Philadelphia attorney Philip Berg filed a new lawsuit today in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, once again suggesting that the currently vacationing Barack Obama is constitutionally ineligible to serve as president of the United States, and once again hoping to compel disclosure of any personal information relevant to the question.
He also filed a motion in which he asked the court to compel the defendants, in this case both Obama and Joseph Biden, to respond to the complaint within ten days, putting the proposed deadline at January 8, 2009, the same day the Electoral College votes are to be counted.
Berg’s first suit, filed in district court in Philadelphia on August 21, 2008 and broken here at America’s Right, alleged that because Obama was likely born in Kenya rather than Hawaii as he contends, and because he was likely adopted by his Indonesian stepfather and never regained U.S. citizenship, his presidency would be invalid pursuant to Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution which holds that only “natural born” citizens can hold the office of the president. Facets of that first action will be discussed in a pair of conferences at the United States Supreme Court on January 9 and January 16, 2009. This new suit, Hollister v. Soetoro, is part of what Berg calls a “concerted effort to find a legal avenue to expose the truth about Barack Obama, joins his original action as well as a related suit filed under seal under the False Claims Act, and is markedly different from anything Berg has filed before.
“For starters,” Berg said, “this is an interpleader action which, properly done, would shift the burden of proof onto Barack Obama to show that he is indeed eligible to serve as president of the United States. Also different, we’ve filed the suit on behalf of a retired Air Force colonel and done so against Barry Soetoro a.k.a. Barack Obama, and not the other way around. That, we believe, is his real name anyway.”
Who is Hollister, and why is he suing?
Col. Gregory S. Hollister served for 20 years in the Air Force, from 1978 to 1998. His military record, attached as an exhibit to the Hollister v. Soetoro complaint, is packed with decorations.
Even above and beyond his military service, Col. Hollister’s background provides a good look into his political ideology. This year, he served on the regional leadership team of Colorado Veterans for John McCain, but his [very welcome] conservative activism runs deeper than that. In 2003, for example, Hollister ran for city council in his native Colorado Springs, Colorado, announcing plans to encourage the city to host a pilot program to reform Medicare and Medicaid, permit younger residents to privatize their social security funds, and corroborate with school districts to establish a voucher program. In 2004, he made a small contribution to President George W. Bush’s re-election campaign, and has donated to congressional Republicans since then. Furthermore, at this time last year, Hollister was tossing around the idea of suing MoveOn.org for libel and defamation following the publishing of a full-page newspaper advertisement which portrayed Gen. David Petraeus as a traitor.
“We, in the profession of arms, take an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States,” Hollister wrote in an e-mail to the Wake Up America blog in September 2007. “We do not take an oath to support the President, the Congress, or the DoD. The oath is to the Constitution, its values and ideals. This includes the guarantee of free speech, however, it also provides that we, the defenders of freedom, have certain rights as well. One such right is to defend ourselves when our integrity and honor are defamed. Move On.org not only crossed the line in that regard – they are nowhere near it in this libelous action.”
According to Berg, Hollister approached him a perplexed man. Here he was, Berg said, in the Individual Ready Reserve, subject to presidential recall essentially for the rest of his life, and he wasn’t sure how his Oath of Enlistment would comport with a Commander-in-Chief who may or may not be constitutionally qualified to serve in that office. From the complaint:
Plaintiff is literally caught between a rock and a hard place. If reactivated, he comes under a duty to obey lawful orders. He would come under a duty, under at least certain circumstances, to disobey unlawful orders. He would come under a duty to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, both foreign and domestic. But to whom will these duties be owed from January 20, 2009 on? And against whom will these duties operate? Soetoro or Biden?
This dilemma is particularly distressful to the Plaintiff in light of the current state of the law on obeying or disobeying unlawful orders. The Armed Forces themselves construe their oath to obey orders to require only that they obey lawful orders.
“If Barack Obama is sworn in as president of the United States on January 20th, he is essentially usurping the powers of that office,” Berg said. “When the truth comes out, and it will, it means that all of the laws he signed off on will come back, and his orders deemed invalid.”
