Georgia Court Disregards Basic Rules of Interpretation
By now many of you have probably heard that the Georgia court ruled that Obama is a natural born citizen. More importantly it ruled that any person born on U.S. soil is a natural born citizen.
According to the Georgia court, a woman from any country can visit the U.S. for one day, give birth, take the baby back to any country to be raised under any culture, and that baby can return as an adult, live here for 14 years and run for President.
The end result of this ruling is outrageous. It runs contrary to common sense as well as to established law.
So, what happened in Georgia? The court determined that a clear definition of natural born citizen from Supreme Court precedent was overturned by dicta in another Supreme Court case.
Precedent is any statement by the court that is pivotal to reaching the court’s ruling. Dicta is the opposite of precedent. Dicta is a statement by the court about matters that are not pivotal to reaching its ruling. Dicta is persuasive, but it cannot overturn precedent.
In other words, the Georgia court violated a basic rule of legal interpretation by ruling as it did. But wait, there’s more! The Georgia court also violated rules of Constitutional interpretation that have been around since the earliest Supreme Court.
Our first Chief Justice explained that no part of the Constitution should be interpreted in a way that leaves any other part of the Constitution without independent meaning.
By ruling that anyone born on U.S. soil can run for President the Georgia court concluded that the 14th Amendment was intended to alter article II of the Constitution.
Such an interpretation is 180 degrees in opposite to Chief Justice Marshall’s explanation of how to interpret the Constitution.
But WAIT, there’s more! In order to reach this conclusion the Georgia court ALSO had to disregard yet another part of the holding from the Minor v. Happersett Supreme Court ruling.
Even if you ignore the rules of Constitutional construction and the rule that dicta can’t overturn precedent, even if you agree with the Georgia court that the definition of natural born citizen in the Minor decision was dicta, you still can’t reach the Georgia court’s ruling.
You see, the Minor Court ALSO explicitly ruled that the 14th Amendment didn’t create any new privileges and immunities. So, if a person couldn’t run for President before the 14th Amendment, they couldn’t run for President after the 14th Amendment.
This means that the Minor Court explicitly ruled that the 14th amendment didn’t alter the definition of natural born citizen under article II of the Constitution. Yet the Georgia court ignored this Supreme Court ruling as well.
The Georgia court was aware of all of these arguments because these arguments were made at the January 26 hearing and they were included in our written brief after the hearing. Yet the Georgia court’s ruling only addresses one of these three arguments and poorly at that.
The one point of good news from this ruling is that we have FINALLY gotten a court to rule on the merits of our argument. This may seem like a hollow victory, but it isn’t. Before this everyone that has brought a challenge against Obama’s eligibility has been dismissed on procedural grounds.
Nothing is more devastating to the rule of law than a judicial branch that refuses to do its job. Before this case we had courts across the country telling Americans that they had no right to enforce the Constitution. That was absurdity at its most extreme.
Liberty Legal Foundation found a case that we believed would at least get a ruling on the merits. We hate the ruling we got, but at least we got a ruling. Now we can appeal that ruling.
The appeals process now will focus on the definition of “natural born citizen” rather than procedure for the first time since the issue of Obama’s eligibility was raise in 2008.
For all the reasons I’ve mentioned in this message, we will be appealing the Georgia Court’s ruling. We will continue to fight for Constitutional rule of law. Failing that we will continue to force Courts to show their true colors.
If our judicial branch will not uphold the rule of law, that fact needs to be exposed to the harsh light of day for all the world to see.
February 5, 2012 - LibertyLegalFoundation