Herb Boyd | 4/12/2011, 4:34 p.m.
Whatever prompted Justice Clarence Thomas to resurrect a petition filed to challenge whether President-elect Barack Obama is a citizen and constitutionally qualified to serve as president, it was to no avail. Last Friday, the Supreme Court denied the request without offering a reason.
Justice Thomas rescued the petition, filed by New Jersey attorney Leo Donofrio--after it had been denied by Justice David Souter--and presented it to the full court. This was the second time over the last several weeks that the court has refused to hear the appliation. To get a hearing, at least four justices must approve.
Unlike a welter of other charges that claim Obama is not qualified to be the president, Donofrio has no qualms with the notion that Obama was born in Hawaii. He contends that the president- elect is not a "natural-born citizen." According to Article II, Section I of the U.S. Constitution, the president must be a natural-born citizen, and since Obama's father was a British subject, Obama is not exclusively a U.S. citizen. Obama's mother was an American citizen.
"My lawsuit," Donofrio said on a website, "challenges his status as a 'natural-born citizen' based upon the fact that his father was a British citizen/subject. Mr. Obama admits, at his own website, that he was a British citizen/subject at birth. He was also a U.S. citizen 'at birth.' He does not have dual nationality now, but the Constitution is concerned with the candidate's status 'at birth,' hence the word 'born' in the requirement." If we follow the logic of Donofrio's claim, then George Washington was not qualified to be the president, either. Though he was born in Virginia, he was considered a British subject at a time when the United States, per se, did not exist. Furthermore, there is nothing in the constitution about "exclusiveness." "It's all a bunch of nonsense," said the Rev. Herb Daughtry, pastor of the House of the Lord Church in Brooklyn. "Much to do about nothing."
Donofrio's lawsuit is just one among many that have been filed since Obama entered the presidential race, and not one of them has found traction, including one filed by Alan Keyes, who has run for the presidency and ran against Obama for the Illinois senate seat in 2004. Keyes' lawsuit was filed right after the election in November in California with Secretary of State Debra Bowen and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and requested that they not certify the election results until Obama or his supporters provide proof of his natural-born citizenship in the U.S. Similar to Keyes' charge, there are a slew of conservative bloggers who maintain that Obama was born in Kenya. This claim is consistent with those who base their suits on the dying words of Obama's paternal grandmother.
But nowhere in Obama's book or biography is there any indication that his mother was ever in Kenya. However, there are several accounts that suggest Obama's mother did travel to Kenya to meet Obama's relatives. When she was ready to leave, she was not allowed to board the plane because she was too close to having a baby, according to one website. "Then, after he was born, his mother returned with him to Hawaii, where his birth was registered on or about August 8, 1961, in the public records office in Hawaii," an account continues on Israelenews.com Moreover, there is some discrepancy about the hospital in which Obama was born. His sister, in two separate interviews, states that he was born at either Kapiolani Hospital or Queens Hospital, in Honolulu.
Another effort to discredit Obama comes from the We the People Foundation, chaired by Robert L. Schulz, of New York. They have taken out full-page ads challenging the authenticity of Obama's birth certificate. Despite evidence from the Obama's campaign team and Hawaiian officials of Obama's birth in Hawaii, Schulz insists that the birth form released by Obama was "unsigned, forged and thoroughly discredited." Now that yet another lawsuit has been dismissed by the Supreme Court, maybe the claims will subside. "These are just desperate attempts by right-wing conservatives and other detractors to delay the inevitable," said one caller to Gary Byrd's "Global Black Experience" on WLIB Sunday evening. "I think Clarence Thomas and Alan Keyes are just self-hating Negroes with no motive but revenge against Obama, which will not fly. And if it did, can you imagine the uproar you would get from the people of the world?"