Because of the outward appearance of a contrived “strawman” action due to what could be perceived as Hollister’s “token” presence as plaintiff, however, Berg could once again run afoul of much of the same Article III “case or controversy” jurisdictional requirements for the district court which plagued his own eponymous action. Nevertheless, Berg maintains Hollister’s continued military service should provide him with the standing necessary to hurdle the first procedural roadblock to many federal cases.
“The question came up before about who had standing, about if I didn’t have standing, who did,” Berg said. “Well, God forbid, for example, if we had to decide whether or not to use our nuclear weapons in the future, given the oath that they take to defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic, would the senior members of the United States military be under a legal duty to obey the orders of Barack Obama as Commander-in-Chief, or would they be under a legal duty to disobey the order of someone who may not be eligible, under the Constitution they swore to defend, to be in that position in the first place?”
What is interpleader, anyway?
An interpleader action is a procedure by which a party–known as a “stakeholder”–can ask the court to consider and determine proper ownership of, or interest in, certain disputed funds or property. Interpleader is generally used when multiple claims arise with regard to the proceeds from an insurance policy — if the insurance company in question cannot determine who among the possible beneficiaries should receive the proceeds, rather than pay benefits to the wrong party and be forced to pay again down the road, the company can essentially pay the court to decide.
For the record, there are two types of interpleader, one from Rule 22 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the other from the United States Code. There are distinct differences between the two, but for the sake of Berg’s new case, I’m not sure the differences are essential, as Berg cites both and because, well, wiggling an eligibility-related claim against Barack Obama into an interpleader action seems, to me, a little like trying to shove a square peg through a round hole.
Since he told me a few days ago about his plans to file an interpleader action, I’ve been trying to wrap my head around how Berg could possibly use this procedure in such a manner. I’ve read more than a half million civil filings in the past half-dozen years, and never have I seen anything of the sort. Interpleader requires property, after all, and the question I kept on coming back to was simple enough — where’s the property?
Berg contends that the property in question here is actually the duties owed to a Commander-in-Chief and the relationships between Hollister and those in his chain of command. In the complaint, Berg cites several cases which purportedly show that, over time, the federal courts have decided that property need not be as tangible as, say, proceeds from a life insurance policy.
“Property can be intangible res,” Berg said. “The courts have also held that relationships, such as those between a landlord and a tenant or an employer and an employee, can be recognized as property.”
The Constitutional Crisis and Hollister v. Soetoro
“We’re there,” said Berg, when asked about whether or not he feels the nation is still threatened by much of the uncertainty cited in his various legal actions. “We’ve reached a constitutional crisis, and unless the courts see the significance of these issues, we could be headed for complete disaster.”
Hollister v. Soetoro, Berg maintains, is just part of an ongoing effort to find the correct legal solution to the problems created by what he says is an undervetted candidate. Sure, he said, he hopes that the Supreme Court finds that he has standing in his first case, the case facing conference in just over a week, but he wants to ensure that all of his eggs are not in one basket.
“This is by far the greatest hoax ever seen in American history,” he said. “We’re in virgin territory here, and we don’t quite know the best way to reach our goal, we don’t quite know how the courts and how the people will react to a certain method or procedure. All I can do is stand firm, and stand behind the rights of 320 million people, and I will continue to do so until Barack Obama comes out and acknowledges the history made on November 4th but admits that, due to things in his background, he will not be able to serve as president of the United States.”
NOTE: Keep checking back in coming days for more coverage at America’s Right, including but not limited to an interview in which Philip Berg discusses not only both cases, but also his gut feelings about the Supreme Court, rumors of one or more congressmen who could stand up and protest Obama as president-elect, the distractions by Andy Martin and those who lost focus and deviated from the constitutional questions at the heart of the matter, and what Berg says is the possibility of internal and external blackmailing of President Barack Obama.
In many ways, I started this, and feel obligated to see it to fruition, as fairly as I possibly can.