On a day where we’re supposed to be a little scared, this certainly is an encouraging sign.
I’m with Rep. Metcalfe. This isn’t just a Barack Obama-centric issue. This is a constitutional issue. Let’s have the documentation from all candidates, and let’s make sure there’s oversight as to eligibility in the future.
After Obama, McCain Rulings, State Rep. Wants Presidential Candidates to Prove Citizenship, Place of Birth
By Alex Roarty, PolitickerPA.com
A week after a Pennsylvania lawsuit challenging Barack Obama’s right to run for president was thrown out of court, a state lawmaker has authored a bill that would force presidential candidates to prove they’re a United States citizen before being placed on state ballots.
“As a veteran and an elected official who takes an oath of office, just like every past and future President of the United States, to uphold and defend the Constitutional rights of the citizens I represent, it is greatly perplexing and beyond troubling that a political candidate can ascend to the White House without providing sufficient documentation verifying his or her place of birth or American citizenship,” state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler County) said in a statement. “This legislation is intended to send the message that even those candidates who are running for our nation’s highest office are not above the law.”
Former Chairman of the Montgomery County Democratic Committee Philip Berg filed the suit against Obama, saying the candidate did not provide an authentic birth certificate. The judge ruled against him, saying harm from an allegedly ineligible candidate was “too vague and its effects too attenuated to confer standing on any and all voters.”
In an interview with PolitickerPA.com, Metcalfe said many of his constituents came to his office asking him about the validity of the lawsuit against Obama. When he and his staff researched the issue, Metcalfe said they were shocked to find out presidential candidates in Pennsylvania don’t have to prove that they were born in the United States, or that they are a citizen.
Every other elected office in the state must provide proof they are eligible to run, he said.
“I think the majority of citizens would be shocked there isn’t more oversight of candidates by state government,” Metcalfe said.
The lawmaker argues he is only trying to close a loophole that will put voters’ minds at ease about the candidates on the ballot. Even with the intense scrutiny a presidential candidate must endure, the state must have a system of checks and balances, he said.
“It would really be the greatest hoax in U.S. history if somebody did get past the scrutiny,” he said.
Still, it’s almost impossible to separate his stated intention and the questions some Republicans have about Obama’s origins. Rumors have spread that Obama was actually born outside the country and that his birth certificate is a fake. That birth certificate proves he was born in Hawaii in 1961.
Asked if he thinks the Democratic presidential nominee was born in the United States and is a citizen, Metcalfe didn’t equivocally answer “yes.”
“You would certainly think someone is, having held office as a state senator and U.S. senator,” Metcalfe said. “I think every American would think that.
“This has not been a question I’ve been involved in trying to investigate, as far as where he was born,” he added.
Metcalfe also said his bill will obviously not take effect by Nov. 4.
John McCain’s right to run for president has also been challenged by some. The Republican presidential nominee has born in the Panama Canal Zone while his father was stationed there with the U.S. Navy.
A U.S. District Judge in California in September threw out a similar lawsuit against McCain, saying both his parents were U.S. citizens and recognizing a law passed a year after McCain’s birth retroactively making those born in the zone “natural-born citizens.”
Metcalfe is at times a controversial figure in the Pennsylvania General Assembly. During the summer he opposed a state House resolution that would have sponsored a Muslim’s group’s convention in Philadelphia.
His high-profile stances on positions like abortion, immigration and marriage have prompted his opponent in the 12th Legislative District to accuse him of not focusing enough on local issues.