It’s official, Cort Wrotnowski’s application for stay has been denied by the U.S. Supreme Court. I have no details as to how many Justices on either side, etc., but none of it comes as a surprise.
The justices without comment on Monday refused to intervene in the November 4 presidential election, dismissing the claims of Cort Wrotnowski, a resident of Greenwich, Connecticut.
In his appeal, Wrotnowski claimed that because Obama’s father was a Kenyan-born British subject, the president-elect does meet the Constitution’s requirement that the president be a “natural born citizen” of the United States. Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961. His mother was a U.S. citizen, born in the United States.
Many legal analysts questioned Wrotnowski’s argument.
“The law has always been understood to be, if you are born here, you’re a natural born citizen,” said Thomas Goldstein, founder of the Scotusblog.com Web site and a lawyer who has argued numerous cases before the high court. “And that is particularly true in this case, when you have a U.S. citizen parent like Barack Obama’s mother.”
As far as I know–and I very much could be wrong–the applications for stay in both the Wrotnowski and Donofrio case essentially asked the Court two questions: First, whether the Court would consider the applications for stay as a petition for writ of certiorari, and second, whether the Court would grant that petition for writ of certiorari and agree to hear the case at hand on its merits. In Bush v. Gore, for example, the same sort of process was taken, with an application for stay filed first and subsequently treated by the Court as a petition for certiorari in order for the case to be heard from there. That’s why most Election Law casebooks have two separate opinions — one for whether the stay should be considered a petition for certiorari, and another for the petition itself.
In the Wrotnowski and Donofrio cases, those applications for stay–the ones asking the Court to consider them as petitions for writ of certiorari–were denied. Therefore, as far as I know, there is no petition for writ of certiorari to live on in perpetuity in either case. Thus, the Donofrio case, in its current form, is dead in the water. As is the Wrotnowski case.
That leaves Philip Berg’s case and Orly Taitz’s Lightfoot v. Bowen as the only ones before the Court. Lightfoot, I believe, was denied by Kennedy and may await the same sort of conference which doomed Wrotnowski and Donofrio. While Berg’s case and Taitz’s case are very different from those filed by Cort Wrotnowski and Leo Donofrio–in fact, I thought the latters’ questions were more fitting for the Court–I have no reason to believe that either Berg’s or Taitz’s petition for writ of certiorari will be anything but denied. Given the disposition on the [admittedly] superficially similar cases over the past two weeks, the already insurmountable odds can be considered even more daunting.
A Not-Completely-Unrelated Note:
As an aside, 217 years ago today, three-quarters of the states ratified the first ten amendments to our Constitution. Let’s say a few prayers today that, not limited simply to the Bill of Rights, the ideas and ideals of our nation’s founders can be understood and upheld.
To me, the questions into Obama’s eligibility has never been about Obama or ideology or any sort of conspiracy; it has always come down to the Constitution, and I would ask the very same questions and write the exact same things if the candidate had been someone else. While not in the Bill of Rights, the intent of our founders is inherent in Article II, Section 1 — and regardless of the political candidate in question, we should be assured that the guidelines set forth by the framers are being honored and given the respect they deserve.
As I’ve written before, it’s been a certain segment of the population which has unnecessarily expanded–and in the process diluted–this particular issue. I was disappointed to see the lack of focus and the overall disjointed approach exhibited at last week’s press conference in Washington, D.C., in spite of the hard work and well-founded motivation behind it. The issue is not about Obama, but it has been championed by some who seem occasionally inclined to put the constitutional issue on the back burner and focus instead on the mainstream press and a number of other issues. It’s not about the media. It’s not about the president-elect’s skin color. It’s simply about the Constitution, about Article II, Section 1, and about a valid, engaging question which should be answered.