Libertarian message out.

And he said he wanted to bring suit because the courts are “shirking the issue” by not addressing the merits of similar cases that have come before them. “Really, the judiciary and the Supreme Court needs to hash this out and decide it once and for all for the greater good of the country,” House said.

In seeking a temporary restraining order to keep Obama off the Kentucky ballot, House claims not only that the president was born in Kenya but that he is not eligible to be president because his father was not a U.S. citizen.

He also claims Obama never re-established U.S. citizenship after moving to Indonesia as a child.

Hawaii officials have said repeatedly that Obama was born in that state and newspaper birth notices published in the days after Obama’s birth on Aug. 4, 1961, indicate he was born there.

But some Obama opponents claim the president’s Hawaiian birth certificate is falsified. House raises that possibility in his filings, citing an investigation by Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio in which Arpaio claimed the birth certificate presented by Obama was forged.

After Arpaio pressed Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, a Republican, to keep Obama’s name off the ballot, Bennett conducted his own investigation and said Hawaii presented proof that Obama was born there.

House said in the interview that he doesn’t believe Obama was born in Kenya but said that the president has not proved he was born in the United States.

“I think really, the claim is, we don’t know where he was born,” House said. “The Kenyan birth issue was placed in the restraining order because it is one of several possibilities and no one really knows the truth.

“But it’s clear that we don’t know the truth and we should know the truth.”

Even if he was born in Hawaii, House said that he doesn’t believe Obama is qualified to be president because his father, Barack Obama Sr. was not a U.S. citizen. He relies on an 19th-century definition of “natural born citizen” that says both parents of a child must be citizens for the child to be considered “natural born.”

But the definition of the term has been subject of great debate since the Constitution didn’t define the term and because the 14th Amendment, ratified in 1868, granted citizenship to anyone born in the country.

In addition, the Congressional Research Service opined in 2009 that a “natural born citizen” is anyone born in the United States whose parents are not in the country as part of a foreign diplomatic contingent.

Obama’s father was in the country on a student visa, and his mother was a U.S. citizen.

In the suit and supporting documents, House notes that Obama’s literary agent claimed that he was “born in Kenya” in 1991 and continued to make the claim in subsequent years. The agent has said it was simply a mistake.

The documents also question whether Obama has a valid Social Security number, which it says is “indicative of potential identity and/or immigration fraud.

House has sent a summons to Obama and to Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz to testify in the case.

He filed the suit “pro se,” meaning he did so without a lawyer. It has been assigned to Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate.

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